Introversion is one of the most misunderstood (yet most widely recognized and talked about) dimensions of human personality.
Does introversion mean you’re less social? Not necessarily. Does introversion mean you’re shy? Not necessarily. Does introversion mean you’re more emotionally sensitive? Not necessarily. Does introversion mean you’re a nicer, warmer person? Not necessarily. Does introversion mean you’re more reflective and creative? Not necessarily.
So what the heck does differentiate introversion from the rest of human personality?
Over the past year or so, I’ve had the great privilege of working with Susan Cain and the Quiet Revolution. Her team’s mission is to unlock the power of introverts and empower them to be themselves and change the world (quietly but boldly).
One branch of the Quiet Revolution is the Quiet Leadership Institute, whose mission is to enhance organizational performance through the understanding and empowerment of introverts. The Quiet Leadership Institute team (led by Mike Erwin, Jeff Bryan, Kate Earle, and Bill Montgomery) recently went to Holland and presented their work to the Royal Netherlands Air Force. They asked if it would be cool to come to my class at Penn and film me giving an impromptu lecture on the latest science of introversion to show to the Air Force during their symposium. Of course I said heck yes!!
Below is the lecture. As you can see, there are many things that many people commonly refer to as introversion which are actually a blend of introversion with another dimension of personality. However, there are some essential features of introversion, which are grounded in the latest neurochemistry and neuroscience of personality.
Here’s my crack at summarizing the latest science of introversion (and the rest of the human personality hierarchy). Let me know what you think in the comments section!