Social Question

GloPro's avatar

Please describe your personality.

Asked by GloPro (8273 points ) April 4th, 2014 from iPhone

What do you think? What would other people say?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

48 Answers

Cruiser's avatar


Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Lately it’s been an asshole with a heart. A bunch of stress, getting tired, and a few other crappy things but I’ll get it together.

Coloma's avatar

Oh my…well, I am a rare female ENTP. personality theory, standing for extroverted/intuitive/thinking/perceiving. Think Geoge Carlin, Jim Carry, Weird Al Yankovich, Carol Burnett, Goldie Hawn, David Letterman, get the idea. Only about 4% of the population are ENTPs, with females being at 1%.
Many of us are entertainers and comedians, writers, and engineers, science guys, like Bill Nye. Very verbose, quick witted, extremely good at improv. and saying the things others would never say. haha

I am very engaging, charming, humorous, I LIVE to PLAY with people, but also have a hermit side. I’m either really on or really off.
I am easy going yet gregarious, highly creative, a rational thinker, and do not suffer fools gladly.

My secret dream is to do stand up comedy and I already write humor and satire.
I intimidate the hell out of passive aggressive types, a game I refuse to play, and have an uncanny ability to fillet bullshit with ginsu precision. lol
I am so easy to get along with, but do not try to spoon feed me any crap.

One of the nicest compliments I ever received was from an old writing mentor RIP Kirk who said my writing was like my personality, formidable yet sincere.

talljasperman's avatar

Prudent and happy go lucky, relaxed.

Seek's avatar

I’m an INTJ by the Meyers-Briggs typology scale. I don’t normally box myself in to things like that, but the typically described INTJ typology fits me pretty well, in my opinion, and both my husband and oldest friend concur.

I – Introversion preferred to extraversion: INTJs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).

N – Intuition preferred to sensing: INTJs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.

T – Thinking preferred to feeling: INTJs tend to value objective criteria above personal preference or sentiment. When making decisions they generally give more weight to logic than to social considerations.

J – Judgment preferred to perception: INTJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions early. They derive a sense of control through predictability, which to perceptive types may seem limiting.

If you wish to read more, here’s the wiki

(The INTJ personality is fairly rare, and you’re more likely to find a character than a celebrity that embodies these traits. Think Richard Dawkins, Sherlock Holmes, Dr. House, and Gandalf)

Blondesjon's avatar

90% person. 10% ality.

Coloma's avatar

^^^ LOL, very good!

pleiades's avatar

I like to think of myself as a Buddhist Kurt Vonnegut who enjoys technology & sports thoroughly

Coloma's avatar

@pleiades Well you better start your chanting to get rid of that impending cold. lol

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Just took a personality test. It said I was a thoughtful, almost withdrawn person who took minimal value from social interactions. It indicated my primary motivation was a strong need to protect those around me who I considered in my tribe, and I had above average communication, technical, and analytical skills.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I am also an INTJ but sometimes I’m more INTP. I can actually be sociable at times but I can’t keep it going for too long without personal recharge time. I tend to be a bit anxious but when I’m needed for anything important or serious I am always focused and relaxed until the job is done. I like creating and building complicated things. I compulsively soak up “useless” information. I’m very empathetic with people and I don’t always do a good job of showing it. People usually don’t get my personality until they know me well. I don’t really have a good idea of what others think of me most of the time until I know them well.

@Blondesjon that’s 55% person and 45% ality.

Coloma's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me My dad was an INTP, “The Architect” and he really was an Architect. haha

zenvelo's avatar

I am an ambivert. I am also an INTJ, but my numbers were so close to the zero point that I barely registered.

That means I am well balanced, keep my head in difficult situations, don’t go too crazy. It also means I don’t display wild enthusiasm, just get a big grin on my face.

GloPro's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I have no clue what my Meyers Briggs is, but I could plagiarize your description for myself.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@GloPro Myers-Briggs is a personality test with absolutely no scientific backing that works on the same principles as astrology, yet somehow tricks people who should know better into taking it seriously.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Sociable, thoughtful, jolly, full of jokes, talkative, brave, not afraid to try, have bizarre ideas and interest, sometimes impulsive.

