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Introversion & Extraversion
Social Psychology 244
Lilandra Turull
 

 

            Personalities
refer to “the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an
individual’s distinctive characteristics.” Throughout time, psychologists have
analyzed individual and group behaviors to determine its effects on a multitude
of interpersonal and personal relationships. There are a plethora of different
types of qualities that one’s personality can be built up with. These
personalities can be summed up into different specific categories, although
they are built up of different parts. 
Two terms that have become very popular in this day and age to describe
how a person presents himself or herself, are introverted and extraverted.
People tend to use these terms to describe why they behave how they do,
which is not always accurate. Many people do not truly know what these terms
mean. Carl Jung, gave a more popular definition to these terms in the 1920’s,
many people have misinterpreted his findings.  People try to fall into one single category without
realizing that there needs to be a balance between the two. Too much of either
category can be detrimental. The two terms determine the type of energy that
one person gives out into the world. The introvert tends to be way more
comfortable with being in their solitude. The extravert are the opposites, they
are active parts of society and they love being social. Too much of either, can
be self-destructive.  Today, with
further observation by other psychologists, the terms are more understood
within the psychology community.

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            Although
the terms have been used for centuries, Carl Jung was the person who directed
other psychologists to truly analyze it. The term can be dated to the 17th
century, where it had a similar definition of turning one’s thoughts inward or
outward to the physical world. Jung went deeper to study it and to give it
definition, observed that people typically displayed two polar opposite
psychological attitudes. One’s Libido, which in psychology refers to the
“driving force of all behavior”, can either be turned inward or outward. Jung
gave the terms introversion to the inward display of one’s libido towards
objects (people and things) and extraversion to the outward display of one’s
libido towards objects.  Extraversion
is a state where someone “perceives, thinks, feels, and acts in relation to the
object”.  Introversion is  a state where one is directing interest
away from the object and instead toward themselves personally. Thus,
introversion defines its state as “the perception, thinking, feeling, and
action are determined more directly by subjective factors than by the object”
(Concept of. 2004.) The extravert, the individual who is typically in this
state, tends to respond to stimuli almost instantaneously. On the contrary,
introverts tend to hold in those same responses or be discomforted by them.
Obviously, as Jung brought the attention of other theorists and psychologists
to his understandings, they expanded upon his findings. Freud found that extraversion
was the ideal quality for one’s personality, where introversion could be a
predisposition to different psychological ailments such as narcissism. Jung did
not agree with this, because as stated prior, everyone possesses doses of each
quality. It is the excessive amount of either or that deems to be a problem for
ones self or the people around them. However, people view extraversion as
favorable and more desirable by others. This is even true to this day, which goes
against

 Jung’s original findings. There is a form of disconnect
between introverts and extraverts for this belief. Introversion dominant
individuals require plenty of time to themselves or they begin to feel drained,
as they primarily need privacy and self-reflection on their own thoughts
without sharing too much. Extraverts typically look at this with the judgment
that these people are either socially awkward or rude. Extraversion dominant
individuals are typically really social, friendly, talkative, and outgoing.
This can be intimidating to someone with introverted qualities.

              Another
psychologist that had his own approach to introversion and extraversion was
Hans Jurgen Eysenck. He believed that personality was measured through a
hierarchy. In this hierarchy, specific responses were at the bottom, followed
by habitual responses, traits, and types at the top of the chart. Within types,
there are three terms consisting of extraversion/introversion,
neurotic-stability, and normality-psychoticism. He used ratings, situational
tests, questionnaires, and psychological measures to determine where people
fell within these categories. In regards to the topic of introversion and
extraversion, his model held that when the balance of inhibition versus
excitation of the cortex is disrupted, the behavior of turning outward or
inward occurs” (Eysenck’s theory of personality. 2006.) Within his theory,
Eysenck held the belief that biological and social factors, not solely one or
the other, determines all human’s actions. He studied various human subjects
and observed how their different personalities could be easily described
through the introversion/extraversion and emotionally stable/neuroticism
scales. In 1956, he conducted a study using twins and through this he was able
to determine how biological factors play a part in personality. He discovered
that extraversion was stronger amongst identical twins than with fraternal
twins. He felt that hereditary influences played a part in this
differentiation. He claimed that low levels of cortical arousal caused an
extravert to pursue stimulation from their environments. Whereas an introvert
had high levels of cortical arousal the speed and amount of brain activity
and this reduced their need to search for stimulation from their environments.
This increased the likelihood that his theory of biological factors playing a
role in personality were true. In 1976, Eysenik teamed up with his wife, Sybil
Eysenik, to create the PEN model. He used his prior findings to create this
model and named extraversion and introversion as two of the major personality
traits a person can have. With a major trait, it could be expanded into various
subcategories. Today, in 2017, MRI scans that were conducted in a project
called the Human Connectome Project, his theories were proved to be true. The
scientists who conducted the tests found that extraverts showed higher cortical
thickness than that of an introvert. They have seen that the scans do show
signs that link back to the Fiver Factor Personality Traits.

            In
2006, Erik Noftle and Phillip Shaver conducted experiments where they
investigated if environmental factors could play a significant role in someone’s
personality development. They used mothers and children to observe the child’s
attachment style and how it effected their personality development. In their research,
they found that children that formed a secure attachment with their mother
ended up displaying more of an extraverted personality than the other attachment
styles. Parents who tended to be more major disciplinarians than anything else,
would raise more introverted children. If you think about it, all of this makes
a lot of sense. If a parent instills fear within their child, that kid might
have problems displaying a strong social presence. This can be observed on a
daily basis by looking at a person and how their parent acts with them. One can
even start to analyze their personal experiences growing up and how it has influenced
how they act within the external world.

           

 

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