Why Are Some People Introverts While Others Are Extroverts?
Have you ever wondered why some people like spending their time reading their favorite paperback curled up on a couch, while others prefer partying with a group of their friends or even strangers? Introverts and extroverts are different from each other.
Extraverts (widely known as extroverts) is a term coined by Carl Jung in the 1920s. In the psychologist’s work Psychologische Typen (Psychological Types), he differentiated the two personalities based on their level of energy. Introverts are the ones who least enjoy social interactions, while extroverts are the ones who are always excited about socializing. Extroversion and introversion are the two extreme spectrums, and between the two, we all exist. Even Jung did not think that a person could be completely introverted or extroverted.
The question is why are some people introverts while others are not? This article will try to answer the question with some cognitive and genetic differences between the two personalities.
The difference in the Arousal Level
Arousal, in psychological terms, is our brain’s capability to stay alert and stimulated while performing activities. Hans Eysenck, in the 1960s, discovered that extroverts, in comparison with introverts, have a lower arousal level. Consequently, they need to do a little more to stay motivated and stimulated. For example, reading a book on a Sunday morning might be fun for an introverted person, however, extroverts might find the activity monotonous. Similarly, going to a pub to have a few drinks could arouse extraverts, but for introverts, it is ‘too much’ energy that they might find difficult to stand. As a result, after coming back from a social gathering, introverts usually require their ‘me time’ to recharge themselves.
The difference in Dopamine Release
Dopamine is a chemical that our brain releases. It is responsible for pleasurable rewards and motivation. Although the dopamine level present in the brains of both introverts and extroverts is the same, the amount that it ‘releases’ differs. It is more active among extroverts, which is the reason why they have a more risk-taking personality than introverts. The higher dopamine reward network amongst extroverts makes them feel more excited about activities like adventure sports, going out to parties, trying new cuisines, earning more money, etc. They get stimulation out of these activities, on the other hand, for introverts, it is overstimulation.
If It Is Not Dopamine, It Is Acetylcholine
Although the brain of an introvert releases less dopamine, they use another neurotransmitter called Acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is similar to Dopamine, however, it makes us feel motivated and good about internal activities. It helps in developing focus, introspection, creativity, and other activities that are more concerned with the internal world than the external. The release of acetylcholine is why introverts like spending time alone and feel more energized in peaceful environments as it makes them realize their maximum potential unlike in crowded and noisy gatherings.
Are Extroverts Happier Than Introverts?
Several researchers have discovered that in comparison with introverts, extroverts are happier. Furthermore, they believe that the happiness of extroverts lasts for decades. The explanation and the reasons behind the difference in the content level are yet to be found. However, one of the causes of lower satisfaction among introverts could be their acceptance in society. We live in a world that is designed for extroverts. From schools to offices, introverts have to struggle as society does not accept them like it accepts extroverts. They are often tagged as rude, asocial, and misanthropist, which could be one of the primary reasons for their lower level of satisfaction.
In addition to that, it is also not certain whether extroverts are actually happier than introverts or they are just more declarative of their feelings, which is not an introvert trait. Many scientists also suggest that the reason why extroverts might be more content is because of their social life and because they hold on to their good memories for a longer time.
We live in an extrovert-centric society where they see socializing as an important way to develop creativity and productivity. Nevertheless, the introvert population does not function in the same way as extroverts. It is difficult for them to function and fit in an extroverted society.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What do you think we must change as a society to help introverts feel accepted in an extroverted society? Do let us know in the comment section below!