Jazehiah wrote:The thing with Meyers Briggs, is that everyone will occasionally exhibit the traits of other personality types. A classic example of this is that an introvert may feel the need to be around large groups of people from time to time. The test is just to give a sense of the balance between overarching types.
One of the most common popular objections to the Myers-Briggs types, as well as the Keirsey Temperaments, runs something like this: "I've taken the tests, and read the descriptions, and I don't fit into any one of them."
There are several reasons for this:
1. Personality is more than just character (i.e., a predisposition to particular psychological motivations). It's also about habits, which are learned behaviors. Human nature, generally and individually, is far too complex for any model of personality to describe perfectly. That doesn't mean some aren't demonstrably better than others; it just means no one should put too much stock in what any "personality test" says about them. Even the best systems have some slop.
But to say this another way: behaviors are what you see people do, and are also affected by learned habits; motivations are why people usually prefer certain kinds of behaviors. The types and temperaments assess motivations
, not behaviors.
So it's fair to say that different people can express the same behaviors. But it's less accurate to suggest that the MB types (or, more clearly, the four temperaments) are similar to each other, because those are descriptions for visibly different (and probably biochemically driven
) patterns of motivational preferences -- the why
behind what people do.
2. The sixteen MB types and the four temperaments are patterns generated from analyzing large volumes of self-reported data about human motivations. But you are not a pattern! You're a person -- an actual, individual human being. If your personal style doesn't perfectly match one of the patterns in some psychological model, that doesn't mean there's something wrong with you, nor does it mean you're a special snowflake who is completely unlike anyone else, nor does it mean that you've proven that model to be bogus.
It may be that, for some reason, your learned habits were particularly strong the day you took the test, and they overrode the innate motivations that the test was constructed to measure. Or, if it was one of the many online tests (as opposed to the official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator survey instrument), it might have been a badly-worded piece of junk from someone with more enthusiasm than understanding of the patterns. Or it might mean that your personal way of seeing the world is more complex than what most personality style assessment tools are capable of describing.
3. I actually have a theory of my own that uses the original four temperaments described by David Keirsey, but organizes them a little differently. And I mention this to point out that in my model, which is arranged in four quadrants, people cluster most strongly around one quadrant, but they can also draw somewhat on the two adjacent quadrants. (And they usually consider people in the opposite quadrant to be incomprehensible at best and outright evil at worst.)
For example, in my model, as shown above, NF Idealists and SJ Guardians are opposites. An SJ Guardian may not like a particular free-spirited SP Artisan, but they'll at least speak the same language about what's important (that being "reality"). And an SJ Guardian (particularly one who prefers Thinking over Feeling) will share an appreciation for organizing the world that NT Rational enjoys.
But put the pattern-typical NF Idealist and SJ Guardian in a room together, and be prepared to have to run back in to peel their hands off of each other's throat. The security-seeking, materialist, hierarchy-favoring Guardian traditionalist and the identity-seeking, abstract, consensus-favoring Idealist radical will only in the rarest cases understand each other, value the other's style, appreciate the other's gifts, or even tolerate the other's very existence. Not all types/temperaments exhibit the traits of other types/temperaments!
(Note: NT Rationals and SP Artisans also have trouble understanding and appreciating each other. But for them it's more like, "What planet are you from?" than the NF/SJ's "You are everything that is wrong with this world and must be destroyed.")
How do we find out which one we are??
There are several ways.
1. Find a source for the official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and pony up the cash to get assessed. Most of these folks actually are professional in helping you make sure your assessment is accurate, since they paid even more cash to get accredited.
2. Take one of the many, many, many online assessments. My advice would be the Keirsey Temperament Sorter from the late David Keirsey's site (now run by his son), http://www.keirsey.com/
. Not only will you get their read on your Myers-Briggs type (and David Keirsey's descriptions of the sixteen patterns of type are outstanding), it'll also explain which of the four temperaments is probably your most natural core motivation.
3. Buy a copy of David Keirsey's book, Please Understand Me II
, and just read the descriptions of the patterns to see which one seems to describe you -- the person you know you really are -- the best. A "test" is not necessary; it's just a tool. What matters is recognizing your normal preferred motivational pattern... and you can do that just fine for yourself by simply reading the descriptions and realizing which one (or two if that's how you're wired) sounds most like you. You can always take some of the online tests later if you'd like to see whether they confirm your self-description.
(Note: I don't get any kickbacks from Keirsey.com.
I've just been studying this personality model stuff for over two decades, and after careful consideration I find that Keirsey's four temperaments are both coherent as theory and highly effective in practice, more than any other generally accessible psychological model I've studied. So I recommend it as a simple, powerful, easily understandable and immediately useful way to understand how people tick.)