People ask themselves (and others) a myriad of questions to learn more about who they are. What's your astrological sign? What is your love language? What's your learning style? The answers to these questions give us insight into why we are the way that we are and how we relate to others.
Whether you're on a journey of self-discovery or trying to learn more about those around you, one of the best ways to explore our inner workings is to consider personality type. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? People often use these labels to categorize themselves or others and may even make decisions about social interaction based on the label they choose. So how do you determine your type? Explore the research below to find your personality match.
Are You an Introvert or Extrovert?
Two major personality types called extroversion and introversion were first discovered by psychologist Carl Jung in 1923. According to the Society of Analytical Psychology, Jung originally referred to them as different categories of consciousness. He believed that your personality type is present from birth and that it is self-regulating, meaning that it is determined and monitored from within. In addition, Jung believed that these personality types influence several aspects of a person's life, including their thoughts, feelings, intuitions, and sensations.
Today, the terms "introvert" and "extrovert" are often referred to as attitudes or orientations of personality. Many people believe that knowing more about your personality type can unlock a greater understanding of how you connect to and experience the world. Learning about each type can help you decide if you are an introvert or an extrovert.
Do you consider yourself a more private person who prefers to be on your own? If so, you might be an introvert. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), introverts tend to focus on themselves, their internal thoughts, and their private life. While the external world buzzes around them, they are happy being nestled in their internal sphere.
Traits and Behaviors
Introversion is often associated with behaviors that are more reserved. The APA notes that introverts are typically:
- Deliberate with their actions and words
- Independent and prefer to work alone
- More likely to downplay their excitement
- More likely to hold skeptical views
Instead of heading out for a party, an introvert might prefer to cuddle up in bed with a good book. Instead of wanting to work on a group project, an introvert might feel like they operate more proficiently when they tackle an assignment on their own.
Research Findings on Introverts
Psychologists continue to do research on Jung's core personality traits. Studies on introversion have found that:
- Introverts with higher amounts of social interaction also have higher rates of self-esteem than introverts with low social interaction.
- Introverts report increased levels of happiness when they experience higher-quality social relationships.
- Introverts may be at a higher risk of developing depression and experiencing suicidal thoughts.
- Introverts report increased use of social networking sites as a coping strategy.
Just because you're an introvert doesn't necessarily mean that all of the above traits reflect your personality. Each person expresses and experiences introversion in a unique way. For example, you might enjoy social events, but prefer to stay reserved and quiet when you're there. There's no one size fits all type of introvert.
Do you tend to gravitate towards social events and thrive when you're around others? This might be a sign that you're an extrovert. The APA notes that extroverts direct their interests to the world around them. Rather than focusing on their internal world, extroverts channel their energy on people and their surrounding environment.
Traits and Behaviors
Extroversion is typically associated with more outgoing behaviors. According to the APA, extroverts are often:
- Likely to enjoy company
- Risk takers
People sometimes describe extroverts as the life of the party. They gain energy from being around others and interacting with the world. They might be the first ones to raise their hands to volunteer, and the last ones to leave a hangout once the party's over.
Research Findings on Extroverts
Researchers continue to explore extroversion and the way that the trait influences people. Studies have found:
- Extroverts are more likely to report moderate levels of physical activity than introverts.
- Extroverts who enjoy higher levels of autonomy at work also report lower levels of emotional exhaustion.
- The trait of extroversion has been linked with higher rates of happiness.
- Extroverts report higher rates of positivity, which has been associated with a boost in mood.
- Extroverts show higher perceived reward values than introverts.
Extroversion also exists on a sliding scale and the personality trait itself doesn't fit into a perfectly labeled box. Not every extrovert will relate to all of the traits listed above. It just means that they may be closer to one end of the extroversion scale than the other.
How to Know if You're an Introvert or Extrovert
Based on the evidence above, you may already have a good idea as to whether you're an introvert or an extrovert. But many people might find that they have traits from both categories, which can make things difficult. If you're unsure which personality type you are, don't worry. There are several ways that you can explore your personality further to come to a conclusion.
