In any given social event, you’ll notice a few people you know and others you don’t know. How you interact with both groups determines whether you’re regarded as an introvert or an extrovert. One thing you will notice with introverts is that they tend to withdraw from such large gatherings and often find themselves a place they can just be alone with a few people quite familiar to them.

Now, let’s flip this and imagine your friend is this person. Have you ever wondered why She/He loves to spend more time alone? I’m sure you have and are often wrong if not pejorative about it. There are several widely held misconceptions surrounding introversion and extroversion. And in light of this the “loners” are often misunderstood. So what is the real reason behind introversion?

Scientists tend to believe that introversion is not just a personality variance but a scientific issue. They explain that whether a person is introverted or not depends on how their brains respond to dopamine. The most common definition of dopamine is that it’s a neurotransmitter that regulates the brain’s pleasure centers: That it enables us to recognize and routinely move towards pleasure.

The experts believe extroverts’ brains have a more active dopamine reward response network as compared to introverts – that their brains are often stimulated in crowded and social places. And that the thought of positive social interaction (e.g. nights out) often flood the brains of extroverts with dopamine thus they’re not only driven to such events but that they also find reward in them.

Introverts on the other hand tend to have a poorly developed dopamine reward response network therefore often feel overwhelmed whenever they’re exposed to such high social gatherings where high levels of dopamine would be released. According to Dr. Marti Laney in one of her books, “Too much of anything ‘good’ is indeed too much because they (introverts) feel overstimulated.”

The other reason why your friend could be spending more alone time is that his/her brain could be more responsive to acetylcholine, which like dopamine, is a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s pleasure centers but slightly differently. Unlike dopamine, acetylcholine makes us feel good inside hence driving our attention inward, towards deep thought, reflection and sharp focus.

Finally, loners’ need for more alone time is not because they’re antisocial but because they have a parasympathetic nervous system, which makes them relaxed, calm, and more focused inwards.