9 Signs You Might Be An Ambivert

Author Article

I’m sure you’ve been asked many times whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. For some people, it’s an easy choice, but for most of us, it’s difficult to choose one way or the other.It’s hard to choose because the introvert/extrovert dichotomy reflects a tired and outdated view of personality. Personality traits exist along a continuum, and the vast majority of us aren’t introverts or extroverts — we fall somewhere in the middle.


Follow Ladders on Flipboard!

Follow Ladders’ magazines on Flipboard covering HappinessProductivityJob SatisfactionNeuroscience, and more!


Personality consists of a stable set of preferences and tendencies through which we approach the world. Personality traits form at an early age and are fixed by early adulthood. Many important things about you change over the course of your lifetime, but your personality isn’t one of them.

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee

The continuum between introversion and extroversion captures one of the most important personality traits. It’s troubling that we’re encouraged to categorize ourselves one way or the other because there are critical strengths and weaknesses commonly associated with each type.

Adam Grant at Wharton set out to study this phenomenon, and his findings are fascinating. First, he found that two-thirds of people don’t strongly identify as introverts or extroverts. These people (aka, the vast majority of us) are called ambiverts, who have both introverted and extroverted tendencies. The direction ambiverts lean toward varies greatly, depending on the situation.

Think of introversion and extroversion as a spectrum, with ambiversion lying somewhere in the middle:

Ambiverts have a distinct advantage over true introverts and extroverts. Because their personality doesn’t lean too heavily in either direction, they have a much easier time adjusting their approach to people based on the situation. This enables them to connect more easily, and more deeply, with a wider variety of people.

Grant’s research also disproved the powerful and widely held notion that the best-performing salespeople are extroverts. He found that ambiverts’ greater social flexibility enabled them to outsell all other groups, moving 51 percent more product per hour than the average salesperson. Notice how sales increased as extroversion increased, peaking with those who were just moderately extroverted.

Grant explained the finding this way:

“Because they naturally engage in a flexible pattern of talking and listening, ambiverts are likely to express sufficient assertiveness and enthusiasm to persuade and close a sale, but are more inclined to listen to customers’ interests and less vulnerable to appearing too excited or overconfident.”

How Ambiversion Works in the Brain

How social you are is largely driven by dopamine, the brain’s feel-good hormone. We all have different levels of dopamine-fueled stimulation in the neocortex (the area of the brain that is responsible for higher mental functions such as language and conscious thought). Those who naturally have high levels of stimulation tend to be introverts — they try and avoid any extra social stimulation that might make them feel anxious or overwhelmed. Those with low levels of stimulation tend to be extroverts. Under-stimulation leaves extroverts feeling bored, so they seek social stimulation to feel good.

Most people’s levels of natural stimulation don’t reach great extremes, though it does fluctuate. Sometimes you may feel the need to seek out stimulation, while other times, you may avoid it.

Finding Out Whether You’re An Ambivert

It’s important to pin down where you fall in the introversion/extroversion scale. By increasing your awareness of your type, you can develop a better sense of your tendencies and play to your strengths.

If you think that you might be an ambivert, but aren’t certain, see how many of the following statements apply to you. If most of them apply, you’re most likely an ambivert.

    1. I can perform tasks alone or in a group. I don’t have much preference either way.
    2. Social settings don’t make me uncomfortable, but I tire of being around people too much.
    3. Being the center of attention is fun for me, but I don’t like it to last.
    4. Some people think I’m quiet, while others think I’m highly social.
    5. I don’t always need to be moving, but too much down time leaves me feeling bored.
    6. I can get lost in my own thoughts just as easily as I can lose myself in a conversation.
    7. Small talk doesn’t make me uncomfortable, but it does get boring.
    8. When it comes to trusting other people, sometimes I’m skeptical, and other times, I dive right in.
    9. If I spend too much time alone, I get bored, yet too much time around other people leaves me feeling drained.
    10. The trick to being an ambivert is knowing when to force yourself to lean toward one side of the spectrum when it isn’t happening naturally. Ambiverts with low self-awareness struggle with this. For example, at a networking event, a self-aware ambivert will lean toward the extroverted side of the scale, even when it has been a long day and he or she has had enough of people. Mismatching your approach to the situation can be frustrating, ineffective, and demoralizing for ambiverts.

