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What Does It Mean to Be an Introvert?

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#1
http://www.keswickhousepublishers.com/Keswick%20House%20Publishers/Blog/70F3E3BC-C8A4-4BD2-8C11-60FC54B2C6AA.html

The qualities that define introverts have been historically misunderstood, due, in large part, to the fact that for every introvert, there are three extroverts. With numbers in their favor, what we perceive to be extroverted behavior has become the approved societal standard—outgoing and gregarious, pleasantly stimulated by social and sensory hubbub, assertive and enthusiastic. In contrast, we perceive introverts as being shy, socially awkward, withdrawn, even antisocial. One study, no doubt designed and interpreted by extroverts, found that extroverts were “happier” than introverts (an oddly subjective thing to attempt to quantify with such broad strokes), further fueling the prejudice against introverts and leading some people to deduce that introverts could be a lot happier if they would just be more extroverted.

According to research compiled for the book The Introvert Advantage, by psychotherapist Marti Olsen Laney, though, the situation just isn’t that cut-and-dried. Introversion is a hard-wired temperament, as is extroversion (also spelled “extraversion”). Introversion is not the same thing as shyness and it’s not that introverts don’t like people. It’s a cluster of traits we’re born with, and it’s encoded into our genes and neurophysiology. You might as well try to be more mathematically gifted or more innately adept at spatial reasoning as become more “extroverted.” You can improve whatever abilities you have, of course, but nothing is going to alter what you were born with.

For years, introversion was believed to be a pathology rather than a temperament type. The more introverted you are, Laney maintains, the more likely you are to have encountered shame and guilt about who you are. She traces some of this misconception to the animosity that sprang up between Freud, an extrovert, and Jung, an introvert. Fortunately, more contemporary studies of temperament are allowing us to define them without so much bias. And what has been discovered about the differences between the two temperaments is both fascinating and encouraging for those of us who are introverts (and those who love us :).

According to Laney, the main difference between introverts and extroverts is the fact that introverts focus inward to gain energy while extroverts focus outward. She uses this analogy to put the difference in perspective: Introverts are like a rechargeable battery. They need to stop expending energy and rest in order to recharge. Extroverts, on the other hand, are like solar panels. For them, being alone is like being under a heavy cloud cover. Solar panels need the sun to recharge, in the same way that extroverts need to be out and about, interacting with lots of people, to refuel. Introverts need time to restore their energy, and it flows out faster than an extrovert’s energy. In order to function to the best of their ability, they need to calculate how much energy something will take, how much they need to conserve, and plan accordingly.

In general, extroverts like breadth—they like to have lots of friends and experiences, knowing a little bit about everything. Introverts prefer depth. They tend to limit their experiences but feel each of them deeply. Often, they have fewer friends but more intimacy within the friendship.

Experiments performed by Dr. Debra Johnson et al, using positron emission tomography, found that introverts experienced more blood flow to their brains than extroverts and that their blood traveled along different pathways:

This study revealed a pattern of increased blood flow in the frontal lobes associated with introversion. This pattern generally supports both Eysenck's and Gray's biological theories of personality (4–6, 14) and is consistent with results of previous studies (15, 16, 44, 45). Eysenck's model (4, 5) proposes that introverts have higher cortical activity than extraverts; indeed, in the present study, there were more cortical regions associated with introversion than with extraversion. Gray suggested lower than normal activity in the behavioral inhibition system in extraverts; in the present study, extraverts did show lower blood flow in several regions in the behavioral inhibition system, namely, the frontal lobes and the hippocampus.
Blood flow measures were acquired while subjects were free to think about anything, providing a picture of the activity of the undirected and uncensored mind. Normal subjects have reported engaging in a series of loosely connected personal recollections and plans for future activities during the uncontrolled cognitive state (17). Higher flow in bilateral frontal lobe regions suggests that introverts were engaged in frontally based cognition, including remembering events from their past, making plans for the future, or problem solving. In addition, Gale (46) speculated that introverts might engage in a running monologue in the absence of external stimulation. The observed increased blood flow in Broca's area in introverts might be interpreted as biological evidence of "self-talk."
Extroverts’ blood flows to the parts of the brain where visual, auditory, touch, and taste sensory processing occurs (but not smell, for some reason—perhaps because olfactory stimuli are so deeply linked with emotion). Their main brain pathway is short and less complicated. It’s geared for action without getting too much thinking involved. The introverts’ pathway is more complicated and focused internally; blood flows to the parts of the brain involved with internal experiences such as remembering, solving problems, and planning—a long, complex pathway.

