What Everyone Gets Wrong About Introverts - Including Why They Are Not Antisocial Or Lazy

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Some people think introverts avoid social situations.

This isn't actually true; they just need more time to recharge after a lot of social stimulation.

It's because they have a low threshold for dopamine, so they are easily overwhelmed.

In contrast, extroverts have a very high threshold so can keep going for longer.

Introverts can learn to use their differences as a skill, rather than a hindrance.

When you hear the term "introvert," you might imagine someone who's quiet and insular, who likes to spend most of their time alone, avoiding social situations.

But being an introvert isn't really anything to do with how much you like spending time with other people. In fact, introverts can have some of the deepest and most meaningful friendships.

The difference between introverts and extroverts is actually biological, and it comes down to how they unwind after social situations.

Doctor of psychology Perpetua Neo told Business Insider that in terms of their brain chemistry, introverts have a lower threshold of dopamine sensitivity than extroverts (dopamine is a chemical associated with reward because it makes us feel good). Essentially, the lower your dopamine threshold, the more easily stimulated you are.

"As an introvert, you are more energised by spending time on your own, or in very small intimate groups of people you trust," Neo said. "So when you are out in a social environment that is very highly stimulating, what happens is that while the extrovert gets more and more incandescent and magnetic, the introvert starts shrinking and shrinking away."

Introverts have different brain chemistry

The pathway that an introvert's or extrovert's brain takes when they are in social contexts differs. While extroverts have a very short pathway, for introverts it is called the Long Acetylcholine Pathway. It's much longer, which means that a stimulus goes through many different parts of the brain.

One is the right frontal insular cortex, the part of the brain that notices errors. Introverts notice all sorts of details, which makes them self-conscious about the mistakes they are making. Another is the frontal lobe, which evaluates outcomes. This means an introvert has a really busy mind worrying about what's going to happen. They also tend to draw very strongly from their long-term memory bank when speaking.

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