A study says that with the right photo, your Facebook text profile hardly matters. In most cases, your profile photo on Facebook tells viewers what they need to know to form an impression of you – no words are necessary, new research suggests. College students who viewed a Facebook photo of a fellow student having fun with friends rated that person as extroverted – even if his profile said he was "not a big people-person." The notion comes up that if you're an introvert in the mainstream or niche media, you don't have to be shy, and you don't have to shout to be heard.
Extroverts need more dopamine to feel an effect, whereas introverts have a low dopamine threshold. They don't require a lot of stimulation to feel energized. The few jobs open to introverts in the media may have very keen competition except for the very brightest and the best at what problems they solve through innovation, creativity, or technology.
You see a few outstanding exceptions with famous introverts in mainstream media TV such as the late Johnny Carson, former Tonight Show host, Jane Clayson, host of CBS Morning Show, Matt Lauer, co-host on the Today Show, David Letterman, host of the David Letterman Show, Diane Sawyer, co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America, and Barbara Walters, host of 20/20. Also see, "Amazon.com: Biographies of Famous Introverts" and "The richest people, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett are all introverts." See, Why introverts can be great leaders - CNN.com. You can be an introvert, but you don't have to be shy.
See, The Power of Introverts: You Don't Have to Shout to be Heard. Realistically, you find many introverts working at low-paying jobs in libraries, museums, doing the bookkeeping behind a computer in dentist's offices, and working in other quiet places, in such jobs as putting makeup on and dressing the dead in funeral parlors, or indexing, writing, and editing medical textbooks. There are introverts working for phone companies using computers, and there are introverts working in theoretical physics, typing the manuscripts or title insurance policies of others, or recycling e-waste products.
The question introverts may ask is how important is their photo on their Facebook page or any other public media compared to the photo of what they've created such as a work of art, a musical composition, or a book and it's colorful, eye-catching cover --compared to a photo of their own face? Should you put up a photo that looks normal or one that's more quirky than what might be considered 'normal' by most people on Facebook?
Do you want to make an impact, an impression, find release from burden or obligation, attract attention, or solve a problem by looking smarter, trustworthy, or more reliable? Should your photo look credible, validated by others, popular, acceptable, or odd? And should your photo and commentary on it show your extroversion or introversion? Would you prefer to write next to your photo, "I like to hang out with people," or "I enjoy solving problems and inventing or building devices or gadgets that work better, smarter, and for less cost"?
Or should you write next to your photo, "I like writing, art, and music -- or listening to music, visiting art galleries, and journaling?" Or "I like to travel and meet new people?" Or would you write, "As a nondriver, I enjoy watching travel videos, cooking healthier foods, walking, and gardening"?
How important is your photo on Facebook versus your achievements such as the cover of your book?
"Photos seem to be the primary way we make impressions of people on social networking sites," said Brandon Van Der Heide, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University, according to a March 6, 2010 news release, "Study: With the right photo, your Facebook text profile hardly matters." Also see, The Scientific Evidence for Introversion and Extroversion.
The exception is when a photo is out of the ordinary or shows someone in a negative light. In that case, people do use profile text to help interpret what kind of person is shown in the profile. "People will accept a positive photo of you as showing how you really are. But if the photo is odd or negative in any way, people want to find out more before forming an impression," he explained in the news release. Van Der Heide conducted the study with Jonathan D'Angelo and Erin Schumaker, graduate students in communication at Ohio State. Their results appear in a recent issue of the Journal of Communication. See, "Here's why we need a World Introvert Day."
The researchers conducted two studies
In one study, 195 college students viewed a mock Facebook profile of a person who was supposedly a fellow student. The profile included a photo and a written "about me" statement. Participants were asked to rate how extroverted they thought the student in the profile was, on a scale of 1 (least extroverted) to 7 (most extroverted) based on the photo and text.
The participants viewed one of four profiles: in one, both the photo (a person shown socializing with friends) and the text ("I'm happiest hanging out with a big group of friends") suggested an extrovert. A second profile had both a photo (a person alone on a park bench) and text ("I'm happiest curled up in my room with a good book") that suggested an introvert.
The other two profiles were mixed, with the photo suggesting an extravert and the text an introvert, and vice versa
The question the researchers wanted to answer was which mattered more – the photo or the text – in deciding whether the person was an extrovert or an introvert. Results showed the photo was generally most important, Van Der Heide said in the news release.
When the extroverted photo was shown, it barely mattered whether the text suggested the person was an introvert or extrovert – most participants rated the person as an extravert."It didn't matter what the profile text said – what mattered was the photograph," Van Der Heide explained in the news release.
