Are introverts perceived as intellectuals? People who are good communicators and know how to grab the attention of their audience are often seen as smart and highly intellectual folks. The general worldview is that a good talker is perceived as smart a person. Just because a person is able to talk efficiently and is able to get the notice of people around him/her do we consider them as intelligent people? However, the truth is since extroverts are good orators and have better social skills, they are considered as more intelligent, smart, attractive and more likable people (Cain, 2012).
Does this mean that people who talk less are not intelligent or smart? Absolutely not! But the perception of the world about quite people is not the same as the loud people.
Susan Cain in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (2012) notes that talkers are perceived as smart people. However, the research found no such link between extroversion and intelligence. A study comprising of college students who were given Math problems showed that the Math SAT scores of extroverts were no better than the introverts students. Besides, the introverts received high scores on tests than extroverts for creativity and analytical skills in an exercise for developing a business strategy for a start-up company (Cain, 2012). This indicates that introverts are highly intellectual people.
The question whether extroverts are smarter than introverts or whether introverts are highly intelligent people has been the focus of research on personality and intelligence for decades. Just because introverts are silent types would it mean they are not smart enough or lower in their intelligence than extroverts? The general tendency of how people perceive attributes of a successful individual is based on his or her communication abilities. The more an individual talks and is able to direct the attention of others to himself or herself, he or she is seen as the most powerful or influential. As extroverts are efficient communicators they are often perceived as more capable and appealing than quiet folks in this fast moving extraversion world (Cain, 2012). But this is not the truth…
A typical example of this fact is Harry Potter’s creator J.K. Rowling. Little do people know that Harry Potter’s great author is an introvert. Rowling herself claims that she was more creative with her thoughts when she was alone than she was in a group. Her idea for Harry Potter emerged when she traveled all by herself on a train to London from Manchester in 1990 (Schocker, 2013). Another noteworthy introvert is the Microsoft icon, Bill Gates. Bill Gates is a silent man and bookish by nature. He is an introvert but never shy (Schocker, 2013).
A study on a personality test and effective communication skills found that introverts proved as better telemarketers when compared to extroverts. The study was conducted among call-center employees to identify who would fit into that role based on their personality. The study results showed that the introverts were good at cold calling. They were more focused and determined using their persistence characteristic (Cain, 2012). Research has found no correlation between IQ and personality. But when it came to practical intelligence the results demonstrated that intelligence depended on other factors beyond the IQ. For instance, extroverts were quick responders to tasks that were timed. But they were less accurate and less reflexive on work that was repetitive. On the other hand, introverts proved best on tasks that required perseverance and they were more careful and accurate with assigned tasks (Engler, 2008).
So what do we conclude? You know it by now!
Cain, S. (2012). Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. UK: Penguin Books.
Engler, B. (2008). Personality Theories. 8th Edition. Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.
Schocker, L. (2013). 16 Super Successful Introverts. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from: