I’m not sure what compelled me to do this now2, but… I figured out my Myers-Briggs personality type. This is the general description of the difference between each of the 4 choices, with my preference in bold:
- Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).
- Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).
- Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).
- Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).
Based on those either/or choices, I’d be an INTP:
Seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible, and adaptable. Have unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Skeptical, sometimes critical, always analytical.
So that sounded about right, but could it be that easy? Don’t people take tests to determine these things? So I found one. And the result was: INTP.
Introvert(67%) iNtuitive(88%) Thinking(50%) Perceiving(11)%
You have distinctive preference of Introversion over Extraversion (67%)
You have strong preference of Intuition over Sensing (88%)
You have moderate preference of Thinking over Feeling (50%)
You have slight preference of Perceiving over Judging (11%)1
That site also offered this bit of info:
Generally, INTPs build successful careers in areas requiring quite intensive intellectual efforts and calling for creative approach. INTPs are often found in research, development and analytical departments. INTPs often make a very successful career in academia thanks to their strong and versatile way of thinking and originality.
You don’t say! 😉
Of course, me being me, I couldn’t stop there. And also, couldn’t help but question the accuracy of every category (except introvert, obvs.), as well as, you know, whether this was all too much woo-woo to be believed. More after the jump!
The Huffington Post has a slideshow of literary characters for each type and says this:
Type: INTP, The Thinker
Attributes: ingenius, abstract, independent
Typical Careers: mathematicians, chemists, forensic researchers
In literature: INTPs can best be described as mad scientists – they’re incredibly intelligent but also eccentric, and may become preoccupied with ideas but have a hard time executing them. In “To the Lighthouse,” Mrs. Ramsay’s philosophical husband, Mr. Ramsay, is often found taking long walks by the sea, contemplating his fate.
Oh, and if there was any doubt, there’s this description, which includes these enlightening bits:
Precise about their descriptions, INTPs will often correct others (or be sorely tempted to) if the shade of meaning is a bit off. While annoying to the less concise, this fine discrimination ability gives INTPs so inclined a natural advantage as, for example, grammarians and linguists.
Haha! See, e.g., last Sunday’s haiku 😉
A major concern for INTPs is the haunting sense of impending failure. They spend considerable time second-guessing themselves. The open-endedness (from Perceiving) conjoined with the need for competence (NT) is expressed in a sense that one’s conclusion may well be met by an equally plausible alternative solution, and that, after all, one may very well have overlooked some critical bit of data. An INTP arguing a point may very well be trying to convince himself as much as his opposition. In this way INTPs are markedly different from INTJs, who are much more confident in their competence and willing to act on their convictions.
As always, more at Wikipedia. Apparently this is one of the rarest personality types (esp. for women), which may explain a few things…
These are the cognitive functions for an INTP:
Dominant: Introverted thinking (Ti) Ti seeks precision, such as the exact word to express an idea. It notices the minute distinctions that define the essence of things, then analyzes and classifies them. Ti examines all sides of an issue, looking to solve problems while minimizing effort and risk. It uses models to root out logical inconsistency. Ti is calm, articulate, and aware of the forces that bind reality together. As introverted thinkers, INTPs spend the majority of their time and energy ordering the interior, logical world of principles and generalizations in an effort to understand.
Auxiliary: Extraverted intuition (Ne) Ne finds and interprets hidden meanings, using “what if” questions to explore alternatives, allowing multiple possibilities to coexist. This imaginative play weaves together insights and experiences from various sources to form a new whole, which can then become a catalyst to action. Ne gives INTPs a grasp of the patterns of the world around them. They use their intuition to amalgamate empirical data into coherent pictures, from which they can derive universal principles. INTPs frequently puzzle over a problem for hours on end, until the answer suddenly crystallizes in a flash of insight.
Tertiary: Introverted sensing (Si) Si collects data in the present moment and compares it with past experiences, a process that sometimes evokes the feelings associated with memory, as if the subject were reliving it. Seeking to protect what is familiar, Si draws upon history to form goals and expectations about what will happen in the future. Si gives INTPs the potential for keen observation. They use this function to gather empirical data, use physical tools, perceive physical relationships, and support their internal logic with a rich sense of space.
Inferior: Extraverted feeling (Fe) Fe seeks social connections and creates harmonious interactions through polite, considerate, and appropriate behavior. Fe responds to the explicit (and implicit) wants of others, and may even create an internal conflict between the subject’s own needs and the desire to meet the needs of others. Fe drives the INTP to desire harmony in community. At their most relaxed, INTPs can be charming and outgoing among friends, or when they have a clearly defined role in the group. When under stress, however, INTPs can feel disconnected from the people around them, unable to use their extraverted Feeling to reach out to others. As their inferior function, Feeling can be a weak point; when threatened they will hide behind a wall of stoic logic. This can lead them to bottle up their emotions to preserve reason and harmony; but a failure to deal with these concealed emotions can lead to inappropriate outbursts.
You may remember that I mentioned my dislike for drama in my most recent SZ. Harmony ftw.
Extraverted Intuition (Ne) is characteristically broad and sweeping in its scope. This is why NP personality types (ENTPs, ENFPs, INTPs, and INFPs) tend to be dabblers and dilettantes, bored by what they see as excessive details or minutia. NPs primary concern is getting “the gist”-the basic thust, idea, or essence of a given topic. Then, after doing so for numerous topics, they enjoy making connections among the various “gists” they have accumulated. They thereby construct, by way of synthesis, an even larger gist. This is why NPs often end up functioning as “popularizers.”
I’m not a dilettante! I’m an interdisciplinarian! 😉 (heyyyy, that should be my tagline)
INTPs are also called The Architect. Which is funny because, like George Costanza, architect is my fake career.
Conclusion: more accurate than a horoscope!
Most creative writers, apparently, are INFPs (The Healer). In other words, they’re feelers, not thinkers. I just can’t get behind F-type decision-making, though. It smacks too much of truthiness to me (never mind the facts! it just feels right).
Do you know your personality type?
1I think my score was less weighted in this category because I’m not messy (messiness is a P trait), but having read the different descriptions of Ps vs Js, I have no doubt I’m a P.
2True to my type, I keep delaying hitting publish because I keep finding stuff to add. *insert eyeroll smiley here*