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This Week's Inspiration
Why Aren’t You More Like Me?
The Chapter on The Power of the PSI Model
Extroversion-Introversion: It's Not What You Think!
Part One of Two
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Extroversion-Introversion: It's Not What You Think!
The Power of the PSI Model
The PSI Model
Have you ever wondered how assessment designers can ask you to respond to a few questions, then produce a report that resonates with you and truly reflects who you are?
That is certainly true for CRG’s Personal Style Indicator (PSI). About 85% of the respondents to the PSI agree with approximately 85% of the statements made about them in their PSI In-Depth Interpretation.
The accuracy has to do with the design of the PSI and ourapproach. We acknowledge that individuals are complex. The PSI does not lock people into any one specific Personal Style pattern.
People often ask us how were able to be so accurate in describing them in the PSI In-Depth Interpretations. They wonder if we had been secretly watching them from afar.
The secret? Personal Style has predictable behaviors.
Those amazing results did not happen by accident. Dr. Terry Anderson, founder of CRG and the brilliant creator of the first version of the Personal Style Indicator, was determined to address his concerns about many of the assessments in the marketplace—a number of which are still in use today.
Most other assessments are built on a single source or theory from the work of Carl Jung (1928), W. Marston (1927), J. Grier (1977), or Merrill and Reid (1981). At CRG, we took a multi-theory strategy and integrated the best practices and elements of all the available theory and research to produce our proprietary PSI model.
The Personal Style Model
All It Takes is a System
The central purpose of the Personal Style model is to illustrate the main similarities and differences in the way Personal Style dimensions tend to influence behavior uniquely.
Personal Style Theory maintains that every person is influenced to some extent by all four style dimensions. Therefore, each dimension has an influence upon a person’s thinking and behavior, regardless of its level of intensity.
It is important to consider the Personal Style dimensions that are the weakest in intensity because what a person naturally prefers to avoid is just as important as what he or she naturally prefers to approach.
The Personal Style model is based on three personality continuums. Each can be considered an orientation toward certain types of behavior. All three continuums have two criteria and represent a wide range of continuous behaviors.
The Extroversion-Introversion Continuum: It’s Not What You Think!
If I were to ask for the stereotypical definition of an extrovert, what would most individuals say? Extroverts are people-oriented and loud and like to be the center of attention.
What is the stereotypical definition of an introvert? Shy, inward-looking, and not assertive. I heard one speaker call introverts “socially inept individuals.” Who would want to be labeled with that name on the journey to self-discovery?!
If you agree with the above definitions, I request that you forget them entirely.
Extroversion can be defined as biologically less sensitive to environmental stimuli.
In our model, extroverts see the environment as an opportunity. They internally feel they can tell the environment what to do, not the other way around. They view the environment as an opportunity to be influenced. They are programmed to initiate; they need strong stimuli to gain and hold their attention and motivate them toward action.
They have little fear and make decisions quickly, with few concerns for making a mistake. They prefer adventure to routine and they like taking risks. They prefer to lead, not follow. Weak environmental stimuli don’t hold their attention because extroverts lack the biological sensitivity to appreciate or value a low-stimulus event.
When you look at the PSI model graphic, you will note that Extroversion is placed on the top center of the model. Both Behavioral ACTION and Affective EXPRESSIONhave an Extroversion orientation. Even though the B and A are both extroverted, they are extroverted in opposite ways—the B toward tasks and the A toward people.
Introversion can be defined as biologically more sensitive to environmental stimuli.
In the PSImodel, introverts see the environment as a place where you need to be careful and cautious. They internally let the environment tell them what to do, which is the opposite behavior to extroverts, who perceive the environment as a big place that moves fast and is unpredictable. They typically take more time to make decisions. They want to know what the rules are and prefer to follow rather than lead.
They tend to react/respond to environmental stimuli. They can very sensitive to environmental stimuli and react more quickly to the subtle elements in their surroundings. In fact, they prefer weak stimuli to strong stimuli, which often overwhelm their “sensing levels.” Introverts will choose a tranquil environment over an active one.
In the PSI model graphic, you will note that Introversion is placed on the bottom center of the model and that both Interpersonal HARMONY and Cognitive ANALYSIS have an Introversion orientation. Even though the I and C are both introverted, they are introverted in opposite ways—the C toward tasks and the I toward people.
Introverts are people who have a stronger need and preference to “wait and see” before behaving because they are naturally more cautious of the environment. Due to their high levels of sensitivity, they prefer to react and adapt to, rather than act upon, their environment.
Introverts are indeed more sensitive to environmental stimuli than extroverts are. Introverts tend to pay more attention to environmental stimuli and make decisions about how to act based on what is going on around them. In contrast, extroverts like to “change” what is going on around them.
Extroverts are less afraid of what is occurring on the outside because they are less easily impressed or intimidated by their environments. Therefore, they tend to move into or even challenge the environment more easily; they often are stronger initiators who seek new and more intense stimulation earlier than introverts would.
While Extroversion-Introversion is presented here as a continuum, most people have the potential to think and behave in both an introverted and an extroverted manner, to some extent.
Because all four Personal Style dimensions influence behavior to some degree, every individual is continually being influenced by two external and two internal dimensions. That may in part explain why some individuals can be very outgoing in some situations, yet not in others.
Here’s an example to illustrate that point.
Recently, I was a speaker at a career development conference in California. Following one of the sessions, I saw a participant being scolded by three career counselors. They insisted that his perception—he said he was a balance of Extroversion and Introversion—was simply not possible. (The position of those counselors, who were using a competitive assessment, was that the participant had to be “extroverted” or “introverted.” He could NOT be “balanced.”)
Those “experts” had no idea how damaging their comments were. They wanted him to choose one. In exasperation, the man asked why he couldn’t be “balanced”!? The counselors’ eyes glazed and they responded with the word “because.”
I later met with the man and offered him the opportunity to complete CRG’s Personal Style Indicator. From his responses, he discovered that his Extroversion and Introversion scores were in fact balanced!
Here is another illustration to help you better understand extroversion and introversion in your daily life.
Note: We are not condoning that you break the law.
Let’s say it’s 3 AM on a Wednesday in your town or city anywhere in the world. Traffic is sparse and you come upon a red light. You stop and wait. There are no other cars on the road and the light is not changing to green.
What will the extroverts (generally) do more quickly than the introverts? They will look both ways to confirm no one is in harm’s way, then proceed through the red light.
Have you done that?
On the other hand, before proceeding through the intersection, someone with a higher Introversion score will wait longer and might even get out of the car to push the WALK button so the light will turn green.
The red light is part of the environment. The red light does not necessarily mean STOP to an extrovert because he wants to tell the environment what to do.
The introvert will defer to what the red light means, which is to stop. He will obey or respond to the environmental stimulus.
In part two, I will explain the influence of the Reticular Activating System(RAS) on extroversion and introversion orientations and show the biological reasons for our differences.
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