Those who have spent years telling people that they’re hardcore introverts may have to be a little more specific in their self-assessments.
According to new research, there are four different kinds of introversion: social, thinking, anxious, and restrained.
Social introverts prefer to socialise in small groups instead of large groups — or simply fly solo. They don’t necessarily feel anxious in large groups; they just prefer more intimate contexts.
Thinking introverts are introspective, thoughtful, and self-reflective.
Anxious introverts want to be alone because they feel awkward around other people. They often spend time replaying negative experiences in their minds.
Reserved introverts take a while to think before they speak or act.
This STAR system (take the first letter of every type) was developed by psychologists including Jonathan Cheek, a professor of psychology at Wellesley College. To come up with this new system, the researchers surveyed about 500 people between ages 18 and 70 about things like their penchant for solitude and daydreaming.
The goal is to change the way personality psychologists talk about introversion, so that they see it as a starting point to understanding personality, as opposed to an endpoint.
Importantly, the system represents a departure from the old thinking that if you aren’t extroverted or assertive, you’re an introvert. Cheek and his colleagues suggest that the personality trait is far more nuanced than that. In fact, Cheek told the Science of Us blog, the researchers noticed that when they spoke to self-proclaimed introverts, they all described themselves pretty differently.
Science of Us put together a quiz to help you figure out which type of introversion best describes you. The quiz accounts for the fact that it’s possible to be a mix of all four types; for example, you might feel nervous in social situations but also enjoy hanging out with friends.
Bottom line: Taking a personality test, even a really advanced one, isn’t going to change your life. But it can help you learn more about yourself and perhaps even help you explain what goes on in inside your head to others.
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