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Are Introverts More Natural at Social Psychology?

For years people have been associating being introverted with negative connotations. The fact of the matter is, there weren’t enough studies to prove so. So Yale University took the initiative to learn more about introverted individuals and found surprising results.

In a study conducted in 2018, psychologists from Yale found that introverts who are more melancholic seem to be more attuned to understanding people on a social level because they recognize human nature better, even without formal training.

What Makes Introverts Different?

It was assumed that to be a social psychologist officially, you would need extensive training and specific tools to be able to decipher the very roots of human nature. But thanks to the new study by Yale psychologists, that assumption has been put to rest.

The study showed that a particular group of individuals could assess the truth about human social nature. And this is without training and the proper tools. But, surprisingly, the group that excelled in this field were those melancholic introverts.

Introverts prone to melancholy seem to be more astute at understanding how we behave in groups than their gregarious peers. It seems to be a case of sadder but wiser. They don’t view the world through rose-colored glasses as jovial and extroverted people do.

Anton Gollwitzer

(Source: Yale University)

How Was the Study Conducted?

Anton Gollwitzer, John Bargh, and the rest of the team on the study asked about a thousand subjects 40 questions on how people think and feel within a social context. These questions have been answered and extensively studied by social psychologists.

Some of the questions include;

  • Do people work harder in groups or individuals?
  • Do people feel more responsible for their behavior in groups or individuals?
  • Does catharsis work; If I am angry, will taking out my hostilities on a stuffed doll make me feel better?

A link to the survey can be found here. (Source: Yale University)

What Were the Results?

Based on the data gathered from the survey, on average, people work harder when they are alone compared to being in a group. When people are in groups, they tend to feel less responsible for the workload than when they have to do things independently.

After the survey, the researchers did a series of social experiments to identify certain traits of those who answered the questions correctly. Intelligence and the desire to engage in the complexities of the problem were the key factors found in the candidates chosen for the experiment. They also noticed that those classified as introverts answered more accurately than the extroverted candidates.

It could be that the melancholic, introverted people are spending more time observing human nature than those who are busy interacting with others, or they are more accurate at introspection because they have fewer motivational biases. Either way, though, this demonstrates an unappreciated strength of introverts.

Anton Gollwitzer

Gollwitzer also stressed that those who scored high on the tests about human nature do not have the same skill and knowledge as a trained professional. They were noted to be natural social psychologists by the end of the study.

These ‘natural’ social psychologists, because they better understand social phenomena, may be able to interpret and even predict social changes in our society — maybe they are exactly what is missing from our current governance and positions of power.

Anton Gollwitzer

(Source: Yale University)

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