Introvert/Extravert Is Outdated: Modern Identity Is More Complex

New empirical approaches to psychology are better defining the introvert/extravert dichotomy. Behavior typically belonging to introverts better reflects a new identity category: Openness to Experience.

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New empirical approaches to psychology are better defining identity categories, especially the famous introvert/extravert dichotomy. Behaviors typically thought of as belonging to introverts--socially anxious, deep thinking, reflective, vulnerable, and sensitive--better reflect a new identity category: Openness to Experience. "Openness to experience represents a drive for cognitive engagement, and encompasses intellectual engagement, intellectual depth, ingenuity, reflection, introspection, imagination, emotional engagement, artistic engagement, and aesthetic interests."

What's the Big Idea?

If introverts are more open to experience, extraverts are more sensitive to the rewards in their environment. "Reward sensitivity refers to the tendency to experience 'an incentive motivational state that facilities and guides approach behavior to a goal.'" Extroverts seek positive emotions from their surroundings and respond to a variety of rewards including humor, happy faces, monetary rewards and pleasant emotional stimuli such as flirting and telling jokes. For both introverts and extroverts, the underlying mechanisms that determine their behavior are more relevant than the behaviors themselves.

Read more at Scientific American

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