The Joys of Self-Analysis or What Color Is PtRs Parachute?


In the comments to another post, we digressed in our usual madcap, PtR way into a bunch of references to various personality inventories. What the hell are those, you may be saying, to which I may be replying, where the hell have you been living the last 50 years, chum? To which you may be answering, prison. In Haiti. With a really bad cold. To which I would be forced to mumble in response, my bad, man. Let's talk about it after the jump.


So here's what I'm talking about -- in 1921, Carl Jung proposed a set of typological theories (theories, mind you) that were seized upon by a gullible curious American public thirsting for knowledge about their relatively young collective psyche. Basically, he proposed that there were two types of cognitive functions, the rational or "judging" (thinking, feeling) and the irrational or "perceiving" (sensing, intuition). He also, according to wikipedia, proposed that these functions are expressed in both introverted and extraverted (Jung's deliberately chosen spelling)  ways. From this grew the Myers-Briggs personality inventory developed by, confusingly enough, Isabel Briggs Myers (okay, and her mom, Katherine Briggs, but I think it's more fun to say the Myers-Briggs questionnaire was developed by someone named Briggs-Myers).

To quote again from wikipedia,

The Myers-Briggs typology model regards personality type as similar to left or right handedness: individuals are either born with, or develop, certain preferred ways of thinking and acting. The MBTI sorts some of these psychological differences into four opposite pairs, or dichotomies, with a resulting 16 possible psychological types. None of these types are "better" or "worse"; however, Briggs and Myers theorized that individuals naturally prefer one overall combination of type differences. In the same way that writing with the left hand is hard work for a right-hander, so people tend to find using their opposite psychological preferences more difficult, even if they can become more proficient (and therefore behaviorally flexible) with practice and development.

David Keirsey further mapped some temperaments to the Myers-Briggs personality types, and as the years went by several other widely used personality inventories came into use, including the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and the Personality Assessment Inventory, and decades later here we are with trillions of goofy little Facebook quizzes that promise to tell you what you're "really like" and which house at Hogwarts you should be sorted into.

There's a lot of criticism directed toward these sorts of tests and their validity or lack thereof. And I think there certainly may have been a time when people (Americans in particular) placed too much stock in them, making them an integral part of hiring practices, clinical assessments of mental health, prenuptial agreements (I'm making that up), and so forth. But at the same time, they are based on certain universal observations, plus, they are (as Manuwar pointed out) WICKED FUN to take and discuss. They're kind of like horoscopes in that they're general enough to apply to just about anyone, but  they give you an excuse to linger over the fascinating tapestry of your own existence.

SO! Let's find out what PtR is made of, shall we? You have to pay cold hard cash to get a genuine Myers-Briggs or Keirsey assessment analyzed by a qualified interpreter, but there are a number of streamlined and relatively true-to-the-source self-inventories out there, and hours of fun to be had! Follow the links and share (if you want) your results in the comments.

1. Myers-Briggs type personality assessment (answer gender question first and then answer about 50 scale-based questions)

2. Another Myers-Briggs type assessment (72 questions of the yes/no variety)

3. Keirsey "mini" report (This is an official Keirsey sorter, but it will only tell you your temperament--to find out which of several subcategories you are, you have to pay. Nevertheless, the free part is still pretty interesting. The paranoid more cautious among you may not like this one because the site asks you to register. But that's what Yahoo accounts are for, right? Come on, you know you have one for redtube.)

4. The Big Five personality test (developed in the 1970s; measures where you fall on a scale for the factors of openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, which, if you know me, shut up)

5. Because I don't like the number 4 (it looks smug to me, don't ask), let's throw in one last test--the learning style inventory (I haven't even taken this one yet, so if it sucks, I'm sorry)

Good luck, fellow travelers. It should be a fun journey.

This is fan-created content on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at Pounding the Rock.

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