But I hide those personality deep inside me in real life. In people’s eyes, I’m timid (if not asocial), have a tendency to follow the crowd, don’t like to talk much, like solitude.

I have to, because my true personalities will freak people out.

I only express my true self when there’s someone who willing to accept me!

Symbeline's avatar

Haha this is harder to answer than I thought. :/ I was just going to say something about Vikings, but…
Mostly I just like to stick to my own stuff, like hobbies and passions. A bit of a grouch, but I don’t bite.

AshLeigh's avatar

I’ve often been told that I’m hard to get used to, but very funny and lovable once they’ve gotten used to me. I’ve been told I’m a “royal bitch” when I first meet people. I don’t deny this.
I’m hard to handle, I’m very honest, and really not any good at hiding my feelings. If I don’t like someone, they know. For the most part, I avoid people I don’t like though instead of seeking out an argument. I’ve had very calm and polite conversations with people, explaining why I don’t like them. I’ve even been told that they like me for the honesty, which is a strange thing to say about someone who just told you several reasons why they don’t like you.
I have my faults, but I’m passionate and a good listener. No matter how much I dislike someone, I will not kick them when they’re down.
I’m creative, and introverted. I live with three other people, and often won’t see them for days at a time, by my own choice. I like to keep to myself, and just write or jam out on my ukulele. (Me and my uke forever, yo.)
I have a dark side, which I haven’t let out as often lately. I’ve been described as creepy before.

ragingloli's avatar

INTPs are quiet, thoughtful, analytical individuals who tend to spend long periods of time on their own, working through problems and forming solutions. They are curious about systems and how things work. Consequently, they are frequently found in careers such as science, philosophy, law, psychology, and architecture. INTPs tend to be less at ease in social situations or in the “caring professions”, although they enjoy the company of those who share their interests. They prize autonomy in themselves and others. They generally balk at attempts by others to convince them to change. They also tend to be impatient with the bureaucracy, rigid hierarchies, and the politics prevalent in many professions. INTPs have little regard for titles and badges, which they often consider to be unnecessary or unjustified. INTPs usually come to distrust authority as hindering the uptake of novel ideas and the search for knowledge. INTPs accept ideas based on merit, rather than tradition or authority. They have little patience for social customs that seem illogical or that obstruct the pursuit of ideas and knowledge. This may place them at odds with people who have an SJ preference, since SJs tend to defer to authority, tradition, and what the rest of the group is doing.[2] INTPs prefer to work informally with others as equals.[12]

INTPs organize their understanding of any topic by articulating principles, and they are especially drawn to theoretical constructs. Having articulated these principles for themselves, they can demonstrate remarkable skill in explaining complex ideas to others in very simple terms, especially in writing. On the other hand, their ability to grasp complexity may also lead them to provide overly detailed explanations of simple ideas, and listeners may judge that the INTP makes things more difficult than they need to be. To the INTPs’ mind, they are presenting all the relevant information or trying to crystallize the concept as clearly as possible.[12]

Given their independent nature, INTPs may prefer working alone to leading or following in a group. During interactions with others, if INTPs are focused on gathering information, they may seem oblivious, aloof, or even rebellious—when in fact they are concentrating on listening and understanding. However, INTPs’ intuition often gives them a quick wit, especially with language. They may defuse tension through comical observations and references. They can be charming, even in their quiet reserve, and are sometimes surprised by the high esteem in which their friends and colleagues hold them.[12]

INTPs are driven to understand a discussion from all relevant angles. Their impatience with seemingly indefensible ideas can make them particularly devastating at debate.[2]

INTPs are often haunted by a fear of failure, causing them to rethink solutions many times and second-guess themselves. In their mind, they may have overlooked a bit of crucial data, and there may very well be an equally plausible solution.

According to Keirsey, based on behavioral characteristics, notable archetypes might include Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, and Thomas Jefferson.[3] For more examples, see Notable Architects.

(fits me quite well)

JLeslie's avatar

People say I am “so laid back” all the time. My husband would probably argue that. In fact, I would agree with my husband lately. Lately, I have been wound up pretty tight about some of the stressors in our life. I think other people say that I am laid back because I don’t sit around judging people a lot, I am fairly easily forgiving, and I don’t have a lot of rules people should be following. Some might say that is akin to low expectations of people. As I have grown older, and so have my peers and the people I interact with, they too have lightened up about a lot of things, but I was like that always.

