Inspired by posts by XYkadimqz and Undine, I took the same Myers-Briggs test they did, because despite my skepticism about these things (they’re like horoscopes for intelligent people), they are fun (like horoscopes). Huh. This one pegs me as ISTP, the Virtuoso. I don’t think so. Or maybe my professional persona took the test, because I can see my classroom self as the Virtuoso (Psycho Vigilante, in my preferred version of the types). I hadn’t seen the Assertive-Turbulent axis before, either, and I’m not sure what it adds.

Other times I’ve taken the test, I’ve come out as ISTJ (the Logistician, in this version’s parlance; or The Thought Police, in this one), INTP (Logician/the Egghead), or, once, INTJ (Architect/Outside Contractor). I don’t think I’m really INTJ, because Sir John is very strongly INTJ so I know well what that type is like, and it’s not me. I’m very strongly I and T, no question on either of those (and no doubt why Sir John and I are so well-suited). On the S-N and J-P axes, though, I’m pretty close to the middle, so mood, recent experiences, and who knows what else can tip me one way or the other. Broadly speaking, I’m more S than a lot of academics are, but a whole lot more N than many people, and on J vs P, situation, context, and health have a huge influence. That is, by nature I may be more a planner and an organizer, but living with chronic illness has taught me to be flexible. Some days the plans are just not going to happen. In some areas, like meal plans (hi, Undine!) I want room for flexibility and creativity. And if I have an exciting idea, hell yes, I want to get it written down before I lose track of it. Because my mind is not an opera house. It’s more like a very dim, dusty, outrageously cluttered attic with generations’ worth of trunks and boxes and piles of junk. God knows what all is in there. It’s sure not in any order. If I make lists, I may very well not feel like doing anything on them and find something else to do instead, but without them I will fail to do all kinds of important things.

10 thoughts on “Well, that’s new

  1. I took it just for fun, but… there are some questions that I just don’t think work. The “would rather be socializing than alone” sorts. If I think, socializing with good friends, yes, sure. If I think general socializing, then no. What do I put? There were a lot like that.

    1. I suspect those “it depends” answers reveal those of us who are middling on various scales.

      I also wonder if there’s a meta-analysis going on. Do you tend to agree/disagree strongly, or do your answers cluster in the middle of the options?

  2. Thanks for this! I hang around so many psychologists who bring up how the MB is like a horoscope (except for the I/E part)– people see what they want to see in it because it’s broad and vague. We use it for our students in job training because of the conversations it helps facilitate, not because we believe it is an actual diagnostic.

    That said, I got INTP/INTJ the two times I did this professionally. (Technically I got “not enough information” the first time I did it, as did my future husband– we were forced to retake it.) I did the online version and it’s much shorter than the two times from before and I got I think INFP, which is different. But I’ve never been that strong in the NTJ part anyway, and the two times I had it professionally done, I was close to the middle for I/E also. Too much “it depends” in my personality, I guess.

    1. I once did the professional version, a really long test that broke down each category into about 10 sub-categories. I think that was one of my ISTJ times, though again S and J were sorta-just-barely. It was interesting seeing the I part broken down. I was about as non-gregarious as you can get, but more inclined to consider other people’s opinions and feelings than, say, Sir John (who is considerably more gregarious than I am, but utterly unconcerned with what anyone else thinks).

  3. I think these are a fun excuse to reflect and probably make more sense if you end up strongly along an axis (have some pronounced personality traits) than if you’re in the middle. I’m around the middle of introversion/extroversion (I probably got more introverted after nearly two decades of living with DH, who’s extremely, extremely introverted — if there’s a point at which introversion turns into something akin to misanthropy, that’s where he is ) and around the middle for thinking/feeling. But I’m pronounced N and P and those feel right: I’ve always been strongly turned inward, with a rich inner life, and it’s comical how strong the P is (I am barely kidding when I say plans and list give me hives). Honestly, everyone (everyone!) around me seems to be an ultraorganized planner with a super clean desk; that’s considered normal and many would say virtuous; I have been worrying that I have a disorder because I can’t work or live like this (I am completely serious). So as silly as these tests are, they are fun, easy to take, make one reflect on their habits, and normalize rather than pathologize some pretty wide personality variations.

    1. I agree—in fact I was planning on commenting somewhere to say that the ends are probably more meaningful than the middle, although some people might be happy to have some of both traits: “you think your way through problems yet are considerable of other people’s feelings,” etc. I have been very interested in your non-planning posts, because my planning always feels like a way of staving off disaster. My desk is usually messy, and I have to remind myself that “no plan survives contact with the enemy,” because however much I plan, it’s hard to stick to the plan. But if I didn’t do the planning, I’d lurch from crisis to crisis, with a lot of curling up and reading/watching TV in the middle, I think. So I don’t think of myself as a planner, which might sound odd. I mean, maybe my self-perception is off? But yes, normalizing one’s behavior is also a useful aspect of these tests.

  4. Actually, horoscopes are more accurate than this as they allow for more variables and much subtler readings. I also had my aura read recently, too, and it really fit. Myers-Briggs isn’t scientific and is based on binary oppositions, were Jung’s categories really right and did the people who used them to create the test use them well? It causes conversation because people are trying to fit themselves into it but I’ve taken better personality tests.

    However, I took this version of the test and got ENFJ-A. I don’t think of myself as non-spontaneous and have often tested as P but perhaps being organized is so deeply part of me that I don’t have to force it. So I am a Protagonist (I tend to resist other characterizations of ENFJ as Teacher) — it fits fairly well.

    The only one of the letters I am sure about is being N over S.

  5. I love the description of your mind, Dame Eleanor. Horoscopes for smart people, maybe, but this is the test that helped explain to me, when I took it legit-on-paper years ago, about that trapped feeling that xykademiqz talks about. Having something that helps you to understand and legitimize a way something about yourself instead of berating yourself for not being a traditional planner was really helpful.

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