16 November, 2009

Cult of Personality

There is a lot to be said for cookies, and that is OM NOM NOM NOM.

(Today, I am a Secret Cookie Monster. I have yet to legitimately have a cookie, but I have devoured my difficulties.)

We covered Theories of Personality in Intro to Psych this past week (I'm struggling a little to keep up with the work - in Psych, yes, but more in Business Communications... oh, shibbywop that is a boring class.). My favorite section, next to Jung (who I did not know was a Nazi sympathizer, awesome.) was the personality tests.

I love personality tests. I take them constantly. I retake them even after I've just taken them, to see if they get the same result. The Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) gets a lot of bad press, because it's supposedly inconsistent. It's been ridiculously consistent for me (INFJ, for further reference), but I can see how it could be viewed as inconsistent, primarily because people change. People change type quite often. Personality type, particularly in how it pertains to other people, can vary by day - are you having a stressful day? It may be different from yesterday, when you were sitting on the couch watching a game. My husband and I are pretty solidly in our types, but depending on my mood, I can change. I try to test at a resting period, and then also test at a high-stress point - that gives me two types to work with, and it's helpful even if only in better understanding myself.

I want to eventually do the huge MBTI to see how closely it aligns with what I think is accurate, but it's expensive, so that will be a while.

The MMPI (the full name of which I will edit in later) is much different than something like the MBTI. The MMPI helps to define personality disorders - a test I would probably crash over like a wave of ink. I may eventually have to take it for work - which is terrifying to me - but when normal people take it (read: those without personality disorders), they say it is "boring". They say, "It is easy to tell the wrong answers". I am not so sure of that, but when I do take it, we will see.

There were a few other tests - I hate tests that do 1-7 scales, and then just give you something vague like "extroverted is high, introverted is low"... well, what is high and low? Is a 5 high, or a 3 low? If I am in the middle, does that mean I'm just 'verted' (yay, I'm green!)?

I also think that sometimes, the judgement has to be on specific situations, not just "do you like xyz" or "would you want to xyz", and more "If you were doing x, and y happened, would you z or a?"

I like psychology because a lot of it depends on the person. A person can control their actions and reactions subconsciously, and it's much easier to assume how they will feel or think, or to infer, than to genuinely know. You can look at someone's entire history and say "They were emotionally abused, come from a single parent family - they're probably not that well adjusted", but they could be more well adjusted than you. You have to look deeper, and it's all that individual - it's not some long-thought theory. The science is there, too, it's just harder to define when we have no real measurements yet.

This post is kind of random... I apologise for that. It's not like I've many readers right now, but still (do I even have any?).

I think that my general, around the bush point is that personality tests are interesting and can give valuable insight, but the same test will not work with everyone, because nothing can truly be generalized in such a personalized field.

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