Friends of mine recently recommended a book by Stieg Larsson, and they explained that the writing style was different from anything they'd come across before. Though skeptical, I figured I'd give it a try; after all, anything that can inspire such enthusiasm is worth looking into.
It turned out to be a dark story told in a rapidly fluctuating manner, which I admit was interesting. What struck me most, though, were the references to introversion. Here's one of several:
By then her casebook was filled with such terms as introverted, socially inhibited, lacking in empathy, ego fixated, psychopathic and asocial behavior, difficulty in cooperating, and incapable of assimilating learning.
Excerpt from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson
I'm not the first to have noticed this. The passage refers to a psychological profile, and it includes introversion as an indicator for a highly questionable and likely disturbed personality. In other words, it's described in negative terms. This is just a work of fiction, but I'm sure authors can have more influence on what the general public perceives than almost anyone. What the public will think in this case is probably that introversion is something to be suspicious about.
I wondered whether this was a translation error, or whether introversion is viewed more negatively in other parts of the world and in other cultures. And then I wondered how American psychologists currently view the trait.
Personally, I don't think introversion should ever be included in a psychological profile. In my view, it'd be similar to describing someone as perfectly content. So why should it appear alongside terms such as "psychopathic?"
For me, introversion is a positive thing. At worst, it's a neutral thing: it simply is. It's confusing to see the term used in potentially negative ways.
I just don't get it.