The meaning of introverts and extroverts (A Complete Guide)

In this article, we will discuss the meaning of introverts and extroverts. We will do that by defining extroverts and introverts. We will move on to explain biological and psychological differences between them. Then, we will discuss signs to identify an extrovert and an introvert. In the end, we will answer a few questions related to extroverts and introverts.

The meaning of introverts and extroverts 

The dictionary defines an extrovert as ‘ a person concerned more with practical realities than with inner thoughts and feelings’ Compared to them an introvert is defined as a person who tends to shrink from social contacts and becomes preoccupied with their own thoughts’. The main distinction between the two comes from their orientation to the world and how they gain energy. Extroverts are externally oriented and gain energy from people. Whereas, introverts are internally oriented and gain energy by spending time alone and connecting with their thoughts.

The terms extroverts and introverts were given by Carl Jung in the 20th century. According to him, extroversion and introversion exist on a spectrum. No one person is completely extroverted or introverted. So, we can be at any point on the spectrum depending on our orientation.

There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum. –Carl G. Jung

Biological differences between extroverts and introverts

Biological Factors that contribute to the level of extroversion or introversion in us include the following: 

Genetics

Genetics predict our tendencies of how we prefer to get our energy. People who are introverted gain energy by spending time alone. They get drained or lose energy when they are among crowds, loud music, and unfamiliar people for quite a long time. They get overstimulated in such situations and need time away from people in order to recharge. 

Compared to them, extroverts prefer to gain their energy from other people. They get exhausted and feel low when they are alone and have no one to talk to. They recharge their energy by socializing with others and engaging in different experiences with them.

Level of Arousal

According to Hans Eysenck, a world-renowned psychologist, the difference between extroverts and introverts depends on their level of arousal. In other words, the extent of alertness of their mind and body towards stimulation and response to it. He suggested that extroverts have a lower rate of arousal. Because of that, they have to invest effort in order to arouse their bodies and minds. They do that by seeking adventure, novelty, and engaging with others. 

Introverts, on the other hand, have a higher rate of arousal. This means that they get stimulated quite easily and are more sensitive to experience sensory overload. They need time alone to reduce stimulation. Isolation, predictability, and one-on-one conversation help them to be more stable.

Reward sensitivity

Another distinction between extroverts and introverts depends on the difference in their brain. In extroverts, the brain is more sensitive to rewards. This means that they are more motivated to seek rewarding experiences and experience the release of dopamine. This is done by taking risks, experiencing excitement, and seeking novelty. Compared to them, and introverts have reduced reward sensitivity. So, they prefer constancy and consistency in their environment.

Information processing

Another difference between them lies in how they process information. In an extrovert’s brain, the information processing pathway is shorter and passes through sensory processing areas. Whereas, in introverts, the processing pathway is longer and passes through areas of the brain that are associated with memory, problem-solving, and planning.

Psychological differences between extroverts and introverts

Psychological differences between extroverts and introverts include the following:

 Interpersonal preference

Introverted people prefer thinking about things before they speak. They like to spend their time with only close friends and dislike surprises. They are not shy or asocial. Rather, they just need time alone to regain their energy.

Extroverted people prefer to talk to other people and spend less time thinking. They like to be around crowds and love surprises. Being alone can contribute to them feeling low, uninspired, and sad.

Happiness

Studies have found a correlation between extraversion and self-report of happiness. This means that the more extroverted a person is, they will have a higher rate of happiness. Compared to them, introverts have lower rates of happiness. This does not mean that introverts are unhappy people. The only difference lies in the fact that extroverts are more inclined to experiencing positive emotions. A factor contributing to this may be that extraversion is more accepted in society and Western culture. Furthermore, since they have rewarded sensitivity, they easily get happy by doing things they like.

Attention-seeking

Extroverts are also inclined to act in a way that attracts the attention of others. This is because social attention has the capacity of being rewarding. So, such people show favorable behavior like high-energy, excitement, and enthusiasm as it gains the attention of others.

Compared to them, introverted traits are not too favorable for surviving in our society. Furthermore, since they have low reward sensitivity, they do not seek or like attention or limelight.

