What's your personality type?

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What's your personality type?

Postby Elliott » 05 Apr 2012, 15:40

I'm quite interested in the Myers-Briggs personality system, derived from Jung's research. I've had quite a few of my friends do the test and it's surprising how much their "type" profile matches their character.

My own type is INTP. This is the eccentric professor/analyst/architect sort of person. The linked profile describes me pretty well, I have to say.

At their most extreme, INTPs exhibit almost autistic behaviour, preferring to be alone and obsessing over systems and theories, and not very good with people. I certainly like to be alone, because it's when I am most productive, but I also greatly value friendship and conversation. I can spend huge amounts of time on my own working on a problem, but if I can't share the results with someone else, it feels pointless.

Where I differ from the INTP archetype is that I am not scientific or mathematical, at all. I am creative, and I hope that my work yields an understanding of people. But I could never build an engine! My mind is more linguistic. (I think that programming is engineering for people who can use words better than they can use numbers.)

Still, my mind certainly favours theories and clarity. I want to know the truth about things. I always want to get to the crux of something, not faff around on the outside of it.

If I am not occupied with something intellectually stimulating, I get bored very quickly. This is why I can't understand why people watch trash on TV, or why they ever want to "switch off".

INTPs are extremely analytical and look for problems all the time, so as to look for possible ways to improve things. This unfortunately biases them towards the "glass half full" view of life, because whatever they find, their brain is designed to look for flaws in it. But with the modern world the way it is, I don't have to look very hard. Even so, I wish I could enjoy things rather than "homing in" on their shortcomings - that's something I've got to work on!

Even reading that profile just now, I was concentrating on the flaws that it illuminates in my character so that I could be aware of them in future. One of the things I've learned to avoid - through bitter experience, actually - is being too logical. One day I'll post an essay here about "the teenage mind", citing my own as an extreme example. It disturbs me now to think how misguided I was as a teenager, and it was mainly because I was trying to frame the world in logical terms, to come up with a theory that dealt with everything all at once. I had the standard teenage drive to see things in stark terms but took it to extreme, insane lengths.

With age, you realise that not everything is logical, least of all people, including yourself. That's a very important lesson because it steers you away from theories that could dehumanise. It shows you that theories may well be true, but that there will always be exceptions (but also, that those exceptions do not devalue the theory).

I still believe that everything can be analysed, but that doesn't mean it can be understood - or, for that matter, changed.

On the bright side, the INTP has traits I enjoy - intelligence, curiosity, imagination, and genuine (not affected) eccentricity.

You can find out your personality type here. It would be interesting to know the results for various people on this forum, and how much they feel it matches their character.
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Re: What's your personality type?

Postby Andrea » 13 Apr 2012, 15:54

A most interesting subject, thanks for sharing this with us, Elliott.

I took the test and I am surprised by how spot-on it is in my opinion.

Apparently, I am an INFJ =Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. How typically old-fashioned a female I am (which I don't mind).

"Blessed with vivid imaginations, Counselors are often seen as the most poetical of all the types, and in fact they use a lot of poetic imagery in their everyday language. Their great talent for language-both written and spoken-is usually directed toward communicating with people in a personalized way."

I agree with the above, for most of my time is spent in writing historical fiction. I am happy to converse in the four languages I have been able to learn and I find I am much more confident in written language than in spoken language (I am rather shy, though many people have said that I am confident).

Counselors have an exceptionally strong desire to contribute to the welfare of others, and find great personal fulfillment interacting with people, nurturing their personal development, guiding them to realize their human potential.

I also agree with this statement. I do not like confrontation or seeing someone in pain - emotional or physical. I began volunteering with the infirm and aged when I was 10 because of this.

Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life.

I certainly agree with this. I am often quiet for I do not like people who prattle on about nonsense. I often think the best lines to describe my personality are from Queen Elizabeth I, who said,
"I seem stark mute yet inwardly do prate. I am and am not freeze, and yet am burned."

A most interesting topic. I've learned much!
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Re: What's your personality type?

Postby Elliott » 13 Apr 2012, 20:32

Thanks for taking the test, Andrea. I'm glad that you think the result is accurate. Of course there's always a danger of kidding oneself that the result is accurate, but I think, given that it is based on actual answers you've given, that it generally is. Certainly, I got all my immediate family to do it and it rang true every time.
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Re: What's your personality type?

Postby Michael » 13 Apr 2012, 21:54

I took the test and wound up with INTJ - The Mastermind.

Complex operations involve many steps or stages, one following another in a necessary progression, and Masterminds are naturally able to grasp how each one leads to the next, and to prepare alternatives for difficulties that are likely to arise any step of the way. Trying to anticipate every contingency, Masterminds never set off on their current project without a Plan A firmly in mind, but they are always prepared to switch to Plan B or C or D if need be.

