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New Research on Introverts

Whenever I mention my introverted nature to people, they tend to react as if I’d just told them that my cat writes sonatinas or that my next door neighbors are visiting scientists from Ceres (one of the new Plutons in our solar system). I’ve gotten responses ranging from bemused smiles to outright laughter.

Ok people. I’ve finally learned that being introverted has nothing to do with being shy. Introverts and extroverts alike can be shy. That has to do with social anxiety rather than temperament. Introversion is a temperament, and people are born that way. It’s in their genes.

I’ve been reading bits here and there by Marti Laney about how the brain chemicals of innies and outies are different. As an innie, I rely more on the neurotransmitter acetylcholine than on dopamine, and on my parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) than on my sympathetic (“fight or flight”) nervous system. Among other things, this means that I may have cold hands and feet because my blood and energy are directed to my inner organs rather than my extremities.

The little article I read about this listed scores of traits innies have, which I would reproduce here except that it would be a lot of typing, and I’d probably violate at least two layers of copyright law. So here are just a few:

  • Reduce eye contact when speaking and increase eye contact when listening
  • Appear glazed or zone out when tired or stressed
  • Be clearer about their perceptions, thoughts, and feelings after sleeping on it
  • May need to regulate body temperature and protein intake since they are almost always metabolizing food
  • Must have breaks in calm environment to restore energy
  • Appear relaxed, calm, but alert
  • May walk, talk, and eat slowly
  • Enjoy social events but feel drained by them

Apparently, my entire family is introverted. Who knew?

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  1. Iris Iris

    I've forgotten the specifics of the studies, but these points are laid out in Marti Laney's book The Introvert Advantage. I highly recommend the first couple of chapters of that book.

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