You are either not logged in or not registered with our community. Click here to register.
 
December 02, 2016, 02:03:00 PM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Click here if you are having problems.
Default Wide Screen Beige Lilac Rainbow Black & Blue October Send us your theme!

Hark!  The Herald!
Holiday Issue 2016

Wiki Blogs Dicebot

Author Topic: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)  (Read 1250 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JuliusCaesarTopic starter

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« on: April 25, 2013, 05:00:49 PM »
Susan Cain: The power of introverts

"Susan Cain (born 1968) is an American writer and lecturer, and author of the 2012 non-fiction book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, which argues that modern Western culture misunderstands and undervalues the traits and capabilities of introverted people."



I stumbled upon this TED Talk today, courtesy of my Facebook feed, and thought that bringing it to the E community would yield an interesting conversation. Judging by our MBTI personality types thread, most of us happen to be introverts, a conclusion that is easily come by if not for the sole fact that we all enjoy writing -- albeit smutty and sexy -- and are here as per our own volitions. Writing is not a gregarious activity, nor is reading.

Cain makes an important distinction between shyness and introversion, shyness being an anxiety of social situations and introversion being a tendency to foster original thoughts and ideas by oneself. She also mentions our society's marginalization of introverts; if you sit and read/draw/write/exist away from others, you aren't seen as a team player, but you're seen as anti-social -- or even a problem that needs to be fixed. Of course, this isn't a discussion about absolutes. Not every job, institution, and school values extrovert behaviors over introverts ones. The issue is that we have a tendency to celebrate extrovert behaviors more than we do introvert behaviors.

Do you guys believe that Cain is right? Are we stifling our introverts and telling them that extroversion is "good" and introversion is "bad"?

Offline Moraline

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2013, 09:53:36 AM »
Watched it. Thanks for the link. She was quirky and entertaining. I enjoy a lot of the TED talks.

I can't really add much to the discussion other then to say that I agree with her. Introverts really deserve a bigger place in creative culture and the business world. American style capitalist business models have many flaws and the lack of support for individual thinking is just one of them.

Offline Deamonbane

  • A cynic by experience, a romantic by inclination and now a hero by necessity.
  • Knight
  • Addict
  • *
  • Join Date: Oct 2012
  • Location: The world would be a sadder place without stories.
  • Gender: Male
  • Make me smile...
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 04:42:11 PM »
There's always a support for individual thinking... it's just not support from bosses that don't want their employees to get too smart and start demanding wages... I'd say that the lack of individual thinking is what is drowning most economies now...

Offline Moraline

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2013, 11:18:46 AM »
There's always a support for individual thinking...<snip>
Not really.

That was the point of the TED talk.  American society (and Canadian society) educates our youth in a manner that is against individualistic free creative thought. The way we raise our children goes against it. Much of our society here is set against it. Business is just a mirror of the culture of group thought that we've created.

Our society has supported group thought because it has a lot of value but we've gone so far against individual creative thinking that we've begun to stifle it. The point of Susan Cain's book and her TED Talk was that we need to find more ways to incorporate it and support it back into our culture.

Offline Jude

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2013, 09:57:13 PM »
The problem is, introversion and extroversion are manufactured categories. These are not characteristics that people possess like 'blue eyes' or even a well-defined simplistic preference, they are manufactured quantities that are the result of a statistical technique known as factor analysis.

In short, people created personality inventories. They looked for patterns in how people self-report their answers to these inventories. They found a pattern, and labeled it "introvert/extrovert" using a label they felt fit the spirit of those questions. And that's it. That's the source of introversion/extroversion as an idea.

She's not a scientist, not even really a full blown researcher.

Take everything she says with a serious grain of salt, because she really is unqualified to be making these judgments at all. This work is best left to social scientists.

EDIT to add a thought: Some of what she presents as evidence for her thesis is actually not evidence for her thesis, but the exact opposite. She makes the claim, for instance, that a lot of our society is biased against introverts. In her talk she presents this notion that introverts do better in school (higher GPA). That would mean that our schools are biased in their favor, not against introverts.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 11:57:01 PM by Jude »

Offline JuliusCaesarTopic starter

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2013, 11:29:59 AM »
Of course. All things should be taken with a grain of salt, even the work of social scientists, lauded professors, or our government leaders. Because an idea is sanctioned by a peer-reviewed journal or a majority of the general population doesn't mean that the idea should be treated like dogma. Conversely, because the speaker isn't a social scientist doesn't mean her claims deserve to be completely rejected.

