The Scientific Reasons Why Introverts And Extroverts Are Different


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I’m standing in the crowd in front of the stage at the small gritty music club. My two friends—both extroverts—are on either side of me, swaying along with the crooning Indie singer and smiling. I was having fun for a while, but now I’m ready to head home and find my bed. The loud music, the dense crowd of strangers, and the small talk I’ve made all night have left me feeling drained. It’s just too much, for too long, for an introvert like me.

I’d rather be in the peaceful solitude of my apartment. Just me, no noise, maybe a good book or the Internet to help me turn inward and recharge after this much socializing. Yet, my extroverted friends could probably stay at the concert, chatting long past the encore. They’ll actually feel energized when they leave and won’t need any recovery time. So, why do I react so differently than my extroverted friends to the same situation? The answer has to do with some key differences in the way introverts’ brains are wired.

The dopamine difference

One major difference between the brains of introverts and extroverts is the way we respond to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical released in the brain that provides the motivation to seek external rewards like earning money, climbing the social ladder, attracting a mate, or getting selected for a high-profile project at work. When dopamine floods the brain, both introverts and extroverts become more talkative, alert to their surroundings, and motivated to take risks and explore the environment.

It’s not that introverts have less dopamine present in their brains than extroverts do. In fact, both introverts and extroverts have the same amount of dopamine available. The difference is in the activity of the dopamine reward —> Read More