There is a general perception that talkers are smarter. Well, recent studies have shown that this perception is wrong. Although there is not enough evidence to suggest that introverts are indeed more intelligent than extroverts, we know now that they can process more information.
Introverts feel best at solitude, while extroverts are happier when they are socially stimulated. Truth be told: our society honors those with extrovert traits and punish the quieter ones. For western society the alpha, the leader is king.
However, introverts are slowly getting their revenge. According to a study by German psychologist Hans Eysenck, the brain of an introvert has a naturally high cortical arousal. That means that its ability to process information per second is higher than the average extrovert.
A study by The Gifted Development Center showed that 60 percent of gifted children are introverts. That percentage rose to 75% for highly gifted children.
People with very high IQs of 160+ are often extremely introverted, even pathologically so.
Moreover, an introvert’s brain depends less on external rewards that generally make extroverts feel good. What that means is that introverts do not need positive feedback from others. They generally want to find meaning, rather than recognition.
Different kind of leaders
Extroverts and introverts deal with situations differently. Take for example their attitude towards work. An extrovert manager would take action himself, asking his/her team to follow. On the other hand, an introvert manager would lead by letting his team members follow their own paths.
Some of the worlds biggest thinkers and inventors are introverts. Bill Gates is an introvert, so was Albert Einstein. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computers was also an introvert, although Steve Jobs was an extrovert, with great communication skills. The success of Apple shows that both mentalities are important.
Introverts are misunderstood
Introverts can find happiness in immersing in their thoughts and analyzing what has happened. That characteristic doesn’t mean that they are shy. Often, people mistake shyness and introversion. A shy person wants to socialize but finds it difficult. An introvert prefers to be left alone. People often tend to underestimate introverts, giving them less credit than what they deserve.
Where extroverts tend to show their positive traits and leading skills, introverts like to think things over. And although extroverts may say things without thinking them, introverts tend to keep their observations to themselves. They like to listen first, and they want to think before they speak.
Some alone time gives introverts the opportunity to gather their thoughts and make sense of the world. They need to find a strategy for the future and find solutions to problems. It’s not worse than the “think-while-you-do” approach of an extrovert. It’s just different.
It is not easy to convince an introvert to trust you. And if you do something they consider as a mistake it will be difficult to win them back.
The danger of feeling alienated
In a culture where to talk is to exist, an introvert might not feel at home. Nowadays, the exaggeration, exposing oneself publicly (let’s not forget reality shows) is the norm. That can make an introvert feel alienated in his/her own culture.
There is another problem when it comes to introverts. According to Psychology Today, studies have shown that introverts show signs of having the capacity for self-talk. However, extensive internal dialogue can cause other problems. Anxiety and depression are more common among introverts than extroverts.
The pursuit of happiness might lead to pressure and negative feelings for all. For introverts, happiness is not a primary goal. They prefer reality. Studies have shown that introverts can “block” some of the stimuli they receive in order to process the information needed.
Some introverts have admitted that they felt tired following the norm. What they needed was to define themselves as introverts, ignore the pressure of a verbal culture and find their own calling.
They might find out that they worked better alone, or that they can’t express their ideas in a meeting but through e-mail. When they let go of the outside efforts to become extroverts, they felt more fulfilled. So, maybe we should all ask ourselves. Do we feel better in our own company? Do we need time to think things over?
Identifying oneself as an introvert and resisting pressure to become something completely different can make a person feel fulfilled.