In short, people created personality inventories. They looked for patterns in how people self-report their answers to these inventories. They found a pattern, and labeled it "introvert/extrovert" using a label they felt fit the spirit of those questions. And that's it. That's the source of introversion/extroversion as an idea.
Carl Jung is not "people." If you believe he fostered this social theory by putting out a poll and conducting a "factor analysis," I recommend some light Googling that will bring you to places like here, which is particularly useful because it tells us that Cain did not get her idea off the sidewalk. More importantly, it tells us where to find Jung's thesis, which is not a compilation of self-reporting.

The point of Susan Cain's book and her TED Talk was that we need to find more ways to incorporate it and support it back into our culture.
Cain's thesis, if anything.

EDIT to add a thought: Some of what she presents as evidence for her thesis is actually not evidence for her thesis, but the exact opposite. She makes the claim, for instance, that a lot of our society is biased against introverts. In her talk she presents this notion that introverts do better in school (higher GPA). That would mean that our schools are biased in their favor, not against introverts.
If Cain presents information for her thesis that doesn't bolster it, then it's safe to conclude that you're foggy on what her thesis is. I believe her decision to include the bit about GPAs is meant to illustrate that we should support introvert learning tendencies in our classrooms with as much enthusiasm that we support group work and group participation; introvert learning tendencies are different ways of knowing. They're not wrong, and they do not deserve to be overruled by extravert learning tendencies.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 11:37:44 AM by JuliusCaesar »

Offline Moraline

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2013, 11:54:21 AM »
While I was working out my post, JuliusCeasar said what I was typing. So ... +1 to that.

Offline JuliusCaesarTopic starter

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2013, 11:56:22 AM »
I'm glad we're on the same page, Moraline. ;)

Offline Jude

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2013, 12:16:56 PM »
Her work being based on 90 year old debunked pseudo-science psychology is even worse than it being based on personality inventory stuff (which it is).

Personality inventory science was an attempt to legitimize stuff like that.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 12:18:35 PM by Jude »

Offline JuliusCaesarTopic starter

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2013, 12:33:51 PM »
Oh, agreed. Jung and Freud operated a century ago. Social Darwinism is also insane, but people (ie. Nazi Germany) used it to legitimize racism and white superiority. The stuff was whack.

However, this doesn't change the fact that our society values extravert tendencies and characteristics. It's been burned into our historical memory of psychology, much like Lacan's "mirror stage" and Freud's Oedipus Complex. I personally think that treating introversion/extraversion as a binary is silly. They're parts of a spectrum, and a vague spectrum at that.

At the very bottom of it, people -- especially children -- shouldn't be looked down upon or undervalued because they prefer more independent modes of socializing or cultivating thought. Unfortunately, we have to use "introverted" and "extraverted" as a signifiers to bring attention to the issue.

Offline Noelle

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2013, 12:34:56 PM »
Quote
If Cain presents information for her thesis that doesn't bolster it, then it's safe to conclude that you're foggy on what her thesis is.

This is a bit dismissive of his point, isn't it? If she isn't, in fact, saying that society is biased against introverts, then maybe you could give a quick summation of what she was trying to say instead? I got the same message out of the video that he did -- she builds a case as to how introverts are underappreciated and untapped in society and then goes on to say that they excel in school. These two ideas are at odds -- I'm not sure what's misinterpreted about that.

Your point about children also doesn't make sense in that context. If introverts are excelling in school, how can they be undervalued in schools simultaneously?

Offline Ellipsis

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2013, 12:59:18 PM »
This is a bit dismissive of his point, isn't it? If she isn't, in fact, saying that society is biased against introverts, then maybe you could give a quick summation of what she was trying to say instead? I got the same message out of the video that he did -- she builds a case as to how introverts are underappreciated and untapped in society and then goes on to say that they excel in school. These two ideas are at odds -- I'm not sure what's misinterpreted about that.

