Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Introversion Spectrum

Today I read an article that reinforces an idea I've had about myself and about introversion for a long time.  The idea is that there is a scale to introversion, and that it may fall within the same line as autism and Asperger's Syndrome.  This matches up well with my own experiences, perceptions and studies of psychology.  I've felt for many years that my personality has much in common with Asperger's, and that I wouldn't need to travel very far along this spectrum before finding myself in that territory.

This is what I mean when I call myself an extreme introvert.  There are varying levels of introversion, and I guess I'd place myself at more of a "medium-well" to "well done" level.

This is from the article at Psychology Today:
... Grimes posits that introversion is not the opposite of extroversion, but that they are two different traits altogether. And she proposes something that has come up here from time to time: That introversion actually is on the autism scale.

Grimes' thesis explains that if you take each of the factors this new model proposes and follow it along a continuum to their most extreme expressions, they correlate with the widely used Baron-Cohen Autism Spectrum Quotient.

Depending on how much we have of each factor  (and how they interact with other personality traits), we can be simply introverted or, moving along the continuum, have Asperger's syndrome or, moving further yet, have autism.

A Compelling Theory About Introversion, Extroversion, and Autism
from the blog, The Introvert's Corner

It's an interesting theory. And, even better, it fits in nicely with my tagline!



The Silent One said...

WOW, very nice read. Will have to look more into this theory... Great Post!

Zeri Kyd said...

Thanks, Silent One. Read the thesis by Grimes if you get a chance; it's good stuff.

momof3 said...

This is fascinating. I've always been highly introverted and have sometimes wondered if I don't have undiagnosed asperger's/autism. Love your blog, btw.

Zeri Kyd said...

Thanks, momof3. I think many have wondered the same thing, especially since introverts are often treated as if they have a problem. I think we tend to diagnosis ourselves to see if there's any truth to that.

Clouds said...

I've often wondered if a strong introversion could be correlated to a variety of disorders.

Of course, "disorder" is a shitty term, because one can just take a look at the normal "ordered" people and see they are just as messed up. Only in different ways.

Another disorder strong introversion can be correlated to is Schizoid Personality Disorder.

Zeri Kyd said...

Clouds, I've wondered the same thing in the past. I'm sure the answer is different for everyone, but in my case I sought out things that could be "wrong" with me -- like personality disorders -- because it felt as though I must be doing something wrong. I was either being treated that way, or I was feeling depressed and wishing to avoid people even more than usual. Depression, of course, is a separate issue from introversion. Still, it's sometimes hard to understand how all of it fits together. We don't have a lot of help in understanding ourselves, so it can be a lonely task to come to grips with the fact that it's okay to be the way that we are.

Carma said...

This is interesting and as a deep-end introvert myself, as well as a mom of an Aspergian introvert and an extrovert with ADHD, I've thought along these lines myself, but I would seriously hesitate to associate introversion with a neurological disorder. Rather than saying introversion is along the autism spectrum, I would say that there is a spectrum of normal behavior and neurotypical people can be introverted or extroverted, with pervasive developmental disorders existing on both ends of the spectrum. Moving along the spectrum toward either end, you move past normal, neurotypical behaviors into neurological disorders: on the introvert side you move into Aspergers and autism, while on the extrovert side you move into ADHD.

Zeri Kyd said...

Carma, I think we're saying the same thing, but you're right to be hesitant about the phrasing. Words can easily be misunderstood, and turned into something negative; probably it's best to put a more positive spin on them whenever possible. Anyway, your phrase is more precise. Thanks for the input.

anonymouse said...

After my brother's son was diagnosed with autism, I looked further into the subject to find out that almost all symptoms apply to my father too. I think he has asperger's syndrome. I am an extreme introvert and I sometimes wonder if I am slightly autistic. I am probably effected genetically to some degree. Autistic people, my observation, live in their own head. The idea that Autism and introversion are related makes sense to me.

Zeri Kyd said...

anonymouse, yes, I agree that they share some common traits with introversion -- some of the same behavioral tendencies, but perhaps for different reasons.