What does your blog say about you?

Quite a few years ago, during one of those introspective and self-analytical phases of my life (i.e. a Thursday) I stumbled upon a website which offered a kind of personality analysis; a Myers-Briggs Typological Profile. Basically it asked a range of strange questions and you either selected yes or no as an answer. Pretty simple. I was really interested about what the questions were trying to discover. They were not directly asking “do you think that you are logical?” but instead they would ask a range of seemingly unrelated questions like “when you sit in an audience and you have a choice in seating, do you sit near the edges (sides or front/back) or do you sit near the middle?”.

The aim of a Myers-Briggs typological profile is to categorise people into one of sixteen groups, the sixteen groups arise from the four basic traits or dichotomies with their opposites. It was an idea evolved from Jung’s earlier profiling attempt which had eight profiles arising from two dichotomies. The Myers-Briggs profile posits that people are either Introverted or Extroverted (you are rated either “I” or “E”, obviously not both), they are either Sensing or Intuitive (“S” or “N”), they are either Thinking or Feeling (“T” or “F”) and finally, either Judging or Perceiving (“J” or “P”). So, the sixteen groups are identified by a four letter code such as ENFJ or ISTP. It is worth noting, at this point that there is a lot of criticism of the Myers-Briggs Typological Profile because

  • it lacks a coherent scientific theory or even simple experimental tests to explain the four dichotomies
  • it has been shown that people re-taking M-B typological tests can score differently a few weeks or months later
  • the write-ups of the descriptions for the various profiles (especially the Keirsey Temperaments extension to M-B profiles) are somewhat vague and can be interpreted to have some personal meaning to people not part of that profile (the Barnam effect may be at work in confirming the outcomes of the test)

among other criticisms. I thought of it at one point as being Astrology+ (not just twelve signs, now new and improved with sixteen profiles). But that criticism is perhaps too harsh because the M-B Typological Profiles do not rely on supernatural claims, there just isn’t enough scientific data at this point to make a final judgement whether it definitely is science or pseudo-science.

While answering the online questionnaire that I found, I was deeply pondering the implication of the questions and was almost surprised by the end of the test while I was waiting to see what the next set of questions would hold. The results were that I was an INTJ (Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judgemental) which was described by the Keirsey title of “The Mastermind” – my ego was understandably inflated. I had a good chuckle at the name “Mastermind” contemplating if the prefix “Criminal” could apply to me and whether I would thus be the Lex Luthor to some Superman.

I started doing some extra reading about M-B profiling and the Keirsey Temperaments (in the days when Wikipedia was still starting-up we had to trawl the net on our own) and I found some interesting information. There were maps of the various profiles and how they interact, how, say, an INTJ shares a “student-teacher” relationship with an ENFP, while an ENTP is the “nemesis”. At that time there was always a nagging at the back of my head asking how this is different from Astrology and looking at the search results these days I see that Keirsey Temprements have been absorbed into woo-woo fields where they describe the interaction of dichotomies between the various profiles in terms of auras and energies. If I was reading these articles at the time I must have been glossing over the woo. I also though that it was interesting that when I mentioned to my Psychologist (I was going for counselling a couple of years back) that I had taken the test and she asked me what I thought about the test, her first question was not my result (I had to volunteer the seemingly unimportant information to her) but what I thought that the testing process meant, what it revealed about my state of mind … but I digress.

Some time after I first took the test, the company I was working for asked me to complete a questionnaire for my HR file. I immediately recognised the M-B style of the test and I was not at all surprised by the outcome. Some time later the exercise was repeated when the company brought-in an HR consultancy firm and they had another version of the same test – that one I didn’t get the results for. Then today I found a cute tool, similar to the one that reads blogs and rates the reading-level of the content. The Typealyzer goes to the URL you provide and analyses the style to determine an M-B Typological Profile. Let’s see what it said about Acinonyx Scepticus:

INTP INTP – The Thinker

The logical and analytical type. They are espescially[sic] attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

So I’m now an INTP and not an INTJ after all, but that text (which sounds awfully similar to something you’d find in a horoscope) makes me think that maybe I was never an INTJ. How confusing. At least I’m not an ENTP, those guys are arseholes!

If you would like to try-out this tool on your own blog or on blogs that you like to read (or even blogs you hate to read), go to the Typealyzer Beta.

~ by James on 6 December 2008.

2 Responses to “What does your blog say about you?”

  1. Hi! The Typealyzer is really a neat tool. I’ve checked my blog’s url and it returned INTP.

  2. Hi there! I came across this post through my Google Alerts for the word “MBTI.” This may or may not be of interest to you, but I write a blog about the MBTI and wrote a post about how Typealyzer is basically junk. I know lots of people are checking it out for entertainment sake- and that’s totally cool…but I hope you don’t confuse those “blog type” results for your own personality type. Anyway, I won’t go into why the site is junk here, I just wanted to let you know if you wanted to learn more, here’s the original post: http://www.thembtiblog.com/2008/11/websites-that-ruin-my-day.html. I also have a discussion in the comments section with the creator of the Typealyzer site.

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