Your point about children also doesn't make sense in that context. If introverts are excelling in school, how can they be undervalued in schools simultaneously?

I feel the need to address schools or education when it comes to these statements. Bolded for emphasis, by the way.

If I had to place myself in a category of either an introvert or an extrovert, I would fall into the former, though I agree with the fact that this system should be more of a spectrum than a binary. I excelled in school and I still do. I was fifth in my graduating class for high school. Top fifteen percent currently for my university.

I'm going to focus more so on my high school experiences here. I excelled, yes, but did I ever feel appreciated at my school, definitely not. At a young age, I was labeled "gifted" after performing a variety of critical thinking analysis tests. This fell under the ESE category of teaching, at least it did when I attended in my particular state . Remedial teaching also falls under this category. My high school received additional funding for these ESE students. However, since the balance was heavily tipped toward a remedial population, it's understandable where most of the funding was placed. However, students of the "gifted" nature were given absolutely nothing. No AP classes. No honors curriculum. My honors credit was just tacked on at the end of the grading period, if any classes offered it at all. For example, in my eleventh grade English course, I had to do nothing extra, save for write one additional paper. Giving a student more work does not equal giving them an advanced curriculum. My senior year, the only required classes I had left were Government and Economics, as well as English IV. My school's solution was to stick in me in a computer lab for several blocks, so I wouldn't be "bored" in regular classes. It was my decision to take college classes during those blocks.

So yes, in my experience, they are undervalued. I'm not saying that this is standard across the board, but I excelled in school on my own. My school did nothing to facilitate a challenging, learning atmosphere for students like me. I had to take the initiative because it was better than sitting around in a computer lab, playing solitaire for three hours out of the school day. Success in school is not always a positive reflection on the institution. To me, it's more of a reflection on the student and I wanted to point out that it is possible to be undervalued, yet still excel in an academic setting.

Offline JuliusCaesarTopic starter

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2013, 01:15:01 PM »
This is a bit dismissive of his point, isn't it? If she isn't, in fact, saying that society is biased against introverts, then maybe you could give a quick summation of what she was trying to say instead? I got the same message out of the video that he did -- she builds a case as to how introverts are underappreciated and untapped in society and then goes on to say that they excel in school. These two ideas are at odds -- I'm not sure what's misinterpreted about that.

Your point about children also doesn't make sense in that context. If introverts are excelling in school, how can they be undervalued in schools simultaneously?

Noelle, I did. I quoted Moraline. It wasn't my intention to undermine Jude's thinking or discredit him. I think he makes a great a point -- the introverted/extraverted binary is outdated, but, as Ellipsis points out, excelling doesn't mean you're automatically appreciated or valued for your ways of thinking. I also explained why I think Cain used the GPA example. :)

Online ReijiTabibito

  • Gatecrasher
  • Lord
  • Addict
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2009
  • Location: Titanian Autonomous University, Gate Studies Dept.
  • Gender: Male
  • There cannot be another Fall.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 2
Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2013, 03:23:27 PM »
Agreed w/Moraline and Caesar.  How society perceives ones normal social outgoing-ness shouldn't be a major factor in how appreciated you are.  Not sure if I said quite the same thing there.  I would recommend clicking the Wiki link and reading the entry on the book, it gives a bit more detail to the whole thing.  And, in a sense, a lot of what Cain talks about we can trace to roots of problems that we have in our society today.

A: Cain points out that just because you can talk a good game doesn't mean you actually have one - speaking talent and actual brainpower are not necessarily correlated with each other.  That rings out, to me, of most any publicly elected position.  Give enough promises, give enough speeches, get enough people to like you, and bingo!  Electable.  Never mind that you might be not that much smarter than your constituent, or that you haven't realized promises A, D, and J all clash with each other and you can only make one happen.

B: When I graduated from college, I went to look for work.  And everywhere I went, I was given this thing called the 'targeted interview.'  Now, I define myself as an introvert.  And a lot of the questions I was expected to answer on this interview were definitely extrovert in nature.  For example:

Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer.  -OR-  Tell me about your most challenging leadership role.  -OR- Tell me about a time when you convinced a group of people to back your position.

