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Differentiating introversion



Apparently, there are 4 types of introversion. At least, according to a working paper led by psychologist Jonathan Cheek at Wellesley College. Ever since the success of Susan Cain’s Quiet, introversion has been having its moment for the first time in history. There’s never been a time when staying in on a Saturday night is “cool”.

The aim of this study is to expand the definition of introversion, rather than just letting introverted traits get shoved by popular media into one giant, long-stigmatized, still often-misunderstood umbrella term. Cheek called it the STAR system, with each type’s initials forming the word “star”.


Traits for each type

  • Social:
    • prefers small groups (as opposed to large ones)
    • not necessarily anxious about large groups
    • sometimes even prefer solitude
  • Thinking:
    • introspective
    • thoughtful
    • self-reflective
    • have a rich inner life, often described as a daydreamer
  • Anxious:
    • shy
    • highly sensitive
    • self-conscious in social situations
    • tends to ruminate negative experiences
  • Reserved:
    • prefers to think before they act
    • slow to speak or act
    • can’t wake up and immediately spring into action

Screen shot 2015-07-03 at 5.16.59 PM

The quiz results over at Science of Us shows that I’m slightly more of a thinking introvert, borderline social, slightly restrained, and not too anxious (you can take the test here). Hmmm.


Introverted Thinking (Ti)

A Judging function in MBTI

When you look at this from the MBTI standpoint, the thinking introversion of this STAR system sounds a lot like the Ti function of a person. It’s a Judging function (as opposed to a Perceiving one) that’s often associated with types INTP, ISTP, ENTP, and ESTP.

Perceiving functions in MBTI (information-gathering)
Judging functions (decision-making)

If you have no idea what’s all this type and personality and functions mumbo-jumbo, take a look at my first discussion on MBTI.

As an INFJ, the Ti is my tertiary function (after Introverted iNtuition [Ni] and Extraverted Feeling [Fe]), and it serves as the balancing act when it comes to my personal philosophy and belief system. If you’ve ever been through life circumstances that leaves you dazed and not knowing what to believe anymore, then you know what I’m talking about.

The Ti is always there for you in this ever-changing world. Unlike the INTJ, whose Thinking function is directed outward (their auxiliary function is Te), the INFJ thinks inward to self-reflect and introspect. The Te person tends to think forward by strategizing, systemizing, and organizing with maximum efficiency. They like concrete “facts” and are very objective in their thinking, therefore they’re more likely to become successful scientists or lawyers. The Ti person (like the INTP), on the other hand, is more like a teacher or philosopher. They structure things internally because they see no point in expressing their rational judgments in the here and now when facts and statistics are constantly changing. They apply their own “truths” to themselves and therefore, these people tend to have amazing self-control.


What I fear

As if there aren’t enough social divides in modern society already, I’m afraid introverts are going to separate themselves from one another. We have gender biases, racial divides, sexual prejudices, religious segregations and now personality detachment. What more systems do we want to set us all apart? (I’m sure any other INFJ would say the same thing)


We’re currently in the “celebrating introversion” era where all of us rejoice being our authentic selves and no longer feel pressured to go out socializing and partying every single night. It’s physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy for introverts now to own this freedom to express (or rather, not feeling the need to express) our individuality. But we all know good intentions don’t always lead to good results …

As much as I’m glad that now someone’s around to show the distinctions between one introvert from another and further elaborating on the “what’s not” part of “what’s introversion and what’s not”, as long as we’re living in an ego-driven society, creating more divisions among ourselves are only going to mean more war than it does promote peace.

Then again, maybe I’m thinking too much. This is one of the rare times I express my rational judgments on the blog, which I don’t plan to do too often any time soon …




What do you think? And if you’re an introvert, which one are you?



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