In addition to introverts and extroverts, psychologists are studying another personality type: the ambivert.
From Elizabeth Bernstein, Not an Introvert, Not an Extrovert? You May Be An Ambivert – WSJ:
The personality traits of extroversion and introversion fall on a spectrum, and most of experts’ focus has been on the two ends. Now, social psychologists, behavioral scientists and business experts are taking a closer look at the overlooked category smack in the middle—ambiversion—and deciding that people with this trait may have some personal and professional advantages for being adaptable.
Experts believe that the personality traits on the introvert-extrovert spectrum remain stable throughout life—they appear as early as infanthood and are difficult to change. On one end are extroverts (sometimes spelled “extravert” in psychology circles) who become energized externally. They love to have lots of people around them and to be the center of attention. They enjoy brainstorming with others and often form their thoughts as they speak. When by themselves, they easily become bored or restless.
Introverts, on the other end of the spectrum, become energized internally. They prefer to spend time alone, with one other person or with a small group. They feel drained by a lot of social interaction or a crowd. They gather their thoughts carefully before they speak.
Ambiverts have introverted and extroverted traits, but neither trait is dominant. As a result, they have more balanced, or nuanced, personalities. They aren’t the folks yammering your ear off. Nor are they the totally silent ones happily ensconced in the corner.Ambiverts move between being social or being solitary, speaking up or listening carefully with greater ease than either extroverts or introverts. “It is like they’re bilingual,” says Daniel Pink, a business book author and host of Crowd Control, a TV series on human behavior, who has studied ambiversion. “They have a wider range of skills and can connect with a wider range of people in the same way someone who speaks English and Spanish can.”
A sidebar gives some characteristics of each personality:
- Socially flexible—comfortable in social situations or being alone.
- Skilled at communicating—intuits when to listen or to talk.
- Moderate in mood—not overly expressive or reserved.
- Adaptable—no default mode, so they change their approach to fit the situation
- Energized by external stimulation—with people, environment, activity
- Processes thoughts while talking
- Motivated by external rewards, recognition and feedback
- Outgoing—easy to get to know
Energized internally, while being alone
Craves solitude to balance out social time
Speaks only when they have something to say
Thinks before speaking, processing thoughts internally