introvert or extrovert?

The terms Introvert and Extrovert were coined by Jung, and contrary to popular belief an introvert is not simply someone who is shy. Introverts are not people who have poor social skills; they often have great social awareness.  They are, however, concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, and exploring their thoughts and feelings. Introverts often find that being around other people can be draining, and they frequently need ‘time out’ to centre themselves and recharge.When introverts talk to others they often enjoy talking about ideas and concepts, and can struggle with the idea of social small talk. Interestingly, many introverts’ conversations are generally about ideas and concepts, not about what they consider the trivial matters of social small talk. In contrast, extroverts are people who are energised by spending time with others. They often think aloud, unlike introverts who are much more introspective and think before they speak.  Extroverts are often more likely to seek out social interaction; they are interested in connecting with the external world, and don’t need to spend as much time in the inner world of the mind as an introvert may. It is estimated that there is a higher percentage of introverts within the gifted population then there is amongst the general population. Gifted people may often preoccupied with ‘thinking about thinking’.

Here is a checklist so that you can determine whether you believe your child may be an introvert or an extrovert – and yourself, of course :) :

Introversion-Extraversion indicator

Gifted & Creative Services Australia Pty Ltd

© Lesley Sword 2003

 

Please tick the response that most closely describes your child.

Characteristics

Strongly Disagree

Generally Disagree

Neutral

Generally Agree

Strongly Agree

1

is reflective

2

needs privacy

3

respects the privacy of others

4

is shy with new people

5

dislikes meeting strangers

6

has few close friends

7

appears physically and emotionally drained after interacting with groups of people

8

prefers depth in conversation to variety

9

observes others before engaging in activities

10

dislikes being the centre of attention, even when attention is positive

11

prefers to read rather than to socialize

12

is embarrassed by his/her own mistakes

13

keeps her/his feelings private

14

learns by observing an activity

15

is cautious

16

is slow to respond to questions, needs time to think

17

in a new situation, prefers to listen before joining-in

18

appears different at home and in public

19

needs time alone

20

prefers to be alone rather than with others

21

thinks through ideas before sharing them with others

22

likes solitary activities

23

prefers one-on-one conversation

24

is quiet in large groups

25

needs time to make decisions

 

 

 

Characteristics

Strongly Disagree

Generally Disagree

Neutral

Generally Agree

Strongly Agree

26

dislikes time alone

27

learns by doing an activity

28

thinks out loud

29

adapts quickly to new situations and people

30

Is quick to respond to questions and is verbally assertive

31

has an outgoing personality

32

has many friends

33

is impulsive

34

likes to interact with many people

35

expresses feelings easily

36

introduces him/herself to others easily

37

gets energy by being with people

38

outspoken in large groups

39

makes decisions quickly

40

tends to be practical

41

enjoys parties

42

is the same in public and at home

43

prefers variety in conversation to depth

44

takes risks readily

45

in a new situation, prefers to talk rather than listen

46

enjoys many social activities

47

acts quickly

48

is the same in public and in private

49

speaks freely about feelings

50

likes attention

Items 1-25 are characteristics of Introversion. If you have agreed with most of these characteristics, it is likely that your child is an Introvert.

Items 26-50 are characteristics of Extraversion. If you have agreed with most of these characteristics, it is likely that your child is an Extravert.

Information on personality types may help you better understand how you or your child relates to the world. For further resources on the work of Jung and also Briggs and Myers, you can click on the links that are available on this page.

This article, also by Lesley Sword, looks at the gifted introvert.

Here you can read about how introversion may impact you daily life.

This powerpoint by Miraca Gross discusses how you can nurture a gifted introvert.