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Ever feel like you're living in a world of nonstop noise and talk? You're not alone. For introverts, this can be a real challenge – especially at work, said Susan Cain, author of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" (Crown, 2012), an exploration of the surprising advantages of being an introvert in an extroverted world. Cain based her book on five years of research in psychology and neurobiology, and on dozens of interviews. It's been riding the New York Times bestseller list for the past nine weeks.
Curious about where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum? Answer "true" or "false" to each of these 20 questions, choosing the answer that applies to you more often than not. This is an informal quiz, excerpted from her book, and is not a scientifically validated personality test. The questions were formulated based on characteristics of introversion often accepted by contemporary researchers.
1. ______ I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.
2. ______ I often prefer to express myself in writing.
3. ______ I enjoy solitude.
4. ______ I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers.
5. ______ I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me.
6. ______ People tell me that I’m a good listener.
7. ______ I’m not a big risk-taker.
8. ______ I enjoy work that allows me to “dive in” with few interruptions.
9. ______ I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.
10. ______ People describe me as “soft-spoken” or “mellow.”
11. ______ I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it’s ﬁnished.
12. ______ I dislike conflict.
13. ______ I do my best work on my own.
14. ______ I tend to think before I speak.
15.______ I feel drained after being out and about, even if I’ve enjoyed myself.
16. ______ I often let calls go through to voicemail.
17. ______ If you had to choose, I’d prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.
18. ______ I don’t enjoy multitasking.
19. ______ I can concentrate easily
20. ______ In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.
"The more often you answered 'true,' the more introverted you probably are," Cain writes. "If you found yourself with a roughly equal number of 'true' and 'false' answers, then you may be an ambivert—yes, there really is such a word.
"But even if you answered every single question as an introvert or extrovert, that doesn't mean that your behavior is predictable across all circumstances. We can't say that every introvert is a bookworm or every extrovert wears lampshades at parties any more than we can say that every woman is a natural consensus-builder and every man loves contact sports. As Jung felicitously put it, 'There is no such thing as a pure extrovert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in the lunatic asylum.'"