Mind Matters

One thing I’m really enjoying about this blog is the great feedback I get from readers on a variety of topics. Not only does it boost my spirits, but I often learn very interesting things. For example, a recent comment on the Converting the Introverted post gave me a lot of food for thought. The comment came from “Foozler,” who identified himself as a teacher of psychology for the past 35 years. He gives an interesting analysis of normal introvert and extrovert states (and their opposites), and then makes a fascinating statement:

Introverts’ brains are much busier and therefore we need little input from the environment to be at a comfortable brain activation. Extroverts need a lot, and so there you will find people who jump out of planes, rollercoast, and the like.

I had never heard this idea before, but it made intuitive sense to me when I read it. I often feel like my brain is going a million miles a minute, and to take in even more information can be quite difficult at times. It seems to explain the overwhelmed feeling I sometimes get in stressful situations; my brain is too busy processing my own stuff to be able to deal with what’s going on around me.

This idea tempts me to make some ungracious comment about the relative emptiness of extroverts’ brains… But that wouldn’t do. I’ll have to be content with simply noting that introverts often have a lot on their minds.

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8 Responses to “Mind Matters”

  1. Cloud said:

    Scott Adams puts forward a similar hypothesis:

    http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/05/imagination.html

  2. Brian Clasby said:

    Well, I’ll not comment on the business (or lack) of other peoples brains. I have noticed that extremely talkative people will talk, at length, about anything. A guy at work this morning talked and talked about the different items in the various compartments of the vending machines, relative costs, freshness, and so on while I was there toasting my bagel (not from the machine by the way). I don’t eat anything from those machines and neither does he so I’m not sure why he thought either one of us might care. Just needed to talk I guess. I was like, “Whatever dude.”

  3. introvertism and brain activity « Vinu’s Online Cloud said:

    […] and brain activity Given my bipolaristic proclivities, I relate totally to what is posted at spectratrix: Introverts’ brains are much busier and therefore we need little input from the environment to be […]

  4. spectatrix said:

    Cloud:

    That’s awesome! I love it. Thanks for posting the link.

    Brian:

    Wow. That sounds like a scene from “The Office.”

  5. Carey said:

    Introverted, I have a terribly busy mind. Of course, such business leads to A.D.D.-like moments of multitasking mayhem. For example: I just visited two other sites on my mind before coming back to author this comment. Seriously. I wonder if there’s a correlation between introverts and A.D.D. What was I wondering? Huh? Ooh, flikr photos are pretty. Okay, I’m back.

  6. spectatrix said:

    Carey:

    Do we need an introvert intervention? 🙂 Just back away slowly from the computer…

  7. Levi said:

    Carey: Ellen B. Braaten and Lee A. Rosen, Emotional reactions in adults with symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 22, Issue 3, March 1997, Pages 355-361: found a significant (p<0.001, which means that the chance that they would get these results by chance from a sample is 1 out of 1,000; the golden standard of psychological assessment is usually 0.05) connection between those with ADHD and extroversion in a medium-to-large size sample of undergraduates (127).

    Ranseen, J. D., Campbell, D. A., & Baer, R. A. (1998). NEO-PI-R profiles of adults with attention deficit disorder. Assessment, 5, 19–24: found no connection between any of the Big 5 personality traits and ADHD.

    Nig, J.T. et al. (2002). Big Five Dimensions and ADHD Symptoms: Links Between Personality Traits and Clinical Symptoms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 83, No 2, 451-469: found that “Extraversion, as defined by the Big Five, was not related to ADHD symptoms when different data sources were taken into account. This picture was replicated in multiple samples”.

    Nig, J.T. et al seems to be the better analysis, so I’d go with their conclusion.

  8. spectatrix said:

    Levi,

    Thanks for this info. It would be interesting to know why these studies came to such different conclusions.