Bringing It All Together

TalentSmart has conducted research with over a million people and found that those in the upper echelon of performance at work also tend to be highly self-aware (90 percent of them, in fact). By gaining a better sense of where you fall on the introversion/extroversion scale, you can build insight into your tendencies and preferences, which increases your self-awareness and emotional intelligence. This will help you improve your performance.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

When it comes to relationships, we’re all in or all out. If it’s a fling you’re looking for, don’t waste your time. We tend to steer clear of anything casual, as we are more interested in something long-term.

via 12 Things You Should Absolutely Know About The INFJ In Your Life — Thought Catalog

Should You Listen To Music While Doing Intellectual Work? It Depends On The Music, The Task, And Your Personality

Author Article

GettyImages-1070179830.jpg
People more prone to boredom performed better without background music

By Christian Jarrett

Given how many of us listen to music while studying or doing other cerebral work, you’d think psychology would have a set of clear answers as to whether the practice is likely to help or hinder performance. In fact, the research literature is rather a mess (not that that has deterred some enterprising individuals from making bold claims).

There’s the largely discredited “Mozart Effect” – the idea that listening to classical music can boost subsequent IQ, except that when first documented in the 90s the effect was on spatial reasoning specifically, not general IQ. Also, since then the finding has not replicated, or it has proven weak and is probably explained as a simple effect of music on mood or arousal on performance. And anyway, that’s about listening to music and then doing mental tasks, rather than both simultaneously. Other research on listening to music while we do mental work has suggested it can be distracting (known as the “irrelevant sound effect”), especially if we’re doing mental arithmetic or anything that involves holding information in the correct order in short-term memory.

Now, in the hope of injecting more clarity and realism into the literature, Manuel Gonzalez and John Aiello have tested the common-sense idea that the effects of background music on mental task performance will depend on three things: the nature of the music, the nature of the task, and the personality of the person. “We hope that our findings encourage researchers to adopt a more holistic, interactionist approach to investigate the effects of music (and more broadly, distractions) on task performance,” they write in their new paper in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

The researchers recruited 142 undergrads (75 per cent were women) and asked them to complete two mental tasks. The simpler task involved finding and crossing out all of the letter As in a sample of text. The more complex task involved studying lists of word pairs and then trying to recall the pairs when presented with just one word from each pair.

Each task was performed while listening to one of two versions of a piece of elevator-style instrumental music – composed for the research – or no music. One version of the music was more complex than the other, featuring additional bass and drum tracks (both versions are available via the Open Science Framework). Also, depending on the precise experimental condition, the music was either quiet or louder (62 or 78 decibels). The participants also completed part of the “boredom proneness scale” to establish whether they were the kind of person who likes plenty of external stimulation or not (as measured by their agreement with statements like “it takes a lot of change and variety to keep me really happy”).

Participants’ performance was explained by an interaction between the task, the music, and their preference for external stimulation. When performing the simpler task, participants not prone to boredom did better while listening to complex music than simple music or no music, whereas boredom prone participants showed the opposite pattern, performing better with no music at all or simple music. In terms of volume, the low boredom prone were better with quiet complex music, whereas the boredom prone did better with louder complex music.

The researchers’ explanation is that for low boredom people who aren’t so keen on external stimulation, the quieter, more complex music provided just enough distraction to stop them from mind wandering from the simple task, thus boosting their task focus and performance. In contrast, the more boredom prone participants who like external stimulation tuned in too much to the complex music and were overly distracted by it, thus performing worse than when working in silence.

For the more complex task, the precise nature of the music (its complexity and volume) made no difference to results. But people low in boredom proneness benefited from having any kind of music in the background (the researchers aren’t sure why, but perhaps there were mood or arousal-based benefits not measured in this study), whereas once again the boredom prone folk with a preference for external stimulation again actually performed better with no music.