I also ruminate too much, and it comes through in my personality as worry and being overly cautious.

I’m analytical.

I’m outgoing and very social.

I get really upset when I feel I am being taken advantage. It is extremely hard for me to overcome that feeling, it saddens me to the core.

Blackberry's avatar

As someone from Oregon who’s been living on the east coast for quite awhile, I’m also told I’m (too) laid back.

I’ve been told a number of times that I would fit in better in California.

I apparently talk like a surfer and smile too much as well.

Blackberry's avatar

@ragingloli That describes me pretty well too. Would we make good friends? :)

Blondesjon's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me . . . Well played. It took me a minute to catch on.

Seek's avatar

@SavoirFaire -

I think it’s a bit different from astrology in that there a) is a test and b) there are a fairly small number of tests, and most people who are interested have taken at least one of the two most popular ones. (I’ve done several, because I wanted to see if the result carried. It did).

While I certainly understand the risk of confirmation bias, I do feel that the Meyers-Briggs typologies are sufficiently mutually exclusive to make someone actually interested in getting the “right” result would balk at a wrong one. For example, if it had called me an ENFP (my husband’s result), I’d have dismissed it immediately. I’m not an extrovert. While I can enjoy group social activity in small doses, it leaves me physically and mentally exhausted afterwards. It will probably take me all of Monday and Tuesday to “recover” from this weekend at the Renaissance Festival.

I’ve hovered between the J and P – the most recent test I took put me at 65% Judging and 35% Perceiving, but it’s damn near 100% on Thinking over Feeling. That’s something that’s changed over the course of my life. When I was a teenager, I tested as an INFP. This was my religious stage, when I held beliefs with a total lack of evidence, simply because it made me happy to believe they were real, and afraid to think about what it would mean if they weren’t.

I’m not saying by any stretch that the Meyer’s-Briggs or any Jungian Archetype system can definitively describe a personality to the final detail, but in my experience it has pegged me closely enough for a shorthand answer to questions like “Please describe your personality”.

GloPro's avatar

@SavoirFaire @Seek I believe that referring to a test to describe your personality is a small clue in itself. Some people went straight to what a test revealed them to be, others have done self-reflection and given answers based on his/her opinion of self. That was more of what I was looking for, but I didn’t specify because the way someone chooses to answer is telling a story, too.
I consider describing yourself using the MB analysis to be answering the part of my OP “What would other people say?” Many responses covered that analysis well, and then stated they agree with that analysis.

I don’t know that what I think my personality is and what other people would describe my personality as would be the same, or even close. I am still thinking about my response.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@SavoirFaire No, it’s not scientific and no, it’s nothing like astrology. It is not intended to be either. There is no attempt to predict the future or destiny. It is a reasonably detailed set of descriptions that characterize certain aspects of observed personality in individuals. It’s a very valid answer when someone asks you to describe your personality. That said pinning down personality isn’t easy since it’s more like a moving target.

Coloma's avatar

NT’s rock! Looks like the majority here are NT’s.
@Mimishu1995 You might be an ENTP too, friendly, jolly, diverse interests.
I, seriously, have found Meyers/Briggs to be so enlightening.

Sure explains how I show up.
NT types are also the most likely to be gifted individuals. :-)

Symbeline's avatar

I just took one of those tests, I got ISTJ. (Introvert100, sensing12, thinking75, judging11.)
This was a Jung based one, not a Myers one, is there something official you guys take, or what?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Seek I didn’t say it is the same as astrology. I said it operates on the same principles as astrology. And this is true. MBTI works on wishful thinking, confirmation bias, and the Forer effect—just like astrology, Tarot, mentalism and every other form of divination. Note that all of these have procedures to make it look like the reader isn’t pulling the strings and to obscure how vague and arbitrary the reports are. They all take input from the person being read. The psychometrician just uses a form of smoke and mirrors better suited to this modern, skeptical age than star charts, playing cards, or cold reading.