This may explain the tendency of introverts to experience what is known as l’esprit de l’escalier (stairway wit)—the frustrating experience of thinking of a clever comeback when it’s too late. The witty remark comes to mind much too tardily to be useful, when one is on the “staircase,” so to speak, leaving the scene. It’s probably why a lot of introverts are writers. They have all the time they need to come up with what they want to say—especially witty comebacks ;)

In addition to differences in brain pathways accessed, extroverts have a low sensitivity to dopamine—often known as one of the “feel good” neurotransmitters—yet they require large amounts of it. Adrenaline is needed to make more dopamine in the brain; so the more active the extrovert is, the more adrenaline is released and the more dopamine is produced. Dopamine is correlated with movement, attention, alert states, and learning.

Introverts, however, are highly sensitive to dopamine. If their bodies produce too much of it, they feel over-stimulated. An introvert’s dominant pathway uses acetylcholine, which plays a large part in our sleep and dream states. This difference in neurotransmitter sensitivity and production goes so far as to favor which basic parts of our systems are activated: Whereas extroverts are linked to the dopamine/adrenaline, energy-spending, flight-or-fight sympathetic nervous system, introverts are associated with the acetylcholine, energy-conserving, parasympathetic nervous system that relaxes and calms the body. In The Introvert Advantage, Laney has included a fascinating set of diagrams that map the pathways used in the introverted brain vs. the extroverted brain.

Laney also describes some quirks of temperament that extroverts might find mystifying or annoying: Introverts may appear glazed or dazed when they’re stressed out, tired, or in groups. They may start talking in the middle of a thought. Introverts have a good memory but they can take a long time to retrieve memories. They can also experience a temporary inability to access things they know quite well, fumbling around to explain a task they perform all the time or forgetting a word they want to use. They might think they told you something when they have only thought it. And they may be slow to react under stress.

To further delineate the temperament type and clear up misconceptions about it, Laney discusses the difference between introversion, shyness, schizoid disorder, and highly sensitive temperaments:

Introversion, according to Laney, is a healthy capacity to tune into one’s inner world. Introverts have social skills, they like people, and they enjoy some types of socializing—usually one-on-one.

Shyness, on the other hand, is an extreme self-consciousness experienced around other people. It may have some genetic roots (in the form of a highly reactive fear center), but generally, it’s learned behavior, from experiences at school and with friends and families. It’s not an issue of energy; it’s a lack of confidence in social situations.

The personality disorder known as “schizoid” describes people who need relationships, yet fear close involvement with other people. In most cases, these individuals have grown up in traumatizing or neglectful home environments and have withdrawn or detached to avoid any more pain from human contact.

The highly sensitive temperament, which I discussed in an earlier post (“Are You or a Loved One Highly Sensitive?”), refers to individuals born with a certain cluster of traits that heighten their senses, perceptiveness, and intuition. They may stay away from social engagements because they can’t handle the agonizing flooding of their hyper-developed senses. There can be overlap between the highly sensitive and the introverted temperament, although you can be extroverted and highly sensitive, and introverted and not highly sensitive. What introversion and the highly sensitive temperament have most in common is that they can both become easily over-stimulated. You can imagine what a highly sensitive introvert might be dealing with in terms of overload in our highly stimulating contemporary environment.

