Carl Jung coined the terms introversion and extraversion to refer to two different psychological attitudes. By introversion, Jung meant a turning inward of the libido (psychic energy), whereas extraversion referred to a directing outward of the libido. Note that either term can be spelled with an “o” or an “a” (that is, either as above or as intraversion and extroversion). Although inconsistent, introversion and extraversion are the spellings used with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®(MBTI®) instrument, which is a popular personality assessment tool based on Jung’s type theory.
An introvert’s mind, emotions, attention, and so forth are turned inward toward himself or herself. Jung believed that the introvert directs the libido inward because of inferiority feelings, an idea reminiscent of Alfred Adler. Particularly during stressful periods, introverts tend to withdraw into themselves, to avoid others, and to be self-absorbed. With a bent toward self-sufficiency, the introvert’s essential stimulation is from within, from his or her inner world of thoughts and reflections. Introverts are frequently reserved and difficult to get to know, tend to bottle up their emotions, and need privacy. Introverts find that interacting with others drains their energy; for extraverts the opposite is true.
Extraverts orient primarily to the outer world, focusing their perceptions and judgments on people and things. Extraverts draw energy from other people and external experiences; tend to express their emotions; need relationships more than privacy; and are usually friendly, talkative, and easy to get to know. Extraverts may seem shallow to introverts, whereas introverts may seem withdrawn to extraverts. Both attitudes are present in all people, but usually one is preferred over the other.
On the MBTI®instrument, the E-I or Extraversion- Introversion index is one of four dichotomous scales. The other three are Sensing-Intuition (S-N), Thinking-Feeling (T-F), and Judging-Perceiving (J-P). The J-P scale was an addition by the test authors, as Jung did not directly identify this dichotomy.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBT).
Related Credo Articles
Extraversion–introversion is a personality factor that refers to the degree to which a person's basic orientation is turned inward (toward oneself)
In the 1920s, eminent Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung was the first of the modern personality theorists to clearly detail the difference between...
Extraversion is a broad trait that encompasses many distinct but related facets. A variety of characteristics, including positive affectivity,...