As for whether the results carried, that is unsurprising. Virtually all of the money and research that has been put into personality testing has gone to achieving test-retest and cross-test reliability. The problem is that these measures do not prove anything about the validity of test results or their ability to predict future behavior. Indeed, there is no reliable research supporting the thesis that a person’s actions—past or future—are in any way correlated to their MBTI result. Nor is it surprising that you would reject your husband’s result of ENFP. Introversion and extroversion are quite easy to test for, and your own response says that the primary reason you would reject the ENFP label is because you are not an extrovert. But that leaves three letters of unscientific claptrap behind.

If you find the description of an INTJ accurate, that’s fine. I’m not telling you to reject the characteristics associated with that type. What I am suggesting is that you should not think that getting INTJ as a result from the MBTI in any way supports your self-assessment. My criticism, after all, is not that these tests are unable to definitively describe a personality to the final detail—a straw man if ever I saw one, as no test even purports to be able to do that—but that they are not reliable indicators of anything. As such, I also don’t think it very wise to present your self-assessment in terms of MBTI, as that is to lend credence to something that is not credible. Perhaps you could use the description without the label.

Symbeline's avatar

@SavoirFaire What’s a Forer Effect?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Yes, the MBTI is intended to be scientific. Psychometrics is rooted in Jungian psychology and considers itself to be a branch of psychology. The problem is that it is pseudoscience.

And yes, it is like astrology. As I said before, and explained further in my response to @Seek, they both operate on the exact same principles: wishful thinking, confirmation bias, and the Forer effect.

Finally, there is absolutely an attempt to predict future behavior. That’s the whole point of social science: to explain observed behaviors and predict future behaviors. Yet psychometrics is unable to meet the same standards that other social sciences meet on a daily basis.

P.S. Note that astrology has nothing to do with destiny. That’s what prophecy is about. Astrology is about personality typing and predicting how people will deal with upcoming situations. Secondly, there is no such thing as being “very valid” because validity is not scalar. Regardless, answers cannot be valid or invalid in the first place. This is just a matter of definition.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Symbeline In short, it’s the observed tendency of people to rate vague descriptions of their personality as highly accurate merely because those descriptions are presented as being made specifically for the people rating them. See this link for more. Also, check out this experiment that Criss Angel did. I replicated it with cooperation from my university’s psychology department about a year ago, except that we used MBTI instead of horoscopes and Tarot cards. The results were the same.

The other thing I find suspicious is that 50% of the people I know seem to have Meyers-Briggs types that supposedly only 2% of the population shares.

Symbeline's avatar

@SavoirFaire Aaah yeah, as far as astrology goes the Forer thing makes complete sense. I remember trying to explain it on here and AB on a few occasions, how astrology seems to work and the relations people make to it in accordance to themselves. (basically, to my understanding astrology and zodiac signs and stuff can pretty much be whatever you want it to, or I mean you can interpret it in many different ways, loosely enough that I never believed it to have much accuracy on anything) except I never knew what the Forer effect actually was haha.

Don’t know enough about this Myers/Jung business though, (or Tarot cards for that matter) but I’m certainly checking out the experiment, should be interesting.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@SavoirFaire I agree and I’d say the science behind MBPI simply does not exist. Astrology by definition does claim to affect destiny so comparing the two is a little unfair. I never thought MBTI was scientific but rather a set of characterized observations that can be loosely used to describe a persons behavior in certain situations. I think you must be a psychologist or at least studying it because most that I have met would rip MBTI just as you have. It does not have to be scientific to be useful. People don’t change their behavior based on what a silly test says so I don’t see too much confirmation bias there. As a very rough resolution description of personality it appears to work so I don’t see a reason to completely reject it like a tarot card reading. I don’t think that I have seen a real scientific way to describe personality. Would you suggest another way to categorize personality that is?

SavoirFaire's avatar


“I agree and I’d say the science behind MBPI simply does not exist.

That’s right. But MBTI purports to be a scientific way of measuring personality. Anything that purports to be science while having no scientific credentials, however, is pseudoscience. Thus MBTI is baseless. Or, to put it in common English, it’s bullshit.

“Astrology by definition does claim to affect destiny so comparing the two is a little unfair.”

