Extroverts and introverts don’t exactly see eye to eye all the time. There are major psychological differences between the two types of behavior and there are often some serious misinterpretations of the other. First, let’s talk about how the two are different at a biological level.
It all comes down to dopamine. Dopamine is the brain’s reward hormone and it responds more actively in an extrovert’s brain to things like sex, social status, and money than it does to an introvert’s brain.
At least according to Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist. This perfectly explains why extroverts love being around people and doing new things.
“[Extroverts] get more energized by those things in their environment,” Kaufman said. “Introverts, on the other hand, just don’t get as energized. Their dopamine system is not as active when they see these kinds of things in the environment.”
So does that mean introverts don’t enjoy socialization at all? Not necessarily. Introverts tend to need more time to rebuild their energy levels before being social again. They’re still social people.
“[Introverts] may appear as though they have lower enthusiasm, for instance, but it doesn’t mean that introverts are not social at all or aren’t social beings,” Kaufman said. “We’re all social beings; it’s the very fundamental aspect of human nature. It’s just they’re not as energized by environmental stimulation, sensory input, things of that nature.”
“The description that introverts seem to relate most strongly to is the idea that Jung presented, that introverts are drained of energy by interaction and gain energy in solitude and quiet, whereas extroverts gain energy in social situations with interaction,” says Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way: Living A Quiet Life In A Noisy World.
“It seems to be most strongly an energy thing: where you get your energy and what takes it out of you.”
Dembling thinks people also wrongly associated shyness with introversion.
“The number one misconception about introversion is that it’s about shyness,” Dembling said. “The best distinction I’ve heard comes from a neuroscientist who studies shyness. He said, ‘Shyness is a behavior: It’s being fearful in a social situation. Whereas introversion is a motivation. It’s how much you want and need to be in those interactions.'”
They get the job, get the girl, get the promotion, win the election, and are therefore better people. And sure, almost all managers and executives have extrovert qualities, but extroverts are also more likely to want those positions. It’s not true that introverts couldn’t get them.
It’s also wrong to believe that extroverts aren’t shy.
“There are many shy extroverts: They’re uncomfortable interacting with strangers, but love going to rock concerts,” Adam Grant, professor at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania wrote. “And plenty of introverts are sociable: They’ll strike up a conversation with random people at parties, but get easily overwhelmed by bright lights and loud noises.”