STAR: Which Type of Introvert Are You? 

For a long time introverts have been seen by society as shy and socially anxious or awkward. There has been one simple way to define what an introvert is in the science world: the opposite of an extrovert. End of story. Recently, science has begun to break down the stigma behind introversion. Countless studies analyzing the personality trait have been and are currently being released. They've been long awaited. As a personality trait, introversion is understandably more complex than it seems to be at first glance.

With the scientific exploration of introversion comes the erosion of real-life barriers in regards to introverts. The ability for us to proudly wear our introspection and other characteristics on our sleeves. To tell a potential employer that you would describe yourself as introverted without dreading their connotation of the word. 

I've previously vaguely defined what an introvert is. That definition, however, was only the tip of the iceberg. There are four types of introversion which come together to form the acronym 'STAR' (Social introversion, Thinking introversion, Anxious introversion, and Restrained or Inhibited introversion). This is what research conducted by psychologist Jonathan M. Cheek of Wellesley College and team points towards. 

Find 'Four Meanings of Introversion: Social, Thinking, Anxious, and Inhibited Introversion' and 'Personality Scales for Four Domains of Introversion: Social, Thinking, Anxious, and Restrained Introversion' here

The researchers applied a variety of personality scales to 225 female college students each pertaining to one of the forms of introversion. These scales included the preference for solitude (Burger, 1995) in order to measure social introversion, the Openness scale of the Big Five (John, Donahue, & Kentle, 1991) to calculate thinking introversion, Hypersensitive Narcissism (Hendin & Cheek, 1977) for anxious introversion, and EASI activity (Buss & Plomin, 1975) with regards to inhibited introversion. A study off of which they later based another research project.

The next occasion upon which they studied STAR introversion Cheek and his colleagues used 10 item scales to analyze the domains of introversion. Again using 225 female college students as participants in the study as well as online participants via Amazon MTurk. Volunteers filled out questionnaires designed to score each of their STAR attributes. Click here to take the quiz and find out what kind of introvert you are. 

As Cheek's research demonstrates, not all introverts are the same nor can they be reduced to the 'opposite of extroverts'. More and more people are becoming self-proclaimed introverts as it shifts from being viewed as an undesirable trait to something with broader definitions. What are some of these definitions?

Social Introversion
This type of introvert is your 'by the book' introvert, if you will. The one that shies away from social situations and prefers to keep their minimal encounters to a maximum number of invitees. Their utopia entails spending Saturday night alone on their couch- with the exception of their pet- watching Television. When they do spend time with people they need to go off by themselves afterwards to 'recharge'.  Being around others drains their energy like nothing else. Not to be confused with social anxiety, they enjoy solitude. 

Thinking Introversion
Introspection is a part of this introvert's daily routine. Chances are if you're having a conversation with them they're only listening to and processing about half of what you're saying. They're in their own little world for the rest of it. Whatever is going on over there is much more interesting than the affairs at a party. According to Cheek this person is "capable of getting lost in an internal fantasy world, but it's not in a neurotic way, it's in an imaginative and creative way". As a result of their habit of frequently zoning out they might seem uninterested or boring. 

Anxious Introversion
The majority of their thoughts involve ruminations on past experiences that they're ashamed of or associate with embarrassment. When in a social situation they feel awkward and self-conscious. So they aren't too confident about their social skills and make an effort to avoid uncomfortable situations. These situations could involve meeting new people or participating in a loud and crowded event. 

Restrained Introversion
Unlike the vast majority of people who speak before they think this type of introvert makes a point to carefully craft their responses. Every one of their actions also tends to be deliberate. I'm grateful to score high on this attribute. Its allowed me to avoid many unimaginably embarrassing scenarios. They excel at independent work and tasks. They also prefer to smell the roses and move through life at a relatively moderate pace. Unsurprisingly, restrained introverts are typically not morning people. 

Well, there you have it. Further evidence that none of us can be crammed into a box despite the fact that it may seem more convenient than its alternatives. 


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