Again, this is false. Astrology says nothing about destiny. Astrology is primarily a way of divining someone’s personality based on where the stars and planets were when they were born. Secondarily, it attempts to give advice regarding situations that the stars say are about to befall people born under various signs. (Destiny is about end results, not day-to-day predictions.)

“I never thought MBTI was scientific but rather a set of characterized observations that can be loosely used to describe a persons behavior in certain situations.”

You may not have thought that it was scientific, but it is certainly attempting to be scientific. It is also failing to meet the standards required for scientific legitimacy. Moreover, MBTI is certainly not about a person’s behavior in certain situations. It is about personality, which concerns—by definition—a more holistic account of a person’s behavior. As for where you think “characterized observations” comes in, I cannot say. MBTI is not based on observations of the subject, thus why it can be administered over the internet.

“I think you must be a psychologist or at least studying it because most that I have met would rip MBTI just as you have.”

No, I am not a psychologist (though I did study social science as an undergraduate). I am a philosopher, and I teach classes on critical thinking (among other things). In any case, it is quite revealing that professional psychologists treat MBTI with near-universal disdain. Given that MBTI is an attempt at doing legitimate psychology, the fact that virtually no psychologist takes it seriously should tell us something.

“It does not have to be scientific to be useful.”

Of course not. Plenty of non-scientific things are useful. But there is a difference between being non-scientific and unscientific. The latter denotes something that goes against science, as opposed to something that is merely independent of it. Since MBTI claims to be science without evidence, however, it is unscientific.

Furthermore, MBTI is not useful if it is not reliable (that is, if the test fails to accurately discern relevant parts of one’s personality). It’s supposed to be telling us something about ourselves, and the test is supposed to help us figure out which type we belong to. But there is no evidence that the test does this. We might as well just read through all of the various type descriptions and pick out which one fits us best rather than taking a test that does not reliably direct us to the right one.

“People don’t change their behavior based on what a silly test says so I don’t see too much confirmation bias there.”

That’s not what confirmation bias is about. Confirmation bias is when one affirms facts that fit with their preexisting world view (i.e., that confirm things they already believe) and ignores facts that go against it. There’s nothing about changing one’s behavior. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: confirmation bias leads us to stay the same. So here we see the problem. People take these tests and believe them. Then, when asked why they trust their results, they say: “Because I took at test and the results described me accurately. But this is precisely how the Forer effect works. We take a test, and it gives us results that are vague enough to apply to a wide swath of people. And since we affirm the results, confirmation bias then gets us to continue endorsing them.

Once upon a time, during a previous discussion of personality tests, I filled out a personality test at random (that is, I chose answers without looking at the questions), and my result seemed quite accurate. I then took the test again, this time focusing on the questions and trying to give honest answers. The result was indecisive, so I looked at the different personality types the test indicated might fit me. Two of the possibilities seemed dead wrong, but the third seemed like it could be pretty accurate. Do I therefore pick the third, or might the first two reveal something about me I don’t want to admit? And what of the fact that when I read through the remaining possibilities (that is, the types I supposedly had no affinity for according to the test), I found three more that suited me? Was the test wrong or am I wrong? How can we tell? The fact of the matter is that there is no way to tell—precisely because the tests are not indicative of anything.

“As a very rough resolution description of personality it appears to work so I don’t see a reason to completely reject it like a tarot card reading.”

But why not? It seems you are being inconsistent here. Many would say that astrology and Tarot also appear to work. The reason we reject them is because we know that they don’t actually work. Those who think they do are being deceived by the various factors I have mentioned (wishful thinking, confirmation bias, the Forer effect). Read my recent response to @Symbeline. I participated in an experiment where the researchers gave fake MBTI results to people, but presented them as if they were specifically calculated for the respondents. Despite the fact that the results were in no way determined by the respondents’ answers to the test they were given, the overwhelming majority still declared them accurate. As such, what appears to work does not seem to be a reliable guide in this case.

“I don’t think that I have seen a real scientific way to describe personality.”

Neither have I.

“Would you suggest another way to categorize personality that is?”

No, as I am not aware of any reliable methods of doing so. But just because there aren’t any reliable methods doesn’t mean we should go about trusting unreliable ones.

