Lab Cat

12 Dec 2006

Myers-Briggs Test

Filed under: Education, Personal, Teaching — Cat @ 5:37 pm

I am waiting for my take home finals to come in – they are due by noon tomorrow and then I will be swamped with grading again. It is at this time I wonder “What was I thinking, I must have been drinking” when I had the bright idea of this particular assignment. Never mind, all will be over by Friday pm. Fortunately, the TAs kept me in order and stopped me from letting the students write more than two pages.

In the meantime, I allowed myself to get distracted by a Myers-Briggs personality test. My Mum did her Masters in Educational psychology (or sociology) and I remember having fun doing questionnaires with her. So I am still a sucker for personality quizzes. This one came via Selva and the test is here, if you want to do it at your leisure.

Today’s results showed that I am a INFP. The actually numbers:

E=4 Extraversion; I=7 Introversion
S=1 Sensing; N=19 iNtuition
T=6 Thinking; F=13 Feeling
J=3 Judging; P=16 Perceiving

I did this yesterday when I was still an INFP but the differences between I/E and T/F were less marked. Yeah, it is just great being an extroverted introvert.

So I kind of consider myself as an INt/fP. INP is definitely true, but T/F must change depending on what I am doing.

Still what does this all mean?

INFP – The Dreamer

INFPs focus deeply on their values, and they devote their lives to pursuing the ideal. They often draw people together around a common purpose and work to find a place for each person within the group. They are creative, and they seek new ideas and possibilities. They quietly push for what is important to them, and they rarely give up. While they have a gentleness about them and a delightful sense of humor, they may be somewhat difficult to get to know and may be overlooked by others. They are at their best making their world more in line with their internal vision of perfection.

Despite what this suggests, I am not a perfectionist in my work, but I am bad with details, which was suggested later in the desciption under “Working”. Another personality test that we do at the beginning of the Capstone course – I teach this course next semester and will, if I remember, share it with you then. In that quiz, I come out strongly global-orientated whereas usually every one else is detail orientated.

The other personality, I obviously would like to be, is:

INTP – The Wizard

INTPs are known for their quest for logical purity, which motivates them to examine universal truths and principles. They are constantly asking themselves and others the questions ‘Why?’ and ‘Why not?’ Clear and quick thinkers, they are able to focus with great intensity on their interests. They appreciate elegance and efficiency in thought processes and require them, even more so, in their own communications. They may be seen as unwilling to accept what everyone else regards as truth. While often low key in outward appearance and approach, the INTP is ‘hard as nails’ when challenging a truth. INTPs do not like to deal with the obvious. They are at their best in building conceptual models and developing unusual and complex ideas.

Honestly, at the moment I am not logical enough for an INTP. This may change depending on whether I am doing more teaching or more research.

So today, I agree that I fit with most of INFP’s descriptions but what if it is that I think I am rather than what I actually am?

There was an article in the New Yorker a few months/years ago, that was very critical of personality tests. Some years ago I did one from Baron-Cohen (the cousin of the guy in Borat) that resulted in my being rated as half masculine and half feminine. I can’t remember the significance of that from the test now. I decided it was because I work as a physical chemist – a “male” discipline, or perhaps it was my personality that was attracted to this discipline.

I really don’t think it is a masculine trait to be good with numbers and the physical sciences – that is a societial construct. I’m not going to take this idea any further, except to say it is my experience that while I might approach a problem differently to my colleagues, this is because of who I am not only because of my gender. I was very lucky to have encouraging math and science teachers when I was at High School and beyond. Their encouragement is the reason why I am a physical chemists.

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