Thursday, August 23, 2012

When Introversion and Math Collide

When I was a university math major, in one of the later courses, I was sitting in class with a girl named Susa, listening to a lecture. We'd been exposed to a countless number of theorems over the many semesters, and that day the prof presented yet another heretofore-unheard-of mathematician and his theorem. "Someday," murmured my seatmate, without taking her eyes off the board, "there's going to be a Susa theorem."

My thoughts exactly. And, talking with a friend recently about how introverts need to refuel after an exhausting period of extroversion, I realized the time has come. So, I give you:

Hoehne's First Law

The approximate number of Introversion Hours (IH, or I-Hours) required to refuel an introvert after a given amount of extroverted energy release can be expressed as

3(XH) + s + .02(dB) = IH


Where XH is the number of Extroversion Hours,
s is any portion of the XH during which the introvert felt unwell,
dB is the decibel level of noise the introvert was exposed to during the XH.

As a simple example, let's say the introvert attended a three-hour party where loud music was played and had a headache the entire time. The approximate number of I-Hours the person will require to recuperate is calculated as follows:

3(3) + 3 + .02(115) =
9 + 3 + 2.3 = 14.3

So we see that, if we include the hours spent sleeping, this poor soul needs virtually an entire day to refuel.

If, however, the introvert felt well during the party, and the loudest sound was normal conversation, we have

3(3) + 0 + .02(60) = 10.2

In this case, we can expect the introvert to be able to handle about 6 hours of non-isolation during the following 24-hour period.

Caution: Empirical data only. No writing was slacked off upon in order to pursue rigorous scholarship in the writing of this theorem. :)

Now, if this fiction-writing thing doesn't pan out, maybe I can write a textbook?



15 comments:

Jaye Robin Brown said...

Okay - so I don't understand that AT ALL. But, I do know on the weekends after a week of dealing with a whole high school of folks, I rarely leave my house. I even hide from the neighbors if I'm doing work outside and they're driving through. Crazy, right?

Faith E. Hough said...

Um, yes. Absolutely. Where can we work in the difference when the introvert in question crept away and hid somewhere (like the corner or the bathroom) for a certain amount of the party?

Marcia said...

Jaye -- If that's crazy, I'm crazy right along with you. Neighbors = chit-chat = energy drain. But I try to be nice unless I'm really running on empty, in case maybe they need a smile and a friendly word today.

Faith -- If you crawl away into a corner or hide in the bathroom, you're still at the party. I don't see any real stress-reduction here! :)

Vijaya said...

I love this post and thank Marcia for sending this to me earlier (it's on my office door and an excellent algebraic exercise for the kids). I let them think about other variables and work out the results. The nice thing is that they *get* it.

Introverts unite and demand IH.

Barbara Watson said...

I need recovery time after spending time with others, especially loud others or loud situations. Great post, Marcia. :-)

Bish Denham said...

LOL! This is so funny and so true. AND, I think there needs to be an age factor in there as well. The older I get the longer it takes me to recover.

Mirka Breen said...

Oy. I'm sending link to DS, who is not only a mathematician, but an introvert in need of refueling every time after being out an about.

Marcia said...

Vijaya -- It's so cool that they get it! "Introverts Unite and Demand IH." Sounds like we need to pump some signs. Wait -- that would cost us XH...

Barbara -- Yes, noise adds to the drain, for sure. If it would remove the need to have something to say, THAT might help, but, alas, we're usually expected to scream over the din.

Bish -- Age! Oooh, you are very likely onto something here. *contemplates return to the ivory tower*

Mirka -- LOL. Hope he enjoys it.

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Oh, Marcia, so funny and so true. I'm glad to know so many others feel this way. I used to think it was just me.

Marcia said...

Ruth -- I don't know if introverts are 50% of the population, but they can't be much less than that. There have to be a LOT of us running around who feel this way.

Medeia Sharif said...

I'm an introvert and love this post. Some people can't understand why I want to be alone or why I want it to be quiet, especially after I've been through too much social activity.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Okay, I glazed over a little there. BUT I totally get "introverts need to refuel after an exhausting period of extroversion".

Question: how is it fair for you to be good at math AND words?

annebingham said...

So did Santa bring you a mini digital sound level meter for Christmas last year ($26.46, eligible for SuperSaver Shipping!) or do you just earball it?

Marcia said...

Medeia -- It's kind of discouraging that many never seem to get it no matter how long they've known you. They take it personally or get miffed. :/

Joyce -- Haha, that's another thing people question..."How can you be good at both?" Actually, studies show that if a FEMALE is good at math, she will be good at language, too. But men who are good at math don't necessarily get language tossed in.

Anne -- Earball. However, should data collection be necessary, I guess I know what equipment I need! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm almost too introverted to post. But what consolation in being understood. This formula is fabulous, and, now, when my husband chuckles at me for indulging in much needed recovery time, I'll have real figures for evidence.