Monday, July 16, 2007

I'm an Innie

This guy has recently been reading The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney. I first alluded to it back in March on this post called Introversion. I had seen a short feature on the news, and it interested me. I mean to say, I don't have that much longer to figure out who I am and why I am that way.

Laney calls us Innies, and we're that way because our brains are wired differently. Our neural pathways are different than those of Outies. They are longer, take a different route and involve different neurotransmitters.

You can see it on the following diagram from Olsen's book (no you probably can't, but if you click on it to see an enlarged view it in a new window, you can). The introvert's response pathway to a stimulus takes a longer route, has 7 stops, and ends up in a different place compared to the extrovert's shorter, 5-stop pathway.



Basically, if understand it at all (and I'm weak on technical stuff), outies require dopamine for stimulation and get this by being active. Innies, however, tend to feel good when acetylcholine is in play: "It affects attention and learning (especially perceptual learning), influences the ability to sustain a calm, alert feeling and stimulates a good feeling when thinking and feeling." You see? Outies tend to require social activity to feel good while innies require a calmer, more reflective environment to feel good. Isn't that interesting?

So, you see, we innies are simply wired differently. It is my understanding that introversion has nothing to do with nurture or being shy; it has to do with internal wiring. Introversion and shyness, apparently, have little or nothing to do with each other. Shyness has more to do with fear than with basic personality, and it is quite possible for extroverts to be shy. I was somewhat surprised to learn that.

What does it mean or matter? Well, the ever-perspicacious they say that knowledge is power. Sometimes we wonder why we are the way we are and we may think ourselves either odd or lacking or both if we are different than the majority. When we understand that we are not flawed but just different, we may learn to relax and breathe easier when we are placed in a typical outie situation: like one of the damnable social events that outies love so much. And we will certainly find ourselves, in outie-favored situations because they rule by majority. You see, seventy-five percent of people are extroverts.

It is by default and not by flaws in the nurturing process that we are different. If we're innies, we may have been programmed by society to think of our differences as fundamental flaws, but they are not. We innies are simply made differently, and we have their own set of strengths ... and weaknesses. As do outies.

Well, that's enough for one post. I think a major rule of blogging should be an adaptation of the KISS principle: Keep it Simple and Short, and I guess I have already violated that principle to some degree. Perhaps I'll follow this up at some point. I'm not sure.

15 comments:

ChrisB said...

That was such an interesting post. I've learned a lot; I think I must be a sort of 'innie' and I can now blame the way I am on my brain.

Anonymous said...

I maintain that I am an innie that pretends to be an outie some of the time. :)

~Sha

Laurie said...

Wow, that is very interesting. Thank you!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

From what you write, I'm an innie too. I like me this way.

KGMom said...

Several years ago, my husband & I took personality tests called Myers-Briggs. Similar kind of dichotomy being tested for--extroversion or introversion. We both tested as strong introverts!
Your post gives me the biologic explanation. Most interesting.

Dale said...

Oh, I get it. Personalities then, is it? I thought you were writing about your belly button.

PBS said...

I really want to read that book! I'm positive that I'm an innie. That also explains why some of the most outgoing people have said to me, "I'm shy too!" and I didn't believe them. Guess it is possible.

Pam said...

OK, at first I thought you were talking about belly buttons...

But personalities, well, I'm an innie, one of my daughter's and both of my granddaughters are, too. Right from the begining.

Bonita said...

I think of the beauty of manner of the Indians I've known, extroverted in a most gentle, warm, and non-verbal way. I'd like to be like them.

thailandchani said...

I'm definitely an innie and have always believed it has some biological origin. Nothing else makes much sense.

Have you ever taken Meyer-Briggs test mentioned above? I'm INTJ.. and the description really does fit!


Peace,

~Chani

Valerie - Still Riding said...

I must be an outie, stuff gets right to me. I can be shy but not often. I just try to strike up a conversation and then they are talking to me..

I believe we are all unique, is that an oxymoron?

Wired or progamed you are you. I like you just the way you are.

Rhea said...

For a long time I confused shyness with introversion. Now I get it. People I know who are introverted get 'recharged' by being on their own. People who are extroverted (like me) get recharged by being with people.

Gina said...

I am an extrovert who has some introverted tendencies. But probably overall, an extrovert.

karla said...

Well this little innie has been quite reflective on the new word she has learned today:

perspicacious

I have mentally replayed how I can use it in real life conversation many times now.

Pearl said...

That's fascinating. I had thought the link between shy and introverted should be incidentals not causals.