Being realistic and educating yourself about your temperament type can allow you to maximize your strengths while minimizing that which is not your strong suit. Laney gives a number of strategies for introverts to use in work situations, dating and partnerships, child-rearing, and socializing. She cautions that, in order to avoid becoming drained, introverts need to limit their social experiences and not feel guilty about this, nor compare their desires and reactions to those of extroverts. Introverted people who balance their energy, she observes, have perseverance and the ability to think independently, focus deeply, and work creatively.


Above: A pic of a gorgeous moth I saw outside of Hill Country Health and Wellness Center one day. Might be some symbolism there; I’m not sure ;)
 

Architect

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#2
Good link, thanks. It's usually best to pick out some key points rather than the entire post. Here's one

One study, no doubt designed and interpreted by extroverts, found that extroverts were “happier” than introverts
Another example I doubt is the studies that purport that religious people are more happy.

Experiments performed by Dr. Debra Johnson et al, using positron emission tomography, found that introverts experienced more blood flow to their brains than extroverts and that their blood traveled along different pathways:
Fascinating, and I can believe it. Introversion is more using my brain than your brain.
 

Chad

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#3
Interesting however reading this post makes me even more confused about rather I am indeed an Extrovert or Introvert. I will explain.

"In general, extroverts like breadth—they like to have lots of friends and experiences, knowing a little bit about everything. Introverts prefer depth. They tend to limit their experiences but feel each of them deeply. Often, they have fewer friends but more intimacy within the friendship."

I love breath in my experiences. I want to experience everything. (This is an extroverted trait)

I have very few friends (this is an Introverted trait)

I am not the deepest thinker out there. I may have the ability to think or even feel deeply but I generally prefer the general. I wish to understand everything on the surface leave so that I can figure out how its all connected. I only go deep if it necessary to finding the links. (This is an Extroverted trait)

I am not very intimate with any of my few friends besides my wife and at time I am not even very intimate with her. (This is an Extroverted trait)

"Gale (46) speculated that introverts might engage in a running monologue in the absence of external stimulation."

I do actively engage in running monologue in my head nearly constantly (This is an Introverted trait)

"This may explain the tendency of introverts to experience what is known as l’esprit de l’escalier (stairway wit)—the frustrating experience of thinking of a clever comeback when it’s too late. The witty remark comes to mind much too tardily to be useful, when one is on the “staircase,” so to speak, leaving the scene. It’s probably why a lot of introverts are writers. They have all the time they need to come up with what they want to say—especially witty comebacks"

Now this is weird, I am often times quick witted. However at other times I have missed the joke completely until I thought about it again at a latter time.
(I don't know what this is)

"In addition to differences in brain pathways accessed, extroverts have a low sensitivity to dopamine—often known as one of the “feel good” neurotransmitters—yet they require large amounts of it. Adrenaline is needed to make more dopamine in the brain; so the more active the extrovert is, the more adrenaline is released and the more dopamine is produced. Dopamine is correlated with movement, attention, alert states, and learning."

I have server ADHD which is characterized by an over production of adrenaline and therefore dopamine as well. This makes me fidgety and impatient and causes lack of focus. (this seems similar to this explanation of extroversion) However, I don't have the need to socialize as a side effect of this over production of adrenaline/dopamine.

"Introverts, however, are highly sensitive to dopamine. If their bodies produce too much of it, they feel over-stimulated. An introvert’s dominant pathway uses acetylcholine, which plays a large part in our sleep and dream states. This difference in neurotransmitter sensitivity and production goes so far as to favor which basic parts of our systems are activated: Whereas extroverts are linked to the dopamine/adrenaline, energy-spending, flight-or-fight sympathetic nervous system, introverts are associated with the acetylcholine, energy-conserving, parasympathetic nervous system that relaxes and calms the body. In The Introvert Advantage, Laney has included a fascinating set of diagrams that map the pathways used in the introverted brain vs. the extroverted brain."