Seek's avatar

Astrology is primarily a way of divining someone’s personality based on where the stars and planets were when they were born.

And MBTI is primarily a way of defining a few basic characteristics of a personality based on their own responses to hypothetical situations.

Not at all the same thing.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Seek The sentence you have quoted is about the differences between astrology and prophecy, not the similarities between astrology and MBTI. If you disagree with my claim that MBTI operates on the same principles as astrology, try responding to the actual argument I gave for that claim rather than a statement I made on a different topic.

Seek's avatar

Can’t be arsed. I mentioned even in my original post that it’s not something I would normally put much credence in, but that I felt this particular result rang true with me, and that other archetypes did not.

Perhaps you’ve never seen the many times I’ve responded to astrological questions by posting my horoscope with strike-thrus of less true statements and bolded true statements. I’ve done it a few times. If any portion of the MBTI didn’t sound like how I see myself and how the people closest to me view me, I’d be the first to mention it.

But I do feel that relating it directly to astrology is a bit reaching. One requires no input whatsoever from the person involved, and the other does. That is a fundamental difference.

Seek's avatar

But then, I, as a person who often uses tarot cards as a “mind hack”, am fully aware of the principals of confirmation bias, and often use them to my advantage. Say what you will. It works for me.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@SavoirFaire Tarot never appeared to work when friends would do readings. I never found it to be believable in any way so I still don’t see a 1:1 comparison. Entertaining… yes, useful….no. I do kind of see where you are coming from even though I think there is a little more to MBTI than a simple parlor trick. Like it or not as unscientific and hokey as it may be there is a grain of practical utility there. Without any real method to distinguish personality types it’s no wonder that companies still shell out big bucks to use MBTI so their employees will at least halfway understand each other. They do learn to recognize that some people need to be treated a little differently. There was a noticeable difference in the office after groups went through so I can’t say it’s useless. My company still uses it and we have several thousand employees. I would be curious to read about the study you participated in. Was a paper published?

Coloma's avatar

There IS much truth to personality theories, going waaay back to Hypocrites.
Everyone has a particular brain stack function, basic way of seeing the world, energy levels, introvert/extrovert dichotomy.
Ass-trology is fiction, personality theory is a science.
This goes waaay back.

I am Sanguine to the the 10th power, I NEED intellectual and humorous stimulation or I wilt on the vine.
Not pseudoscience, not at all..I have so discovered and articulated the temperaments of everyone I know. The deck is stacked, no doubt about it.
I encourage everyone to explore their own as well as others personality types, an invaluable tool for a better understanding of self and others.

SnoopyGirl's avatar

I am an ISTJ – Introverted Sensing with Thinking. I took the Myers-Briggs test in my mid 20’s. I wonder if any of my types have changed in 20 years. I use my 5 senses in gathering the information and make decisions with thinking. I use analysis and logic. Supposedly, I live by judgment. I like things planned and orderly. (This is my preference, however I have learned to adapt to Perception. Perception is spontaneous and flexible. To live life to its fullest, one must be spontaneous and flexible. Plus having kids…everything is about being flexible.)
I am extremely dependable and accept responsibilities beyond the call of duty. I like to know the facts and think about something before making any decisions. When dealing with a crisis, my face shows calm and composed. Inside I am all over the place with emotion and looking at all the facts. I am hard-working and pay great attention to detail and routine. I hate to be told to do something that doesn’t make sense to me. Once understood, I persevere until finished. I analyze and use logic in my thinking. I am well-balanced and have developed in my perception and judgment. This pretty much sums it up.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Seek “Can’t be arsed.”

If you “can’t be arsed” to respond to the actual arguments being made, why participate at all?

“If any portion of the MBTI didn’t sound like how I see myself and how the people closest to me view me, I’d be the first to mention it.”

Great, but the whole problem with confirmation bias and such is that it makes it easier to hide errors from ourselves. At best, then, all this proves is that MBTI is better at getting you to engage in self-deception than astrology. But this shouldn’t be at all surprising. The best way to trick people who ought to know better into falling for this sort of thing is to give it the trappings of science (even if no scientific evidence is actually available).

