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My Take on Introversion and Extroversion
21 April 2011

by I/O

In many definitions, the word extroversion refers to how comfortable one is socially, and introversion is often synonymous with keeping to oneself. These terms are not meant as such in descriptions of temperament; there, they refer to our system of references. This article will show that introversion is associated with personal bias, intransigents and the process of stabilization while extroversion is linked to adaptability and the influence of the environment and people upon the psyche.

The IXXj identifies with their preparation and plans whereas the actualization of IXXp revolves around their knowledge or know how. The EXXj values their abilities to control situations while the EXXp are known for their abilities to see the world. These rudimentary conceptions of temperament indicate very different behaviour patterns resulting from introverted and extroverted orientations that give rise to how self is governed and how we interact with the world - a foundation upon which temperament, and hence, type is built.

The brain must acquire data from the environment in order for someone to operate in and on the environment. The word input refers to processes that gather data from the environment through our senses and retrieve information directly from our memory. Output refers to the processes of making decisions and determinations on input. A dominant input-output system governs much of our fundamental behaviour and underpins personality development.

Input can be presented to the brain in two ways. On a comparative basis, input (Ni,Si) filters all new information with respect to what is already known and residing in memory. Knowledge and skill is built incrementally from an established base of capabilities and knowledge. However, when these internally held references are not entirely complete or correct, a biasing effect (called aliasing) will exist. The second form of input (Ne,Se) uses an associative basis where unfiltered data is acquired in a prearranged format which adheres to the assumption that no matter how adjacent items are grouped, the same outcome would ensue - for example, (a+b)+c = a+(c+b). Association places no personal bias on the data itself although some of the information may lack relevance.

Output can be implemented in two ways as well. On an interactive basis, output (Fe,Te) makes decisions depending on the immediate situation, on what others say and as new approaches become available; processing is unfettered, flexible and unbiased. The process is to arrive at a consensus primarily from external sources as to the best approach, which may fail when such sources are not available. This is a serial process where there is a need for immediate closure in order to proceed to the next step. The second output methodology (Fi,Ti) is to operate from a plan, where actions and responses always follow a predetermined or previously executed approach. The objective is to take the plan to some conclusion. In this scenario, output processes have a personal bias because of the tendency to adhere to an internal plan, but when a completely new situation without precedent arises, such a set-up lacks adaptability and immediacy.

The psyche needs a balanced system to control cognitive brain functions. There must be a reference (sense) of self, which is achieved either though an accumulation of processes or information. There must also be a means to adapt to and operate in the environment, and this is also accomplished either through process or information. Note that information is distinct from process; although both are important, an individual will associate personal identity more with one than the other.

Introverted input and extroverted output integrate into a control system (in IXXp and EXXj types) where internal data forms a comparative reference that filters or refines all data, which creates a stabilizing effect. However, to counterbalance the inherent aliasing effects of the reference, output processes must be subject to external influence to facilitate learning and adaptation. Data needs to be analyzed with processes that aren't fixed in concrete and are highly influenced by others. Externally sourced processes provides the objectivity that is lacking in the internal reference system.

Introverted output and extroverted input integrate into the only other control system configuration (in IXXj and EXXp types) where information in memory is no more relevant than any newly acquired information and it's easily overwritten or swapped out. To counterbalance a somewhat unstable data source, output is governed by firmly established processes, strategies, plans and or concepts. Control in this configuration is aliased by output while input has no bias whatsoever. Note a second control system exists in everyone because when the dominant system fails, the psyche needs a backup with an entirely different approach.

In summary, all temperaments must have aspects that revolve around internal processes or data (self) and those that revolve around the external world. The internalized component provides the basis for stability of the psyche while the externalized provides the adaptability to the environment. Extroverted and introverted are respectively synonymous with externally and internally sourced references. In fact, the words internalized and externalized are more appropriate and less confusing adjectives to use to describe temperament and type. One should note that behaving like an introvert or extrovert in the dictionary sense is a far more complex issue that involves many other factors that affect the development of personality.
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