Are you an introvert or extrovert? There is a neurological difference between the two groups, so as their coping with social distancing.

Many people are staying home for social distancing in recent few weeks due to the pandemic. Some individuals enjoy a lot to stay home as they are happy for engaging solitary activities, such as reading or painting. Other people are less satisfied due to the lack of social engagement during their stay at home.  They may need to keep connecting with others through different channels and engaging in different kinds of activities for stimulation. Why people being so different in terms of their needs for social engagement and stimulation?

In psychology, those who prefer being alone or with few friends rather then to be with a large group of people score as an introvert in the extroversion-introversion questionnaire. Those who prefer the opposite score as an extrovert. In fact, there is a biological-based difference in the brain between an introvert and an extrovert. According to recent research, psychologist H. J. Eysenck revises his theory and states that introverts and extroverts are different in their arousability, or arousal responses, for moderate level of stimulation. Research revealed that the two groups do not differ in their resting or baseline arousal levels. For example, there is no difference in their arousal levels during sleeping. On the contrary, when being stimulated in moderate level, such as being in a moderately noisy environment, introverts showed higher physiological reactivity than extroverts. 

Psychologists also theorise that the optimal level of stimulation may be different between introverts and extroverts. A study showed that extroverts prefer louder volume in an audio learning tasks than the introverts. There is no difference in their performance in the learning task if the noise volume is at their chosen level. However, when the introverts are given the volume level chosen by the extroverts, the performance of the introverts declined. The outcome is similar when the extroverts are given the noise level chosen by the introverts.

In view of the difference between introverts and extroverts, it is understandable that people will prefer different coping strategies for social distancing during this pandemic. For introverts, solitary activities in a quiet environment are preferred. They may keep the noise level and stimulation of their home to a low level for enhancing their productivity. For extroverts, a more stimulating environment with higher level of social engagement may be preferred. They may schedule more online meetings with colleagues or friends, or listening to more stimulating music for enhancing their productivity.

To cope with social distancing, it is important to be more self-aware and choose an optimal level of stimulation at home for enhancing our productivity and enjoyment. There is no best way to cope, it all depends on our uniqueness.

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