Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Myers and Briggs Have Been Spying On Me

There's an old joke in which a man is asked if he believes in astrology and he answers, "No way. We Scorpios are very skeptical." Well, I take the same attitude to psychological profiling. Myers-Briggs, for example. Rod Dreher recommended it in The Dallas Morning News. So, naturally, I just had to debunk it.

Rod is a newspaper editorialist. He's a religious believer who wanders from one church to another in search of just the right fit. He started (I think) as some kind of Protestant, then converted to Catholicism. Then, when the Roman Catholic Church proved not to be traditional enough for him (!), he converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. That church's incense and icons and untrimmed beards bring him closer to God. So, what did Myers-Briggs say about Rod Dreher? Dreher says the online test pegged him as an INFP, an idealist, an advocate, a healer:

"Their primary goal is to find out their meaning in life. What is their purpose? How can they best serve humanity in their lives? They are idealists and perfectionists, who drive themselves hard in their quest for achieving the goals they have identified for themselves ..."
OK, anyone can get lucky once in a while. Let's put Myers-Briggs to a real test. How would the test peg me? The online test consists of 72 yes/no statements of the type, "You are almost never late for your appointments." (D'oh. This should describe almost every right-thinking person, no?) This online test pegged me as an INTJ, a rational, a coordinator, a mastermind:
"Masterminds are rare, comprising no more than, say, one percent of the population, and they are rarely encountered outside their office, factory, school, or laboratory. Although they are highly capable leaders, Masterminds are not at all eager to take command, preferring to stay in the background until others demonstrate their inability to lead. Once they take charge, however, they are thoroughgoing pragmatists. Masterminds are certain that efficiency is indispensable in a well-run organization, and if they encounter inefficiency - any waste of human and material resources - they are quick to realign operations and reassign personnel. Masterminds do not feel bound by established rules and procedures, and traditional authority does not impress them, nor do slogans or catchwords. Only ideas that make sense to them are adopted; those that don't, aren't, no matter who thought of them. Remember, their aim is always maximum efficiency."
For careers, INTJ's are suited to computer programming, natural science, engineering, management, entrepreneurship, law, and library.

Hah! How much more wrong could that be?!? Like I said, online tests are a load of hooey. The ridiculousness of this description of me should convince even the most skeptical Scorpio, right? Wait, what? I'm a Libra, you say? Hmmm... OK, then, maybe there's a little something to this, after all. Now that I think of it, the world could stand to be a little more efficient. In fact, I think I could shorten this test by a good 10 or 15 questions.

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