Mind: Introverted vs. Extraverted

It is safe to say that Extraversion and Introversion are probably the oldest notions in the history of personality theories. It has long been observed that some people are expressive, outgoing and comfortable in interacting with their surroundings – while others are reserved, quiet and more comfortable alone. It is as if the former sincerely enjoy engaging with the external world and recharge by communicating with other people, and the latter prefer to rely on themselves and their own inner world instead of seeking stimulation from the outside. We focus on these differences in our first scale, which we call Mind – it determines how we see and approach the outside world, including people, objects and activities within it.

While Introversion and Extraversion are often used in lieu of social aptitude, this scale involves more than just being outgoing and social – although social skills form part of it. In a broader way, the Mind scale determines the degree of interaction with the outer world; how socially one behaves is just a part of that. In a sense, this scale is a contrast of the quantity and intensity of an experience and its quality or depth.

People who are considered Extraverts (E) in our model are not as sensitive to outer stimuli and need to seek them out in order to gain a kind of functional equilibrium and to perform well. Introverts (I), on the other hand, are more sensitive and need to escape the same stimuli in order to be more functional. Unlike Extraverts, Introverts can quickly exhaust their mental energy reserves, and they will only tolerate such situations so long before they yearn for solitude and quiet.

Let’s consider a couple of practical examples. Our research shows that Introverts are significantly more likely to report being sensitive to noise and bright colors, and they also strongly prefer simplicity and minimalism in their environment (especially if their Introversion is coupled with the Thinking trait). Likewise, they do not seek or require much external stimulation – while communicating with other people is the most obvious example of such stimulation, this concept also extends to things like hobbies, political attitudes and even eating or drinking habits. For instance, Introverts are more likely to dislike coffee and energy drinks.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Extraverts are more interested in engaging the environment – people and objects around them – and they need feedback as well. They are more energetic and willing to take the lead in many situations, especially social ones, and they enjoy pushing limits and challenging both themselves and those around them. People with Extraverted personality types are also more likely to feel that they can handle any challenges life throws their way. Obviously, whether that turns out to be true or not depends on many other circumstances, but generally speaking, Extraverts tend to be much more proactive in experiencing (and relying on) the world around them.

Finally, it is important to point out that the Mind scale does not determine how introspective or reflective we are – even though it may be tempting to confuse the two. There are introspective Extraverts and non-introspective Introverts. Ultimately, this scale is about how much stimulation we require and can absorb from our environment, not about what happens in our minds afterwards.

8 months ago
I am very Introverted, but sometimes (Being an INFJ-T) can be confused with being an Extrovert because of my interest in people. But I can be alone for hours on end without even being bothered. And i don't like to be the center of attention, even if i wanted it. If something like a debate or fight starts usually i would spectate and join in when something involves me or when something starts to become ridiculous. And i do not like to be depended on or to be dependent. This will only make me feel awkward and not satisfied with myself or what i had done. If i am accused of something i will stop at nothing to prove them wrong, but if it was me i will almost always admit it or have a way to weasel out of it. But if its and accusation by someone who loves being right and like to rub it in peoples face, then i won't admit it at all. It doesn't help that i am the only Introvert in my family (besides my sister which is quite surprising), because my mom has the Executive Personality and my step-dad has the Debater Personality. These two personalities do not mix well with mine. If you read the Debater Personality profile you'll see that it even says its the Devils advocate and love to prove people wrong not because they want to prove anything but because it's fun. Now us Advocates don't like that, we prove things to make a point and because we want to understand why something happened.
4 months ago
Debater here, and I totally understand what you're saying about playing Devil's advocate. I can't speak for the debaters in your life in particular, but please, keep in mind that the instinct of constantly looking at things from the other way (whatever way it happens to be) is our way of checking the solidity of a point, see if it resists scrutiny. We love to pick a random side not because we want to be contrarian, but because we often find ourselves not knowing what our side is, exactly. So we're often forming an opinion *even as* we debate for or against something. We refine our own thinking and opinions through dialogue and bouncing concepts around. It's not that we do it for no reason (though yes, it can be fun), but just our way of finding the why and how of things. A sort of mental filtering of ideas. Here's the thing, though: We do not love to prove PEOPLE wrong. We love to prove IDEAS wrong, and then again not because that means WE were right, but because the fact that we were able to make a successful case for something means we finally understood the matter. Try not to take it personal. I know we make it hard for people not to, because it's hard for us to empathize and pick up on behavioural clues (so we can easily miss on someone being fed up unless they straight-up tell us that), and because we are not as attached to our ideas. It might not be fun for you to have some big-deal value placed under scrutiny for apparently no reason, and that can be stressful or make you feel like YOU are the one being judged. But try to remember that we are also trying to understand your side of the argument even as we're rebuking it. We just want to see if it holds up, so we can therefore pick a side. Maybe even your side. We do it because we want to know, we seek understanding, and scrutinizing stuff is the way we do it. It's not a shallow thing we do just for kicks. It's the nature of the way we improve. Becoming aware I was a Debater helped me realize this and now I do my best not to drag uninterested parties into my intellectual exercises without their consent, but it's hard even to notice when I'm doing it. Whenever I'm exposed to something, I start weighing the pros and cons in my mind in order to form an opinion, and that's something automatic. Luckily my sister is a Mediator, and she's often willing and even happy to bounce ideas around with me, but she'll also tell me when she doesn't want to, or is tired, or thinks I'm going too far. But knowing our respective personality types helped her develop a higher tolerance of me (as she doesn't feel attacked and isn't under stress whenever I go into Debater Mode, lol), and me a higher understanding of her. Win/Win. I suggest that if you're having trouble interacting with Debaters you try having a forward converstation about it, and frame what's happening as exactly what it is: A lower tolerance for a certain activity. "You probably can't tell, but what you're doing stresses me out, so cut it out." It'll help if they know they're Debaters. If you're polite about it, they'll probably thank you for stating it in no-uncertain terms too (as you might know, we don't handle subtlety all that well, lol).
2 months ago
Hello, could be a Debater, but we treat debating like a game of chess. At least, I do. We also debate to find out all the pros and cons of something, etc.
2 months ago
Well the thing is people like me take things very personally and like people to add on to our theory or whatever it is, but when people dissect the statement it's like an intrusion. (I can't speak for all INFJs but that is my experience) Surely I am not the only one.
9 months ago
You know, for me, being an introvert is exactly like this passage. They did leave out one thing, however: people anger me to the point of feeling stabby. (I know it's not a word. It's just so accurate!)
jai
9 months ago
Lol...I TOTALLY agree and feel the same way...too funny. I am very noise sensitive and I cannot control my face as the world annoys me.
8 months ago
Same, and it doesn't help that my sister is a very rambunctious individual. She loves to sing and move every second there is in a day. Sometimes she overexerts herself, which is never a good thing. This is why my dad says "Everything in moderation".
Tom
1 year ago
100% introverted. Drinks 2 - 3 cups of coffee a day. Collects energy drink cans. But the rest is quite accurate.
1 year ago
This is a very accurate description. As a strong introvert myself, l yearn for solitude after a few hours of social interaction, and l dislike the smell of coffee, let alone drinking it. Also, l don't drink energy drinks unless l am really hot, and l am sensitive to bright things as well.
1 year ago
This is the first time I've ever seen anything that touches on my dislike of coffee. I don't mind the scent of it, but I don't drink it. I'm also immune to caffeine, which is unfortunate sometimes. Energy drinks? Never had one and never will.
1 year ago
Totally agree!!!
8 months ago
Agreed
Your name: