No need to argue
There’s a lot of discussion, comics, and dank memes about introversion and extroversion on the internets theses days, but the science behind what we know about these personality traits might surprise you.
As the video above from AsapSCIENCE explains, there is a genetic component to introversion and extroversion, and each group have certain advantages.
A brief history
The idea of two polar opposite personality types was originally developed by Carl Jung, who coined the terms introversion and extroversion.
His work was extended by Hans Eysenick, who described each on in turns of baseline arousal.
If you ask someone to define introversion or extroversion they will likely come up with something about extroverts enjoying big crowds and introverts enjoying solitude, but this is not only inaccurate, it’s based only on secondary characteristics.
More than “shy” or “outgoing”
Whether or not you enjoy large crowds or small groups is an effect of your baseline arousal. Extroverts have a low level of baseline arousal and so require more stimulation to feel mental and physical state of satisfaction. Introverts have a higher level of baseline arousal, require less external stimuli to feel “full,” and can get overwhelmed by too much.
So while an introvert might feel satisfaction about a quiet walk in a park, an extrovert is likelier to need more stimulation and conversation, say from a party or an event.
Show me the science
That’s the theory, but some studies show even more about the science behind introversion and extroversion. Brain scans during a gambling game revealed that extroverts had a much stronger reaction to winning a game than introverted players.
This reaction was seen in the portion of the brain that deals with dopamine rewards.
Dopamine is also released during human interactions, so it makes sense that extroverts might also seek out more of that.
In a similar study, extroverts were shown to react more strongly to generic images of people than scenes of nature, whereas introverts had similar reactions to both.
What’s your superpower?
Although the argument has been made that our culture has an extrovert bias, there are evolutionary advantages to both sides of the spectrum.
Introverts probably stayed closer to home and on the sidelines of battles, making them less susceptible to untimely death by predator or scuffle. Extroverts likely explored more, which would give them advantages in times when food was scarce.
Stuck in the middle with you
Not everyone can be divided into team extrovert and team introvert. A significant amount of the population is somewhere in the middle.
These ambiverts might actually have the best of both worlds.
In a sales situational study, people who were neither strongly introverted or extroverted had almost double the sales compared to both other groups.
Just like your grandma said, it takes all sorts people to make the world go round.