Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Personality Types

A post over on RfM caused me revisit a Meyers-Briggs personality type website. The result was consistent with the past: INTP. Which is the Architect personality type. The description seemed to fit me so well that I got excited wondering what types of applications it might have. It seemed like a lot of the RfM posters responded that they were in the INTP and ENTP types. If the 16 possible types were evenly distributed then you'd expect to find about 6% of the population with each type but a lot of them seemed to fall into iNtuitive and Thinking personality types. Much more than you'd expect.

As I surfed around the web I wound up on Wikipedia (which often happens lately) and read the article on this particular personality type test and also found another article on personality types in general. The bottom line is that academia regards the Meyers-Briggs test and classifications with the same level of respect as horoscopes. They have no supporting data, not good theoretical basis, can't be falsified, and are poor predictors of behavior. In fact, since the 1940s, psychologists have rejected the notion that there are stable personality types or traits. The advent of the personal computer and the ability to use it to mine large quantities of data has changed that. In the last couple of decades further research has led to some agreement on the Big Five personality traits. The Big Five are Openness to to experience, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. I'll propose the acronym OCEAN for them. These seem to be pretty universal personality traits that can be used to predict, in general, how a person will behave.

Just a guess, but I suspect that many Ex-Mormons would score high on Openness to experience and Conscientiousness and relatively low on Extroversion.

Curiously, this also led me back to Scientology. It seems that they use a personality test called the Oxford Capacity Analysis (OCA) which is designed to show that you are mentally defective and require Scientology auditing, at a nominal fee of course. This then led me to Operation Clambake, which is always entertaining and hauntingly familiar. If you are Mormon, then look at that website and then consider how non-Mormons might perceive the Mormon church. In many ways it is every bit as odd as Scientology, just a hundred plus years further down the road.

You can take a quick Big Five personality test. Here's my result:

I'm a O76-C41-E53-A8-N76 Big Five!!

I think that my primary characteristic, and the one that led me out of the Mormon church, is my inquisitiveness. I want to know how everything works. I like to know everything about everything and read a lot. When I was a kid I used to get teased because I actually liked to read the encyclopedia and I loved reading a home medical reference that we owned. I also loved reading histories and historical novels.

If you're an Ex-Mormon, I'm curious about how you scored. You can take the test here.


Rebecca said...

My results: O-70, C-1, E-18, A-10, N-80. I took this test once before, in a Marriage, Family, and Human Development class at BYU. It was full of SUPER conservative, VERY close-minded girls (and a few similar guys), who all somehow scored very high on open-mindedness (most people were in the 80s and 90s). These were people who would get into class 'discussions' (really more like self-applause sessions) about how we're all SO GREAT, and The World is a terrible place. The Media is the most horrible thing EVER, and it's so amazing that we're so much more special than other people. It was AWFUL. Even my conservative TBM sister thought it was bad.

So, yeah, I don't put a lot of stock in this test. Especially since nearly every question would REALLY depend on the situation (for me, at least). I like Myers-Briggs better, mainly just because it describes me, and a lot of people I know, VERY well. My mom was way into this personality stuff, and I guess she got me hooked at an early age. I find it interesting, but I take it all with a grain of salt (or try to, at least).

Have fun in San Jose/San Francisco! I'm in San Jose right now -- it's WAY hot, but hopefully it'll cool down before you're here.

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

I'm an INTP and on your BIG five test--I'm a O95-C64-E31-A14-N66 Big Five!!

MattMan said...

I'm a O70-C79-E12-A79-N37 Big Five!!

GuateMom said...

My results: O-20, C-79, E12, A32, N14. I don't know that I agree with this at all. I consider myself to be fairly openminded and open to new experiences.

Saint'n said...

O-59, C-52, E-31, A-4, N-76

Check out my blog to see my comments on this test. While I have many problems with it, I suppose it has some truth, especially when you look at how disagreeable I am measured against the fact I disagreed with the test!