Are you Extrovert or Introvert? No, I am Ambivert!
I am sure many of you have heard or even done the MBTI test. It is a personality test based on four dichotomies: extrovert/introvert, sensing/intuition, thinking or feeling, and judging/perceiving. Upon completion of this test, your entire complex emotional and mental psyche is transformed in 4 letters. This test was invented during World War 2 based on Jung’s work on types of personalities. Since then this test is very popular worldwide. However, I wanted to discuss one aspect of this test, which is the first dichotomy.
The first dichotomy testes the person’s favourite world: do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? In other world, whether you are introvert or an extrovert. For so long, we have been categorized in one of those boxes, as we have to be either one or the other.
This idea was challenged recently by bringing up the notion of Ambiversion. Jung discusses this notion in his theory of psychological types but the notion wasn’t as quite popular as introvert and extrovert. It was hidden for a long time.
Ambiversion is the type of personality that falls in the middle between those two extremities; it is the grey area that combines some of the two sides. By consequence, the personality scale would transform into a spectrum or a continuum rather than dichotomies.
This leaves us with the question of how the MBTI test used to account the ambivert people? Were they considered introvert or extrovert? Does that mean that this test needs a modification?
Furthermore, if new tests will be created to include the ambiversion notion, what we really know about ambivert? In the scientific field, few papers and studies were done to discover this new notion. In an interesting paper called Rethinking The Extraverted Sales Ideal: The Ambivert Advantage, the author suggests that ambivert are better at achieving sales productivity than extroverts and introverts do. He proposed that this is due to their natural engagement in a flexible pattern of talking and listening. As they fall right in the middle of the spectrum, they express assertiveness and enthusiasm to persuade a client but at the same time they listen to their customers without being overly excited or overconfident. So far, this is what we know of ambiverts. More research is then needed to explore the characteristic of this lost personality type.
- Grant, A. M. (June 01, 2013). Rethinking the Extraverted Sales Ideal: The Ambivert Advantage. Psychological Science, 24, 6, 1024–1030.