The last couple of days some of us have been prattling about Myers-Briggs personality types — guessing which kinds the gubernatorial candidates are, talking about the differences amongst ourselves that make it hard for us to agree with each other, and so forth.
Kathryn suggests I post this link explaining the types, so I have. And it’s a good starting point if you find this model for thinking about cognitive differences at all helpful. I don’t know what y’all’s types are, but here’s what it says about my type, Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiver:
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.
That’s pretty sketchy. You can find much more in-depth analyses of all 16 types elsewhere on the Web, such as on this page about INTPs, which helps to explain why I can be such a pain in the … neck:
INTPs live in the world of theoretical possibilities. They see everything in terms of how it could be improved, or what it could be turned into. They live primarily inside their own minds, having the ability to analyze difficult problems, identify patterns, and come up with logical explanations. They seek clarity in everything, and are therefore driven to build knowledge. They are the “absent-minded professors”, who highly value intelligence and the ability to apply logic to theories to find solutions. They typically are so strongly driven to turn problems into logical explanations, that they live much of their lives within their own heads, and may not place as much importance or value on the external world. Their natural drive to turn theories into concrete understanding may turn into a feeling of personal responsibility to solve theoretical problems, and help society move towards a higher understanding.
INTPs value knowledge above all else. Their minds are constantly working to generate new theories, or to prove or disprove existing theories. They approach problems and theories with enthusiasm and skepticism, ignoring existing rules and opinions and defining their own approach to the resolution. They seek patterns and logical explanations for anything that interests them….
The INTP has no understanding or value for decisions made on the basis of personal subjectivity or feelings. They strive constantly to achieve logical conclusions to problems, and don’t understand the importance or relevance of applying subjective emotional considerations to decisions. For this reason, INTPs are usually not in-tune with how people are feeling, and are not naturally well-equiped to meet the emotional needs of others….
They are likely to express themselves in what they believe to be absolute truths. Sometimes, their well thought-out understanding of an idea is not easily understandable by others, but the INTP is not naturally likely to tailor the truth so as to explain it in an understandable way to others. The INTP may be prone to abandoning a project once they have figured it out, moving on to the next thing….
I’m especially bad about that last thing. If I’ve worked hard to figure something out, once I arrive at a conclusion, I’m ready to announce it and move on. And the more people say, “Hey, wait, I need you to explain this some more; I want more evidence to show me how you arrived at that conclusion,” I get extremely impatient. You may have noticed this happening in some of my exchanges with Doug, because he’s very much about the evidence and the facts and the figures (where I am an N, he is almost certainly an S), while by the time I express an opinion, I am SICK of all that stuff — some of which I may have studied years before.
You’ll note that INTPs also “become very excited over abstractions and theories.” Such as, for instance, Myers-Briggs. I first learned about it in the early 90s when all the editors at The State were tested, and then we shared everyone’s results and discussed them at a retreat. I found it explained a LOT about why I found some of those folks easy to work with, and some not. I was the only INTP supervisor in the newsroom at that time.
For folks of other types, this is probably beyond boring. But at Kathryn’s behest, I share it nonetheless. Hopefully, one of my next few posts will be more to your liking.