I’m Not Shy; I Just Don’t Want to Talk to You

By: Miranda Lapides

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I am an introvert; there’s no doubt about it. I used to feel bad about it too, like whenever I left a group hangout to go relax in my dorm and be by myself, or when I chose to have dinner with Netflix rather than a friend (how else am I supposed to catch up on Breaking Bad?). I used to associate my introversion with shyness, therefore not accepting it positively until I learned the distinction between the two terms.

The dictionary definition of introversion is “the direction of or tendency to direct one’s thoughts and feelings toward oneself.” This is a part of it, but when comparing the term to its opposite, extroversion, it’s all about “recharging.” Introverts gain energy through solidarity to balance out the energy spent in social situations while extroverts recharge through social situations. Therefore, introversion is said by psychologists to be a motivation because wanting to socialize with others or wanting to be alone depends on the amount of socializing that just took place.

Shyness, on the other hand, is defined as “feeling nervous and uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people; tending to avoid something because of nervousness, fear, dislike, etc.” Unlike introversion which is more of a motivation, shyness is a behavior in that it is biological. It is a minor form of social anxiety disorder. I could get into more detail but that’s a whole other article.

The main point is that taking a break from socializing is not the same as fearing it. Not every introvert is shy and not every shy person is an introvert. To study introversion and shyness, psychologists Jonathan Cheek and Arnold Buss administered a questionnaire measuring shyness and low sociability to college students and found a low correlation between shyness and low sociability.

The two can definitely overlap, though. According to Carl Jung, introverts “have an inward flowing of personal energy…The introvert is usually happy alone, with a rich imagination, and prefers reflection to activity…the introverted attitude includes a tendency to be shy.”

When the two overlap, it is easier to overcome shyness than change an introverted personality. For example, I used to be a much shyer introvert. Today, I am an introvert who is only slightly shy at first then eases into conversations and gets comfortable with them quickly. After a while though, my introversion kicks in and I need to take a break from people. I just need some time for myself to read or surf the Internet until I have enough energy to socialize again. I used to think this was because I was a shy person until I learned this is not the case. Shyness and introversion can overlap, but at the end of the day, they are two different terms and should not be used interchangeably.

Sources:

Dembing, S. (2009, Oct. 10). Introversion vs. shyness: the discussion continues. Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-introverts-corner/200910/introversion-vs-shyness-the-discussion-continues.

Gregoire, C. (2013, Jul. 29). 6 things you thought wrong about introverts. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/introvert-myths_n_3569058.html.

Introversion. The Free Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/introversion.

Markway, B. (2013, Feb. 12). A quiet rant about introversion and shyness. Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shyness-is-nice/201302/quiet-rant-about-introversion-and-shyness.

Shy. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shy.

Wardy, A. (2002, Oct. 27). The science of shyness: the biological causes of social anxiety disorder. Serendip. Retrieved from http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/biology/b103/f02/web1/awardy.html.

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The Perfect Score

By: Francesco Yepez-Coello

I can’t tell you how many statuses about the never ending struggle of studying for midterms and finals the night before I see on facebook. It is a battle of epic proportions, akin to that of Crime vs. Justice, Odysseus versus the Cyclops, Rava versus Vatu. But it need not be so dramatic, because I’m here to help.

The biggest problem we face is that we study last minute. Marathon studying sessions are unhelpful because we lose sleep over them, and I discussed how bad not sleeping is for our brains in last week’s post. Moreover, these tend to approach learning the wrong way, because our brains just are not built to cement a ton of information all at once forever. The key to doing winning this fight is understanding how we process information.

The brain can process information in different ways, and in varying depths. The way the brain stores short term memory, or information we just recently received, into long term memory, can be by encoding visualy, auditorily, or semantically. Furthermore, when we first store new knowledge, we employ either shallow, deep, or deepest processing. These refer to what aspects of the stimulus we pay attention to, from shallow, or how many letters a word has, to deepest, or what that new word means in the context of a sentence.

So what does this have to do with studying? It means you should spread your studying to different methods, and over time. Studies show that if information is abosrbed with long periods of time in between rehearsal, then retrieval is overall better than if rehearsed once and has to be recalled shortly thereafter. Rehearsal should not be simple repetition either, it should be meaningful: either somehow relate the material to your personal life, or associate it with similar pieces of information.

This is part of the reason why traditional studymethods areso ineffective, because they only employ one type of processing, or only one type of stimulus is absorbed. Take memorizing vocabulary terms from flashcards. This is literally the worse thing you can do: not only are you not learning the material because you only encode auditorily (you saying the words out loud), but they take so much time of meaningless repetition that takes away from other ways you could be using your time productively.

I recommend that you begin studying the very first day your class covers new material, just not in the traditional way that people use the word ‘study.’ Studying is as simple as reading the chapter the professor will cover in class before the class starts. During class, listen closely to what the professor’s lecture, and ask questions for clarification. When you take notes, don’t just copy down what the powerpoint slide says word for word- feel free to draw pictures or graphs that visually represent the information, or something else that makes you think of what was discussed in class.

There, you already thought about the same few concepts, but in many different ways: you wrote them down, you talked about them out loud, and saw visual representations of it. To really hammer the points home, when you go to retrieve the material later, always try to produce it rather than absorb it again. If your professor offers homework assignments, this is a perfect studying tool. If not, most textbooks have review questions at the end of the chapter you can do a few at a time to make sure you’re fresh. Finally, a night or two before, study with a friend by asking each other questions on the material, only referring to the book or notes if you are completely unarmed to answer.

If you do this, essentially you are studying for the test all the time, just not very hard and not for extended periods at a time. This ensures you never have to stay up and cram the night before. But more importantly, you are absorbing the same material in many different ways, which ensures you achieve true understanding. When the test comes, you should know EXACTLY what your professor is looking for in each question, and agonizing over improving your grade should be a bout long past.

Sources

Wood, Justin N. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics 73.2 (Feb 2011): 420-439.

Lewandowski, Stephan. Oberaurer, Klaus. Yang, Lee-Xieng. Ecker, Ullrich K.H. Behavior Research Methods 42.2 (May 2010): 571-85.

Zeithamova, Dagmar; Maddox, W Todd. Memory & Cognition (pre-2011) 35.6 (Sep 2007): 1380-98.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBBjVFzJZZc&hd=1