New Research on Effective Communication with Introverts

Julia Mayro

    A study was recently conducted at a local university to determine how to most effectively communicate with introverts. Several researches have come up with new ways for extroverts to interact with introverts without scaring them off or entirely monopolizing the conversation.

    Before commencing experiments, the researchers first had to find introverts. They soon realized that the fastest way to find a large group of introverts was to enter the library and recruit any student who voluntarily spent time there for purposes other than school work. The researchers also had to find extroverted people to interact with the introverts. The theater department readily supplied a large number of extroverts. In fact, there were so many volunteers that a number of the theater students were requested to leave. A few suggested that they could act like introverts, but the researchers thought it best to use authentic introverts for the study.

    The study focused on how introverts have a lower level of arousal than a typical extrovert. Three introverts participated, and for privacy purposes, they will be referred to as Jane, John, and Jen. All three were sitting alone at separate tables in the library at the time of the experiment, and none of them were aware that an experiment was being conducted. The three extroverts who participated in this study all wanted their true names to be written in the report, but for legal reasons, they will be known as Emily, Elizabeth, and Edward. All three followed a similar script when approaching their assigned introvert. They would sit down at the table the introvert was working at, drop their pencil, let it roll to the introvert’s side of the table, and ask, “Could you hand me my pencil?” After being handed their pencil, they would introduce themselves and attempt to initiate conversation. A researcher sitting at a nearby table would discreetly time the conversation until the introvert stopped responding to the extrovert. Emily was instructed to whisper, Elizabeth was to speak at a normal volume, and Edward was to speak loudly. The researchers hypothesized that an introvert would respond more to an extrovert speaking at a lower volume due to their need for a lower level of arousal.

    Emily approached Jane and began the conversation at a whisper. Jane willingly returned Emily’s pencil and conducted a polite conversation ending with plans to meet later for lunch. They talked for 12 minutes and 42 seconds which, based on the researchers’ past experiences, was above average. Elizabeth sat across from John. John returned Elizabeth’s pencil, but as soon as she introduced herself, John stood up and mumbled something about needing a book about “library etiquette”. Their conversation lasted 1 minute and 39 seconds which was determined to be not only below average, but also extremely rude. When Edward began his experiment with Jen, he accidently threw his pencil at her and used a bullhorn for asking for his pencil back. Jen was startled by the encounter and, without responding, ran out of the library leaving all of her belongings.

    The researchers believed their study appropriately supports their hypothesis. They concluded that it is best to avoid bullhorns and throwing writing utensils when working with introverts.

    Julia Mayro

    Julia Mayro

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