Why do extroverts love to party? Why are they prone to talking? Why introverts love to be calm? Why are they prone to thinking? Science reveals that the brains of introverts and extroverts are really different, which is why they see things differently.
noun (psychology) a person who tends to shrink from social contacts and to become preoccupied with their own thoughts.
Introvert comes from Latin intro-, “inward,” and vertere, “turning.” It describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally.
(psychology) a person concerned more with practical realities than with inner thoughts and feelings
a psychological term, it was borrowed from German extravertiert, from the prefix extra- “outside, beyond” plus Latin vertere” to turn.”
These two personality types are opposites — introverts focus inward, into their own thoughts, and extroverts focus outward, into the world.
An introvert is less likely to socialize and loves time alone. They are known to avoid large groups and easily get drained of energy among a big crowd.
An extrovert is widely believed to be an outgoing and fun-loving person. While that may ring true, it is not at all the true definition. An extrovert is an individual who is easily energized amongst large crowds.
If We Assume that we all are batteries, then in such a scenario we can see that introverts recharge alone, but extroverts get energy from other people.
What exactly makes introverts and extroverts see things differently?
Introverts process stimulations via a different pathway than extroverts, which in turn makes them see things differently.
Shorter extrovert dopamine pathway
Introverts and extroverts respond in a different way to the neurotransmitter dopamine. This is a feel-good chemical that carries information between neurons. Dopamine contributes to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. And this is why you feel high when you eat your favourite food or make love to your partner or earning money or climbing the social ladder. Dopamine is responsible for motivation to seek external rewards.
Both introverts and extroverts have the same level of dopamine in their brains but there is a difference in the activity of the dopamine reward network. It is more active in the brains of the extroverts than introverts as per Scott Barry Kaufman, the Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute.
Information from the outside world like images, voices, travels a shorter pathway ( i.e – “quick response” areas of the brain where taste, touch, sight, and sound are processed), before entering an extrovert’s brain.
So, when it comes to talking to a stranger at the party or asking a girl for a date, being alert to the surroundings and taking risks or grabbing a high profile project at work – extroverts are ahead of introverts. It’s the dopamine that makes the extroverts highly energised and their mind is always full of the enthusiastic rush of good feelings. Dopamine and intensity of the stimulation act as a cue that they are achieving their goals. They feel rewarded for socializing and a fun night out.
On the other hand, introverts are sensitive to dopamine and feel overstimulated, according to Dr. Marti Olsen Laney in her 2002 book, The Introvert Advantage, Then, what motivates introverts to go on in life?
Longer introvert acetylcholine pathway
Introverts use acetylcholine a different neurotransmitter, which is also linked to pleasure. Unlike dopamine, acetylcholine makes us feel good when we turn inward. That is engaging in activities like self-reflection, deep thoughts, reading books, walking in the woods and so on.
This is why introverts prefer calm environments. It is easier to turn inwards when there is no external stimulation. The more an introvert spends time alone, the more they get the pleasant effects of acetylcholine.
Information from the outside world travels a long way (i.e areas of emotional meaning, speech, right and left frontal lobes, left hippocampus and so on) before entering into an introvert’s brain. Therefore, introverts process information more thoroughly than extroverts do. This is why introverts take longer time to put thoughts into words, react, or make decisions!