Health and Fitness

Just How Introverted Are You? Your Saliva Might Give You a Hint

It’s called the Lemon Test, and it may just be the new determiner of introversion.
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Ever wanted to confirm whether you’re an introvert or not? Well, it looks like there’s a test that might confirm that, but it might be a little messy. 

A quick lemon test might be enough to tell you if you’re an introvert of extrovert. All you have to do is rest half a lemon on your tongue for 20 seconds, close your mouth for a bit without swallowing, then put a cotton ball in your mouth for 10 seconds to absorb the saliva. Weigh that cotton ball on a small scale and measure it against your friends and family, and you might get confirmation as to who is more introverted or extroverted, because according to previous studies on introverts, they produce more saliva than extroverts. 

An old study by psychologist Hans Eysenck way back in the ‘60s deduced that introverts produced more saliva because they typically have a state of higher state of reticular activating system (RAS) cortical arousal, which determines wakefulness, vigilance, muscle tone, and heart rate.

Compared to extroverts, introverts needed less stimulation before they became more wakeful or, well, aroused. In short, it’s easier for introverts to cross the threshold from relaxation to anxiety, overstimulation, and arousal. Meanwhile, extroverts have a higher threshold, and this may be way they need constant physical and social stimulation. 

So what does this have to do with lemons? It’s largely believed that the RAS responds to food as much as it does to social stimulation, so introverts are expected to react to food in the same way they do to social situations—by salivaiting. The RAS is assumed to be more reactive in introverts, which is where the lemon comes in.

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You can think of the lemon as essentially a metaphor or substitute for social contact, and the person’s response to the lemon can determine if he’s really an introvert or not. Not a lot of saliva? Extrovert. A lot of saliva? An introvert. 

Want to put it to the test?

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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