This seems to be an accurate description of my approach to problems. I am fascinated by complexity and causation (the latter being the subject of my undergraduate thesis) and almost always plan out my activities, from how much time I will spend reading in the evening to how long it will take to travel from one point to another. This is coming out a lot in my current intellectual preoccupation, speculative planning for a possible business venture.

Masterminds do not feel bound by established rules and procedures, and traditional authority does not impress them, nor do slogans or catchwords. Only ideas that make sense to them are adopted; those that don't, aren't, no matter who thought of them. Remember, their aim is always maximum efficiency.

Yes, I value economy in all things, particularly intellectual economy. I am more interested in whether a view makes sense rationally than how it pleases people. For this reason I find politics completely uninvolving, though I love to study it as an outsider (I do vote, I just do not get caught up with the personalities and promises of candidates).

In their careers, Masterminds usually rise to positions of responsibility, for they work long and hard and are dedicated in their pursuit of goals, sparing neither their own time and effort nor that of their colleagues and employees.

I sure hope so! I'm only a year into the world of work right now and am trying to find my way, but as I mentioned am engaged in some groundwork planning to found a company I would, with partners, be running.

Masterminds tend to be much more definite and self-confident than other Rationals, having usually developed a very strong will. Decisions come easily to them; in fact, they can hardly rest until they have things settled and decided. But before they decide anything, they must do the research. Masterminds are highly theoretical, but they insist on looking at all available data before they embrace an idea, and they are suspicious of any statement that is based on shoddy research, or that is not checked against reality.

This definitely seems accurate. I am one of the most self-confident people I know, and the self-doubt that troubles other intelligent people I find puzzling and sometimes hard to relate to. I find it very easy to advance from planning a course of action to committing to it, and do not find decisions paralyzing.

I was also pleased that my test of the test worked. I took the test a second time, giving the opposite answer for each question, and wound up a personality type very unlike myself, the Promoter.

Still, I worry that this test and others like it are nothing more than sophisticated cold reading. This is a technique utilized by con men, professional "psychics", and other more or less reputable people. Personality tests in popular magazines use it, as well as the astrology columns of newspapers. It relies upon people's desire to believe that an analysis is accurate, so they fill in the details of highly general responses. Consider the structure of the questions:

You easily understand new theoretical principles

What type of theoretical principles? The question doesn't supply any further specification - I easily grasp philosophical and mathematical principles, and am weaker with concepts of poetic and literary theory. Probing further, what does "easily" mean? I would say that I grasp theoretical principles easily because I am willing to work hard at grasping them when they prove difficult, not that they are necessarily "easy" for me.

I am concerned that the answers that tests like this give seem astonishingly true to us because it is telling us what we want to hear, not what is necessarily the truth about. If I conceive of myself as being good at grasping theoretical principles, then it will tell me that I am and assign a matching, always flattering personality type, even if I am in fact rather poor conceiving of theoretical principles. The aspect of flattery is important - by soliciting my self-image, it provides me with a personality profile that backs up that self-image, as well as matching me with great figures of the past (I was flattered to see myself matched with Isaac Newton, for instance).

If anything, human self-knowledge being what it is, a worthwhile test should tell us things about ourselves we had not suspected but that, through introspection or consulting those who know us, turns out to be true.

Still, it is very interesting stuff. Thanks for posting the link Elliott!
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Re: What's your personality type?

Postby Darian » 13 Apr 2012, 22:33

I was going to post essentially what Michael said. To what extent is the outcome of these tests a self-fulfilling prophesy?

Also like Michael I came out a INTJ type which I suppose is a fairly accurate description of myself, or at least how I would like to view myself. But since I was also going to write the same thing as Michael then perhaps there is something more to these tests after all;)
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Re: What's your personality type?

Postby Rachel » 13 Apr 2012, 22:57

I'm an ISTJ
very expressed introvert
slightly expressed sensing personality
slightly expressed thinking personality
slightly expressed judging personality

I only strongly agree with the introvert bit being true.
I suppose Extroverts aren't likely to come in great numbers to this forum.
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Re: What's your personality type?

Postby Heather » 12 Jun 2012, 15:18

I've taken this test several times over the years and always get INTJ, the mastermind. The description fits me pretty well, but it doesn't at all address my femininity, for lack of a better word, or why I'm so different from my husband, who is also INTJ.

Now that I'm ever so slightly older and wiser, the answer is obvious, and I desperately wish I had know it before going to an engineering university. If I'm really thinking about each question and what I would really do, I still get INTJ, but the T score is so low that I'm close to being INFJ, the counselor. I was raised in such a huge, highly emotion-driven family, that I spent my teen years desperately trying to underline the obvious differences between us, and my college years trying to act like someone I'm not. I pulled the act off very well - as an undergrad I worked as a nuclear engineering researcher and everyone in the lab who didn't know any better (sometimes including my own absent-minded professor of a boss!) thought I was a PhD student because of my diligence. But I was utterly miserable, and later seriously depressed trying to fit into the INTJ mold, especially competing with young men who really were INTJs and for whom math, science, and research skills came so naturally.
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Re: What's your personality type?