Though these findings may seem counterintuitive, the researchers’ explanation is that, for boredom prone people, the complex task provided adequate stimulation and background music interfered with this productive engagement. Supporting this interpretation, the more boredom prone participants outperformed their less boredom prone peers at the task in the no-music condition (and at an earlier, baseline cognitive test), suggesting they engaged better with the tasks (the researchers additionally noted that this result challenges the way that boredom as an emotion is usually seen as a bad thing, suggesting “it can predict constructive outcomes, such as better complex task performance”).

If you consider yourself as prone to boredom and craving of external stimulation, a tentative implication of these findings – bearing in mind they are preliminary – is that you might be better off studying or do other cerebral work without music in the background, at least not music that is too complex. On the other hand, if you are less craving of stimulation, then paradoxically some background music could boost your performance. As the researchers stated: “we offer evidence against the commonly held belief that distractions like music will always harm task performance.” They added, “our findings suggest that the relationship between music and task performance is not ‘one-size-fits-all’. In other words, music does not appear to impair or benefit performance equally for everyone.”

Part of the problem with interpreting the results is in the ambiguity of the aspect of boredom proneness that the researchers looked at – “preference for external stimulation”. Past research has generally considered boredom proneness to be associated with less desirable aspects of personality, such as having less self-control and being more impetuous, and this could fit with the idea that boredom prone participants in this research were more distracted by background music. However, as mentioned, the participants scoring higher on “preference for external stimulation” generally performed better at the tasks, thus raising questions about what aspect of personality and/or mental aptitude was really being tapped by this measure. It doesn’t help matters that there was no direct measure of attentional control and focus in the study. (In terms of other relevant personality traits, prior research has found that introverts are more distracted than extraverts by highly arousing music).

Other obvious limitations include the question of how much the featured tasks resemble real-life challenges, and the fact that people often listen to music they know and like rather than unfamiliar, instrumental music.

Still, it’s laudable that the current research attempted to consider how various factors interact in explaining the effect of music on mental performance. Gonzalez and John Aiello concluded, “we hope our research will serve as a starting point for more systematic investigation of music.”

More than meets the ear: Investigating how music affects cognitive task performance

Christian Jarrett (@Psych_Writer) is Editor of BPS Research Digest

If You Have This Personality Trait, Chances Are You’re an Ideal Travel Companion

See Author Article Here
By Andrea Romano

Curious about what makes someone great to travel with? Turns out, you might already have what it takes.

new survey from Curio Collection by Hilton found that curiosity is the most desired trait that travelers look for in their companions.

Sixty-four percent of survey respondents described the perfect travel companion as someone who is curious. In addition, 65 percent consider a spouse or significant other as the best travel partner for new experiences, while 25 percent would prefer to travel alone.

Respondents to the study also shared how curiosity motivates the way they travel. About 91 percent of respondents described themselves as curious, and 60 percent of people said they believe they are more curious than the average person. At the same time, 53 percent said they want to be more open to new experiences. Curiouser and curiouser.

WATCH: These Are the U.S. Airlines Least Likely to Lose or Damage Your Bags

These Are the U.S. Airlines Least Likely to Lose or Damage Your Bags
Having your luggage get lost or damaged during a trip can make for a stressful vacation.

The study also measured how many travelers prioritize exploration on their trips, with 55 percent of respondents saying they primarily want to explore, rather than relax, on vacation.

Fifty-seven percent of travelers wish they could spend more time exploring the things that pique their curiosity, including “visiting ancient ruins, eating dinner at a well-regarded restaurant, or experiencing a safari.”

The Best Plants For You Based On Your Personality Type

See Author Article Here
By Erin Magner

Personality quizzes aren’t just a fun way to procrastinate when you’re on deadline for a big project. (Note to my editors: I never do this.) In reality, they can actually give you some pretty valuable insight into living your best life, from your ideal career path to your biggest relationship dealbreakers to the kinds of plants that are best suited for you.
That last one may sound kinda trivial, I know. But your personality is actually a really key thing to consider when choosing a leafy green friend to share your space. “Personality type definitely plays a part in what kind plant parent someone is,” says Joyce Mast, resident “plant mom” at online houseplant shop Bloomscape. “Be honest with yourself about how much time you can and want to devote to caring for your plants.” Think of it like getting a pet. For instance, if you’re a clean freak, you probably wouldn’t get a long-haired dog—and, similarly, you probably shouldn’t get a plant that’s going to shed its leaves everywhere.