“But I do feel that relating it directly to astrology is a bit reaching.”

Once more, for emphasis: I didn’t say it is the same as astrology. I said it operates on the same principles as astrology (wishful thinking, confirmation bias, and the Forer effect).

“One requires no input whatsoever from the person involved, and the other does. That is a fundamental difference.”

MBTI requires exactly the same sort of input as astrology: the subject answers questions about oneself (time of birth vs. forced-choice questions), and the analyst divines meaning from them. In astrology, your answers get run through a mysterious matrix having to do with the stars. In MBTI, your answers get run through a mysterious matrix (how the test gets scored is proprietary information) having to do with Jungian theories that have long since been debunked (and were never substantiated in the first place). The only way to change the outcome in either case is to lie. No honest effort can change you from one archetype to another just as no action you can take could change where the stars and planets were at the time of your birth. In both cases, the questions are just a way of overcoming an epistemic problem (the analyst’s ignorance of your personal details) in order to get at something that is supposedly already there to be discovered.

“Say what you will. It works for me.”

It’s certainly possible to use a bogus method to get a correct result. But it’s neither a reliable nor an advisable way of going about things. Consider the following two arguments (one an invalid argument with true premises and a true conclusion, one a valid argument with false premises and a true conclusion):

(1) Cats are mammals.
(2) Tigers are mammals.
(3) Therefore, tigers are cats.

(1) Cats are birds.
(2) Birds are mammals.
(3) Therefore, cats are mammals.

In both cases, the conclusion gets things right in the end. The chain of reasoning “works” so long as we’re only looking at the conclusion. But the reasoner who uses such arguments would be made far better off overall by excising false premises and fallacious inferences from their thinking. As such, I cannot see “it works for me” as any sort of defense. Indeed, it seems much more like a retreat.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me “Tarot never appeared to work when friends would do readings. I never found it to be believable in any way so I still don’t see a 1:1 comparison.”

But like I said to @Seek, that’s precisely the problem. You see them as different because you accept one and reject the other. But none of the evidence supports that conclusion. So all it proves is that MBTI did a better job deceiving you than tarot.

“Entertaining… yes, useful….no.”

Great. But that’s exactly the scientific consensus on MBTI as well: entertaining, yes; useful, no.

“Like it or not as unscientific and hokey as it may be there is a grain of practical utility there.”

The test lacks any predictive power (including the ability to predict whether someone is fit for any particular job). What, then, is the practical utility in MBTI (other than its proven ability to transfer money from the gullible to the dishonest)?

“They do learn to recognize that some people need to be treated a little differently. There was a noticeable difference in the office after groups went through so I can’t say it’s useless.”

The same thing could be achieved more inexpensively and without using deceptive practices. But I suppose you are correct: as a parlor trick to get that very specific result, it can be effective. As I again already said to @Seek, though, it’s not really any defense of the test in the end since people are made far better off when they reach a true conclusion through good reasoning rather than bad reasoning. Good reasoning is reliable and can be expected to work each time it is applied. Bad reasoning only works when one is lucky.

“I would be curious to read about the study you participated in. Was a paper published?”

No paper came out of it because it was done for the purposes of a local demonstration (much like the Criss Angel experiment I was replicating). But there are plenty of articles detailing the failure of MBTI. If you want something written for a general audience, here are two options. And if you can get past the paywall, here; is a direct critique of MBTI, here are two refutations of basic principles on which the MBTI relies, and here is a direct critique of MBTI grounded in a refutation of the test’s basic underlying principles.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Coloma “There IS much truth to personality theories, going waaay back to Hypocrites.”

First of all, Hippocrates. Though your typo is quite accurate, if only accidentally so. Hypocrites are people who say one thing and do another, and the people who control the MBTI claim to be doing legitimate science while administering a test scientifically proven to have no predictive power. So I agree that people who push personality theories are hypocrites, but that’s obviously not what you meant.

In any case, it’s false that there is “much truth” to personality theories, and you have not presented any evidence in support of your claim (whereas I have presented quite a bit of evidence to the contrary). As such, all you have here is an argument by assertion fallacy.

“Everyone has a particular brain stack function, basic way of seeing the world, energy levels, introvert/extrovert dichotomy.”

