Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lately, I've been obsessed with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment in that never-ending pursuit of a clearer understanding of The Self. The MBTI has been around for fifty years or so, and you probably remember taking it in high school or college or for some lame office job you had once. It's the psychometric questionnaire that breaks down your entire personality into a four-letter word; ENFP, INFJ, etc. How accurate is it? Who knows, but it's at least as accurate as your horoscope.

Though I joked on Facebook that my score kept coming up LMAO, I'm actually an ISFP or an INFP, depending on how many beers I had before I took the test. (I've taken it a few times, now.) So, according to the MBTI, I have an introverted attitude, I tend to trust tangible, gatherable information instead of trusting my intuition, yet I feel my way through the decision-making process, rather than detaching myself and following set rules, and I tend to use my perceiving function instead of my judging function when relating to the outside world.

This may come as a surprise to many of you.

Or not. I was satisfied with the ISFP rating when I read that Steven Spielberg was the same way. Mrs. Ditchman scored the same as George W. Bush, but I won't say whether she was proud of this. Anyway, I found the 68 questions fascinating in how difficult they were for me to answer. You're supposed to use your intuition if you can't decide on the answer, but I don't trust my intuitive reflexes, as deduced by the MBTI. Sample Question/Personal Response: Would you rather be a senator or a scientist? Hmmm... I don't know. I like both. Why can't I be both? Don't we need people who are both? Wouldn't one be a better senator if one used the scientific method?

And so forth. So my wife and I took the test and found that we were complete opposites. This was at least as refreshing to hear as it was entertaining, but it still doesn't answer why she leaves the kitchen cupboard doors open all the time and then tries to deny it. I was going to force the test on the Little Ditchman, but she just demands more jelly beans, makes a scene when I say NO, and then cries and runs away, wets the bed, and makes further unreasonable demands all the livelong day. She is unclassifiable.

Anyway, it got me all interested again in the Forer effect, which I remember learning about in college (though, not really.) What is the Forer effect? It's that magical moment where you pick up the horoscope on your birthday and find that it pegs you exactly. What else is it? Well, analysts here at TMST headquarters have done a few psychometric studies of our own and have found that our readers are generally described as follows:

You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic.

Did you find any of that agreeable to your own personality? Yeah, so does everyone.

It is considered unethical to compel anyone to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment, and the test should always be taken voluntarily. You're on your own. The test is somewhere on Facebook, if you're interested. You can then publish your score for the world to see. Everybody's doing it.