Now, I am sure that there are positions out there that demand answers to these questions.  But in my case, my answer (at least my mental answer) to all these questions was the same:

"A, you're hiring me to be a bench chemist.  I take Substance A and mix it with Substance B to make C.  I'm not answering your phones or talking to your suppliers, my supervisor is doing that.  If I'm doing that, something is wrong.  B: I'm not going to be in a leadership position, you just told me your most inexperienced employee has been here 5 years.  I'm the FNG, the guy with no authority.  C: See answer B.  I'm the FNG, nobody's going to listen to me unless the idea I have is more brilliant than sliced bread."

I hated these interviews.  Hated them.  Because they would ask me questions like this malarkey that had absolutely nothing to do with how well I was going to do on the job and everything to do with 'Would I join the company basketball team?'

It's funny, people talk about how all sorts of things out there are oppressing free thought, but is anyone talking about how our rampant desire to be just like everybody else might do that?

Offline Jude

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2013, 05:32:44 PM »
Simple acid test to her thesis: by what concrete metrics are people who fall into the artificial "introvert" category being wounded by the current societal program? Concrete metrics, not mentions of discomfort or intuitively based complaints. What statistics exist to show that introverts are being actively harmed by our current way of doing things? It is conceivable that being pushed to be more extroverted is actually good for introverts, she never really produced convincing evidence of this in my view.

If you can establish that introverts, the class, are worse off than extroverts, then you need to show that it's because of their introversion and not an artifact of correlation-causation confusion that has more to do with other characteristics that many introverts possess (and that could be better attacked directly).

Furthermore, you have to establish that the ways in which they are wounded exceed the ways in which they benefit. During her talk and in her books, she's given numerous areas where introverts are better off, and this evidence can easily be mobilized against her point that introverts are disadvantaged.

Here's the thing: my problem isn't with her thesis. It's the sloppy way that she goes about advancing it.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 05:41:26 PM by Jude »

Offline Ellipsis

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2013, 05:41:53 PM »
Simple acid test to her thesis: by what concrete metrics are people who fall into the artificial "introvert" category being wounded by the current program? Concrete metrics, not mentions of discomfort or intuitively based complaints. What statistics exist to show that introverts are being actively harmed by our current way of doing things? It is conceivable that being pushed to be more extroverted is actually good for introverts, she never really produced convincing evidence of this in my view.


Bolded for my emphasis.

Why do introverts have to be pushed at all? I'm not saying there aren't benefits from having more extroverted qualities and I certainly think a balance is healthy. I just don't understand why individuals can't be introverted without having the need to poke and prod them to participate in extroverted activities or to gain extroverted qualities. For example, if a child would rather read than engage in group activity, I don't see the harm in supporting that decision.

Offline Jude

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2013, 05:52:20 PM »
Quote
Why do introverts have to be pushed at all?
Imagine that a body of research appeared before you that showed that pushing introverts to be more extroverted resulted in a lower incidence of mental illness, higher wage earning potential, and greater self-reported happiness.

That could be why.

It is possible that introversion is not a benefit or even a neutral characteristic and that guiding people away from that tendency is good for them overall.

It's pretty obvious that Cain has come at this topic from the assumption that introversion is a positive thing.

Well, I'm another introvert who isn't so willing to make that assumption. I know the ways my introversion has hurt me directly, without society's interference. I have let opportunities slip away, I have sometimes chosen to be anti-social and lost friends in the process, I have indulged in my media of choice at the expense of relationships with my family where a more extroverted person would've made a better brother and/or son.

I think she's assuming a lot. My experiences don't prove that she's wrong, but they certainly are an anecdotal basis to doubt in the absence of better information.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 05:58:02 PM by Jude »

Offline Noelle

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2013, 06:01:08 PM »
Point taken about being valued, but we're also talking about a wider claim that introverts are being actively oppressed by a so-called extrovert society. As Jude mentions, where outside of anecdote does this evidence exist? The one piece of evidence that we've found thus far doesn't pertain to any demonstrable disadvantage -- on the contrary, in fact. The fact that your school failed to fund the extended programs seems more indicative of an overall education/funding failure and not necessarily a bias towards introverted children. I, too, was in accelerated learning programs that were a little lackluster, but I wasn't an especially introverted child.

