Are you an Intro – or an Extro?

Lee Sooyeon

Would you describe yourself as an introvert or an extrovert? We often use this concept when we introduce ourselves and talk about personalities. Then, what is an ‘introvert?’ How is it like to act like an ‘extrovert’? Is an introvert someone who is always shy, not fond of talking in front of a lot of people, and an extrovert to always lead the crowd? 

The early 1900s was a period in which the field of psychology was developing as an independent discipline. During this time, Carl Jung proposed core ideas in his exploration of personality, including the constructs of introversion and extroversion. He suggested the principal distinction between personalities is the source and direction of an individual’s expression of energy – defining extroversion as ‘an outward turning of libido’ and introversion as ‘an inward turning of libido’.

The interest of the introvert is directed inwards; they think, feel, and act in ways that suggest the subject is the prime motivating factor. Extroverts, on the other hand, direct their interest outwards to their surrounding environment; they think, feel, and act in relation to external factors rather than the subjective.

Abernethy, a psychologist, defined an extrovert as ‘one who enters with interest and confidence into social activities of the direct type and has little liking for planning or detailed observation.’ Conversely, introverts were defined as being ‘below the general average in social inclination and above the average in liking for thought.’

Introversion and extroversion are, in some ways, at the ends of the bell curve. So, what lies between the two? Jung accepted there is an extensive third category and admitted it is difficult to determine whether this group’s energy comes from within or without, rather it appears to be drawn from both in varying degrees along the introvert-extrovert spectrum. You might not be a 100% extrovert or an introvert even when you describe yourself as one.

Characteristics of Introverts & Extroverts

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