Introverts and Extroverts: Common Misinterpretations

View of a crowded Hanna Hall. Students gather in Hannah Hall to study or take breaks in between classes. (Bailey Scully/ The Independent)

The espresso machine squeals in the background as students and professors chatter away. Some students huddle around a laptop to watch a video. Others sit in blue cushioned chairs or against a wall with their earbuds in, studying or reading.

This is Hanna Hall on a typical day, where students create their own best study environments.

Some students find comfort studying and learning in groups. Others, more solitary in nature, prefer the quiet of earbuds and solo study.

The Independent, following an ASCC sponsored workshop titled “The Introvert/Extrovert Experience” from earlier this year, surveyed Clark students and faculty to determine the number of introverted and extroverted students and how they work with their learning preferences.

Of the 225 respondents, thirty-nine percent of respondents identified as introverts, and eight percent as extroverts. Interestingly, more than half of respondents said they are ambiverts, meaning they are sometimes introverted and sometimes extroverted.

Psychology instructor Tess Yevka defines extroverts as people who are outgoing and who think out loud. They enjoy social settings but downtime as well.

Introverts, she said, tend to do well under less stressful environments and like to take time to prepare what they say or do.

Yevka said that some students have the following misconceptions about learning preferences.

 

You can only be an introvert or an extrovert.

Despite the common belief that you must be one or the other, 53 percent of students and faculty claimed to be ambiverts.

It is nearly impossible for a person to always remain far on either side of the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Situations and environments may encourage people to adjust for success in a group or individual setting to complete an assignment or project.

The behavior of someone is not predictable under different situations, because people change constantly.

“Most people are in a range rather than way over here or way over there,” Yevka said. “And in different situations we may float back and forth on the scale.”

 

Introverts are shy.

Contrary to the stereotype, introverts are not always shy. Although it may not be as common, extroverts can be shy too.

Shyness has nothing to do with being an introvert or an extrovert, and it is constantly a changing variable based on personality type and outside influences.

“You can be an extrovert and be shy because of previous experiences, lack of confidence [and] people putting you down,” Yevka said. “Shyness is more about learning than as a way of being.”

 

Extroverts don’t like alone time. 

David Kosloski, Communication professor.

David Kosloski, Communication professor.

Although it may not be a preference for some, alone time can be very important to extroverts.

“Extroverts think out loud a lot,” Yevka said. “They like to think in groups as well. They do like to be in social settings, but downtime and alone time is good too.”

Extroverts may use alone time to allow themselves to relax and slow down, but may not necessarily “recharge” like introverts do. Similarly, introverts may enjoy going out with friends or going to a busy place, but it may just be for the adrenaline rush rather than to recharge themselves.

A common misconception is that extroverts make better leaders and public speakers than introverts because of how dynamic they are.

According to Communications professor and self-identified introvert Dave Kosloski, it’s not true that only extroverts make good leaders and public speakers.

“I have introverted students who you would think were motivational speakers,” Kosloski said.

According to Kosloski, introverts often sit in the front of the class and take notes, while the extroverts sit in the back and engage in conversation with the professor.

Sixty-seven percent of students surveyed claimed that their personality type is a factor in finding their success at Clark.

“I feel that if someone has a positive attitude, then they will be motivated to succeed in college,” one student said through online polling. “I definitely think my personality has a huge factor in my success at Clark.”

 

Data from our student survey represented by pie charts. Of those surveyed, 53% identified as ambiverts, 39% as introverts and 8% as extroverts. 67% felt their personality type had been a factor in their success at Clark, and 63% had felt judged because of their personality.

 

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