Postby Ian » 17 May 2013, 18:45

I'm an INTJ as well. I've taken this test several times, and that's usually what I get. Here's how I rated this time:

You have strong preference of Introversion over Extraversion (100%)
You have moderate preference of Intuition over Sensing (50%)
You have slight preference of Thinking over Feeling (12%)
You have strong preference of Judging over Perceiving (78%)

This is a very interesting test, and I often wonder what certain people, such as Dr. Dalrymple, would score on it.
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Re: What's your personality type?

Postby Jonathan » 20 May 2013, 12:26

Whenever I see people amazed that a description of their personality is uncannily accurate, I am reminded of this video of James Randi's, concerning Astrology:


I am not saying that this Myers-Briggs personality system is like Astrology. I am saying that some types of evidence do nothing to prove that a personality-describing system is accurate or useful - namely, having people read descriptions of themselves and trying to judge whether they are accurate. Even Astrology can produce such descriptions, and find many people who agree with them.

Myers-Briggs may be useful or worthless, but we need a better test to distinguish between the two. For example, having your twenty most intimate friends and co-workers decide your type for you, and then seeing if the website gives the same result.

In general, I think that the human personality is usually too complex to be assigned a simple category in a useful manner. In a matter of seconds I've gone from dogged and overbearing (in a meeting at work) to diffident and polite (asking a favor from a doctor on the phone).

Of course, I don't like to think of myself as excessively stubborn, so that's not going to be the result the website spits back at me - especially if I follow the link from this forum, where I try to be careful to phrase my thoughts in a considerate manner. If I went there from my laptop during the third hour of an endless meeting, I might get a different result.

This is not to say that people don't have obvious character traits - they do. But when you do suddenly realize you've learned something useful about someone's character, it's never is such pat terms as "Ah, an intuiting extrovert, how useful". It's more detailed and irregular, like "In every discussion I've had with that guy he was incapable of focusing on the important elements, and always got side-tracked arguing about trivial aspects. I'm never attending a meeting with him again".
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Re: What's your personality type?

Postby Elliott » 20 May 2013, 13:16

All valid points, Jonathan, but have you done the Myers-Briggs test? You might be surprised.

One thing to do is read the description of any type other than the one you got, and try to "believe" that it is your type. For example, my type is INTP, and if I read the description of its opposite (ESFJ) and try to kid myself that "this description is uncannily accurate about me!" it just doesn't work. Whereas when I read the description of INTP, oh yes, it's absolutely accurate - with the single exception that I'm not good at maths.
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Re: What's your personality type?

Postby Roger » 22 May 2013, 15:09

I scored as an ISTJ with strong introversion and thinking, and moderate sensing and judging. I'm sure I've scored as INTJ when I've taken the test in the past although I did get ISTJ a few months ago. I think the profile is fairly accurate. I am undoubtedly an introvert and highly value thinking over feeling but there is a lot of fuzziness with the rest.

The problem I have with this kind of thing is not so much the results and any confirmation bias/cold reading perspective but the questions themselves. I often find the questions problematic in that I can't answer many of them satisfactorily one way or the other. Perhaps a quarter of the questions I just took were like this. E.g. the format "I like X over Y" - I often feel like neither yes and no are suitable so experience a twinge of angst trying to pick an answer. One actual example in the test: "You are usually the first to react to a sudden event, such as the telephone ringing or unexpected question". I'm probably first to react to a telephone ringing because I find ringing telephones incredibly distracting and something to be immediately addressed, but I wouldn't want to answer it if someone else was able to because I strongly dislike speaking on the telephone. So the perceived ambiguity in the meaning of "react" becomes problematic to answer confidently.

I suppose this says as much about my personality as the results themselves!
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Re: What's your personality type?

Postby Jonathan » 23 May 2013, 09:16

Elliott wrote:All valid points, Jonathan, but have you done the Myers-Briggs test? You might be surprised.

I probably should do it before continuing to comment on it, but it's too late for that now :)

One thing to do is read the description of any type other than the one you got, and try to "believe" that it is your type...

This would carry more weight if you did it before actually taking the test, and preferably without knowing to which category each description pertains (ISTJ, INTJ). After choosing the one that best suits you based on its description, take the test and see if the test agrees with you.

You can repeat the experiment with friends and acquaintances.
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Re: What's your personality type?

Postby Nick » 28 May 2013, 15:08

I also got INTJ as outcome. I suppose the conclusion is that people who perceive reality for what it is, are INTJ.

The rest who go by the feelgood rhetoric, go into the other cathegories.
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Re: What's your personality type?

Postby Elliott » 28 May 2013, 16:59

I agree with you Nick, even though I'm an INTP.

The trouble is, I'm in an INTP Facebook group and the other members (all INTPs) are typical deluded liberals, so I think INTPs are generally not very interested in reality.

Certainly, it looks like the majority of people on this forum are INTJs, and I consider the community here to be very interested in seeing reality the way it is!
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