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Who is an introvert

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Introverts are individuals who are inclined to focus on their inner world and tend to prefer solitude and a peaceful environment. They find that communicating with others drains their energy, while being alone helps them recharge.

The concept of introversion was first introduced by Carl Jung in the 1920s, who distinguished it from extroversion. According to Jung, introversion is characterized by directing one's vital energy, or libido, inward, while extroversion is characterized by directing it outward towards the external world and other people. In other words, extroverts focus on the world around them, while introverts focus on their own thoughts, feelings, and introspection.

Hans Eysenck continued to study the concept of introversion and extroversion, and identified several traits associated with introversion, such as perseverance, rigidity, subjectivism, modesty, and irritability. He described introverts as shy, introspective, and reserved individuals who value order, avoid impulsive behavior, and can be relied upon. Eysenck considered the dimension of extraversion/introversion to be one of the most important in understanding personality, alongside neuroticism and psychotism. He developed a three-factor theory of personality, basing it on these three dimensions.

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In the 1970s, Soviet-Lithuanian researcher Aushra Augustinavichute created her own typology of personality, called socionics. It divides people into 16 types based on four parameters, one of which is the introversion-extroversion scale. The Myers-Briggs system also uses a similar division. However, both socionics and the Myers-Briggs system have been criticized for being pseudoscientific.

Karl Leonhard, a German psychiatrist, proposed a theory that differentiates introverts and extroverts based on their relationship with information. According to his theory, introverts are individuals with strong wills and clear values, who are able to resist societal pressure and remain true to their own perspectives and principles. On the other hand, extroverts are seen as conformist and weak-willed, easily influenced by external factors.

However, modern research suggests that most people possess a combination of both introverted and extroverted traits. Additionally, many modern psychologists prefer to avoid using the terms "introvert" and "extrovert" as they are considered too broad. Despite this, the concept of different personality types still exists in modern psychology.

In psychological and psychiatric practice, there are various models of personality typology, which are primarily focused on assessing the overall health and well-being of an individual. Before determining an individual's personality type, it is crucial to understand their current state of health and well-being. The selection of a specific typological model should be done with consideration of the individual's overall health and quality of being.

Despite this, the concept of extraversion and introversion is still widely used and researched. For instance, in 2011, Jonathan Cheek, a psychologist and researcher at Wellesley College in the USA, proposed a model which divides introverts into four different types - social, thinking, anxious, and restrained, abbreviated as STAR.

Another research suggests that certain individuals displaying traits of covert narcissism often present themselves as introverted. These individuals may consider themselves as being highly sensitive, but this trait masks their underlying need for excessive attention. Identifying such individuals can be challenging as they may appear humble and reserved, but their ultimate goal is to gain admiration and attention from others. This behavior is a result of neuroticism, rather than introversion.

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Characteristics of introverts

American researchers have identified several characteristics that are commonly associated with introverts:

  • Dislike for large groups and crowded environments.
  • Reluctance to initiate new relationships.
  • Observation and attention to detail.
  • The ability to focus on a maximum of 1-3 tasks at a time.
  • A tendency to delve deeply into a subject of study.
  • The need for a clear plan of action.
  • A small circle of close friends.
  • A rich imagination and active internal dialogue.
  • Strong sense of self-awareness.
  • Intolerance of others' negative moods.
  • A preference for working alone.

Differences between introverts and extroverts

Tendency to control or impulsiveness

Introverts and extroverts have distinct differences in their tendencies and behaviors. Extroverts are often described as cheerful, optimistic and sociable, with a tendency to be impulsive and emotionally reactive. They enjoy being around others and making new acquaintances, but may struggle with impulse control and impulsiveness.

On the other hand, introverts are typically calm, reserved and introspective. They tend to be more reserved in social situations and prefer to spend time alone. They are also known for being more deliberate in their actions, taking more time to make decisions and planning ahead. They have better control over their emotions and it takes more to provoke them.

Search for positive emotions in different sources

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The perception that introverts experience less positive emotions than extroverts is not entirely accurate. According to research by the University of Minnesota, both extroverts and introverts experience positive emotions, but they tend to seek them out from different sources. Extroverts tend to find positive emotions through social interaction and the attention of others, while introverts find them through deeper connections and more meaningful interactions.

While extroverts are more outgoing and tend to be more involved in communication, introverts may require less communication to feel fulfilled and content. They may talk less and be less expressive, but they still experience positive emotions in their own way.

Modern psychologists no longer use the term "introversion" as it does not provide a comprehensive understanding of human behavior. The labels "introvert" and "extrovert" are often used to describe sociable and reserved behavior respectively, but the causes of such behavior can be diverse.

Popular psychology often assumes that behavior is determined by a single cause, but in clinical practice, it is important to consider the underlying reasons for behavior. For example, a person who avoids communication may be labeled as an introvert, but this behavior could be caused by a variety of factors such as trauma, low communication skills, or a lack of interest in social interaction.