I am hardly a relaxed calm person. However I do at times feel over-stimulated especially when I was a child and struggling with controlling my emotional outbursts that doctors linked with my ADHD. (Therefore I am not sure were this would leave me)

"Laney also describes some quirks of temperament that extroverts might find mystifying or annoying: Introverts may appear glazed or dazed when they’re stressed out, tired, or in groups. They may start talking in the middle of a thought. Introverts have a good memory but they can take a long time to retrieve memories. They can also experience a temporary inability to access things they know quite well, fumbling around to explain a task they perform all the time or forgetting a word they want to use. They might think they told you something when they have only thought it. And they may be slow to react under stress."

May Appear glazed or dazed when stressed out, tired (check) or in groups (I don't know about this one)

May start talking in the middle of a thought (Double check it drives my wife crazy and she is also an introvert)

Has a good memory but I can take a long time to retrieve memories (check)

I can experience a temporary inability to access things I know quite well, fumbling around to explain a task I perform all the time or forgetting words that I want to use. (Check, Check and Check)

I might think they told you something when I have only thought it. (Check)

I am slow to react under stress (Check)

(Well at least I have nearly all the quirks of an introvert)

"Introversion, according to Laney, is a healthy capacity to tune into one’s inner world. Introverts have social skills, they like people, and they enjoy some types of socializing—usually one-on-one."

I would have to say that I can relate to this. I do like people and enjoy some socializing. One-on-one is nice mostly because it allows me to focus which is something I have a hard time with at times. However, I do enjoy large social gathering too. However in these type of environments I am normally looking in and trying to understand and calculate the social dynamics instead of actually joining in and being apart of the event.

The other thing that always throws me is this

"According to Laney, the main difference between introverts and extroverts is the fact that introverts focus inward to gain energy while extroverts focus outward. She uses this analogy to put the difference in perspective: Introverts are like a rechargeable battery. They need to stop expending energy and rest in order to recharge. Extroverts, on the other hand, are like solar panels. For them, being alone is like being under a heavy cloud cover. Solar panels need the sun to recharge, in the same way that extroverts need to be out and about, interacting with lots of people, to refuel. Introverts need time to restore their energy, and it flows out faster than an extrovert’s energy. In order to function to the best of their ability, they need to calculate how much energy something will take, how much they need to conserve, and plan accordingly."

I can not honestly relate to either of these extremes. I don't get charged up around social situations. I do get charged up by discovery thought which can happen in social situation or alone. I fell drained when everything is mandine or the same over time. Even though I can and often do isolate myself to recharge it more about the activities and experiences I have while isolated that recharge me. Isolation allows me to have more control over the variables making it easier for me to focus and understand new things.

So I am I an Introvert or an Extrovert?
 

own8ge

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An introvert, above all, is a loser.
 

r4ch3l

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A freak adaptation promoting introspection and intellectual need that developed humans into a unique hyperevolved species because of their capacity for reflection, rationality, creativity, and technology...only for the extroverts to hijack all our inventions, put them to practical use leveraging things and people for personal power and gain, and run the show with their reptile brains.

[okay, okay...maybe i'm just a little bit bitter about the extreme tech-bro douchiness of san francisco since i've been back; i actually really love extroverts in moderate doses]
 
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A freak adaptation promoting introspection and intellectual need that developed humans into a unique hyperevolved species because of their capacity for reflection, rationality, creativity, and technology...only for the extroverts to hijack all our inventions, put them to practical use leveraging things and people for personal power and gain, and run the show with their reptile brains.

[okay, okay...maybe i'm just a little bit bitter about the extreme tech-bro douchiness of san francisco since i've been back; i actually really love extroverts in moderate doses]

trying this new thing where I don't get angry over these posts.

[okay, okay ... i've never been to san fransisco couldn't even imagine what you're up against]

I happen to not be attracted to extraverted people at all.


To me, being an introvert means that you are paying more attention to yourself than anything else, on average.
 

own8ge

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#7
To me, being an introvert means that you are paying more attention to yourself than anything else, on average.
[I hate MBTI.]

How is this remarkable? Being an introvert means that you have the preference to feed the subjective self. It is in the name, Introversion. To be guided inwards. The soul. The subject. Subjective. Internal.