A: Cain points out that just because you can talk a good game doesn't mean you actually have one - speaking talent and actual brainpower are not necessarily correlated with each other.  That rings out, to me, of most any publicly elected position.  Give enough promises, give enough speeches, get enough people to like you, and bingo!  Electable.  Never mind that you might be not that much smarter than your constituent, or that you haven't realized promises A, D, and J all clash with each other and you can only make one happen.

Is this really reasonable? If you show up to a job interview and they want to ascertain your level of skill, but you're clutching your cards tightly to your chest, is it really reasonable to expect them to, from their point of view, take a risk on a total stranger? Would you elect a person who shows up once or twice looking like they don't really want to be there or the person who is jazzed and confident to be leading? It seems pretty evident to me that we would want someone who represents us to be a person who actually WANTS to communicate with us. Not every job is an 'introvert' job -- if you can't stand interacting with people, then you probably shouldn't be a representative of those very people. This is not a good example, regardless, given that the problem of the election system you make mention of runs deeper than simply being intro/extroverted and is a bit off-topic.

I mean, you're right -- not everyone who can talk themselves up has anything to back it, but are you really being realistic in saying that the person who doesn't say much is going to seem like a more attractive and competent choice? Is there no difference between saying "I can do the job" while looking at your feet (a metaphor for introversion) and saying "I can do the job" while assertively looking them in the eye and smiling? You're asking the employer to go from taking a more positive risk ("This guy seemed really confident and communicative, I bet he'd be able to work with our other employees and build good relationships") to a negative one ("This guy didn't seem comfortable talking to me, doesn't seem to like working with others -- maybe he wouldn't get along with our existing employees whose performance is not a mystery") in the name of fairness that we aren't even sure is objectively unfair to begin with.

Quote
Noelle, I did. I quoted Moraline. It wasn't my intention to undermine Jude's thinking or discredit him. I think he makes a great a point -- the introverted/extraverted binary is outdated, but, as Ellipsis points out, excelling doesn't mean you're automatically appreciated or valued for your ways of thinking. I also explained why I think Cain used the GPA example. :)

I see what you wrote now, but the point still stands that she hasn't really given any compelling data to support any of her ideas. We start out by saying introverts are at a disadvantage. We then proceed to agree that the idea of introvert/extrovert isn't clear-cut. We then proceed to agree that one part of our society (schools) does not seem to be unfair towards introverts in its stated purpose (teaching kids). I'm willing to say that it's entirely possible that things are unfairly biased and could stand to be altered -- if that's the case, I'd love to see more data, but it seems like the legs under Cain's hypothesis keep getting kicked out, leaving it propped up on anecdotes alone with nothing concrete replacing them.

Offline Ellipsis

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2013, 06:04:51 PM »
Imagine that a body of research appeared before you that showed that pushing introverts to be more extroverted resulted in a lower incidence of mental illness, higher wage earning potential, and greater self-reported happiness.

That could be why.

It is possible that introversion is not a benefit or even a neutral characteristic and that guiding people away from that tendency is good for them overall.

It's pretty obvious that Cain has come at this topic from the assumption that introversion is a positive thing.

Well, I'm another introvert who isn't so willing to make that assumption. I know the ways my introversion has hurt me directly, without society's interference. I have let opportunities slip away, I have sometimes chosen to be anti-social and lost friends in the process, I have indulged in my media of choice at the expense of relationships with my family where a more extroverted person would've made a better brother and/or son.

I think she's assuming a lot. My experiences don't prove that she's wrong, but they certainly are an anecdotal basis to doubt in the absence of better information.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I didn't say that promoting extroverted qualities was a bad thing in the slightest. But if someone is comfortable with being introverted, there's no need push them to do otherwise. I agree that each system of traits could benefit from the other, though I do not think introversion should be treated as though it is something that needs to be cured.

Also, I am not saying that introversion is a positive thing,  but it can be. An individual's personality may lend itself to more introverted activities and it's not always a cause for concern.

Some reading materials: Myths about Introverts and Caring for Your Introvert: The habits and needs of a little-understood group.

