How to tell if you have a tendency to introversion or extroversion

Friendly, cheeky, shy, social people … these are adjectives that we often use when we talk about social dimension of people. However, many of these concepts are not only found in popular knowledge: science has been concerned with studying them as well.

One of the most interesting topics is the relationship between introversion and extraversion, As well as the study of its biological bases.

The previous one: analyze introversion and extroversion

Carl Jung was the first author to work with the concepts of introversion and extraversion in a systematic way. In his book Psychologische Typen (Psychological Types), Jung talks about two types of attitudes that define a person: that interests are focused outside and the social sphere, and those oriented towards private sphere. These are, respectively, the psychological types of extroversion and introversion. In addition, Jung draws a parallel between introversion and the Apollonian archetype (introspection, rationality, measure) while the psychological type of extraversion corresponds to the Dionysian (disorder, search for novelty and interest in the world of sensations. ).

It seems clear that Jung tried to emphasize the relationship of incompatibility and mutual exclusion between these two categories. These are expressly antagonistic attitudes that not only affect the way we relate to others, but go further and speak about the way we relate. relate to the world, Our way of inhabiting reality.

Eysenck’s theory

German psychologist Hans Eysenck he was another of the scholars to broach the subject, although he clung to the scientific method, while working from categories very similar to Jung’s. Eysenck spoke about the personality, paying particular attention to the biological bases and human genetics, which cannot be learned through experience, but which is expressed through our way of adapting to the environment. Therefore, he elevates the introversion-extraversion relationship as a dimension of temperament present in all people and which is defined from physiology by levels of excitement and inhibition (The denial of excitement) in the face of the stimuli we experience. High or low levels of arousal can be measured by indicators such as perspiration, electrical conductivity of the skin, and brain wave readings.

According to this theory, then, and although it may seem confusing, the introvertido lives in a state of permanent excitement or ‘nervousness’, and thus the stimuli he experiences leave a greater psychological imprint on him, while people extroverts ‘assigned’ a state of relative chronic inhibition of brain activity, And their reaction to stimuli is less. From these tendencies, which are somehow programmed into each person’s genes, humans seek to balance these levels of activity in their interaction with the environment.

Someone’s relatively low brain activation (due to inhibition in this internal environment) is concerned with arousal-seeking action, and this is achieved by participating in socially demanding activities (Speaking in front of a large group of people, for example) and looking for new and demanding situations to be fowarding something. Therefore, extroverted people were defined as prone to boredom. A person in need of exciting situations can be overwhelmed if they only experience personal relationships based on repetition and everyday life.

Instead, according to Eysenck, someone who is introverted is because he already lives in a permanent alert stateAlthough not in the sense of being very focused on what is going on around you on purpose, as it is an involuntary propensity and it does not depend on where you are focusing your attention at any given time. Simply put, the introvert is more sensitive to what’s going on around them, and that sensitivity is biological. As arousal already predominates in her internal environment, she tends to be socially inhibited: she acts instead by avoiding experiences that further elevate her activity level, in search of more stable or predictable environments and, although she is sociable as long as who can benefit from relationships with others as well as with extroverts, these relationships are characterized by the fact that they are not very socially demanding (the idea can be expressed by the phrase “I need my own space ”).


As you can see, while shyness and introversion may seem the same, it is actually a superficial resemblance. Shyness refers rather to a state of mind that can be explained as a behavior learned by believing that the relationship with others can have negative consequences, while introversion is a biological disposition that goes far beyond our own. relationships with others. However, it remains to be investigated whether the brain arousal patterns are due solely to genetic load.

The data provided so far is indicative and may be useful in reflecting on one’s own introversion or extraversion tendencies. But also there are descriptive personality tests and models who contemplate these two extremes. Some of the more well-known models are the Big Five model, the 16PF or the original PEN model from Eysenck, although their effectiveness is constantly debated.

The importance of context

Finally, you cannot lose sight of the contextual factor. On the one hand, the different levels of meaning that we attribute to different contexts mean that in each of them we behave differently. A person who we may think of as an introvert, for example, can become very comfortable with public speaking if they understand that it is a way of verbalizing and tidying up certain thoughts that they have organized in their environment. mind, especially if she tries. believes he is in control. Likewise, it is absurd to think that extroverted people positively value all situations that require a state of alert, above any “ordinary” situation. Drawing a line separating introversion and extroversion may be handy in academia, but the reality always transcends any category.

After all, finding a balance between arousal and inhibition is another form of individual adaptation to the environmentAnd the latter, the legacy of all of us, is precisely this: the ability to act non-stereotypically, using creative strategies to pursue a goal and solve problems. No label will say as much about people as it does about their ability to be unpredictable.

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