Last Updated 10 Aug 2020

Jung’s Theory of Introvert and Extrovert Personalities

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Carl Jung’s theory is most interesting particularly because of his proposal to the concepts of introversion and extroversion which are still very much used today when looking at personality types. In my opinion using Carl’s concept of introversion and extroversion, I think that I possess a bit of both. I am an introvert however when I am around people that I am comfortable with and if I need to take on new challenges, I demonstrate characteristics of an extrovert. His concept on persona which is masking ones true self to fit in to society is also very true and relevant in today’s world. We see it everyday for example in social media, where people do not portray their true selves. They tend to be a completely different person when seen out in the community.

Carl Jung’s Personality Theory

Carl Jung was an apprentice of Freud. He later developed the theory called analytical psychology which was geared at getting the balance of opposing forces of conscious and unconscious thoughts and experience in one's own personality. Jung dubbed this a continuous process of learning occurring mainly in the second half of life, realizing and incorporating unconscious elements into consciousness.

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Jung and Freud split because of the difference in ideas. Firstly, Freud strongly believed that the main motivator in a person’s mental life is their sex drive. Jung did not agree that this was the case and secondly, Jung accepted Freud's conception of a personal unconsciousness but considered it incomplete. He decided to work on the collective unconscious in addition to the personal unconscious.

The collective unconscious used by Jung, is something that we all experience. It is the unconscious part of our minds where we hold mental patterns or traces and are not aware of it. Jung refers to these ancestral memories as archetypes that are expressed through literature, art, and dreams by universal topics in various cultures. Jung believed that these issues reflect common world experiences, such as confrontations with death, self – sufficiency, and mastery. He also is of the opinion that being able to integrate the unconscious archetypal aspects of self in the second half of life, is part of the self - realization process. As a result and with focus on self - realization, Jung parted with Freud's view on personality. He anticipated the humanist movement with a focus on self - realization and future orientation.

In addition, Jung's major contributions to the field of personality psychology was his proposal to two life attitudes or approaches: extroversion and introversion. Since then, nearly all personality models now include these concepts. An extrovert is seen as an energetic person who is outgoing and oriented socially, and draws upon energy from others. Cherry, K. (n.d.) stated, “On the positive side, extroverts are often described as talkative, sociable, action-oriented, enthusiastic, friendly, and out-going.

On the negative side, they are sometimes described as attention-seeking, easily distracted, and unable to spend time alone.” An introvert is seen as being quiet, reserved, or social, but their energy is derived from inner self. According to Cherry, K., & Gans, S. (n.d.). “Introversion is a personality trait characterized by a focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation.” People who are introverted tend to be inward turning, or focused more on internal thoughts, feelings and moods rather than seeking out external stimulation.” Jung believed a balance between extroversion and introversion best served the goal of self-realization.

The persona is referred to as a mask that we adopt. Jung proposed this concept and believed that we consciously create this persona that is derived from our conscious experiences and our collective unconscious. According to Jung, the persona is a compromise between who we truly are and what society expects of us. He goes on further to state that we hide those parts of ourselves that are not aligned with society’s expectations.

Carl Jung who split from Freud developed the theory of Analytical Psychology. The focus is working on a balance of opposing forces, the conscious and unconscious, and experience within one’s personality. The collective unconscious which we all experience, be it holding mental patterns or memory traces, are archetypes, and can be expressed for example through dreams or literature. The concepts that Carl Jung developed in relation to personality theory are still widely used today in personality tests to give light on the type of personality that one may have. His proposal of introversion and extroversion are two very different personality traits.

Some of the characteristics of an introvert is that, they avoid attention, enjoy being alone, thinks before speaking and are cautious to name a few. Extroverts like being in the company of others, attention seekers, thinks out loud, and act first and think later. The second concept called persona, is a mask that we humans adopt, hiding who we truly are and act in ways that pleases society or be who society expects us to be. The main significance of understanding Carl Jung’s personality theory will help in better understanding and identifying one's personality traits. That way, it becomes easier communicating with them and understand who they are and why they behave in certain ways.

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