Introverted people are usually misunderstood due to their mostly silent nature. People just can’t seem to know what stimuli to present them. Hence, studies are coming out to explain this confusion. While extroverted people are known to generally likebeing around other folks and enjoy social situations, introverts seem to be happy on their own.
And the researchers wanted to know why.
Fishman and her colleagues utilized 28 participants ages 18 to 40 that ranged in personality from introverted to somewhat extroverted to very extroverted. Researchers place electrodes placed on the subjects' scalps to record the electrical activity in their brains, a technique known as electroencephalography, or EEG.
P300, a brain’s electrical activity, happens when there’s a change in the environment or sudden stimuli. With this, the brains' reaction occurs within 300 milliseconds, before the person is aware of the change. Hence, P300 can be seen as an indicator of human attention, or how fast their brains' noticed that something has changed.
A method called “oddball task” was the researcher’s solution to this. So, subjects were flashed a series of male faces and every so often a female face as well as pictures of purple flowers interspersed with pictures of yellow ones.
Results showed that the higher the extroversion, the greater the P300 response to human faces. There was also no link between extroversion on the response to flowers. This means extroverts are more likely to pay more attention to human faces. Introverts, on the other hand, had very similar P300 responses to both human faces and to flowers.
"They just didn’t place a larger weight on social stimuli than they did on any other stimuli, of which flowers are one example," Fishman said.
"[This] supports the claim that introverts, or their brains, might be indifferent to people — they can take them or leave them, so to speak. The introvert's brain treats interactions with people the same way it treats encounters with other, non-human information, such as inanimate objects for example," Fishman explained.
Maybe it’s not that introverts necessarily avoid human interactions, perhaps people just don’t understand because they have this level of appreciation and fascination to everything around them.