(Based on new research by Luis Amaral and Martin Gerlach in journal Nature Human Behavior)
“That which permits a prediction of what a person will do in given situation”
– Raymond B Cattell
Personality is derived from the Latin word persona which referred to actors who played different roles and characters.
It is essentially a pattern of:
Why is it important to know Thyself?
It allows one to know about oneself, to better gauge one’s understanding of their abilities, qualities, and characteristics. This will further help in bettering one’s goal to achieve what one desires and even for that matter get better in the day to day activities.
According to new research produced by Scientist from Northwest University personalities can be categorized into 4 broad categories. New research succeeds Briggs and Myers 16 personality types. This has allowed simplistic change to a very complex Briggs – Myers types.
A look at 4 different types of personalities mentioned in research:
The majority kind is with this personality type. These people are generally social, extroverted and moderately agreeable. They are easy going and tend to worry a lot. These people are usually less neurotic but are categorized as less emotionally stable.
These people are usually good at taking directions and directives. These individuals are suited in routine works such as from software industry developers, programmers, analyst, data entry operators; from manufacturing industry workman, engineers as supervisors, head in charge of work/unit in a factory; from the financial institution are clerks, salesman, subordinate staff.
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These are individuals who are introverted, usually agreeable but are less open than other types. They can be best described by persons who less interested in the limelight. They are also emotionally stable than Average and Self Centered type.
These are employed in workplaces where work is computational, analytical, good level of cognition requirement, such as operational and field jobs.
These are individuals high on agreeableness and extraversion. They display emotional intelligence. Are individuals who are reasonable, moderately open-minded.
They are best categorized as leaders example head in charge, ministers, chief executive officers, and other heads.
Recommended – The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI
In simple terms are opposite to Role Models. Self Centered are generally extroverted, moderately neurotic, low in terms of agreeableness and openness.
These are individuals who display moodiness and inconsistent behavior. They are usually seen as artist, designers, owners, creative individuals.
With such a level of awareness, one can better gauge his/her abilities if not then even some level awareness can guide a person to better take decisions with respect life goals, job/profession, personal matters, and other likely choices when one is standing at crossroads.
Continuing our series on personality tests this post focuses on one of the most popular of them all, the Myers-Briggs Indicator or MBTI
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Are you an ENTP or INTJ or ESFJ? Now, before you think we at Brainpundits have lost our, well, brains, these are some of personality type tests that MBTI has to offer. MBTI or Myers-Briggs Indicator is one of the most popular personality type tests out there. Around 2 million people around the world take it annually. It is estimated that around 89 of the Fortune 100 uses this test to hire and manage employees.
It has also inspired various quizzes online based on characters from popular culture like Game of Thrones, Harry Potter etc. But despite its massive popularity and usage among the various organization around the world, the overall psychology community do no deem it to be scientific at all.
This article will trace the origins of the test, explain what is it about and also show the controversy behind it.
In order to tell the story of this test, we will need to go back to one of the major figures in the field of psychology, Carl G. Jung. In 1921, Jung published one of his famous books Psychological Types. In this book, Jung tried to give a formulation of personality types based on his observations. He argued there may exist two personality attitudes: Extroversion and Introversion, and four functions or orientation: Thinking, Sensation, Intuition, and Feeling.
In 1923, one of the contributors to test, Katharine Briggs found this book and made it her gospel. Katharine Briggs was a stay at home mom who had studied horticulture. Jung’s book made a remarkable impact on her and she thought of using the ideas from the book and implementing them in day to day life. A couple of decades later, her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, an aspiring fictional writer, with help from a management consultant Edward N. Hay and her mother debuted the test in 1943.
What is the Test about?
Katharine and Isabel expanded Jung’s original conception into 16 personality types with four binary categories.
Extroversion – Introversion; Intuition – Sensing; Thinking – Feeling; Judging – Perception
The original test had 93 questions, which haven’t changed much in today’s times, and based on the questionnaire, the test groups people into 16 discrete personality types. The details of these types can be seen in the image below.
