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The Gifted Introvert

IN WESTERN society, extraverts outnumber introverts 3 to 1, are more vocal than introverts and are more understandable than introverts. However, it appears that introversion increases with intelligence so that the majority of gifted children are introverts.

Personality Types

Introversion and extraversion are personality types: two complementary ways of operating in the world. The extravert's main interests are with the outer world of people and things while the introvert is more involved in the inner world of concepts and ideas. People have both introversion and extraversion in their personalities but they have a natural preference for either introversion or extraversion rather like a preference for right or left handedness. The preference can be slight or quite marked.



Introverts are naturally cautious, reserved and reflective. They need time and space to themselves. They prefer to work with people individually rather than in large groups. Introverts tend not to learn by trial and error. They will observe, take in information and perhaps ask a few clarifying questions. They will not frequently interrupt with questions and comments as most extraverts are prone to do. Introverts need time to consider and reflect before answering questions or engaging in activities. Introversion is perfectly normal and does not need "curing". We should not try to turn introverts into extraverts.

Introverts tend to...

  • Get energy from inside themselves
  • Real world is the inner world of ideas, understanding and meaning
  • People of ideas and abstract invention, difficult to understand, often shy
  • Have a public and private self
  • Intense and passionate, tend to bottle up emotions
  • Feel drained by people, need privacy
  • Have a few close friends
  • Quiet in large groups, fear humiliation
  • Can concentrate intensely
  • Mentally rehearse before speaking, need time to make decisions
  • Learn by observing, live life only when they understand it
  • Go from considering to doing and back to considering

Extroverts tend to...

  • Get energy from interaction outside
  • Real world is the outer world of people and things
  • People of action and practical achievement, east to understand, often sociable
  • Are the same in public and in private
  • Expansive and less impassioned, show emotions as they go along
  • Feel energised by people; feel drained by being alone
  • Make lots of friends easily
  • Outspoken in groups, take risks
  • Can be distracted easily
  • Think out loud, make decisions quickly
  • Learn by doing, understand life after they have lived it
  • Go from doing to considering and back to doing
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