23 Psychological Facts about Introverts

1. Introverts release dopamine in a different manner

For my friends who do not know what dopamine is, it is one of the brain’s neurotransmitters. It is a chemical that transmits information between neurons. It helps regulate movement, attention, learning, and emotional response. It plays a major role in the motivational component of reward-motivated behavior.

Some recent studies reveal that introverts release dopamine under different circumstances and in a different way than extroverts do. A 2005 study published in Cognitive Brain Research studied both extroverts and introverts and had them play a game which involved gambling.

It was observed that when  extroverted individuals won, they release more dopamine than the introverts did in the same situation. This implies that extroverts get more of a thrill from risk taking than others.

2. Introverts treat people like inanimate objects

This might seem a bit creepy (because it is!). A 2010 study conducted at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences has shown that introverts react pretty much the same way when they see a car or a tree as they do when they see a human face. 

They observed the brain waves of extroverted and introverted people while showing them pictures of flowers and human faces. 

The result?

The introverts had identical brainwave patterns when they looked at flowers or a human face.

It reveals that introverts, or their brains, might be indifferent to people. They treat interactions with people the same way it treats encounters with others non-human information.

3. Introversion could be genetic

This is an interesting one. It would explain why it is almost impossible to convince an extroverted individual to engage in a highly social setting. 

They don’t have a choice. It is hardwired into their DNA. 

Part of this evidence comes from the study of dopamine release (in the previous point). They also observed the allele responsible for the dopamine release related to extroverts. 

It found that whether you are introverted or extroverted could have been determined way back when you are just 4 months old (in your mother’s womb). This confirmed that introversion or extroversion is actually genetic.

4. Introverts have more grey matter in their brain

Grey matter is the part of the brain that is responsible for abstract thoughts, memory, decision making, and self-control.

One study revealed that the difference between the brains of introverts and extroverts involved grey matter. This particular study was conducted by Randy Buckner of Harvard University. It found that introverts had thicker and larger grey matter than their extroverted counterparts. 

It explains why introverts typically like to be alone with their own thoughts while making a decision. Rather than talking to other people, they rely heavily on their grey matter to make a decision.

5. Introverts are not actually that different from extroverts

The way we view introverts has changed a lot over the years. Studies have shown that there isn’t a big difference between extroverts and introverts as we might think. For one, introverts are just as clever as extroverts. And, the difference between these two personality types is not that prominent too.

The two personality types do overlap, and it happens more often than we think. For example, there are extroverts who hate going to parties and there are introverts who love nothing more than to spend time with their friends. 

You might feel like an extrovert one morning, only to wake up after an afternoon nap with an introverted mindset.

6. Introverts speak more in “concrete terms”

Introverts communicate and speak in a very different way from their extroverted counterparts. A study published in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology in 2012 found that extroverts speak in a more abstract manner, whereas introverts tend to speak in more concrete terms. It also found that extroverts tended to think of themselves as understanding more about the conversation than introverts.

But you would counter this study by saying, “Didn’t you just say that introverts have more grey matter (which is responsible for abstract thought)?”

Introverts have affinity for thought. True. But this affinity does not translate into an affinity for abstract social interactions.

Introverts just stick to the facts when they want to be clearly understood. This eliminates the need for them to repeat, thus ending the conversation as quickly as possible.

7. Introverts dread small talk

Introverts think that small talk blocks honest interaction. Psychologist Laurie Helgoe, author of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength, states that introverts might come off as being disinterested in others, because they do not like taking part in small talks.

Introverts think that it creates a barrier  between them and the person they are talking out. Introverts want to feel connected and they want to do so through authenticity. Deep and meaningful conversations are what they often crave for.

8. Introverts don’t want to be alone all the time

Just like normal people, introverts some time each day to gain back their energy. But it certainly does not mean that they want to have “me time” all the time. 

Introverts do like spending time with people that they know well. It’s just that they do not do this as frequently as the extroverts.

9. Pretending to be extroverted for introverts affects their performance negatively

If introverts start acting like extroverted individuals, it can have a detrimental affect on their performance. 

Researchers found that such introverts show slower reaction  time on cognitive tests than introverts who just act like their ‘original’ self.

The time that introverts spend on pretending to be someone who they are not causes depletion that distracts and disrupts their usual ways of performance.

10. Introverts are more creative

Everyone needs solitude to recharge. But introverts need it for a special reason. Introverts need solitude because it is within that solitude that they find creativity. 

Psychologists have found that teenagers who have a hard time being alone are less likely to develop their creative skills. Most artists who identify themselves as introverts tend to do their best work when they are by themselves. 