Explore Tests Online
One way to learn if you're an introvert or an extrovert is to take a test to find your match. There are a wide variety of tests you can take online that might be able to point you in the right direction. You can explore the following options to get started.
- Jung Personality Test - Take this test adapted from the original Myers-Briggs Type Indicator model to learn more about your personality type and even find jobs that may be a good match.
- Jung Typology Test - Take this personality assessment to learn more about your strengths, preferences, learning style, and more.
- Jungian Personality Test - Check out this quiz to get matched to your Jungian personality type.
- Open Psychometrics - Explore this quiz to learn about yourself and your personality type.
You might find it helpful to take more than one test. Each test is likely to include different questions and rating scales that can influence which category you're placed in. Taking more than one test can help you to double-check survey results and it can help you explore how your personality type might influence different aspects of your life.
Ask Yourself Questions
Taking online tests can be helpful, especially if you're looking for an immediate result. However, no one knows you better than you know yourself. Another way to learn more about your personality type is to check in with yourself and discover an answer on your own. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you gain energy from being around others, or do you find it draining?
- Do you prioritize social engagements or personal time?
- Are you often the first one to strike up a conversation with someone, or do you wait for them to make the first move?
- Are you usually the first one to arrive at an event or the first one to leave?
- When you spend time by yourself, do you feel content or would you rather be doing something else?
- Do you feel like you talk about things openly or do you prefer to keep most things private?
- When you're in line at the grocery store, do you hope the person in front of you starts a conversation or do you hope to politely ignore each other?
- When someone asks you a question about yourself, are you delighted that they asked or suspicious?
- If someone asks you to volunteer for something, are you excited about the opportunity or do hope to avoid the obligation?
- When something good happens in your life, are you more likely to do a happy dance in real life or in your head?
Once you ask yourself these questions, you should have a better idea about what kind of personality trait you relate to the most. You can write down your answers and compare them to the traits listed above. If you notice that more of your responses focus on external connection you might be an extrovert. If you find that your responses reveal more of an internal focus, you probably lean towards introversion.
Introvert vs. Extrovert: Does It Matter?
According to psychologists, about 20 to 60 percent of an individual's personality stems from genetics. Although this suggests that we might not have much control over how our personalities develop, research hasn't found a clear pattern of inheritance. This means that your environment, upbringing, and interests do actually have an effect on who you become.
In addition, research hasn't found that one specific gene results in an individual temperament. Instead, it's suggested that multiple genes and variations come together to create a characteristic. When multiple characteristics are melded together, they create something very special: you.
Previous research shows that personality types develop early in life (some suggest as early as three years old) and usually remain consistent across a lifetime. However, more recent studies note that personality can change through persistent intervention or significant life changes. So, if you really want to change a part of your personality, odds are that you can.
All Personalities Have Pros and Cons
The labels of introvert and extrovert have sparked a feud that has divided these two groups in society for ages. Although each group might believe that they are superior in one way or another, research notes that both personality types are associated with pros and cons.
Neither of these personality types is "good" or "bad." However, both are associated with certain behaviors, which can be both helpful and harmful. For example, extroverts are more likely to engage in risky behavior that could result in negative consequences. On the other hand, introverts might be more reserved and struggle to maintain positive social relationships.
Personality Exists on a Spectrum
You are a well-rounded individual who has thoughts, feelings, and opinions. You have unique likes and dislikes, and past life experiences that help shape who you are today. The entirety of you cannot be categorized into one single type or another.
According to Jungian psychology, everyone falls into a category of either introvert or extrovert. However, these are not black-and-white boxes. They're complex 3-D diagrams that cannot fully represent what it means to be human.
So if you're a bit more reserved, you can still have strong fulfilling relationships. If you're a socialite who determines that you want to stay in for the night, then allow yourself to rest. Don't worry about getting caught up in the labels. Instead, try to discover what you want, rather than simply what you're used to. You are you, and no label can fully encompass what that means.