Some people really are better than others at picking up on certain vibes, and more or less reading and understanding human nature.
And according to researchers at Yale, it’s an unlikely group.
Interestingly enough, this study, “Social Psychological Skill and Its Correlates,” says that melancholic introverts are more perceptive than others in understanding how we act in social groups. “It seems to be a case of sadder, but wiser,” Anton Gollwitzer, Yale psychologist and co-author of the study told Neuroscience News. “They don’t view the world through rose-colored glasses as jovial, and extroverted people do.”
To investigate “social psychological skill,” the researchers conducted a few experiments. In one, they asked over 1,000 subjects questions relating to how people feel, think, and feel in social environments. Some of these questions included: Do people work harder alone or with others? Do people feel more responsible for their behavior in groups or as individuals? Does catharsis (e.g., if I’m angry, punching a doll will make me feel better) work?
The researchers then compared the subjects’ answers to the correct answers, which have been discovered in extensive social psychology research. For example, studies have shown that people typically work harder individually as opposed to working in groups.
After they discovered who answered these questions correctly, the research team then conducted further experiments to identify common traits among these individuals. They first found that intelligence and the desire to engage with complex issues was a key predictor, which was expected. But then, they found an unexpected key predictor: introversion.
Introverts as well as people with lower self-esteem and people who reported greater feelings of loneliness tended to answer more accurately than extroverts.
Gollwitzer further attempts to explain this interesting discovery: “It could be that the melancholic, introverted people are spending more time observing human nature than those who are busy interacting with others, or they are more accurate at introspection because they have fewer motivational biases. Either way, though, this demonstrates an unappreciated strength of introverts.”
Introversion is a personality trait characterized by a focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation. Introverts and extroverts are often viewed in terms of two extreme opposites, but the truth is that most people lie somewhere in the middle.
While introverts make up an estimated 25 to 40 percent of the population, there are still many misconceptions about this personality type.
It is also important to note that introversion is not the same things as social anxiety or shyness. Being an introvert does not mean that you are socially anxious or shy.
People who are introverted tend to be inward turning, or focused more on internal thoughts, feelings and moods rather than seeking out external stimulation. Introversion is generally viewed as existing as part of a continuum along with extroversion. Introversion indicates one end of the scale, while extroversion represents the other end.