Extroverts are often described as people who talk before they think. They may be seen as more outgoing and more sociable, but from a jungian standpoint, that’s not entirely correct. Jungian theories tend to say extroverts get more energy from being in the outer world. And implicitly, they would lose energy when in their own mind. From a neuroscience standpoint, we’ve found an even better definition. Extroverts are people who start in the outer world, and who then compare it to their own inner world and related thoughts and values.
In neuroscience, this is researched as bottom-up attention. Bottom-up attention takes information we observe in the world around us and relate them to the inner world. We may hear someone say something, we may notice an article on the wikipedia, and then we go inside to decide if we like it or not, and if we know anything relevant to the information.
You could say that an extrovert is trying to unify the inner and the outer world, they’re trying to bring in what’s on the outside and to create harmony between their inner and their outer world. They may ask themselves the following questions: Rationalism: Does this outer evidence match what I’m currently doing? Harmony: Does what others feel about me match with how I feel about myself?
It’s more difficult for an extrovert to filter out irrelevant stimuli. They’ll be more open to seeing things that are outside their current beliefs and values. They may need to deal with things faster and to respond quicker in order to clear their minds. For this reason, they may be described as more reflexive, quick, and active types. An introvert may hold on to their old beliefs, even if new evidence comes up that goes against it. They may say “Let’s wait and see what happens.” An extrovert who finds that new change comes up that goes against their current interests may try to intervene: stop the change from happening by engaging it as soon as it comes up.
Extroverts have fewer warning receptors
Warning receptors in the brain signal to you when you should be more cautious, methodical, and self-controlled. Extroverts have fewer warning receptors in the brain, and as a result, they are more comfortable engaging bottom-up attention. The brain is signalling to them that it is okay, that they can go ahead, where an introvert would begin to tune out and go inside to reflect on the situation.
If you want to find out if you’re introverted or extroverted, take our personality test!
Different forms of extroverts
There are four different forms of extroverts. What this means is, everyone of us is bottom-up in certain situations. You have aspects where you are more instinctive, quick, and reflexive. When are you an introvert, and when are you an extrovert?