Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Introversion, Extraversion, Extroversion, Psychoanalytic interpretation, Jung, C. G. (Carl Gustav), 1875-1961, Freud, Sigmund, 1856-1939, Silence, India, Denmark, Industrial revolution, Psychoanalytic theory, Sociocultural theory, Technological revolution, Quiet


This theoretical thesis explores the phenomenon of introversion, how it has come to be perceived over time in both the United States and various other countries and cultures, and why. This paper seeks to understand how and why the United States has come to value extroverted personality characteristics over introverted ones, and attempts to discover the creation of this value system through a historical analysis of the creation of the definition and meaning of both introversion and extroversion. This thesis utilizes an extensive review of the literature rooted in psychoanalytic theory in order to trace the creation of the definition and meaning of introversion and also locates what this means for introverts navigating the broader societal landscape from this phenomenon's origin to present day in the United States. In addition, through the lens of sociocultural theory, this paper explores other countries and cultures, specifically Finland and India, to realize alternative ways of perceiving introversion. It also attempts to understand greater society in both Finland and India throughout history to help appreciate why introversion may be perceived differently in countries other than the United States. Through this sociocultural historical analysis of the phenomenon of introversion, this theoretical thesis discusses implications for social work practice and offers ideas as to why altering society's perception of introversion in the United States is both necessary and meaningful.




iii, 59 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 52-59)