But if the photograph suggested an introvert, people really did pay attention to the text. If the text also suggested an introvert, participants rated the person as such. But if the text suggested the person was an extravert, participants rated them as slightly less introverted. "They were still seen as introverted, because of their photo showing them alone on the park bench. But they got a little bump up in their extroversion rating because of their profile text suggesting they were extroverted."
These results support a theory that people generally pay closer attention to information that could be viewed as negative or not normal, Van Der Heide said in the news release. On social networking sites such as Facebook, users expect people to showcase themselves as happy, successful and sociable.
"If the photograph fits that image, people have little reason to question his or her judgments about this person's characteristics," he said in the news release. "But if the photo shows something we didn't expect – someone who is more introverted, for example – viewers want to read the text and do a little more interpretation."
These results are interesting, Van Der Heide said, because when people use text or photos alone to build an impression of someone, text may sometimes have a greater influence. This is especially true when conveying negative information.
In a separate study, 84 college students looked at one of the photos or read one of the text profiles used in the other experiment. But they had to rely simply on that text or that photo to rate the person's extroversion. Results showed that the participants who read the introverted descriptions rated the person as significantly more introverted than did those who saw the introverted photos – suggesting text was most influential. However, there was no significant difference between how participants rated the person described as extroverted and the person whose photo suggested extroversion.
"There are some cases where text may be more influential than photographs, particularly when they convey negative or unexpected information," he said in the news release. Van Der Heide said he believes the results apply beyond Facebook to dating websites and other social networking sites. It should also apply to other traits beyond extroversion and introversion, such as social desirability and even political orientation. It all depends on what is shown in the photographs, and what clues viewers can glean from them.
The key is that people have certain expectations of the photos they view on social networking websites, he said in the news release. "If your profile photo fits what they expect, observers may be unlikely to look very closely at the rest of your profile – they have already decided how they feel about you. But if your photo is not quite normal – either positively or negatively – people are going to pay a lot more attention to what you wrote."
Introverts get less attention in the media until they start speaking frequently in public
In the job market, in popular culture, and in the media, introverts get the short end of the stick unless the jobs require sitting alone at home for hours in front of a computer, music instrument, or other device working on the details of a specific project, invention, or creative work such as composing music for a screenplay, writing articles or books, or illustrating the covers of books, designing, or inventing, solving math problems, or doing work that doesn't require the input of a team. Check out the site, Are Extroverts Happier than Introverts? | Psychology Today.
Extroverted bosses may tend to take over a project instead of letting the more introverted employees develop creative ideas into practical solutions used to solve problems in a company. It's as if some of the more extroverted bosses wanted to take credit for or toot their own horn based on the inventions of their more introverted employees who needed to work alone for long periods of time to solve the problems or design the outcome.
What may be happening is that introverts have more accessibility to the dopamine hormones in their brains. See, What Does It Mean to Be an Introvert? Introverts are highly sensitive to dopamine. If their bodies produce too much of it, they feel over-stimulated.
Extroverts recharge their batteries (and get energized) from being among people or attending events where they can talk to people or having people visit them in their homes. Introverts recharge their batteries (get more energy) from spending time alone pursuing their interests such as doing creative work, writing letters, reading books, or watching videos, taking walks alone to refresh themselves by looking at or photographing/painting nature scenes, or being with their pet or collection and from creative/innovative projects. Whether you're an introvert or an extravert depends on which activity you use to recharge your batteries, that is get your energy restored and what makes you feel more relaxed.
Introverts relax by staying home. Extroverts relax by finding new ways to meet people or see and speak to people. The problem in society is that introverts get the short shrift when it comes to being hired. Most employers look for outgoing people to make contact with prospective customers.
People who are introverts and who take courses to become public speakers may be pretending to be extroverts for so many years to work in front of cameras, that it eventually takes a toll on their health. They may be better off in radio where they can work alone in a studio or home basement with a microphone and computer, since there are more male than females in talk radio. But you don't need to be especially outgoing to be a radio talk show host as you would in face-to-face sales such as in real estate, public relations, or other sales. Introverts in public relations may feel more comfortable writing press releases and corporate white papers, whereas extroverts may feel better in advertising making face-to-face presentations all day with corporate leaders in the boardrooms and sales showrooms.
As far as media, the culture of introversion favors working in an area where there are long periods of peace and quiet undisturbed by foot traffic going past your desk all day or traveling to sell display advertising, which favors the health of the extravert needing to make human contacts in order to recharge batteries (get energy restored to the body). Check out the site, Introverted Church: January 2011. See, Introverts Make Great Radio Personalities | Beverly Mahone Media. Also see, How To Start Own Radio Talk Show Host free Tips Broadcasting.
