Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology.
While his predecessor, Sigmund Feud, explored the personal unconscious, Carl Jung studied and developed the unconscious further to show the collective unconscious, which represents a form of the unconscious common to mankind as a whole. Carl Jung was the first to distinguish the two major attitudes or orientations of personality – extroversion and introversion. He also identified four basic cognitive functions (thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuiting).
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What is Extroversion and Introversion in Carl Jung’s original work?
This dimension has to do with where we naturally direct our energy and recharge as well as our first order of importance: the inner world vs the outer world:
Inner world is made up of thoughts, ideas, memories or so-called the subjective experience that is unique and aware of only by the individual
Outer world is made of people and experiences outside of one’s self, or the “objects”
Extraverts have a stronger relationship with the objects of the outer world because they feel a stronger cognitive need for frequent interaction with the world. To Extraverts, what’s going on outside is more important than what’s happening inside. Overall, they are more “action-oriented”.
Introverts have a stronger relationship with the inner world because they feel a stronger cognitive need to connect with their inner subjective experiences. To introverts, what’s happening inside is more important than outside. They are characterised for being more “reflective”.
I would like to clarify an important distinction between “trait” theory versus “type” theory. Jungian psychology is about type. Many free online MBTI tests give you results in percentage such as 70% Introvert, 30% Extrovert etc. However, this does not mean you are a different type 30% of the time. Being 90% or 51% introverted still means you have an introverted outlook in life. This kind of test fails to show that Jungian theory is a “type” theory, which mean you are either introvert or extrovert, and not a “trait” theory where you can exist in a continuum like the Big 5.
A good metaphor for extroversion vs introversion is land vs water. You can naturally be comfortable in both, but to an extrovert, the outer world is like the shore and the inner world is like water. They can certainly enjoy staying in water but where do they eventually get respite from? The shore. Vice versa for introverts, the inner world is like the shore and the outer world of objects is the water!
Neurologically, Extraverts and Introverts have different pathways in the brain for processing information. Extraverts use a shorter pathway and are much faster at processing incoming information from the world. Therefore, they have a higher tolerance for stimulation and tend to actively seek out stimulating experiences.
Introverts’ pathways are much longer as the information is processed and filtered internally. They are easier to suffer from “information overload” given the same amount of external stimuli. Hence they prefer a slower “reflective” pace and tend to avoid situations that might overwhelm them. This difference is noticeable in babies as young as 4-months old!
According to statistical studies, Extraverts and Introverts are roughly evenly split in the general population, with a few studies finding a slightly greater number of Extraverts.
Extroversion, or extraversion, is one of the factors from the Big Five personality model. This personality trait is characterized by an orientation of an individual’s energies and interests towards the outer worldof social experiences rather than the inner world of subjective feelings and thoughts.
The trait indicates a continuum of behaviors and attitudes, ranging from low (introverted), neutral (ambivert), to high (extroverted). Extroverts are comparably sociable, outgoing, gregarious, and tend to be openly expressive. On the contrary, introverts are relatively more reserved, conserve their energies, and tend to be internally expressive.
You can read this article to find out if you are an extrovert or an introvert, or I recommend taking this test to discover more.
Friendliness: a quality of being friendly, pleasant, and accommodating in social situations. Friendly people make friends quickly and find it easy to form intimate relationships. They are willing to spend time forming relationshipsandexpanding their network circles. Unfriendly individuals are often perceived as hostile and distant by others. They simply do not reach out to initiate a friendship or expand their connections.
This trait indicates the general desires of a person to make friends and create friendships. Its meaning leans more towards the formation of close relationships and the tendency to behave hospitable and companionable with others. Friendliness does not relate to how somebody desires to be in the crowd or group activities.
Gregariousness: American Psychological Association describes this facet as the tendency for an individual to be fond of the company of others and want to associate with them in social activities. Gregariousness gives people security, acceptance, companionship, and a sense of belonging. They like the stimulation of being around and interacting with several people.
However, this stimulation is not favored by non-gregarious people. They would find these events uncomfortable, unpleasant, and even annoying.
Assertiveness: People often do not think of assertiveness as part of extroversion, but it is indeed. Assertiveness indicates characteristics where a person is firm and bold, confident and dominant, decisive and determined, and willing to express themselves externally. They are able to be in charge or take control of group activities.
Depending on different circumstances, this aspect still appears in introverts, yet with lower frequency,compared to extroverts. Introverts can be assertive if they think it is necessary to speak up and behave firmly.
Activity level: Similar to assertiveness, this facet is not commonly thought to be part of extroversionthe common understanding of extroversion does not always refer to this facet. Activity level illustrates the tendency to enjoy having a fast-paced and action-packed lifestyle. Individuals with high levels of this facet are energetic, sprightly and industrious.
Activity level does not mean searching for new and exciting experiences, but rather the frequency of these activities.. Those who prefer a slower pace tend to scatter their schedule with a lower density of activities. Slow-pace life is more suitable for them because they want to truly enjoy the quality instead of the number of the activities.