Signs of an Extrovert and introvert

The following signs can help us identify an extrovert and introvert:  

Signs of an ExtrovertSigns of an Introvert
They prefer to hang out with other people. They prefer to spend their time alone. 
They are not restrained in unfamiliar settings nor do they over worry about making mistakes.They are restrained in unfamiliar settings and worry about making mistakes. 
They do not need a lot of alone time. They need a lot of alone time to recharge.
They like huge crowds. They dislike huge crowds. 
They have a big social circle.They have a small and closely-knit social circle.
They prefer to talk things out to process them. They process things better in their minds. 
They are outgoing and optimistic people. They are not too optimistic and prefer to stay indoors. 
They jump back from negative experiences quickly. They take their time in moving on from negative experiences. 
They are not afraid of taking risks.They prefer not to take risks. 
They are flexible in their approach to life and are open to new experiences. They like predictability and consistency in their life. 
They are comfortable with public speaking.They are uncomfortable with public speaking. 
They like being the center of attention.They dislike being in the limelight. 
They are usually initiators of conversation.They usually do not initiate conversations with others. 
They overpack their schedule with social events.They try to keep their schedules free from social events. 
They invite a lot of people and have huge parties.They have gatherings with only a few people invited. 
They are quite active on social media and openly express their feelings and update everyone with their life. They are active on social media but do not update everything about their life. 
They are talkative.They are generally quiet. 
They can overshare information about themselves.They are private people. 
They find silence uncomfortable.They are comfortable with silence.  
It is difficult for them to understand yoga and meditationThey frequently do yoga and meditation. 
They are doers. They are thinkers. 
They make excellent leaders.  They prefer to follow rather than lead others. 
They make friends quickly and easily. They take their time in making friends. 
They are open to intimacy. They do not get intimate with others too easily. 
They work best among groups while engaging in activities and in brainstorming different ideas. They work best when they are alone. 
They make decisions quickly and easily. They take their time while making decisions.
They work well in environments that are team-oriented and involve a lot of opportunities for social interaction.They work well in environments that are individual-oriented and involve limited social interaction.

If you’ve enjoyed the ”The meaning of introverts and extroverts” you should take a look at ”Female Introvert Characteristics

FAQs: The meaning of introverts and extroverts

What does it mean to be an introverted extrovert?

An introverted extrovert is usually an ambivert. These people like hanging out with others are social and outgoing. However, at the same time, they get overstimulated and need time alone to recharge.

Are extroverts better than introverts?

No. We cannot say extroverts are better than introverts. Every person is equally good and unique. Apart from that, being an extrovert has its advantages. They are optimistic, charismatic, confident, and genuine people. They express their availability, thrive better in the world, have higher mental well being, and are also happier. They are action-oriented people who know how to grasp the attention of others. Accordingly, they are more successful professionally.

Are extroverts more common than introverts?

No.  Although we don’t have the exact statistics of the number of extroverts and introverts in the world, based on the results of multiple studies, we have found that the number of extroverts and introverts is roughly equal.  Studies in which extroverts are higher in number can be explained by certain theories that have suggested that we overestimate the number of extroverts in the world. These theories are called friendship paradox and extroversion bias. 

Are extroverts more successful than introverts?

No. There are no studies that suggest that extroverts are more successful than introverts. Extroverts do, however, offer certain advantages over introverts in their workplace. They show more proactive behavior, are energetic, and less likely to experience burnout. They also take risks and are not afraid of making mistakes. They are motivated by rewards and continue to work in a determined manner towards their goals. At the same, time introverts offer their own advantages of deeper thinking and planning along with multiple others. We can say that ambiverts who possess both extroverted and introverted tendencies have better chances of being successful as they offer advantages of both traits and can shift between the two when the situation required it.

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed The meaning of introverts and extroverts. We found that extroverts can be defined as ‘ a person concerned more with practical realities than with inner thoughts and feelings’ Compared to them an introvert can be defined as ‘a person who tends to shrink from social contacts and to become preoccupied with their own thoughts’. The main distinction between the two comes from their orientation to the world and how they gain energy. Extroverts are externally oriented and gain energy from people. Whereas, introverts are internally oriented and gain energy by spending time alone and connecting with their thoughts.

The terms extroverts and introverts were given by Carl Jung in the 20th century. According to him, extroversion and introversion exist on a spectrum. No one person is completely extroverted or introverted. So, we can be at any point on the spectrum depending on our orientation.

  I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 😊

Citations

https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/extrovert

https://www.cnet.com/health/the-difference-between-introverts-and-extroverts/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraversion_and_introversion#Behaviour

https://www.fastcompany.com/3016031/are-you-an-introvert-or-an-extrovert-and-what-it-means-for-your-career

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