I talk a lot about the fact that introverts are reflective, introspective and creative. There is no denying that introverts have beautiful minds. But the question is, are introverts smarter than extroverts?
To answer that, we must first address the fact that introverts and extroverts have different stuff going on upstairs.
Introvert brain vs. extrovert brain
First of all, the brains of introverts and extroverts have different levels of activation. Extroverts have a lower level of activation, causing them to seek out higher levels of stimulation to feel alert, and at their best. This is why extroverts tend to be more social. They are also drawn to risk-taking activities. Meanwhile, introverts are more risk-averse and contemplative.
Since introverts need less stimulation to feel engaged, we prefer low-key activities, such as reading, reflecting, or having coffee with a close friend. Sometimes, we might need an extra jolt of stimulation after a long period of solitude. But we’ll usually crave quiet comforts much sooner and more frequently than extroverts.
Why introverts think more
There is another reason our brain urges us toward quiet, contemplative activities. A 2013 study by Randy Buckner of Harvard University found evidence that introverts have more gray matter in our prefrontal cortex. Since this is the part of the brain associated with abstract thinking and decision making, it makes sense that introverts like to think things through before acting.
While our love of deep contemplation is often helpful, it can also be a hindrance, pulling us away from the present moment, and into the vortex of our own cyclical thoughts. Sometimes these thoughts swirl out of control. Our mind becomes our master, rather than the other way around. They say there is a fine line between genius and madness. The overthinking introvert tiptoes dangerously close to the edge.
Indeed, we introverts wear the role of mad scientist and genius creative well. But does that mean that introverts are smarter than extroverts?
Are introverts smarter than extroverts?
The way our brain works makes it easy for introverts to be at home inside our mind. We live in our head, and when our own thoughts don’t drive us mad, we quite like it in there. Our contemplative nature makes it appear that introverts are smarter than extroverts. But that doesn’t mean we actually are. Thinking a lot is different than thinking with intelligence.
One could argue that the thicker gray matter in our prefrontal cortex means introverts are smarter. But there is no conclusive scientific evidence to support that.
My personal belief is that introverts and extroverts are equally intelligent, but we express it in different ways. I liken it to the way two chefs can make completely different dishes using the same ingredients. We might appear smarter, but really we just like to slowly simmer our thoughts instead of serving them flash fried.
What do you think?
Do you think introverts are smarter than extrovert? What differences have you noticed between the way you think vs. the way your extroverted friends think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.