But now we are talking about attention... Wouldn't it be safer to say that introverts pay more attention to the external? I mean... After all, our whole introversion is based on something external. So in that sense, we pay much more attention to external things by isolating them.

Introversion, after all, is merely the introversion of something external.
 

Hadoblado

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I find that many of the people I admire most are extroverts, but also the people that I can least stand (honestly, some people give me a headache just thinking about their presence). Introverts offer bland conversation until you get close, so on the balance I'm really not sure who I prefer. I think I'd prefer to be a moderate extrovert, they just seem to have more drive and passion (at least from what I can see;))
 
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How is this remarkable? Being an introvert means that you have the preference to feed the subjective self. It is in the name, Introversion. To be guided inwards. The soul. The subject. Subjective. Internal.

Ok, so it's the preference to feed the subjective self. That's fine ... I can easily accept that.

Regarding "remarkable" ... well I'm lost for words. You are right that I had nothing remarkable to say. Perhaps in those cases I should refrain from posting at all.

Is there a correlation between extraversion and post count!? I believe there is. (ohh but I'm not implying it's a positive correlation)


But now we are talking about attention... Wouldn't it be safer to say that introverts pay more attention to the external? I mean... After all, our whole introversion is based on something external. So in that sense, we pay much more attention to external things by isolating them.

I would argue that I spend nearly every waking moment attempting to avoid paying any attention to the external world.

So in that sense, we pay much more attention to external things by isolating them.
Me with my perceptions and you with your judgements? I can't say I agree, but it's due to a lack of comprehension; general ignorance, not conflicting viewpoints.


Introversion, after all, is merely the introversion of something external.
So you're arguing that an I--J and I--P both base their introversion on "something external"?

So, in INTP's case - Ti. Well it's based on intuitive data gathered externally.
Myself, another IxxP type, same thing, only sensory data.

I can see where you're coming from here. An IxxP type would focus their introversion on their perceptions.

You, an INFJ - Ni (a perceiving function) ... erhm, just let me be clear, are you basing this introversion on external Fe or Se? I don't quite follow suddenly...


Could you say an Ni or Si dominant bases their introversion on their external judgements?

Closer to the truth one day at a time.
 

pjoa09

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What about all the ISTPs and ISFPs?

They utilize Se a lot and that means that they should be less sensitive to dopamine. Or are they as sensitive as the rest of the introverts but like to perfect their sensory experience?
 
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What about all the ISTPs and ISFPs?

They utilize Se a lot and that means that they should be less sensitive to dopamine. Or are they as sensitive as the rest of the introverts but like to perfect their sensory experience?

I would argue that I spend nearly every waking moment attempting to avoid paying any attention to the external world.


Well now this is a tough spot.

First off:

They utilize Se a lot and that means that they should be less sensitive to dopamine.
You might as well just delete this bullshit.


Other than that,

are they as sensitive as the rest of the introverts but like to perfect their sensory experience?
is probably very correct. Gold star :)

Are you ISTP pjoa09?
 

own8ge

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#12
@Montresor

For the INTP, Ti dom... Their Ti is based on Fe. :)
They take a conclusion, Fe, and they dwell on it with Ti.
Ti... Is the inwarded judgment of Fe.

I as an INFJ, Ni dom... My Ni is completely based on Se. For Ni, is Se inwardly.

Where for me as an INFJ, Fe take place, is in the introversion of Se, Ni. It judges Ni so it can go deeper and deeper and form a thought.
 

r4ch3l

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#13
trying this new thing where I don't get angry over these posts.

[okay, okay ... i've never been to san fransisco couldn't even imagine what you're up against]
no need to get angry, was being cheeky when i wrote it.
*makes note to not use sarcasm on intp site ever again because duh*
 

TheScornedReflex

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no need to get angry, was being cheeky when i wrote it.
*makes note to not use sarcasm on intp site ever again because duh*
No!! Use it. ALOT. It is amusing when we cannot figure out what is sarcasm or not. (Not on me though)!
 

