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How People Develop Introverted/Extroverted Traits

Is introversion or extroversion predetermined at birth, or does it depend on one’s environment? The answer is very complex and can depend on a number of factors. It essentially comes back to the decades-old debate about nature vs. nurture. But which one is it? Or is it a combination of both?


Image is courtesy of Pepperdine Graphic.


What is an Introvert/Extrovert?


An introvert is someone who is thought to be quiet and reserved, while an extrovert is someone who is very outgoing and social compared to the introvert. According to Carl Jung, the main difference between introverts and extroverts is the way they regain energy. Introverts prefer to be alone in less stimulating environments. Extroverts gain energy back from being surrounded by others.


Commonly observed introverted traits

  • Considerate

  • Creative

  • Good listener

  • Requires time for self

  • Might think issues through on their own


Commonly observed extroverted traits

  • Enjoys social settings

  • Many friends

  • Outgoing and optimistic

  • Thrives off of conversation

  • Vocalizes issues aloud


It is possible for others to fall between in terms of what traits they can display. An ambivert is someone who falls in between introversion and extroversion.


Myths


It’s important to understand that not all these traits make up every claimed introvert or extrovert. People often believe that introverts are afraid of other people, socially awkward, and do not make a good leader, and extroverts are very social all the time and are the ideal personality. However, introverted and extroverted traits are what make up one’s personality. Some introverts can exude extroverted traits when it is appropriate such as giving a speech or acting. Similarly, extroverts may appreciate some time alone, especially if they need to focus on a task. Overall, introversion and extroversion is a spectrum. With that said, some people might show more introverted traits than extroverted ones and vice-versa. It’s not an “either-or” type of scenario.


Personality Development


Research may have explanations to how your personality can be developed. Your genetics could play a role in your personality. A study published in 2007 documents their finding on dopamine on the brain of extroverts and introverts. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. It plays a role in how others feel joy and has an impact on the way humans think. It can impact the body in its behavior and physical functions such as learning and heart rate. Those found with the Met/Met genotype of the COMT gene had a greater need to seek out dopamine, while those with the Val/Met genotype did not. Those with the Met/Met genotype had more traits associated with extraversion. Individuals with the Val/Met genotype felt overstimulated.


Alternatively, one’s personality can also be determined by their environment. Carol Dweck implies that personality is dependent on beliefs, emotions, actions and tendencies, or “BEATS.” One’s conscientious tendencies will be reflected based on “BEATS.” Some people believe that abilities are fixed traits, but it is possible for them to be developed over time. The article reads, “When they are confronted with a challenging task, they may choose an easier one instead because the challenging task carries a risk...However, other people believe that their abilities can be developed. They are more likely to welcome the challenging task and stick to it in the face of setbacks in order to develop their competence.” With that being said, some introverted or extroverted traits may change over one’s lifetime depending on their environment.



Article author: Idil Gure

Article editors: Sherilyn Wen, Victoria Huang

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