Things You Should Know about Introverts (So You Don’t Have to Ask)

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding introverts and what they have to offer socially in our modern society. Although the stereotypes surrounding introverts vary, they generally depict someone who is completely anti-social, without friends, who prefers to engage deeply in their own thoughts rather than share a life with others. These ideas are all patently false.

Introverts enjoy a rich inner life, and although it may require a bit of effort in order to share it with others, they are eager to express themselves and enjoy being active members of society. Here are a few things you may not have known about introverts and a few tips on how to best engage with them.

It’s sometimes more complicated for introverts to process information than it is for extroverts

Studies have shown that the neural pathways of introverts are often more complicated than those of extroverts. While extroverts have pathways that run straight from processing the stimuli to coming up with a plan of action, the neural pathways of introverts often pass through the regions of the brain associated with long term memory and planning. This means that instead of just coming up with a simple solution, introverts often contextualize the new information by comparing it to previous situations, then work out a plan accordingly. This would explain why many introverts are so emotionally aware. It takes them much longer to process their feelings, leaving them more sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others.

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Introverts in general spend more time in thought than extroverts

Because of the complicated neural pathways through which they process information, introverts spend much more time in thought than extroverts. This doesn’t make them smarter, but it does mean that they spend much more time comparing their past experiences to their current situation, and trying to extrapolate meaning from it. Introverts spend much of their time in dialogue with themselves, while an extrovert’s simpler neural pathway spares them from that circular way of thinking.

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Introverts are more easily over-stimulated than extroverts

Psychologist Hans Eysenck has studied the neutral processing of introverts and extroverts, and his recent conclusion was that it took much less stimulation in the mornings for introverts to become fully awake. This means that in general, introverts need less stimulation than extroverts to become over-stimulated. This could mean the difference between enjoying a loud, busy party and finding it all a bit overwhelming. This explains why for some introverts, a smaller social gathering is much more conducive to conversation than a large, loud event.

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