While it sounds all hunky and dory but when you start scratching the surface cracks start to appear. The problem arises with the test that is there is no scientific validity for the test. A study showed that around 50 percent of the people end up having different results on the test, the second time they take it, that too after just a few weeks later. Other studies have also argued that the test is indeed ineffective in predicting how certain types maybe successful at different jobs.
Interestingly, all the major scientific journals of psychology have no research published based on this test. Whatever few articles that are available on this test are there to point out to the flaws that it has. While on the issue of the Rorschach test, as discussed in a previous article, the scientific community was divided. But on Myers-Briggs Test Indicator, they seem to be united in agreement that this test does not have any scientific validity.
Why is it Popular then?
Then you may wonder if this test is not scientifically valid and the majority of psychologists do not use this, then why is it so popular? The answer lies in a phenomenon called the Forer effect and effective product management by then Edward Hay. After its debut, the test was effectively marketed by Edward Hay, who had connections with General Electric, Bell Telephone and most importantly National Bureau of Statistics. Through his connections, the test got employed in early major corporations. Now, as mentioned earlier, the test is not only employed by various private companies in the world but also various government organizations.
The Forer effect, or the Barnum effect, refers to the psychological phenomenon where individuals are prone to believe that personality depictions apply specifically to them, but in reality, the descriptions are for everyone. A perfect example of this is your daily horoscopes. That is why most descriptions of the personality in Myers-Briggs Test Indicator are positive in their nature. So, one can even say this test – and different inspirations from it – is for entertainment, which is absolutely fine.
The dilemma comes, as Merve Emre argues in her new book argues, that in theory there are clear ethical violations how CAPT and CPP peddle this test without having any scientific basis as reliable; but in practice, many of the companies and organizations that use this test clearly have different definitions of ethics.
So, even though the Myers-Briggs Test Indicator has had a controversial stint with the scientific community. It still enjoys the support of the people at large. And it cannot be denied that this test still remains one of the most popular ones out there.
Continuing our series on personality tests this post focuses on one of the most culturally famous of them all, the Inkblot test or the Rorschach Test
The Rorschach test is one of the most famous and also one of the controversial tests that the field of psychology has produced. Once touted as the X-Ray of the soul, the test is now a part of cultural history as it has become a reference point in various shows and movies. There’s even a comic book character based named Rorschach with an inkblot as a mask. If you haven’t heard of it or know little of, not to worry as through this post I will enlighten you about it.
Hermann Rorschach (1884-1922) was the mind behind the origin of the test. He was a young psychiatrist from Switzerland and was hailed a prodigy. He had worked along with Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung during his early years.
The idea of the test came to him from a children’s board game called Klecksography, a collection of inkblot cards. He published the test in 1921, sadly though Hermann Rorschach died less than a year before he could witness the popularity of his test.
What is the test about?
The test is a strange and a very open-ended test, in which there are 10 cards with strange markings in them. They don’t have any specific pattern to them and there is no expected answer to these inkblot cards. It’s a visual task which aims at self-projection.
Which basically means when you respond to one of these cards you are projecting your unconscious thoughts. It is a form of, what psychologists call, a projective test. By telling what they see in the inkblot, people actually telling about their views, their personality and how they project meaning and perceive reality.
Image Source – Wikipedia
Example of an Inkblot
In the image, you see an example of an inkblot card from the test. Predicted answers to this inkblot range from animal skin or skin rugs. The card signifies, according to psychologists, a threatening figure in order to elicit a sentiment of authority.
There are nine other inkblot cards like these and each is shown in a particular order according to the requirement of the test.
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Supporters of the Test
The test, however, is not without controversy as it has divided the whole community of psychologists. Some support the test as an important asset for a psychiatrist while the critics question its very validity.
The supporters argue that the test gives you a remarkable insight into an individual’s personality and may uncover hidden malice.
For example, on IQ tests or other standardized tests most troubled people can keep it together but studies have shown that the inkblot test reveals a different side to them.
Some psychiatrists have argued that while other tests may fail to reveal much but the Rorschach may be able to raise some red flags. For them, the 10 inkblots are sensitive and accurate tools to map how the mind works. Various researchers have used the Rorschach test to see early onsets of Alzheimer’s, which is a remarkable study.