Offline JuliusCaesarTopic starter

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2013, 07:31:38 PM »
I see what you wrote now, but the point still stands that she hasn't really given any compelling data to support any of her ideas. We start out by saying introverts are at a disadvantage. We then proceed to agree that the idea of introvert/extrovert isn't clear-cut. We then proceed to agree that one part of our society (schools) does not seem to be unfair towards introverts in its stated purpose (teaching kids). I'm willing to say that it's entirely possible that things are unfairly biased and could stand to be altered -- if that's the case, I'd love to see more data, but it seems like the legs under Cain's hypothesis keep getting kicked out, leaving it propped up on anecdotes alone with nothing concrete replacing them.
There seems to be a hookup over data and numbers. Jude expresses the same concern. Certain aspects of social theory cannot be quantified, at least not accurately. In my opinion, Cain's lack of empirical evidence doesn't weaken her position -- because it's a position. A theory. Of course, other people see different, which is completely fine. I don't need numbers to say "hey, I think that's an interesting idea."

It's pretty obvious that Cain has come at this topic from the assumption that introversion is a positive thing.

Well, I'm another introvert who isn't so willing to make that assumption. I know the ways my introversion has hurt me directly, without society's interference. I have let opportunities slip away, I have sometimes chosen to be anti-social and lost friends in the process, I have indulged in my media of choice at the expense of relationships with my family where a more extroverted person would've made a better brother and/or son.

I think she's assuming a lot. My experiences don't prove that she's wrong, but they certainly are an anecdotal basis to doubt in the absence of better information.
She does believe that introversion is a positive thing, yes. Extraversion is also a positive thing. A mix of both is a positive thing as well. There's nothing negative about any of these qualities because they're personality types linked to ways of learning.

Dissatisfaction is different animal in a different jungle. Your personal experiences with introversion have hurt you, just as my personal experiences with extraversion have hurt me. I loved hockey growing up and made my high school's team. I lasted only a year because I quit. Not all, but a lot of the guys on the team were simply assholes because they were disrespectful to their girlfriends, parents, and teachers -- popularity gave a lot of them a superiority complex, and I wanted none of that because I saw that I too was starting to adopt their negative attitudes towards others. One guy was a dick and started to gradually infect the others because he was the most gregarious of the bunch. It was hard to break away, but I think I've become a much better person because I chose to have a close group of solid friends than a large, loose group of so-so friends. 

I say this because anecdotes can refute anything. In the absence of empirical data, I happen to agree with Cain, just as you happen to disagree because of your experiences with introversion. This doesn't mean she's wrong. It means that she's part of a stepping stone towards -- hopefully --  a better understanding of introverts, to let them learn and socialize as they so please. Just as your introversion has potentially held you back, my push for extraversion could have held me back as well. I like to think that it's our choices that determine what helps or hurts us, not our MBTI alignments.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 07:39:02 PM by JuliusCaesar »

Offline Jude

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2013, 08:47:17 PM »
From the sticky a the top of this forum.
Quote from: Vekseid
A scientific theory is a collection of one or more hypothesis that explain a portion of our Universe. To be considered a part of 'scientific consensus', it needs to

1) Explain all previous data
2) Do so in the most concise manner possible
3) Make predictions about future observations that would be surprising without the enlightenment provided by the theory.
4) It should be conservative - staying within its realm and not making wild assertions.
Quote from: JuliusCaeser
There seems to be a hookup over data and numbers. Jude expresses the same concern. Certain aspects of social theory cannot be quantified, at least not accurately. In my opinion, Cain's lack of empirical evidence doesn't weaken her position -- because it's a position. A theory. Of course, other people see different, which is completely fine. I don't need numbers to say "hey, I think that's an interesting idea."
I feel like we're not really speaking the same language at all.

We have a different standard of what makes something compelling or true, which while is OK, it's not conducive to constructive debate.

So I'm gonna bow out. I just want you guys to know that I respect your right to hold your opinion even if we disagree. Thanks for the discussion!
« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 08:51:32 PM by Jude »

Offline Vekseid

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2013, 08:54:00 PM »
The problem is, introversion and extroversion are manufactured categories. These are not characteristics that people possess like 'blue eyes' or even a well-defined simplistic preference, they are manufactured quantities that are the result of a statistical technique known as factor analysis.