Luckily, says Mast, there’s a perfect plant out there for everyone, no matter what your individual quirks are. I asked her to recommend a few varieties for each of the four personality archetypes that scientists have recently claimed we all fit into. The first thing you’ll want to do is take this quiz to find out where you land on the spectrums of extraversion, openness, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. Then, armed with your “Big 5” traits, read on to meet your perfect soil-mate. (Sorry, had to.)

Have your “Big 5” personality test results ready? Here’s what they say about your plant parenting style.

kinds of plants personalityPIN IT
Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Role Models

Highly extroverted, open-minded, agreeable, and conscientious; not very neurotic

Role models are happy-go-lucky people with a creative streak, who are curious and love to try new things. In short, they’re not the type to want the same ol’ philodendron that everyone else has. “I’d recommend a plant that matches the role model’s colorful and exuberant personality,” says Mast. “However, this personality type is a social butterfly, so plants that are easy to care for are ideal to make room for all those nights out.”

A role model’s perfect kinds of plants:

  • Mast loves stromanthe triostar for a role model because it’s “large, colorful, and low-maintenance—guaranteed to be a conversation starter at the next cocktail party.”
  • Dracaena Janet Craig is another great option for this type, thanks to its “dynamic and eye-catching tufts of green.” (It also happens to be one of the “it” houseplants for 2019.)
  • Okay, so monsteras may not be so exotic anymore, but Mast feels like role models would still dig ’em for their larger-than-life vibes. “These dramatic, and fast-growing plants will be the envy of everyone,” she says.
kinds of plants personalityPIN IT
Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Average

Highly neurotic, extroverted, agreeable, and conscientious; not very open 

Average personality types are similar to role models in many ways, except that they’re not quite as drawn to unusual things. They’re also the most neurotic of all the types, which means they’re extra prone to stress. Essentially, says Mast, they should look for a plant that won’t add to their agita. “Plants that maintain their green and that don’t drop leaves are best for this traditional personality type, so the plant life stays enjoyable and doesn’t become a source of anxiety,” she explains.

An average type’s perfect kinds of plants: 

  • Parlor palms are a good choice for average types because they’re super adaptable. “This plant always looks lush, and will make even the most neurotic person feel like an amazing plant parent,” Mast says.
  • Conscientious average types aren’t the kind to forget about watering their plants. That’s why Mast recommends the bird’s nest fern. “It has lovely, showy foliage and this personality type will enjoy misting it regularly,” she says.
  • For timeless good looks, hedgehog aloe is a classic pick that’ll thrive without much effort, says Mast. (Just make sure to put it in a sunny spot.)
kinds of plants personalityPIN IT
Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Self-Centered

Highly extroverted; below average in openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism

No shame whatsoever if you fall under this category—it just means that you know exactly what you want and your plants need to live by your rules. So if you want to put one in a certain corner, that’s where it’s going to go, no matter how much light it gets. “For self-centered people, we recommend tried-and-true plants that are highly adaptable to different conditions and will thrive anywhere this personality type wants to put them,” says Mast.

A self-centered type’s perfect kinds of plants:

  • Spider plants get top marks for self-centered types because they’re “adaptable, easy to care for, and a timeless classic,” says Mast.
  • For a plant that’ll adapt to pretty much any light condition and requires very little care, Mast recommends going for a strikingly cool sansevieria, or snake plant.
  • Philodendron Brasil is another mellow option that doesn’t need a ton of attention from a self-centered owner—and its trailing vines are “exceptionally Instagrammable,” says Mast.
kinds of plants personalityPIN IT
Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Reserved

Low in extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness; slightly more conscientious than average 

If you’re a textbook introvert who prides yourself on being responsible, you can take on a slightly more hard-to-care-for plant. And you might even enjoy it, according to Mast. “Plants that require a bit more care, but are also fast growing will help the reserved person feel accomplished and rewarded,” she says.