Critics of the Test
The critics, however, question the very validity of the test. The question of validity rests with the idea what answers are reasonable, and more importantly, who decides what is reasonable. This is at the heart of the arguments against the usage of this test. The critics consider the test pseudoscience which should not be used in any kind of examination.
Other points of criticism are the implicit bias of the testing psychologist who may, unconsciously, project his/her beliefs in the responses. Some have questioned the very nature of the methodology involved measuring the personality. Finally, some have argued that the test not reliable for example, two different testers might end up getting two different personality profiles for the same individual.
Despite various controversies and critics of the test, the Rorschach test is still one of the most popular tests. It is still considered valid in the court of law, various medical insurance companies in the West considers its results valid. The test is also a cultural reference point. For example, Andy Warhol, on the creative geniuses of the 20th century, created a painting based on the test. Other examples include the comic book character from Watchmen, mentioned earlier.
So, suffice it to say the Rorschach test has made a cultural mark on the society and even though it still polarises the psychiatrist community, it is still one of the most influential personality tests out there.
In the next series on Personality tests, I will trace the origins and the story of another popular personality test, the Myers-Briggs Indicator. Till then be cheers and keep exploring yourself at Brainpundits!
Tagline: A recent study by researchers at Northwestern University have come up with a scientific understanding of personality types.
Rethinking Personality Types
The history of personality type tests has always had a complex relationship with the overall scientific community. From the infamous Rorschach inkblot test, of which the validity has always been contested to the very famous Myers-Briggs Test, which is used by various corporate organizations to hire future employees, which is also considered unscientific by the majority of the scientific community tells us something about the conflict that personality type tests have had with the scientific community.
Change Has Come
But this all may change as researchers at Northwestern University have just published a paper, using alternative computational methods to analyze data from over a million respondents, arguing that there exist four types of personality based on five-character traits. One of the researchers from the study says with this research personality types place from self-help books can move to scientific journals.
The study finds after analyzing the data that there exist four types of personality. They are Average, Reserved, Role Models, and Self-Centred. These personalities are based on five-character traits, namely: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. Just to give you what the researchers mean by these concepts, here, in brief, are their explanations.
It refers to a person’s tendency to feel negative emotions (anger, worry or sadness) as well being sensitive in interpersonal relations
It signifies a person’s tendency to be social, talkative and enjoy the company of others and also have domineering personality.
It refers to a person’s tendency to appreciate and accommodate new ideas, values, arts, feelings and behaviors
It signifies a person’s tendency to easily agree with others rather than assert one’s own decisions and opinions
It refers to a person’s tendency to follow orders, rules and be cautious with most things in their life.
According to this research, Average people are high in Neuroticism and Extraversion but low in openness, which basically means they are more likely to be social, neurotic and their emotions can vary. But on the other hand, they may not be open to new ideas. The study argues that a typical person would fall under this category.
The Reserved personality type people, this research argues, are emotionally stable but not neurotic or even open-minded. They are also not that much social and tend to agree with others. They also tend to follow norms and are cautious when dealing with things.
The third personality type, according to this research, is Role Models. These people not only are emotionally stable but also, they are open to new ideas, are highly social and enjoy the company of others, and also are very hard working. They are generally good leaders and people you can depend upon.
The fourth personality type, this research argues, is Self-Centred. These people are extremely social and also have a very domineering personality. They are not open to new ideas and are less likely to agree with others and follow their own thought process.
What This Means
Well, you may be thinking what this research and its findings mean for the future of personality type tests and its engagement with the scientific community. For starters, the research finally brings personality types into the rubric of scientific research. One of the researchers says that the overall contribution of the research is the methodology part of the paper to the scientific community as it bridges the gap between personality types and ways of measuring them. It also means the personality types may be finally getting their undue recognition among the scientific community and this research could usher in a revolution in personality development research.
In case if you are interested and want to get your nerd on then here’s the link to the research. Till then, cheers and be awesome and keep exploring yourself at Brainpundits!