Introversion is the state of being predominantly interested in one's own mental self. Introverts are typically perceived as more reserved or reflective.
Some popular psychologists have characterized introverts as people whose energy tends to expand through reflection and dwindle during interaction. This is similar to Jung's view, although he focused on mental energy rather than physical energy. Few modern conceptions make this distinction.
Introverts often take pleasure in solitary activities such as reading, writing, using computers, hiking, or fishing. The archetypal artist, writer, sculptor, scientist, engineer, composer, and inventor are all highly introverted. An introvert is likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people, though they may enjoy interactions with close friends.
Introverts prefer to concentrate on a single activity at a time and like to observe situations before they participate, especially observed in developing children and adolescents. They are more analytical before speaking.
Introverts are easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation from social gatherings and engagement, introversion having even been defined by some in terms of a preference for a quiet, more minimally stimulating external environment.
Mistaking introversion for shyness is a common error. Introversion is a preference, while shyness stems from distress. Introverts prefer solitary to social activities, but do not necessarily fear social encounters like shy people do.
Susan Cain argues that modern Western culture misjudges the capabilities of introverted people, leading to a waste of talent, energy and happiness. Cain describes how society is biased against introverts, and that, with people being taught from childhood that to be sociable is to be happy, introversion is now considered "somewhere between a disappointment and pathology".
In contrast, Cain says that introversion is not a "second-class" trait but that both introverts and extraverts enrich society, with examples including the introverts J. K. Rowling, Avicii, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Seuss, W. B. Yeats, Steven Spielberg and Larry Page.
The trait of extraversion–introversion is a central dimension of human personality theories.
The terms introversion and extraversion were popularized by Carl Jung, although both the popular understanding and psychological usage differ from his original intent.
Extraversion tends to be manifested in outgoing, talkative, energetic behavior, whereas introversion is manifested in more reserved and solitary behavior.
Virtually all comprehensive models of personality include these concepts in various forms.
Extraversion and introversion are typically viewed as a single continuum, so to be high in one necessitates being low in the other. Carl Jung and the developers of the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator provide a different perspective and suggest that everyone has both an extraverted side and an introverted side, with one being more dominant than the other.
Rather than focusing on interpersonal behavior, however, Jung defined introversion as an "attitude-type characterised by orientation in life through subjective psychic contents" (focus on one's inner psychic activity) and extraversion as "an attitude type characterised by concentration of interest on the external object" (focus on the outside world).