Science says there are 4 kinds of introverts. Which kind are you? {quiz}

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No two introverts are exactly alike. I’m an introvert, so for me, alone time is an absolute must, but I’m actually pretty social and I get mildly depressed if I spend too much time by myself. Now a new theory sheds some light on how introversion affects us differently. According to the work of Jennifer Odessa Grimes, there may be four “flavors” of introversion: social, thinking, anxious, and restrained, which make up the acronym STAR.

Because we all love a quiz that tells us something we probably already know about ourselves, Grimes and other researchers created the STAR test to help introverts determine their primary type. This test first appeared in the Scientific American blog post, “What Kind of Introvert Are You?”, by Scott Barry Kaufman, the scientific director of The Imagination Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.

Kaufman explains, “It’s possible to score high or low on either of these flavors of introversion. For instance, you could be low in social introversion by preference but not be particularly anxious in the presence of people. Or you could suffer from crippling social anxiety, but still have the desire to be highly social. Or any other combination of these four meanings of introversion.”

Here is Kaufman’s simplified version of the STAR test. To score yourself manually in all four categories, head over to Kaufman’s blog post.

Still not certain what type of introvert you are? Or do you think you’re a combination of more than one type? For your reference, the four types are:

Social introversion

If you’re socially introverted, you prefer a small circle of friends. Even if you’ve enjoyed being with friends or family, you still need downtime after socializing. You structure your day so you always have some time to yourself. You prefer doing things alone. Sometimes people get the wrong idea about you, because you don’t talk about yourself much. Thinking introversion If your introversion is of the “thinking” flavor, it means you enjoy analyzing yourself. You have a rich, complex inner life, and you often think about what kind of person you are. When you read an interesting book or watch a compelling movie, you think about how you’d feel and react if you were in the characters’ places. You pay close attention to your inner feelings, and you often step back, in your mind, to evaluate yourself from a distance. You regularly daydream or fantasize about things that could (or could not) happen to you.


Anxious introversion

If you’re an anxious introvert, you feel painfully self-conscious around other people, especially strangers. When you enter a room, you feel like everyone is watching you. It takes you a while to overcome the shyness you feel around new people. Sometimes you feel so frazzled that you have to leave the group and be by yourself. Even when you’re with friends, you feel uneasy and alone. You worry that your secret thoughts and feelings would horrify your family and friends. Disappointment or defeat make you feel anger and shame, but you try not to show it.

Restrained introversion

You like to take things slowly. You’re not one to be “off and running” right away when you wake up in the morning. You’re deliberate and cautious, and you think before you act or speak. “Keeping busy all the time” sounds like your own personal version of hell. You often feel sluggish.

My result: “thinking” introversion. But if the simplified test showed more than one result, I bet I’d score high in “social” introversion, too, because as much as I love connecting with others, if I don’t get enough downtime, my cranky alter ego emerges, just like in those “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” Snickers ads.

Image credit: Flickr (Sophia Louise)

What’s your personality type? We recommend this free, quick test from our partner Personality Hacker.

Read this: The science behind why introverts struggle to speak


47 Comments

  • Katherine says:

    I got Social Introvert, which fits like a glove! Great revelation, thanks Jenn. 🙂

  • I got Thinking Introvert. Definitely accurate, though I know I have strong shades of Social and Anxious Introversion, too.

    Love this site!

  • I got Social Introvert, although honestly they ALL would apply… especially Anxious Introversion.

  • alaralp says:

    Anxious Introversion -_-

  • Thinking introvert, I especially love listening to music, watching videos, putting myself in the singer’s shoes, and feeling what they feel, are saying, whispering, yelling whatever makes it powerful so that I can relate in someway.. say for instance, Adele singing that song “someone like you”- I imagine myself in her shoes, feeling her pain that she feels/felt with that person, and how painful it was. I don’t understand why I enjoy that, I guess it makes music more rich and complex, and helps me to enjoy it more than most ppl.. I have the “need” to “feel” another’s passions and energy, depression, anger, joy, etc as well as my own & to the extreme. And most of the time I like to make up scenarios to go with the songs/videos. Making it vivid, intense, meaningful, and even awe inspiring. It’s strange because irl I hate to feel bad. And this isn’t like a once in a while thing that I do. I engage in this everyday. Maybe I’m weird lol..I agree that I have all of these introverted types as well, but the test came out with this one as me having the most.

    • judy says:

      You are weird – but in a glorious way :o)

    • Amanda says:

      Same name… Same thought process especially related to music. I completely understand you and I don’t even know you.

    • Troy says:

      I’ve just done the test. I believe I maybe a Thinking Introvert. I too enjoy listening to Adele’s someone like you as well as Gotye someone that I use to know and others, for a long time I didn’t know why. My ex gf would wonder why and i couldn’t explain it, it was like I wanted to feel they pain. I went as far as trying to react the outcome of a breakup just so I could sing the song and for it to have real meaning/so i could really relate! I’m reading this back and think ouch I must sound like a real weirdo lol. Well i guess I wanted to reach out like others and say theres another person out on the Earth thats a but like you lol.