While I'm pleased with seeing this video get called out for being shoddy, you seem to be presenting factor analysis and controlled self reporting as 'not science'.

Offline Noelle

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2013, 08:57:00 PM »
Quote
There seems to be a hookup over data and numbers. Jude expresses the same concern. Certain aspects of social theory cannot be quantified, at least not accurately. In my opinion, Cain's lack of empirical evidence doesn't weaken her position -- because it's a position. A theory. Of course, other people see different, which is completely fine. I don't need numbers to say "hey, I think that's an interesting idea."

Not all aspects can be quantified, but for someone to give a TED talk and insist that something needs to be changed and that there is a problem that is affecting people, shouldn't there be some standard of objectivity somewhere? There are most certainly measurable claims we can ask for from her theory. If there is systemic discrimination, it can be measured -- we've done it before to build more compelling cases for other areas of social science. For instance, to support the subjective standard of racism, we can look at the objective data pertaining to the average socioeconomic status of persons of color vs similar white counterparts. We can look at their graduation rates, employment rates, incarceration rates, crimes vs punishment, and so forth. For the subjective standard of sexism, we have been able to measure the average income of a man and woman in equal positions and determine that women are still not paid fairly across the board. We have been able to poll about frequency of street harassment, assault, and rape.

What Cain talks about is privilege in the same sense we talk about privilege in issues of race and sex/gender. She is suggesting there is an inherent privilege among extroverts in various facets of life, which is absolutely something that we can measure and find out. We have been able to find very strong connective data in other areas that make similar claims, so I think it would be a very good bet that if the effect she's describing were so profound, she should also be able to dredge some numbers up to make a stronger case. It's not to say those numbers don't exist or that everything she's saying is untrue...as I said earlier, it's entirely possible that there is some form of inequality, but we should be cautious to treat it as something concrete until that happens.

I'm not criticizing your right to find it an interesting idea -- certainly you don't need ironclad evidence to entertain different thoughts, nor should you. It's just that this talk does raise many flags of skepticism at an academic level, most especially because it relies heavily on anecdotes and some outdated ideas.

Offline Jude

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2013, 09:00:19 PM »
I'll elaborate: there are problems with both of them that make them problematic at times (but not necessarily not science, in Baysian terms they're just less precise and compelling forms of evidence/analysis).

Factor analysis is great at locating correlating, clusters of information grouped as a factor. The problem is we don't know if it's a set of complicatedly interlinked variables or one singular variable variable. Relevant example: is introvertedness a thing or are there are a set of complicated characteristics that fall under its umbrella that it represents?

And well-controlled self-reporting is a decent enough mechanism (second to many other more rigorous forms of course), but in the instances we're talking about the controls are very poor. The MBTI and other personality inventories do very little (if anything at all) to control for social desirability bias, etc.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (A TED Talk)
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2013, 09:50:24 PM »
I'll elaborate: there are problems with both of them that make them problematic at times (but not necessarily not science, in Baysian terms they're just less precise and compelling forms of evidence/analysis).

Factor analysis is great at locating correlating, clusters of information grouped as a factor. The problem is we don't know if it's a set of complicatedly interlinked variables or one singular variable variable. Relevant example: is introvertedness a thing or are there are a set of complicated characteristics that fall under its umbrella that it represents?

Is being big or small one thing or is it a combination of height, fat content, and musculoskeletal build?

...regardless, being big or small still is well correlated with how thin of ice one can traverse. It's still a meaningful thing to know, and you can still make scientifically useful judgments with it regardless of whether or not we know it's a component controlled by multiple variables.

With an actual estimated genetic component significantly greater than zero but significantly less than 100%, one imagines there are multiple factors. That does not make the intro/extro descriptor useless, it still correlates with how one reacts to various situations, and how one 'expresses' happiness.

Quote
And well-controlled self-reporting is a decent enough mechanism (second to many other more rigorous forms of course), but in the instances we're talking about the controls are very poor. The MBTI and other personality inventories do very little (if anything at all) to control for social desirability bias, etc.

You shouldn't confuse what goes on as a classroom, workplace, or forum activity with more rigorous measurements e.g. in a clinical setting where social interactions are proactively observed to account for this, or an actual study where these things are sometimes accounted for.