WALKYRIA

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#15
The personality disorder known as “schizoid” describes people who need relationships, yet fear close involvement with other people. In most cases, these individuals have grown up in traumatizing or neglectful home environments and have withdrawn or detached to avoid any more pain from human contact.
Don't you guys think this is weird and funny the distinction established between introversion and schizoid; Schizoid personnality seem to be seen as a different entity than introversion; a personnality disorder that is linked to child psychological trauma. May I remind you that Schizoid=INTP ! Maybe that might explain why INTP rarely experienced normalcy.


For my part that rings true; I grew up in a dysfunctional family... and in return retracted in my inner world as a defense mechanism. Then, in return,, society rejected me as a defense mechanism. Now I'm left in between society and my inner world. Strange case that we are.
 
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Schizoid does not equate to being INTP. INTP does not equate to being schizoid. Being schizoid is its own thing. INTP is its own thing. I do not understand where you are getting this from.

I happen to be a schizoid and a known IXTP. The IXTP thing could go either way really; its just a matter of perception. What I have to say about being a schizoid (clinically diagnosed with a type that occurs in less than 1% of the population) is that a lot of INTPs think they have a schizoid thought process because they, IMHO, are far too sensitive about themselves unless they have really worked on this like Architect for example. INTPs are usually so sensitive that whenever something is too uncomfortable for them, they tend to freak out. A lot of the time this happens when circumstances are out of their control and they cannot use their massive brains to figure out how to fix the problem. I have spent a good chunk of my life mentally preparing myself for the worst (God knows I have been through some shit) by mentally envisioning myself in a terrible situation and accepting that the terrible thing might happen and have just learned to accept it. This exercise is not as effective as getting say, torture training from the military, but it is better than not preparing yourself at all. The key to getting it to work is to reinforce strength -to remind yourself that you can handle it, as well as putting yourself through the worst of situations in your imagination. Believe it or not it has given me a great source of courage to face many fears. A bit of martial arts doesn't hurt either.
 
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#19
What does this relate to?
 
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Oh, ok.
 

WALKYRIA

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#22
Schizoid does not equate to being INTP. INTP does not equate to being schizoid. Being schizoid is its own thing. INTP is its own thing. I do not understand where you are getting this from.
If you read enough litterature about it , and than think about it... you will come to the realization that schizoid personnality disorder is nothing but a synonym of INTP. The only difference is really the naming.
You can believe me, INTP= Schizoid.
The crazy thing is that I self-diagnosed myself schizoid way way before I knew about INTPs.:cat:
 

Anktark

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#23
If you read enough litterature about it , and than think about it... you will come to the realization that schizoid personnality disorder is nothing but a synonym of INTP. The only difference is really the naming.
You can believe me, INTP= Schizoid.
The crazy thing is that I self-diagnosed myself schizoid way way before I knew about INTPs.:cat:

Walkyria, would you care to share your definition or symptoms for schizoid personality disorder (SPD)? Me search was rather short lived, so I might be misinformed.
I can see that SPD and INTP description(s) share some similarities, but also have plenty of differences. I have yet to discover anything about SPD providing analytical/rational thinking preference. Not to mention, INTPs having/feeling emotions, but choosing to restrain or annihilate them with logic until a moment comes when those barriers break and a volcano of raw emotion(s) explodes.
I don't want to outright dismiss the idea, but you might have a hard time proving your point. Even then, SPD might apply to plenty of IXTXs.

You can believe me, INTP= Schizoid.
You ought to know better that to try that approach here. Provide us with your information sources and reasoning instead.
 

scorpiomover

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#24
Another example I doubt is the studies that purport that religious people are more happy.
Your avatar doesn't look very happy. Not like most atheists are exactly going about smiling and expressing happy sentiments either.

Fascinating, and I can believe it. Introversion is more using my brain than your brain.
I can't believe it either, because that contradicts conclusions from other science that isn't disputed.
 
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#25
This is interesting! Though I get amused and admire by the intelligence, wit and energy of extroverts, the introverts' thoughtfulness, imagination and calmness amaze me big time!
 
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