Excitement-seeking: Unlike assertiveness and activity level, this facet aligns well with the common understanding of extroversion. Someone who enjoys seeking excitement gets easily bored. They seek high levels of strong stimulations such as crowded places, cheerful events with loud music and bright lights. Such stimulation can be undesirable, inconvenient, and overwhelming to the more introverted counterparts. who tend to prefer more peaceful and relaxing surroundings.
Cheerfulness: Mood, bright emotions, and positive responses are what this facet about. Cheerful people have relatively high levels of bright feelings, such as joy or enthusiasm, and positive interactions with others. People who have lower levels of cheerfulness experience fewer delights or optimism and are often perceived as less warm and positive towards others.
The absence of cheerfulness, however, does not necessarily mean there are only negative emotions. These are two different things and they are not correlated to each other. In reality, a majority of people tend to mistake these two matters and wrongly label the absence of cheerfulness as negativity.
Acquiring a thorough insight into the six facets would provide you with a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of extroversion. Looking at an extrovert, you can see more details into his or her behaviors, feelings, and reactions to daily situations.
2. Career recommendations for extroverts
Extroverts enjoy expressing themselves externally and interacting with others to exchange knowledge and make friends. An open, high-energy workplace that encourages verbal exchange and teamwork would be an ideal environment for extroverts.
Extroverts excel in these jobs: Lawyer / law consultant Teacher / lecturer / professor Sale manager / execution planner Public relation staff Nurse / caregiver Human resources consultant Tour guide Project manager Event planner MC / radio speaker Financial specialist Social media influencer Community service staff
3. Career suggestions for introverts
For those who tend to conserve their feelings, energy, and want to gain full control of their work using minimal social interactions, a quiet job would be more suitable. Introverts thrive in a calm and peaceful environment because they can fully concentrate on the process without interruptions and distractions from others.
These suggested jobs are more appropriate for those who score low in extroversion:
Computer programmer Web developer Software engineer Data analyst Social media marketing Interior / landscape / graphic designer Librarian Electrical engineering specialist Scientist / researcher Interpreter / translator Writer / content creator / poet Artist Carpenter Baker / private chef Music composer Photographer Self-employed / freelancer
4. The challenge of teaching introverts and educational approaches to unlock their potential
For young children with high levels of introversion, group discussions and engagement points in the classroom might not be the best approach to evaluate their actual ability. According to Susan Cain in her best-selling book, some young introverts have to pretend to be extroverts to fit in this education system for the sake of overall grades and other schooling benefits.
4.1 Introverted students tend not to excel in large groups
When introverted students are required to perform in large groups, they are likely to not perform well. Group-based tasks are designed in the way of bringing everyone an equal chance to speak up an opinion, raise a problem, and solve that problem together.
However, while teachers think they have created an equal opportunity for all students, the reality is often different. Susan Cain pointed out that it often leads to “the most dominant student or the one who cares most about the grades doing all the tasks and taking over”. Introverted students would excel when performing the tasks individually in quiet surroundings , which allows their creativity and thoughtfulness to be maximized.
4.2 Technology can help introverts speak up their ideas
Technology-based platforms can ease the uncomfortable feelings and enable introverts to find their voice in classrooms and group activities. Game-based learning platforms, such as Gimkit and Kahoot, can assist teachers efficiently. For instance, teachers can set the response settings either in anonymous mode or public mode. Anonymous mode means only the teacher gets to know who provides this answer, while public mode allows the entire class to view the provider’s name.
Introverts can be assertive, bold, and become competitive if they think it is necessary to behave so. As a result, public mode is an excellent opportunity to encourage competitiveness and public recognition. In a world that cannot stop talking, the power of introverts needs to be identified and recognized, especially in the classroom.
5. Teaching strategies to work with extroverted students
5.1 Approach extroverts with a smile to balance out extroversion and introversion
More often, extroverted students are more socially dominant than their introverted counterparts. This can sometimes become a problem for teachers who want to pay equal attention to all students in the class. Approach young extroverts with a smile and remind him or her to tone it down a bit, so that teachers can have more interactions with other students.
5.2 Extroverted students enjoy compliments and surprises
If introverted individuals perform better in quiet and calm surroundings, their counterparts enjoy expressing themselves verbally. For example, they are the ones who enjoy making demonstrations or coming up to the front of the classroom. They would feel valued and recognized if teachers compliment them on their initiative and enthusiasm.
Cfchildren.org stated that extroverted students like to be surprised. Little surprises in the classroom helps to boost the engagement and excitement of young extroverts. They are more like a “curious cat” that gets nervous towards the surprise, yet excited at the same time. Teachers can leverage morning times to create little surprises as a positive feedback to extroverted students. This is a great way to level up their energy from the beginning of the day and make sure they are readily involved for the lesson.
Conclusion: The hidden depth of extroversion, and the vital role of educators
The general expression of extroversion, based on popular definitions, might stop at friendliness and excitement seeking. Digging deeper into the six facets of this trait, we now know it also exhibits different dimensions of gregariousness, assertiveness, cheerfulness and activity level.
Balancing the introversion and extroversion of the students in the classroom are very important. Teachers are encouraged to create multi-purpose activities that fit both types of students. Enhancing the advantage of technology, such as game-based learning platforms, could help teachers to modify and diversify the activities in their classroom to fit different preferences in extroversion.