Some employers do look for a few introverts to work on creative projects, but most (not all) bosses want team players to constantly interact with people in order to make the company look great, not the designer. About 85% of radio talk show hosts are introverts, but most TV speakers are extroverts. For further information see, "The Astonishing Truth About Introverts & Extroverts," and "On Demand marketing for introverts talk radio podcast." Also, highly recommended is the book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts - By Susan Cain. Also see, Susan Cain: The power of introverts | Video on TED.com.
Researchers estimate extroverts make up 50 - 74 percent of the population
Social extroverts in the media and in society in general thrive under social stimulation. Extroverts focus on their external environment, the people and activities around them. Extroverts thrive in active, fast-paced jobs, such as politics, teaching and sales, where quick decisions are commonplace. Extroverts learn by doing and enjoy talking through ideas and problems. Multi-tasking comes easily to them. Two examples of famous extroverts are Oprah and current U.S. President, Barack Obama, according to the Psychology Today magazine article, "Are Extroverts Happier than Introverts? | Psychology Today." Steve Jobs appeared to be more famous and was an extrovert than Steve Wosniak, thought to be an introvert, according to an interview broadcast on TV from writer, Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts.
In the Psychology Today magazine article, "Are Extroverts Happier than Introverts?," it's surmised that the other 16 - 50 percent of the population consists of introverts, who get their energy from having “alone time.” Careers promoting introvert’s strength include scientists, writers and artists, although television personalities David Letterman and Barbara Walters are self-proclaimed introverts. Introverts enjoy spending time alone or in small groups of people, but may get overwhelmed in new situations or in large groups of people. They prefer to focus on one task at a time and observe a situation before jumping in. Multitasking is not really what an introvert would prefer on a job.
Neither is speaking to people all day on the phone, unless the introvert is a talk show host on his or her own show and works alone in a studio, usually at home, or with one other person controlling the engineering side of radio broadcast, such as the person who retrieves the technical information. Website designers also may enjoy the introverted side of that type of job where people can work undisturbed by lots of foot traffic and constant talking to different people in a face-to-face environment such as a department store clerk. But put the introvert in front of a microphone at home, and the person can become more expressive as a speaker when given more control of his or her own creativity, choice of projects or topics, or research depth.
As extroverts enjoy what's broad in scope, many introverts enjoy delving into the depths of one topic such as math, law, science, literature, art, engineering, technical problem-solving, or musical composition. Introverts may prefer to be counselors rather than teachers because of the one-on-one social situations. Some introverts enjoy doing statistics or other math work in the sciences and other introverts really enjoy writing, journaling, or creating whether it's craft work family newsletters, or novels and medical text books or factual articles.
Many introverts enjoy making the complex easy to understand for the general reader or interpreting what technical or complex results really mean in plain language. Other introverts enjoy writing guidebooks or articles that let readers or viewers learn how to solve a problem or build something step-by-step in easy-to-follow plans, such as making manuals easier to understand.
Helping people seems to be more enjoyable when helping them online rather than face-to-face when it comes to solving computer technical problems faced by the general public such as in a technical support job. And to some introverts, flexible hours are preferred, although you have extroverts with family commitments or after retirement also needed flexible hours at work, play, or hobby interests.
The brains of introverts and extroverts are wired differently
The front part of introvert’s brains are most active and stimulated by solitary activities while the back part of extrovert’s brains are most active. The back part of the brain is stimulated by sensory events coming in from the external world such as parties, talking to people, and events where one can meet and talk with new people. Travel would be included as transportation--getting there also is a chance to see and talk with new people or even travel with friends.
Dopamine as an automatic reward
The hormone, dopamine is released by our brains whenever we experience something positive. It’s an automatic reward center and makes us feel good. Extroverts need more dopamine to feel an effect, whereas introverts have a low dopamine threshold. They don’t require a lot of stimulation to feel rewarded.
Some people eat chocolate to feel better or more in a good mood. Dopamine has been called a brain chemical rather than a hormone. But it's a neurohormone released by the hypothalamus. Its main function as a neurotransmitter and a neurohormone is to inhibit the release of prolactin. Dopamine also plays a role in Parkinson's disease, which involves not enough dopamine in the brain. See, Introversion - a Health Risk? | Introversion, Personal Development.
Which Type is Most Successful Introverts or Extroverts?
