We all know the main difference between extroverts and introverts. The most common misconception about these creatures is the fact that introverts are shy, reserved and they hate to socialize, while extroverts are basically the life of the party. They’re extremely outgoing and they’re the complete opposite of the socially withdrawn introverts.
However, the reality is not so black and white, after all. There’s much more to these amazing human beings if you actually bother to scratch the surface.
It is true that extroverts refill their tank with energy by socializing and spending time around bigger crowds of people. It’s just the way they are. But, it is not that introverts shy away from social events. It’s not that they’re terrified of other people. They simply recharge on their own unique way. These incredible, peculiar human beings need to be alone with their thoughts to reconnect with themselves.
This once again doesn’t mean that they don’t like to socialize, but rather that introverts are far more sensitive when it comes to being around big crowds.
While extroverts would spend their whole night partying, introverts would attend the party, catch up with friends, but after a while, they would leave and spend the rest of their night alone with their thoughts. That is the kind of balance these people need.
Extroverts and introverts have a different reaction to the external stimuli.
In a 2005 study, Dr. Michael Cohen and his team of researchers have found that extroverts have more active dopamine systems. They asked a group of introverts and extroverts to engage in a gambling task, and the results were, well… obvious. The extrovert’s response to a won bet was much stronger than the introvert’s reaction.
The research showed that introverts and extroverts have a different system for processing rewards and it is clearly linked with their dopamine system.
Even though the terms introvert and extrovert were first popularized by Carl Jung himself, it was Hank Eysenck who in 1960 said that the differences between these two opposing personality types are due to their distinct brain psychology.
He stated that these two personality types don’t have the same level of arousal. The extroverts are constantly on the lookout for more excitement, more adventure, and more new experiences, and therefore, their arousal level is lower. But, introverts, on the other side, as a result of their high arousal level, tend to keep the excitement at a minimum.
That is exactly why extroverts and introverts have different pathways for processing external stimulations.
Since extroverts have a lower level of arousal, it is only natural for them to seek additional stimuli which will boost their dopamine system and provide them with all kinds of rewards. This often results in extroverts stepping out of their comfort zones and searching for new hobbies, experiences, and interests. Dopamine is their drug. Simple as that.
But, introverts, on the other side, they stick with the acetylcholine – another neurotransmitter responsible for that happy, pleasant feeling which is also known as the alertness chemical. Acetylcholine is also linked with introspection. That’s one of the reasons why introverts don’t need external stimulation to feel better.
While extroverts are on the lookout for new, exciting things, introverts enjoy the process of self-reflection. While extroverts seem like they are easily distracted by everything that surrounds them, introverts are the ones who practice the art of focus.
So, which one are you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
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