A reserved type’s perfect kinds of plants: 

  • Red prayer plants aren’t hard to care for, but they need to be misted on the reg—so they need an owner who spends a decent amount of time at home. But don’t worry, it’ll be worth the effort. “This fast-growing plant will be a constant source of happiness as it thrives,” Mast says.
  • The fiddle leaf fig is another plant that demands lots of love. Not only does it require very specific light conditions, but it also needs loads of misting and watering. Yet according to Mast, “when it’s happy, its large glossy leaves and new growth really make the extra care worthwhile.” Hey, reserved types clock a lot of hygge nights at home—may as well make them a little lusher.
  • “The bird of paradise loves to be misted, and its large leaves need to be dusted and wiped down regularly,” says Mast. The reward:  You’ll feel like you’re on a South African vacay (where this plant is from), every day.

If you’re more of a Myers-Briggs fan, here’s how others see you and how you manage stress, according to your personality type.  

 

HELP YOUR HOUSEPLANTS GET PROPERLY LIT WITH A SUPER PRETTY DIY GROW LIGHT


Thumbnail for Help your houseplants get properly lit with a super pretty DIY grow light

 PIN IT

Photo: Stocksy/Nikita Sursin

This winter has been particularly rough for my indoor jungle. My prized monstera, once thriving and cheerful, is now droopy and depressed. With limited sunlight throughout the day, even through South-facing windows of my apartment, I can only do so much to give my plants what they need. Needless to say, I was thrilled to find out that you can fake it with a DIY grow light. Easier to construct than I expected, a grow light will mimic the sun, bathing my plants in all the brightness they deserve.
Grow lights can be expensive, not to mention ugly. While I want my plants to be healthy, I’m averse to the idea of dropping hundreds of dollars on an eyesore. But Adam Besheer, co-owner of the botanic design company Greenery NYC, has a genius solution. You’ll find his indoor vertical gardens and green walls throughout New York City—all of which depend on grow lights to stay healthy.

“Plants require certain wavelengths of light to grow, and different wavelengths cause different grow patterns. Too much can burn them, but too little and they starve to death,” he tells me. “Grow lights still aren’t as good as sunlight—they still aren’t able to cover the breadth of wavelengths emitted by a burning mass of hydrogen we can’t really conceive the size of. But they’re a great substitute.”

How to build a DIY grow light

When creating your own grow light, there are a few things to consider, such as the aesthetics and the kind of light it will emit. According to Besheer, you can DIY a version that will actually complement your home with something as affordable as a lamp you already own or one from Ikea. (A lamp that hangs over the plants provides plenty of direct light.) You just need to screw in a suitable light bulb, available for about $15 on Amazon, and voilà—it’s done.

“The important thing for a standard grow light is that it’s labelled as a grow light. The brightness you need to keep plants alive isn’t something normal light bulbs are manufactured for,” he says. “LED screw-in bulbs have just become widely available that have a relative intensity that’s good for plants, but to really know, you’ll need to measure the light yourself.”

How to know if your plants are getting enough light

To make sure your plant is getting the exact amount of light it needs, you can measure it using a light meter (which runs for around $20 on Amazon), or you can use the Light Meter app on your phone, which Besheer says gets pretty close to what the actual meter reads. The result will be shown in “foot candles” (or FC), and different plants require different ranges.

On the Greenery NYC website, you can group plants by light requirement: Low-light options like snake plants and pothos require 25 to 75 FC, medium-light plants like monsteras and dracaenas require 75 to 150 FC, and high-light plants like fiddle leaf figs and haworthias require 150+ FC. As for how long they should spend basking in the LED light’s glow every day, Besheer’s go-to is between 10 to 12 hours.

With a little help from a DIY grow light, your indoor plants will be thriving once more. Honestly, I might grab my happy light and sit right there next to ’em.