• Sofia Sulikowski

Personality Type Indicators

What's your personalitea

I've never been a star-sign, moon-sign, horoscope gal. The Aquarius description is great and all, but aren't those things strategically written so anyone can relate?

I thought the same of personality tests. The first time I took one involved a 2-minute, 10-question survey during the first day of high school. I don't remember the result, but I recall it being wildly inaccurate.

My only other experiences with "type" assessments included the Strong Interest Inventory in a Personal Narratives mini-course sophomore year and my roommate's frequent allusion to my star sign as the explanation for most daily occurrences.

I'm difficult to describe, though. In my mind, no type could possibly capture the depth of my ~endless complexities.~

Yet, I recently came face-to-face with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). My brother took the related (and free) 16personalities questionnaire for a class and raved about the accuracy. After reading his in-depth, specific results, I had to admit: his personality type matched him perfectly.

Not expecting much, I went through the questions.

And voila my result: INFJ. The Advocate.

The description following the green-clad wizard wasn't 100% accurate, but it was close. The summary captured an accurate snapshot of some of my complex thought patterns and behaviors. Wild.

Reading the INFJ blurb provided an interesting opportunity to take in commentary (supposedly) about myself and think through the relevance of each piece of information.

The Personality Test Controversy

Some hate personality types claiming they're inaccurate, bias-inducing, and harmful. Others tout type assessments as the solution to all workplace and relational conflicts, going so far as to suggest Myers-Briggs codes should be on resumes.

My opinion? The experience serves to advance self-reflection. There are no shortcuts to understanding yourself or simplifying decisions, so no further commentary about applications—certain indicators lack scientific backgrounds, and the origins of the MBTI are apparently a bit shady.

Since all the inputs are self-reported, the accuracy of the personality test depends on 1. how well you already know yourself and 2. how honestly you select your answers. The computer interprets all inputs as truth, so no point in completing the exercise without conditions 1 and 2.

Some potential benefits

Shadiness aside, positive elements include:

Percentages and scales. My result showed 70% introverted and 30% extroverted. If you don't get 100% (almost no one lives in the absolute extreme), you automatically have parts of both sides— an accurate treatment of one of the ever-present complexities of personalities.

Accurate and inaccurate. Rarely does someone say "I'd guess you react to XYZ by withdrawing and you'd be a great ABC professional." The predictions offer an opportunity to reflect on which statements portray truths, new insights, and false misrepresentations. Yes, I'm a patient person who can explain complicated concepts in simple terms, but I don't see myself pursuing a teaching career. Probably because I don't like kids.

A concise description of thoughts and behaviors. Expressing your personality in a few paragraphs is hard (I've tried). The description for your personality type won't compress the entirety of who you are into a summary, but you can use the copy as a starting point to communicate beliefs, strengths, and weaknesses (without sharing your whole life story).

Validation for the confusing, contradicting findings of self-reflection. Statements using the same vocabulary as self-descriptions can offer a sense of being seen and understood. I'm introverted because I don't mind solo time and need to "recharge" after extended social interaction. But I'm not shy, and I love conversations with strangers and acquaintances. Contradictory perhaps, but it's a thing. Written and confirmed.

Track changes over time. Personalities flow. Strengths and weaknesses evolve. Self-perceptions shift. For example, turbulent vs. assertive (identity) "shows how confident we are in our abilities and decisions". I'm currently 53% turbulent, 47% assertive. I bet if I took the assessment 5 years ago, I would've gotten 80%+ turbulent. Again, not a scientific means of measurement, but I've set a reminder to take the assessment again in 2 years (1 year post-college) to test my theories for how I'll grow.

Understanding others. After studying my own result, I read through the other 15 types. The summaries offered insights into other ways of thinking that can help me understand family, friends, and colleagues better. Through understanding differences, I can respond to others' needs by recognizing behavior patterns different from my own.

Equality. Every type has strengths and weaknesses. There's no "superior type" or ranking — all 16 (or however many in your chosen version) contribute to the world, offer value to others, and have opportunities for improvement.

Check out the link to recreate the starting point of my most recent research deep-dive into potentially-useful-but-probably-not internet content. Enjoy.

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