Aug 12, 2008

a survey

I don't know about you, but sometimes I go on internet-quiz binges. I'm most likely to take a lot of ridiculous quizzes like "which vegetable do you most resemble" (ooh, I hope I'm broccoli, the green tree of awesome!) or "which famous detective are you" (Sherlock? please?). However, once in a great while, I get serious. Today it's chilly and rainy and I've got lots of time, so...

There are a lot of different versions of the Myers Briggs Personality type tests on the internet. I often find the test questions nearly impossible to answer. For example,'s test asks whether you are more likely to "say things as they are" or "avoid conflict" in conversation. My goal is to do both! Similarly, the test asks whether I process information through "my 5 senses" or "my intuition". As far as I'm concerned, intuition and sensory perception are completely intertwined. Your intuition comes from noticing things - a posture, a tone of voice, a glance. I tend to find the tests frustrating.

So this morning, while feeling philosophical, I decided to take 6 different Myers Briggs tests. (, Human Meterics, Kisa, Personality Pathways, Similar Minds, and Know Your Type.) Are they consistent? Totally bogus? Does changing one answer give you a completely different result?

Apparently not! On all 6 tests, I came up INFJ (also see this, this, and this). Then I went back and retook each test, changing the answers to the questions on which I was completely split. The result: 3 tests came up INTJ. Two stayed INFJ. And the last came up INTP. These particular changes were not surprising. Some of the tests show you to what degree you are, say, Introverted instead of Extroverted, or Intuitive versus Sensing. For the first two letters of my type, I always scored very strongly "IN" (Introverted Intuitive), but the last two letters, T/F and J/P, the scores are more middle-of the road. Therefore it makes sense that, overall, changing the answers that I struggled with resulted most often in a switch from F (Feeling) to T (Thinking) and, slightly less often, in a switch from J (Judging) to P (Perceiving).

I have to conclude that there *is* consistency in these results. In all 6 tests, there were quite a few questions that I felt I couldn't answer truthfully, but in all cases, the answer I eventually chose, even while finding it inadequate, lead to the INFJ personality type. The INFJ type does, I feel, describe me fairly well, but as I read through it, I thought that several particular things were missing. Those qualities - broadly, interest in logic and technology and interest in math and language play - are hallmarks of the INTJ and INTP types, respectively. Even more interestingly, from the point of view of the INFJ, the INTJ and INTP represent "Companion" and "Compliment", respectively. (Other types represent "Neighbor", "Counterpart", "Contrast", "Cohort", "Pedagogue" and so on.)

I think it's probably rare that any one person feels totally comfortable being described by 1 and only 1 type. I think I'll call myself 70% INFJ, 20% INTJ, and 10% INTP. Wait - scratch that. Can I be Type Broccoli? Or The Next Sherlock?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've always thought it was most helpful to denote the strength of each variable, e.g. I 67% N 88% T 51% P 60%.