The top 5 questions about introverts

Although the division into introverts and extroverts is rather conventional, there is still a difference between such people. The brain and nervous systems of these people work in entirely different ways.

Would you prefer to curl up and read a book while a noisy party is behind the wall? Better to communicate with a close friend, rather than with a whole group of fun and young people? Don’t like to take risks and look for a safe way out?

If you still don't know if you're an introvert, take the test Menteora. As a bonus, artificial intelligence will list the most suitable professions for you. The accuracy of the test is 70-80% (read about Menteora's unique career guidance methodology).

The diagnosis is unequivocal: you’re an introvert. You probably don’t understand why you’re an introvert. We’ve prepared answers to the top five questions about what makes an introvert an introvert. But first, subscribe to our Telegram channel. We often publish such valuable articles!

It was Carl Gustav Jung who came up with it all

This scientist and philosopher coined the terms “introvert” and “extrovert” in the 1920s. He invented them to describe contrasting personality types and explain why different people derive energy from different sources.

Carl Gustav Jung hypothesized that extroverts derive energy from social interactions. They feel uncomfortable and empty when they are alone with themselves.

On the other hand, introverts replenish their energy supply in a quiet environment. Unlike extroverts, they find socializing tedious and feel undue pressure during socialization.

Of course, it is worth understanding that introversion and extroversion are not black and white. No one can be introverted, nor can one be extroverted. We are adults who often have to exist outside of our comfort zone as well.

Introversion and extroversion are on different edges of the same spectrum, but in every person, there is a side that prevails. Read How to endure a big event if you are an introvert.

1. What’s unique about the introvert’s brain?

The main difference between the brains of introverts and extroverts is precisely how they respond to dopamine.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, one of the brain’s “reward system” chemicals. It induces feelings of pleasure. Dopamine can motivate a person to make more money, increase his circle of friends, attract a promising partner, or get a promotion at work.

When dopamine is released, we become more attentive, talkative, and active to those around us. We are willing to do something, even if that action is risky.

Introverts and extroverts have the same amount of dopamine, but their “reward system” works differently. It is active and dynamic in extroverts: anticipating an event, an extrovert will feel good and energetic. An introvert, on the other hand, will feel pressured and exhausted. Read How to make friends with others if you are a modest introvert.

2. How, then, do introverts restore energy?

Introverts have another neurotransmitter to rely on if they want to succeed in this extroverted world. It is called acetylcholine and is associated with feelings of pleasure, just like dopamine. Unlike the latter, acetylcholine helps a person feel good during internal dialogue.

This neurotransmitter helps one reflect, concentrate on the task, and work productively for long periods. Acetylcholine is real salvation and helps the introvert because it helps him to find a point of calm and a source of energy in himself.

3. How does the introvert’s nervous system work?

Introverts seem to have one part of the nervous system that precedes the other.

There are two parts of the nervous system: the sympathetic part (the part in charge of the “fight or flight” mechanism) and the parasympathetic part. The latter is responsible for our relaxation and analysis of the information we receive.

When the sympathetic part of the nervous system is stimulated, the whole body prepares to act. Adrenaline is released, muscles tense, oxygen levels rise, and the thinking mechanisms are on standby. Dopamine affects the back of the brain.

When the parasympathetic part of the nervous system works, muscles rest, energy is stored, food is digested, and the front part of the brain works the most. Acetylcholine is released.

Of course, introverts and extroverts use both sides of the nervous system. But introverts use the parasympathetic part more often to stay calm, move measuredly and slowly, and think through their actions even in an unforeseen situation. That’s why introverts are so...introverted.

4. Why do introverts think so much?

When extroverts get information, they run it through the brain’s areas responsible for touch, taste, sound, and sight. It’s a shortcut. Life works out quite differently if you’re an introvert.

Introverts, when they receive a stimulus from the outside world, run it through a long pathway that goes through many areas of the brain, including those responsible for:

  • empathy;
  • emotion;
  • self-reflection;
  • Internal dialogue.

Therefore, introverts need more time to talk, respond, and make decisions.

5. Is it true that introverts are the smartest?

Introverts have more gray matter than extroverts. According to a study published in Neuroscience, introverts have a thicker, denser layer of gray matter in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain responsible for abstract thinking and decision-making.

What does that mean? It means introverts spend most of their energy and resources on abstract thinking. Extroverts, on the other hand, tend to live in the here and now. Read 13 signs you're an introvert even if you don't know it.

Find out how introverted you are! Take the Menteora career guidance test; artificial intelligence will name your most suitable professions. The accuracy of the test is 70-80% because we use a mathematical-statistical algorithm (read about  Menteora's unique career guidance methodology ).