UPDATED: I’ve appended a note to this article following comments on Facebook.


A recent study has found introverts are more likely than extraverts* to notice and get all judgy about typos and grammatical errors.

Why?

Maybe, says the study’s author, it’s because introverts are more sensitive to variability (ie mistakes), so they draw on additional mental resources and feel greater (unpleasant) arousal.

It makes sense when you consider some of the ways introverts differ from extraverts: introverts have a higher baseline level of arousal, choose more concrete language, and use greater resources to process external stimuli.

And it’s not only language – in general introverts can be a pretty easily-irked lot. Which factors into our avoidance of people and noise and drama.

But it’s helpful to understand why we’re so irkable.

Otherwise, it’s easy to feel like a horrible misanthrope among extraverts who notice so much less, whose irk-meter needles hardly seem to budge.

But we are not, in fact, awful people. We’re simply more aroused. And not in the good way.

And that points the way to living a happier introvert life, something that comes more naturally to extraverts.

How?

We can forgive ourselves for the overwhelm all the constant noticing makes us feel. We can stop judging ourselves for being so… judgy. We can realise our brains are wired the way they’re wired, and let ourselves and everyone else off the hook for being the way we all are.

We can hear the little voice in our head getting its knickers in a knot about something that doesn’t register for most of the population, and simply say (assuming the little voice has ears), I hear ya little one.

We can smile to ourselves, knowing that as introverts we have many solitary and simple pleasures for comfort, like reading and creating and our favourite shows and music and art.

We can soothe ourselves with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and escape into the delights of a good book.

And just hope there are no fucking typos.


* Extravert is the correct spelling in psychology – which is my background, and the perspective from which I write. Because I’ve received a barrage of complaints – often surprisingly rude – about this spelling, in later articles I’ve switched to extrovert. Given this study, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised introvert readers of this blog react the way they do!

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