How Do You Tell If You Are an Introvert?

Reviewed on 12/8/2020

The exact cause of introversion or extroversion is not known.
The exact cause of introversion or extroversion is not known.

Carl Jung, a psychologist began using the terms introvert and extrovert in the 1920s and categorized people into these two personality types based on how they get or spend their energy. Whether a person is an introvert or an extrovert depends on how they process the world around them and react to it.

According to Jung, introverts turn to themselves or their minds to recharge, while extroverts seek out other people to fuel their energy. Extroverts are energized by crowds and interacting with others. Introverts need alone time to recharge and are more reserved. There are no good or bad personality types; they are simply different and process things differently. Being an introvert or extrovert isn’t black and white. Most people fall somewhere on the spectrum between the two polar ends. Many people have characteristics of both personality types.

The exact cause of introversion or extroversion is not known. The brains of the two personality types work a little differently from each other. Research has shown that introverts have a higher blood flow to the frontal lobe (the anterior/front part of the brain) compared to extroverts. The frontal lobe of the brain helps in reasoning, planning, problem-solving, speech, and performing multistep activities. The brains of introverts show low dopamine (a brain chemical) levels when exposed to crowd and noise. This makes introverts uncomfortable or drained when exposed to crowds (dopamine gives us a high). Introverts and extroverts have the same levels of dopamine but they react differently to it. Having an introverted or extroverted personality may also be influenced by genetics and hormones.

An introvert is a person with qualities of a personality type known as introversion. Introverts feel more comfortable being by themselves, focusing on their thoughts, their work, and their ideas rather than what is happening around them. At most, they enjoy spending time with just one or two people they feel comfortable with, but usually don’t enjoy large groups or crowds. They are often labeled as shy, quiet, or aloof. However, this is not always the case with all introverts. There is a lot to this personality type. On the contrary, extroverts are usually described as the life of the party. They are known to be talkative, outgoing, or vibrant, and they enjoy the attention and thrive off interaction with others.

One way to find one’s personality is to take a test, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or the SAPA project.

Are you an introvert?

Some signs that indicate a person may be an introvert include:

  • You need your surroundings to be quiet to concentrate
  • You are reflective
  • You are self-aware
  • You take time to make decisions and often make decisions yourself, without requiring help or opinions from others
  • You are comfortable being by yourself
  • You prefer spending time with two to three people over a large group
  • You prefer having a few close friends rather than having a big social group
  • You prefer working alone over working in a team
  • You prefer writing or texting over talking
  • Being in a crowd feels exhausting to you
  • You often daydream or get lost in your thoughts
  • You tend to use your imagination to solves problems
  • You usually turn to yourself or your mind to energize and recharge

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References
Psychology Today. Introversion. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/introversion

ScienceDirect. Introversion. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/introversion

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