Introverts feel less self-conscious when they are alone; therefore, it helps them to feel safe taking more risks that allows their creative juices to flow.

11. Introverts are deep thinkers

Since introverts use less activity from dopamine, they rely more often on acetylcholine. Acetylcholine, just like dopamine is a neurotransmitter which is linked to pleasure. The difference lies in pleasure produced from turning inwards. This allows introverts to ponder and reflect deeply, and focus on one task with great attention for an extended period of time.

Acetylcholine also influences the introverts to prefer calm, quiet settings over loud and crowded ones.

12. Introverts are more careful when taking risks

As we all know that dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with sensation-seeking, risks, adventures, and decision making. Now, dopamine is present in the same amount in both introverts and extroverts. It is just that introverts use less activity from part of the brain that generated dopamine.

It does not mean that introverts do not take risk at all. They do, but they are more careful and calculated about what risks they choose to take.

13. Introverts are not shy (not all of them)

We often make the mistake of thinking that just because a person is quiet, that it also means they are shy. 

Introverts (except for anxious introverts) are not apprehensive about talking to others. Instead, they like to know a person more before engaging in a deep conversation. They prefer to think before they speak.

14. Introverts are good listeners

One major difference between introverts and other personality types is that introverts are good listeners. They are always open to new ideas and implement suggestions of others to a greater degree. 

15. Introverts think outside the box

Introverts have no desire to conform to the rules and regulations of the society. Instead, they prefer to make their own. The mind of an introvert person is a fertile ground for the development of innovative ideas. Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Wozniak, and Bill Gates are perfect examples.

16. Introverts make successful therapists

They easily attune to the feelings of others. Their attention to the inner workings of the mind can make them highly empathetic and compassionate. This is the reason why introverts do better in one-on-one interactions. 

17. Happiness might not be a top priority for the introverts

This fact was confirmed by psychologist Maya Tamir of Boston College. According to her, introverts prefer to maintain a neutral state of emotion when presented with tasks such as taking a test, or giving a speech.

The reason?

Since happiness is an arousing emotion, it may cause introverts to feel distracted. This may get in their way of performing those tasks efficiently. 

On the other hand, extroverts prefer happiness when completing such tasks because it acts as a motivator.

18. Introverts do have fun

Introverts are not party animals like extroverts but they are no party-poopers either. While they might be quiet at a crowded social gathering, it does not mean that they are not having fun. 

Introverts are the ones to sit back and observe, taking in all the interesting sounds, sights, and conversations. They just as curious as the next person and want to learn about the world and the people around them.

19. If being social tires you out, that doesn’t necessarily make you an introvert

A recent study found that extroverted behavior resulted in tiredness three hours later. (note that this is not an extroverted personality type)This study was conducted in 2016 by Sointu Leikas and Ville-Juhani Ilmarinen at the University of Finland in Helsinki. 

What is an extroverted behavior, you ask.

It would be something like participating in a highly social setting (like a party) for a few hours. 

The study observed people of all personality types engaging in this extroverted behavior, including the extroverts. And it didn’t matter whether these people were an introvert, an extrovert, or an ambivert, they still got exhausted afterwards. 

So, if you are one of those people who need to recharge in solitude after hanging out with people, this does not make you an introvert.

20. Introverts are not impressed by Extroverts

This is, perhaps the most amusing fact about introverts!

One study suggests that introverts are much less likely to look upon favorably their extroverted counterparts. This study was conducted in 2014 by Dr. Amir Erez of the University of Florida. He found that the magnitude with which introverts underrate the performance of extroverts is actually quite significant. 

Introverts tend not to give extroverts credit where it is due. Moreover, they also found that introverts generally found extroverts to be less likable.

The reason?

Introverts do not enjoy too much sensory stimulus, and the constant talking and sociability (on which extroverts thrive on) annoys them.

21. Introverts choose very carefully who they connect with. And when a connection is made, it runs deep.

22. One-third of people are introverts

23. Four types of Introverts

i) Restrained

These people are known for being reserved. They work on a slower pace and prefer to think before they speak and act. They take time to get things going, because they don’t let impulse affect their decision making.

ii) Social

People who are social introverts prefer small groups over large ones, or may prefer solitude altogether. They like to stay at home reading a book rather than going to parties with may unfamiliar faces. 

iii) Anxious

Anxious introverts experience painful shyness when they are around new people. They need time to be alone because they often feel awkward and self-conscious. When alone, they let things play over and over in their heads over what could have went wrong.

iv) Thinking

Thinking introverts are introspective, thoughtful, and self-reflective. Contrary to the popular belief about introverts, they don’t have a strong need to stay away from large social scenes. They are avid daydreamer with high capacity of creativity. 

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