|One of the problems with personality-sorting tests like the Big 5 (NEO-PI) or Myers-Briggs is that relatively smart people who hold a bias toward one of the preference poles (e.g., Agreeable in Big 5 or Feeling in MBTI) will figure out which items relate to that bias and deliberately skew their answers so as to make the test come out with them exemplifying what they think is a virtue.|
But neither Thinking nor Feeling (in MBTI) is a virtue or a vice, nor one to be valued above the other. (The same is true for Extraversion vs. Introversion, etc.) We just are what we are, and we all bring strengths and weaknesses to the table that relate to our preferences. That is why I have abandoned my earlier attempts to have Feeling types purged from the Objectivist movement. [joke]
Marcus Bachler wrote:
If you need a test to tell you who you are, then you are pretty screwed anyway.The main value of this kind of test is not just to know who you are, but who you are in nuance and detail. The expanded versions of the tests are very illuminating in that regard. Another value of these tests is to know and understand and accept others, whose preferences might be quite different from ours. It helps in relationships, in team-building, and in communication, to name but three areas.
And by "acceptance," I don't mean toleration of immorality. I mean allowing others to be different in their personalities, without having to engage in what David Keirsey (in Please Understand Me) calls a "Pygmalion Project." E.g., I have noticed some on SOLO trying to criticize others who have admitted to being introverted, as if that were some sort of moral or character failing. That should be verboten here.
Remember, these various tests identify four or five basic dimensions of personality, and they utilize items that attempt to measure where a given individual is on those dimensions. The items were arrived at by statistical analysis, seeing which items (of a much larger group, most not used in the tests) clustered most highly with a given personality characteristic. Those items were used in formulating the descriptive profiles of each personality type. The huge variation in actual personality types, and the fact that some people have uncertainty over their actual personality type, is merely a reflection of the fact that most people do not score consistently from one item to the next for a given dimension.
Suppose we dispensed with the items and simply examined the preference descriptions, in order to tell whether we were Thinking vs. Feeling, Extraversion vs. Introversion, etc. No test, just see whether a label or paragraph "sounded like you" or not. No muss, no fuss, eh? But it is simply less accurate than plowing through a 50 or 100 item test. There is more room for misinterpretation. Uncertainties sort out more thoroughly in a test with items than by just reading a description. That's the science of personality psychology, such as it is at present.
By the way, Ayn Rand had a very interesting theory of her own about "basic character," as she wrote in her journal years ago. (See Journals of Ayn Rand, p. 669.) In regard to existence, there are facts (reality) and people (other people's views of reality). In regard to consciousness, there are mind (thinking) and emotions (feeling). If you're consistently rational, you hold mind above emotions and reality above people. But as we know, some folks are oriented differently. The worst ones for Rand would seem to be whim-worshipping Social Metaphysicians. Yuk. But what about the mixed premise people -- whim-worshippers who put reality first, and Social metaphysicians who put thinking first?
Obviously, this model of character is not simply a personality sorting matrix, but a moral sorter. You can imagine, however, the difficulty in getting people to be objective about where they fit into this model, especially if they are striving to be (and/or to be seen) as rational Objectivists! The problems of objectivity in the Big 5 or MBTI pale by comparison.
Best to all,