It is quite difficult to be able to strictly define a type of personality. Because each and every one of us is distinct and unique, we all have different personalities—different interpretations. The best we can do then is to describe a characteristic with as many adjectives or what-not’s. Introversion is the same. One of the more prominent figures who studied introversion and extraversion is Dr. C. J. Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist who has been known for taking unique approaches to his studies.
He says that introversion or extraversion is a product of the combination of the five factors namely: intellect; disposition; temper; temperament; and character. These factors are all independent of one another and the combination of each one constitute to a certain personality. He then identifies introverts with William James’ tender thinkers and extroverts as tough thinkers. He then paints a clearer picture: …introverts are rationalists and system-makers, who care little for facts and forcibly fit data into their ideal constructions in accordance with their a priori premises; [the] extravert, on the other hand, cannot construct a system, is interested not at all in the inner life of man but only in objective facts, is positivist, determinist, fatalist, irreligious and skeptic.
” Jung’s description may be overbearing or presumptuous. But it gives us a more definite idea who introverts and extraverts are. From the citation above, we find that in terms of intellect, introverts are more likely to think rationally and create systems.
In terms of disposition, they are accepting of what they had learned or had been taught in the past.
In terms of the last three, they have difficulty exercising direct personal influence. They are absorbed in themselves and lack enthusiasm. The extrovert is said to be “interested only in the outer world, the introvert is said to shrink from it”. 1 In other words, extraverts are those who tend to live outside of themselves, whilst introverts find comfort living within themselves. There are many reasons why the personality trait of introversion and extroversion are theorized to develop.
One theory is that this type of personality stems from the combination of the five factors, as stated above. Another places emphasis on the chemical make-up of a person’s body. It is said that extraversion and introversion may be caused by the rate of release of chemicals in the thyroid gland. Introversion is caused by the lack of or decreased rate of release. Extraversion is, therefore, the opposite—the increased rate of release. With the decreased chemicals, the brain resorts to mainly cerebral cortical activity on the lower nervous functions.
This increase in cortical activity lessens spinal reflexes and affective or emotional functions of the thalamus region are heightened. This satisfies the commonly accepted notion of the introvert. These theories serve as basis also for other theories such as introversion and extraversion as a hereditary trait, and that environmental factors and external conditioning contribute to this personality trait. If in fact, introversion and extraversion were hereditary, the chemical theory would support this.
By inheriting the thyroid glands and other genes that code for instructions in bodily operations, we would inherit the introversion or extraversion of our parents as well. If environmental factors and external conditioning were what defined introversion, Jung’s combination of personality factors would support this. The external environment influences personality and character, thus constituting to an effect of introversion or extraversion. Another factor that comes into play in the course of our research is the importance and process of developing interpersonal relationships.
Interpersonal relations are no doubted essential for human existence. Philosophers will argue the importance of interpersonal relations. From the beginning of life, we already engage in interpersonal relations. It is in our culture, as in many cultures or ways of life of animals to be social in nature—to work and exist in groups. Our parents are our first contact with individuals other than ourselves. Even before we are born, we form a relation with our mothers. As we grow older, we seek an expansion of self. We do this through relations with other members of our family, our extended family and people outside of our family.
Expanding oneself and building relations with others is done through communication, in which self-presentation or impressions are key. In order to be able to communicate properly, certain universals have to be present. Such universals manifest themselves in the language of emotions. The language or expression of emotions such as anger and happiness is said to be understood worldwide. Through the analysis and observation of such emotions, relations are formed. To facilitate conversation and communication, people try to control the impressions people have of them, also known as impression management.
In order to do this, they alter their physical appearance, clothing, and make-up; alter the emotions and reactions they convey to suit the desires of the one whom they are communicating or trying to associate with. They also enact certain behavior and body language to form better impressions. People may even use props to be able to achieve the impression they want to convey. We may find that for the sake of self-expansion, people may go to such great extents to manage impressions. Today, we see such methods translated through technology—most evidently through the internet.
Dr. C. J. Jung cited in “The Chemical Theory of Temperament Applied to Introversion and Extraversion” by William McDougall in Readings in Extraversion-Introversion: Theoretical & Methodological Issues, H. J. Eysenck ed. p. 19; London: Wiley-Interscience 1970 “The Chemical Theory of Temperament Applied to Introversion and Extraversion” by William McDougall in Readings in Extraversion-Introversion: Theoretical & Methodological Issues, H. J. Eysenck ed. p. 21-23 London: Wiley-Interscience 1970 “The Inheritance of Extraversion-Introversion” by H.
J. Eysenck in “Readings in Extraversion-Introversion: Theoretical & Methodological Issues”, H. J. Eysenck ed. , pp. 388-404; London: Wiley-Interscience 1970 Empirical Findings From Evolutionary Psychology in The Social Psychology of Personal Relationships, William Ickes and Steve Duch, ed. New York: John Wiley and Sons Ltd. 2000 p. 19 The Nature of Self Expansion in “The Social Psychology of Personal Relationships”, William Ickes and Steve Duch, ed. New York: John Wiley and Sons Ltd. 2000 pp. 130-137, 110-113