    • Paula says:

      I got thinking introvert and I completely relate to that 🙂

  • Hestre says:

    Anxious Introvert. I have been actively learning how to live my life with myself in mind. I am married to the most amazing, caring, loving extrovert who doesn’t always “get” me but we have also learnt to make allowances for the other. Since I’ve owned up to being an Introvert and what goes along with that my way of living has changed slowly and my family and friends keep me in mind with certain decisions and I go out of my comfort zone for them with certain things.

  • Result: Social Introvert
    You spend a lot of time by yourself—and you’re completely okay with that. You are happy with the small group of friends that you have and you avoid large crowds like the plague.
    (…) Sometimes people get the wrong idea about you, because you don’t talk about yourself much.

    Exactly xD

  • Lisa says:

    Thinking Introvert, closely followed by Anxious Introvert

  • vlbrown says:

    How about just using the MBTI to find which “type” of Introvert you are (there are 8, not 4), and leave out “anxious” because anxiety is a problem that applies equally to Extraverts.

    Sigh.

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  • LB says:

    Introversion is a matter of degree, and is dependent on a zillion different factors at any given time. Nobody fits neatly into one category. I took this test out of curiosity, and according to these questions, I am a restrained introvert, which is not what I would have labeled myself. According to these definitions, I am more social, followed by thinking, followed by restrained. I have zero anxiety. What does that tell me? That if I took this test again tomorrow, I’d probably end up in a completely different category. We need to stop trying to pinpoint ourselves as one type or another (or even introvert/extravert for that matter, because that’s a matter of degree too). Stop being so rigid and just be who you are.

  • […] article on four kinds of introversion. Really interesting (especially for an introvert like […]

  • Bb says:

    That may work alright for you , but some of us feel a deep need to understand ourselves. I feel as if all these introversion definitions apply to me equally, but just knowing other people can relate helps me feel less alianated from other people. I like reading about personality types whether they “pin-point” me correctly or not because understanding personality features about myself help me feel more grounded and less of a weird existence that other people just have to put up with. I admit it, I need validation just as much as the next person, it is hard to admit I need acceptance from my peers, but since I have started studying my emotional needs and tendencies I have learned that everyone is hardwired with these needs and I can accept that it’s ok to have vulnerablities. I feel safer in the world knowing that I’m not the only one with these feelings and tendencies.

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  • “NEED more time than extroverts to process things”? How about, “TAKE more time than extroverts to process things”? I think this is a false interpretation of what is simply some people’s willingness to invest time in actual thought before making decisions, versus others’ tendency to jump to conclusions.

  • […] are actually four types of introverts: social, thinking, anxious, and restrained. According to this test, I am a Thinking Introvert. “If your introversion is of the ‘thinking’ flavor, that […]

  • Janet says:

    I don’t have to take the test, Social Introvert. I don’t even like to socialize with my coworkers as a group. I do have close friends, but of we can’t get together that doesn’t bother me.

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  • Sheril says:

    I got ‘Restrained Introversion’. Odd, I thought I would be a ‘Social’ introvert….I’ll have to think through this for a while 🙂

  • Nadz says:

    Social Introvert – but what was surprising was all the sharing options at the end of the quiz…hell no!

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  • Charlie V says:

    This information is really priceless for me. I’m a ‘Thinking Introversion’ and all words described above are extremely true, it’s really really really i am… Thanks so much for this priceless information…

  • infjme says:

    You can be a bit of all of these. It’s a scale also.

  • Katie says:

    I’m mostly Thinking Introvert, but all of these really fit me to a T.

  • Diolord says:

    restrained introvert :/

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  • Roni Riutta says:

    Hmm, I really must get to know more about these things. I’am not sure what kind of introvert I am. Quite crazy one ,because I studied to be social worker and be in contact with lot of people.. Most difficult thing in work is to keep others entertained.. One on one talking is easy enought, but to be front of many people and talk is really exhausting and difficult. And being constantly ready to answer the phone. No social aktivities on free time fo me. Reason why I studied to be social worker (Bachelor of Social services) is the strong desire to help others. And reflect my inner world by listening and analyzing other people.

    I have survived my studies, and I have been workin about one year by now. bo tell the truth, I am not sure how I can make it to work like this for many many years to come. I must find the balance between work, rechaging and social life.

    Thank you for this article and thanks for the administers of this site. This site is treasure I found just recently.
    Sorry about my typing errors. English isn’t my main language.

  • David says:

    I love your blog.

  • Mel Farmer says:

    I didn’t like this test, and surely don’t agree that there are 4 kinds of introverts because when I read through all of the results, each of them 100% describes me without a hitch. There isn’t one that I’m more like than the others.

  • I’m a thinking introvert but not too far from a social introvert.

  • Carey Hamilton Bracewell says:

    What Lashantell said fits me. My immediate family were all Extroverts and they wondered “What’s wrong with Carey?” Nothing, And there must be a huge diamond in Jenn’s celestial crown for starting this website that gives self-understanding, acceptance, and Comfort to so many.

  • Esmeralda says:

    So true! Thinking introversion…

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