Furthermore, the stereotype that introverts do not like people is often incorrect. Communication can be a challenging or painful process for some individuals, and it may be avoided for specific reasons, rather than a lack of interest in social interaction. Therefore, modern psychologists do not use the term "introversion" as it does not provide a comprehensive understanding of the underlying causes of behavior.

Benefits of being an introvert

Being an introvert can have its own unique benefits, despite the stereotype that extroverts are better suited for society.

Sensitivity

One benefit of being an introvert is sensitivity. Research by a team of scientists at Yale University found that introverts have a better understanding of people than extroverts. After surveying over a thousand volunteers, the experts found that introverts are "natural psychologists" as they are more observant and pay attention to subtle details in human behavior and emotions. They have a greater understanding of the psychology of others than extroverts, who may be more focused on socializing.

Additionally, introverts tend to be more accurate in introspection, as they have less bias and spend more time reflecting on themselves and their own emotions.

Thoughtfulness

Introverts are known for being more thoughtful in their approach to processing information. Research has shown that they take longer to process information than extroverts. However, this is not a weakness, but rather a strength. According to Jennifer Kahnweiler, author of the book "Introvert Leader: How to Succeed in a Society Dominated by Extroverts," this is due to the thoughtfulness of introverts. They are more reflective, and take the time to consider different perspectives and possibilities before making a decision. This allows them to make more informed and well thought-out choices.

Economy in spending internal energy

Introverts are known for their economy in spending internal energy, due to their tendency to communicate less. Researchers from the University of Calgary in Canada suggest that the stereotype that extroverts are happier than introverts is not accurate. They found that extraversion comes at a cost of energy and time, as extroverts spend more resources on getting and maintaining the attention of others. Introverts, on the other hand, use their internal energy to focus and achieve goals. Studies from Canada and Australia also support this idea. By using their internal energy more efficiently, introverts are able to focus on their goals and achieve them more effectively.

Security

Extroverts may be more prone to physical risks compared to introverts. Research suggests that they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors and get into trouble, such as joining criminal organizations or being arrested. This may be due to their tendency to seek out new experiences and take risks. However, it is important to note that these are general tendencies and not applicable to all extroverts and that everyone is unique and different.

Introverts have several additional benefits, according to scientists:

  • They are able to handle routine, monotonous tasks well, such as work or studying.
  • They are known to complete tasks they start.
  • They exhibit discipline and regularity in their business.
  • They are effective at self-education and self-improvement.
  • They possess a great ability to analyze and delve deeply into a problem.
  • They make well-informed decisions.
  • They have a habit of actively listening to their interlocutor.
  • They are caring and tend to take care of other people and their problems.
  • They possess a high level of insight and understanding.

It's important to note that these are general tendencies and not applicable to all introverts and that everyone is unique and different.

Professions for introverts

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Introverts may excel in professions that require perseverance, patience, and an analytical approach, according to scientists from Iceland and America. These types of jobs typically do not require constant communication with others, and may be well-suited for introverts.

Examples include:

  • Information security specialist, where the work is primarily done on a computer, and any issues can be resolved with technology.
  • Business analyst, where interactions with colleagues are minimal and most tasks are completed on a computer.
  • Accountant, where the work involves numbers and can be done in various industries.
  • Software developer, which is often a remote profession and allows introverts to work independently.
  • Virologist, where the focus is on analyzing samples and describing experiments in a meticulous and methodical way.
  • Editor and proofreader, where the work involves reading and editing text with a high level of attention and perseverance.
  • Sound engineer, where the work involves recording voices and music, and can be done in a relatively isolated environment.
  • Video and photo editor, where the work involves editing visual material and requires focus and attention to detail.
  • Restorer, which is a monotonous and methodical process that may appeal to introverts.
  • Trucker, where long trips alone with one's thoughts may be enjoyable for introverts.
  • It's important to note that these are general tendencies and not applicable to all introverts and that everyone is unique and different.

Why introverts can be good leaders

Introverts are often overlooked as leaders due to a common belief that leaders should be self-confident and charismatic. However, a study by Yale University found that introverts can excel as leaders, particularly in crisis situations. This is because introverts have a tendency to analyze situations deeply and reflect on them, which allows them to have a more detailed understanding of the situation. Furthermore, introverts who take the time to reflect and think through solutions are able to make more effective decisions.

Additionally, A study by Brigham Young University found that students value leaders who focus on tracking deadlines, providing feedback, and coordinating teamwork, rather than relying on charisma and eloquence. This means that introverts who prioritize these tasks are more likely to be seen as effective leaders.

Tips for introverts who want to be leaders

For introverts seeking leadership positions, some tips include:

  1. Speak up more about your ideas, decisions, and achievements. Introverts tend to stay in the background, but it's important to showcase your contributions and accomplishments.
  2. Balance social interaction with alone time. Participating in meetings and team activities can be beneficial for career advancement, but it's also important to maintain time for solitude and reflection.
  3. Find inspiration in your goals. Understanding the purpose of social interactions and meetings can help overcome fear and hesitation.
  4. Leverage your strengths. One study suggests that effective leaders are those who can plan ahead and introverts have a natural ability for reflection and empathy, which can be valuable in problem-solving and decision-making.
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