“Brain stack function” appears to be a term you made up (the only place it appears on the internet is in answers written by you on Fluther), and the term “brain stack” turns up nothing but a nootropic supplement based on about as much pseudoscience as the MBTI. As such, I won’t say I understand what you mean by that. But as for basic ways of seeing the world, energy levels, and relative amounts of introversion versus extroversion, I agree that these factors vary person to person (though not nearly as much as people like to pretend). That’s not personality theory, though. That’s just a basic observation. A legitimate personality theory is supposed to explain the observation and give us a reliable and repeatable way of figuring out who has which characteristics to what degree. MBTI demonstrably cannot do so.

“Ass-trology is fiction, personality theory is a science.”

No, it is not science. That is what you have consistently failed to understand. Look at the links I provided to @ARE_you_kidding_me. Jung may have had scientific ambitions when he started his typology project, but it never bore fruit (as is the case with most hypotheses—thus why we test them).

“This goes waaay back.”

The idea that there are different personalities goes back. But again, that’s not personality theory—at least not in any scientific sense. What does not go way back—or in fact exist at all—is scientific evidence in favor of any popular theory of personality (whether it be the four humors or MBTI). So please stop equivocating. An idea and a theory are not the same thing, and not all theories are scientific theories.

“Not pseudoscience, not at all..I have so discovered and articulated the temperaments of everyone I know. The deck is stacked, no doubt about it.”

I’m sure you think you’ve done that, but there’s nothing beyond your self-report and confirmation bias to support your claims.

“I encourage everyone to explore their own as well as others personality types, an invaluable tool for a better understanding of self and others.”

Or for deceiving oneself into believing that they have a better understanding of the world than they really do. In the end, pseudoscience like this is just a way of gaining the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. First rule of enlightenment: if you think you’re enlightened, you’re not.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

So I have to ask what research has been done that disproves or proves trends in personality? I’m not saying MBTI has it figured out because I never actually believed that. It’s a classification system based on answers to questions. There is no science in it. A similar classification system would be to group people after letting them hear a series of sounds and ask them a bunch of meaningless yes or no questions about how they made them feel. Then take that data and force them into four groups. There is no hard science there but it may reveal certain aspects of personality that are useful. Sometimes one does not need to do research to see what is intuitively obvious. People often act according to certain patterns and those patterns can be somewhat predictable on the whole. Can you scientifically classify those patterns…nope. That does not mean there is no practical utility in using pseudo-scientific classification to get the point across to people that they should try to ferret out what someone’s personality is like before they interact with them. Even if the parlor trick is getting them to believe they are perfectly classified. My point is just because it’s not backed by rigid scientific data does not mean it’s worthless. That’s one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn as a technical type who also has to deal with people. There simply are no yes or no answers with humans and behavior. Having seen several psychologists I can tell you that the only ones worth their salt can use their intuition to find out what is going on with someone. Those who go by the book are more useful making gas stations full-serve again.

“First rule of enlightenment: if you think you’re enlightened, you’re not.”—yep.

Coloma's avatar

@SavoirFaire @ARE you kidding me

Mea culpa with the Hippocrates typo, otherwise, hey, all I can say is that I find the MBTI and other personality theory to hold much truth. “Brain stack” is a viable term, though I cannot find my sources at this time.I may be thinking of the Enneagram system not MBTI or Jungian thought.
It denotes the perceiving preferences that everyone has and employs.
Not unlike the various learning styles. I am not interested in a debate, all I can say is that in my vast studies and applying said knowledge to the real world I absolutely see the differences in how people perceive and relate.

First rule of knowledge, experience. Knowledge without application is useless and having applied what I have learned I can say, without a doubt there is much truth in the MBTI and how others show up. This is not to say that everyone is some textbook clone of a particular type but…I can spot the difference between sensors and intuitives and thinkers and feelers and judgers and perceivers in a heartbeat. These are spots that do not change and once you have a grasp on what you’re looking at in terms of relating with others it is easy to spot the differences between types.

Anyway, we are all free to accept or reject whatever, all I know is that I have found the MNTI to be an invaluable tool in better understanding of self and others as have many.
Nature almost always trumps nurture IMO.

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