First, as Kagan himself frequently emphasizes, there are many factors beyond high-reactivity that can produce introverted or extroverted qualities. Reactivity to novelty is just one component, and many other aspects of life experience may either enhance or overshadow that component in the shaping of personality.
Second, being high-reactive or low-reactive is a mixed blessing in either case.
How to Successfully Deal with Conflict as an Introvert
High-reactives are more sensitive, which can increase their risk of being negatively affected, but can also enhance their ability to learn and grow from enriched environments. The phenomenon regarding the positive aspects of being a high-reactive child has been further examined in the orchid hypothesis , a term coined by writer David Dobbs. Dobbs suggests that some children are like dandelions, plants able to thrive in just about any environment, while other children are like orchids.
The orchid is more fragile than the dandelion, but given the right environment, it can produce a rare and extraordinary blossom. Chapter 4 Is Temperament Destiny? In this chapter, a lot of data is revealed suggesting that qualities of temperament are manifest from a very early age and that personality is malleable as we grow. What would you identify as your temperament i. In what ways has your adult personality transcended your temperament? In what ways has it not? Were you surprised to learn that adult personality traits could be predicted by responses to new stimuli at such an early age?
If this is true, what do you think it means about how our emotional responses influence our personality?
16 Personality Types (Myers–Briggs and Keirsey) - Infographic
Do you agree with the orchid hypothesis as a reasonable framework through which to view some of the potential benefits of being a high-reactive, or do you feel this hypothesis is biased towards introverts? What type of data or study would help support or refute it? Shock effect: Create a surprising shock effect i.
Have students evaluate their response on the Kagan high-reactive—low-reactive scale. Lemon juice test: Have students take the lemon juice test by having them place drops of lemon juice on the tips of their tongues. The theory here is that high-reactives will salivate more than low-reactives. Discuss whether the two tests reveal the same temperament in each student. Control group: Have the students split into two groups in two different rooms. Have individuals in each group try to solve as many simple math problems as they can in ten minutes.
Interrupt one group with some kind of brief startle effect twice during the ten minutes.
Evaluate the accuracy and number of problems solved by each group, noting the different results by the control group and the startle group. Interview students in the startle group and ask them whether they feel their results were compromised because of the distractions. For a different take on this activity, instead of introducing the startle effect, the teacher plays loud music for one group and soft music for the other group while they are solving the problems.
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Home research: Track the number of times you are interrupted during the course of one day and record your responses to these interruptions in your journal. Rate the effect of each interruption on a scale from 0 to10 see scale below. Describe what impact the interruptions had on your productivity and how much time it took for you to get back to the task at hand. Temperament is not destiny, but it does place limits on what we can do. Oxygen use reflects changes in neural activity as different brain regions become more or less active. Schwartz found that the same individuals who had been characterized as high-reactives in the second year of their lives showed elevated responses to novel faces in a brain region called the amygdala.
Individuals with conditions such as anxiety and depression frequently have been found to have high amygdala responses, possibly reflecting a greater tendency toward worrying. However, with help from the highly evolved prefrontal cortex, most of us are fully capable of overriding our amygdala responses.
This is what allows shy people to overcome their anxieties in situations that initially make them uncomfortable, such as attending cocktail parties or speaking in public. Still, the fact that amygdale responses were stronger in high-reactive children many years after they were first assessed tells us something important about temperament: we can change who we are, but only to a certain degree. Therefore, it is important for each person to learn where his or her own comfort zone lies and to try to stay there as much as possible.
Too little novelty can become boring, but too much can be overwhelming. What is your sweet spot? How do you know?
Can we change them: Students discuss, in pairs, whether it is easier to expand the repertoire of behaviors and social skills of an introvert or the reflection and sensitivity of an extrovert. Walk a mile in my shoes: Have students role-play conversations in which introverts try to be more extroverted and extroverts try to be more introverted. What difficulties does each type have emulating the other type?
What actually feels useful about reversing roles? Also, reflect on your comfort level on the normal days. Are you fully comfortable in your normal pattern? Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were among two of the most influential political figures of twentieth-century American life, but they represent remarkably distinct leadership styles. Eleanor, on the other hand, was shy, awkward, and unsure of herself in many ways, but she retained a gravitas, a sensitivity, and an intellectual depth that many—including Franklin—were drawn to and admired.
Sensitivity and introversion appear to be closely related traits. These were the children who responded strongly to even small changes in the world around them. As research psychologist Dr. Empathy is the ability to not just intellectually understand what another person feels but also to feel what they feel. A famously introverted politician of our time is Al Gore. When Gore was first exposed to theoretical models of climate change as a Harvard undergraduate, he was deeply moved—and terrified.
When he arrived in Congress in the s, he approached his fellow congressmen with the climate change information that had left such a strong impression on him. His colleagues, however, were unimpressed. The Gore example offers two great lessons for introverts: 1 they must recognize that they may be more sensitive to important information than their more extroverted peers, and 2 they must recognize that they may have to step outside their comfort zone to successfully communicate their concerns to a broader audience. Do you agree? Do you think introverts are better at understanding how other people think, or just how they feel?
Who wins? Evaluate each of them on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses in each of their personalities as leaders.
6.2 Conflict and Interpersonal Communication
Which style are you more responsive to and why? How much did their leadership style and their introverted and extroverted qualities affect your vote? I feel your pain: Have students rate their capacity for empathy on a scale from 0 to10 see scale below. In pairs, students discuss their self-ratings and how it makes them feel about themselves. In your journal, keep track of your empathic responses to a few current situations e. Record how you feel about your ability to empathize and how strongly your feelings of empathy are.
Include any judgments you might have about how you think you are supposed to feel as opposed to how you actually feel. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is critical to how the brain orients itself toward and learns about rewards e.
- Being assertive: Reduce stress, communicate better - Mayo Clinic.
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Because the sensitivity of dopamine varies from person to person, it can be a risk factor since it encourages actions toward risks and rewards. Extroverts are very reward sensitive : they tend to exhibit traits like novelty-seeking and impulsivity. That is, they crave new experiences more, get bored more easily, and can act rashly—especially when they see money on the table. In contrast, introverts are more likely to be threat sensitive , suggesting they are more concerned about avoiding a potential loss than they are about maximizing a possible gain.
Sometimes impulsivity in extroverts can be a good thing, but sometimes it can be problematic.
In a simple computer task, participants see random digits 0—9 displayed and have to learn when to push a button. All subjects learn through trial and error. However, even after the correct responses have been learned, people sometimes make mistakes—they jump the gun. Not surprisingly, this mistake is more common among extroverts, who are a little more impulsive than their introverted counterparts.
The surprising thing is what happens next; when an introvert makes a mistake, they slow down and try to respond more carefully the next time. But extroverts do the opposite and speed up after a mistake.