This is why introverts struggle to articulate their thoughts

Why does an introvert’s mind go blank when they’re asked a simple question?

If you are an introvert, you probably dislike small talk and the stress which accompanies it. You are probably very well aware of the panic you feel when someone approaches you and asks a simple question. Your mind goes blank and you try hard to think of something to say; of course, this only makes it even harder as the only thing you can hear inside your head is Say something – anything!”. When you finally begin to speak, the words that come out do not seem to make sense or articulate exactly what you want to say.

This feeling is more common than you think and, according to Introvert Dear, there are several reasons why introverts struggle articulating what they think.

Reason 1: The way introverts process information

Unlike extroverts, introverts take a longer time processing information as they analyse things deeply and from different perspectives. For this reason, introverts take a longer time finding the words they want to use to describe the things they want to say. This means that when asked a simple question, an introverted person begins to think about it in depth; this makes it difficult to quickly answer the question as one cannot think deeply and speak rapidly at the same time.

Reason 2: The difference between long-term memory and working memory

Long-term memory refers to where our brain stores information for a long period of time; this memory is stored outside of a person’s conscious awareness. Working memory, on the other hand, is easy to access but it stores information for only a few seconds. According to Dr. Marti Olsen Laney, while extroverts favor working memory, introverts favor long-term memory. This can explain why introverts struggle to put their thoughts into words as recalling information takes them a longer time.

Reason 3: Feelings of anxiety

Most introverts experience intense feelings of anxiety in social settings; consequently, this anxiety causes the release of cortisol – the stress hormone – which negatively impacts memory. Pairing high levels of anxiety with the two aforementioned reasons makes it all the more difficult for introverts to express what they want to say.

Reason 4: “Written words flow more fluently for introverts”

Dr. Laney has further found that “Written words use different pathways in the brain, which seem to flow more fluently for introverts”. This explains why introverts tend to prefer texting or emailing over making phone calls and interacting face-to-face; in other words, they do not feel the pressure of having to quickly find the right way to respond.

The above reasons show that there is nothing wrong with your mind going blank and struggling to articulate your thoughts. So, the next time this happens to you, try to remember these four reasons and be kind to yourself.

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