No one can deny that introverts and extroverts are two very different types of people. Extroverts are favored in today’s society. Many people think that extroversion is normal, while introversion is abnormal. Introverts are typically ridiculed and often misunderstood by extroverts.
Introverts make up a third to half of the U.S. population, and personality tests, like Myers-Briggs, have shone light upon several personality types, including various forms of introversion.
Susan Cain, TED talk speaker and author of The New York Times bestseller, Quiet, has grown global awareness about the issues faced by introverts, and has discussed the reasons why they are often misunderstood. Moreover, a new study has found that introverts have a more accurate perception of the social world than extroverts do. This study is strongly based on the friendship paradox.
What Is The Friendship Paradox?
In 1991, SUNY’s Scott Feld observed a phenomenon that led him to the theory that most people have fewer friends than their friends have on average. The sociologist explained that due to this, it makes sense that people might interpret themselves as being inadequate in some way for seeming to have fewer friends than those around them; however, it is actually the norm for people to have friends who have more friends than them on average.
The Dartmouth Study
Two Dartmouth researchers, Daniel Feiler and Adam Kleinbaum, studied the interaction of two key factors among a group of 284 MBA students: extroversion and homophily. Homophily is the notion that people with similar levels of introversion or extroversion are more likely to be friends with people of the same group.
Their findings were quite predictable. Since extroverted people are likely to connect with other extroverts, their social networks often contain an overwhelming majority of extroverts. The same is true for introverts.
The data also showed that extroverts believed that others were more extroverted than them- this being a trick of perception due to the way that social networks form.
“If you’re more extroverted, you might really have a skewed view of how extroverted other people are in general,” Feiler says. “If you’re very introverted, you might actually have a pretty accurate idea.”
Introverts are likely to have networks that represent a fuller demographic of a society. Introverts utilize their reserved nature to enhance their ability to observe, analyze, and understand society.
Why Introverts’ Social Skills May Benefit Their Relationships, Self-Esteem, And Job Performance
Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not bad communicators. They just prefer to be among a small group of people rather than a large group. They value the quality of relationships over the quantity.
Would it surprise you to know that introverts are actually better managers than extroverts?
It has been scientifically shown that introverts are not just better managers of time, but also can be better managers in their approach to business.
Wharton research professor, Adam Grant, examined the profits of different pizza franchises along with their different management styles. He found that proactive employees performed better under an introverted manager than an extroverted manager. Grant explained this result by noting that: “introverted leaders are more likely to listen carefully to suggestions and support employees’ efforts to be proactive.”
In The End
While many people still consider extroversion to be the norm, and perceive introverts as not fitting in as well socially, these cultural preferences do not necessarily reflect reality- or the capabilities that introverts possess. While introverts may be positioned as underdogs in society, as research has demonstrated, they have a lot to contribute to the world around them. In summary, introverts seem to actually perceive their social world more accurately than extroverts do, as demonstrated by the study by Daniel Feiler and Adam Kleinbaum.
Featured photo credit: Sodanie Chea via flickr.com