Issues may arise when an introvert and extrovert marry if the wife wants to go out to a party or other event to see people interacting and the husband wants to stay home and read, work on a project, or "watch the game." An introvert may view an extrovert as bossy and overbearing and wanting all the glamor and fame of what the introvert created focused on the boss rather than on the employee. Some extroverted publishers even refer to their primary authors in public or in front of people important to them as their assistants rather than their authors.
For some extrovert bosses, it's most important to take credit themselves for what the introverted employee did to increase the company's business or income rather than focus on the achievements of the introverted employee making the company 'shine' or wealthier, at least in public.
It's as if the extroverted employer needs to be the star at the cost of forcing the introverted thinker, creative whiz, or designer-inventor to maintain the "starving artist" role. You can see this when a publisher or movie producer refers to his or her 'stable' of writers instead of his her her 'team' or 'staff' of writers. As if horses belong in a stable as do most creative introverts. The way out for many introverts is to start their own businesses or radio talk shows and work alone from one room or studio in their home.
Examples of introverts who became more successful than their publishers or producers are some of the top screenwriters, musical composers, artists, inventors, or theoretical physicists. Numerous introverts became famous as comic book illustrators and story writers. But often their publishers force them into giving up their copyrights, and they end up broke while the publishers make millions.
One example is the fate of some of the creators of various types of comics or musical compositions where the publishers bought the copyrights for very little money. Sometimes literary agents as business people may be more extroverted than the writers of the novels they promote. See, "Writer Wednesday: What Is Your Writing Personality?"
An extrovert may view an introvert as aloof, distant, snobbish, stuck up, anxious or shy. Some introverts never learn to drive by choice or attribute not passing a driving exam to test-taking anxiety. They may score perfectly on the written part, but forget the details most looked for in the driving part due to social anxiety. In fact, shyness is a trait commonly used to describe introvert, but both personality types can be shy. Shyness is a feeling of uneasiness or anxiety experienced in social situations. Unlike introverts, who prefer less social stimulation, shy people often crave social interaction, but avoid it for fear of criticism or rejection.
So which personality type has the real advantage, the extrovert or the introvert? Experience shows teamed up, the extrovert and the introvert, are a powerful team. Steve Jobs, a charismatic extrovert, teamed up with introvert Steve Wozniak to co-found Apple Inc.
Are Extroverts Happier Than Introverts?
There’s no clear answer to this question. Current tests consistently rate extroverts higher on the happiness scale than introverts. However, many of these tests measure degree of happiness using activities like socializing and interacting with the outside world, both of which extroverts need to thrive! Introverts do experience happiness when they around other people, but are most happy when participating in lower-key activities. These are not accounted for on current tests and likely causes introverts to score lower.
There also appears to be a cultural factor affecting the happiness level of extroverts and introverts. Many Western cultures tend to favor extroverted personalities, people who act quickly, appear friendly and are outgoing. Introverts often feel pressure to be extroverts, which can lead to anxiety or lowered self-esteem.
A majority of Eastern cultures tend to encourage people who are more contemplative, quiet and appear serene. Introverts in these cultures don’t feel the stigma to be extroverted and so are more accepting of their inherent personality. Research supports the keys to happiness lie in having a sense of purpose, self acceptance and a supportive social network, which both personality types can form. Perhaps happiness truly is in the eye of the beholder.
Increased level of self-awareness in introverts
Research by the University of Houston-Victoria during the year 2001 actually established that introverted personalities suffer from a significantly lower level of subjective well-being and reduced psychological well-being combined with an increased self-awareness (in terms of self reflection) than extroverted persons. See, Dopamine vs. Acetylcholine and Blood Flow.
Is your brain relying more on acetylcholine or on dopamine to create a balance in your general health and feelings of well-being? See, Extroversion, Introversion, and the Brain.
In times of crises introverts tend to react by retreating more than extroverts. That is their usual coping strategy and an essentially thoroughly sound reflex to stressful situations considering that they actually do require peace and alone-time in order to re-charge their batteries. Check out the site, 10 Myths About Introverts | CarlKingdom.com: Writer. Director. Artist.
When introverts isolate themselves from the people around them, the isolation may cause a decrease in the myelin in their brains which may create more social anxiety leading to further isolation. Innumerable studies have demonstrated that especially at times of crises, social support by family and friends provides an extremely important protection factor from stress and depression.
Check out the sites, Dopamine vs. Acetylcholine and Blood Flow, Revenge of the introverts - Psychologies, and Neurochemistry of Introversion [Archive]. Introverts are highly sensitive to Dopamine. Too much of it and they can feel overstimulated. See the sites, What Does It Mean to Be an Introvert? and Extraversion and introversion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Check out the site, Gene variants may increase risk of anxiety disorders.
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