©Arlene R. Taylor PhD
The present culture generally appears to reward amibevrted positions on the EAI Continuum. This means that more than half the population generally remains unrewarded by society in relation to their innate position on the EAI Continuum. Understanding this can help those who fall outside these two positions to recognize the artificial nature of societal rewards, and can give them the opportunity to identify, honor, and affirm themselves.
Many cultures deal rather ineffectively with both extremes on the EAI Continuum. Extraverted children are often punished and/or medicated in an effort to dampen their stimulation-seeking behaviors. Introverted children may be pushed toward competition and/or punished for a perceived lack of participation. In adulthood, extraverted males may get by easier than extraverted females (who may be perceived as too "out there" or not "nice" or not feminine enough).
On the other hand, introverted females may get by in society more easily than introverted males, perhaps because females are typically not encouraged to be as assertive or as aggressive as are males.
In Europe during the middle ages, introversion was generally valued over extroversion. Highly introverted individuals often entered one of the religious orders. It was considered a high honor to be removed from the bustle of materialism. In these protected environments introverts found solitude and found validation for their abilities to study, nurture others as caregivers, and write or compose. Some also found that the protected environment was conducive to developing a spiritual connection with a Higher Power.
As the shift toward industrialization occurred in society, ambiversion and extroversion came to be more highly valued, rewarded, and encouraged. At times ambiversion and some extroversion have been rewarded almost to the point of devaluing introversion. This is unfortunate because the entire EAI Continuum represents natural brain phenomena.
Independent workers, star performers, deal makers
Like to be in charge, the boss
Tend to gravitate toward teams
Function best as expert resources
Independent workers, often gravitate toward research
* Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. Extraverts/extroverts, according to Eysenck's theory, are chronically under-aroused and bored and are therefore in need of external stimulation to bring them up to an optimal level of performance. About 16 percent of the population tend to fall in this range. Introverts, on the other hand, (also about 16 percent of the population) are chronically over-aroused and jittery and are therefore in need of peace and quiet to bring them up to an optimal level of performance. Most people (about 68 percent of the population) fall in the midrange of the continuum, an area referred to as ambiversion. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eysenck_Personality_Questionnaire) Accessed 12/13.