Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Personalities, Again

One of the goals I had for 2012 was to do a series of posts about personality types, based upon the Kiersey Personality Sorter, which I find fascinating.

Epic fail.

Not the Kiersery, but my follow through. Well, I'm going to try again. Someday, I'd like to write a novel where I base the characteristics completely upon the sixteen personality types. Which is kind of funny, really, considering that I'm a hybrid on one area. Keep reading to find out.

My first two posts will be repeats of posts I did last year.

I've been fascinated for years (all right, decades) with the Kiersey Personality Sorter. It was based on the MMPI, which is a comprehensive test, something like 600 questions. The MMPI is used a lot in dealing with mental illness, but for people trained in what to look for it tells a lot more about the people taking it than they would ever dream.

The Kiersey is much shorter and has many practical uses. They give it to department heads at work. There are no right or wrong answers to the questions, but merely give insight into how the taker views the world.

Here's a real life example from the business world. I used to work as the lead secretary for a department that oversaw physical facilities--buildings, etc. My old boss developed a health issue and retired. He was a detail-oriented person when it came to the budget and was very hands on. His replacement, however, was a big picture kind of guy. The finance director commented after the first budget meeting with the new director that he wished he'd known this about the new boss because he'd have prepared his presentation completely differently.

People's personalities change a lot as they mature, but settle in somewhere around age twenty-five. So for young people under that age, their results are . . . questionable. Once you reach twenty-five, your scores aren't likely to change much. Now, there can be traumatic things people go through that would impact how they answer the questions, but eventually things settle down again.

Some people also answer the questions differently if they're looking at them as they are at home as opposed to at work. When I had a coworker mention that, it floored me because I am what I am. I'm the same at home or at work. With me, what you see is what you get.

What does this have to do with writing? When you're creating characters, their personality traits are important if you don't want them to be flat. But what characteristics fit which personality types? The Kiersey would be a great tool for that.

So over the next few blog posts, I'm going to be talking about different aspects of the Kiersey and what it has to say about people. It separates people into sixteen different personality types. I'll start with me.
I'm an EXFJ.

The E means I'm an extrovert. (the other option is introvert, of course)

The X is going to be confusing because it means that I test dead even between the two options: S (sensing--dealing with information from your five sense) and N (intuitive).

The F means I'm a feeler. (the other choice is a thinker--don't even say it!)

The J is for judging. (the other option is perceiving).
If you have the time, I suggest you go and take the test and find out what you are. I'll start with the introvert/extravert topic next week.

ETA: I think it's important to know what your split is between the types, so if you're interested in taking the test to find that out, email me and I'll send you a pdf of the test.

Have you ever taken a personality test? If so what kind was it? What did you think of the results?


  1. It's an interesting concept. I don't know if it was a Kiersey, but I recently took some sort of personality-type test for a job application. I don't know how I scored, but I never heard back from them. Hmm, maybe that means something....

    Anyway, I'll be interested in seeing how the 'experiment' of writing characters based solely on the personality types goes. Is that likely to occur in the near future?

  2. I'm curious enough to take it though. Didn't realize people's personalities become set by twenty-five.

  3. Very interesting. As a psych, I'm pretty familiar with this inventory...I'm an INFP.

  4. Jeff, I'll have to finish several projects before I'm ready to take it on. Unfortunately.

    Alex, yes, I was too. And I fear we tend to get even more inflexible the older we get--something I'm fighting.

    Rebecca, Too funny. We have half of intuitive and all of feeling in common. :D My hubby is an NP, too. Sometimes makes me crazy because he's that big picture, juggle tons of things at one time kind of guy, while I'm the start one thing and finish it, start another and finish it kind of person.

  5. Should be an interesting experiment, never knew that either about getting set by 25. Never put a ton of stock in those tests though as different answers can come for different reasons/scenarios.

  6. Very cool. I love stuff like that, I'm going to take the test right away!

  7. I've been really wanting to take a test like this for a long time. Maybe I'll give this one a go. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Yeah, Pat, and the questions are tough ones, but I've taken the test several times and my results are consistent.

    J.A., you'll have to share if you do.

    Ilima, you, too.

  9. I've done Meyers Briggs (SP?). I think these things are so fascinating. We do them in the workplace a lot to see the dynamics we have on our teams. Very, very interesting. Looking forward to your posts!

  10. I have a friend who is obsessed with this testing. She's always re-analyzing me and, for the life of me, I can NEVER remember what I'm supposed to be.

  11. I know what I am but I can't ever remember! I should write it down.

    It was nice meeting you and your husband in person, Donna!

  12. I almost always come out an INTJ -- sometimes INTP, but that just shows how off the test is since I'm pretty sure I'm mostly TGIF. Oh, come on, someone had to say it. :P

  13. A novel using the sixteen personality types sounds really interesting! I know you have a lot you want to finish before then, but I'm really excited. :)

    I forgot what my results were, so I took the test again:

    "Teachers (ENFJ) are highly motivational and can influence others around them with great ease. They are people-oriented and focused on maintaining high spirits within their group."

    This is interesting, if not a lot strange, to me. I do enjoy leadership positions, and I have no problem working a crowd, but social interactions exhaust me. I've always considered myself more of an introvert, in that respect. Hmm...

  14. Kelley, yes, they can be very beneficial in the workplace. It's good to have people who think like you do, but it can be bad if you've got folks who are completely different because you won't see eye to eye on anything. BUT, it's best to have people who are nice mixtures. I'm a detailed oriented person so I need someone who's a P(erceiver) who's a big picture person.

    Johanna, I'm not sure I'd like for people to be analyzing me. Like I said, there's no right or wrong answer. This test merely shows how you view the world.

    Emily, it might mean more to you if you knew what each of those things really mean. I'll get into it in later posts. Maybe that will help. ;) And yes, it was so much fun to get together with a group of crazy writers.

    Luanne--haha. That's a first. Love it!

    Carrie, one thing the online test fails at is letting you know what your score breakdown is. Because I studied Kiersey in a college class I have it on paper, so I know that I'm a flaming J and a flaming F, but I'm dead even with the N/S and one question answered differently would make me an X on the I/E thing. I wonder if your I/E score is closer like mine is. That would explain it.

  15. Wow, 600 questions. I'd lose interest before the end of it. lol

    Looking forward to your other posts, Donna. And don't worry, you seem pretty alive to me. :)

  16. I love this sort of thing. Sometimes you can find you're not who you thought you might be. I think it could change depending on your emotions.

  17. 567, actually ... not that my job has anything to do with administering said test that you mentioned ... ;)

    I say your spot on here.

  18. I took this for the first time, the last time, you brought it up.`I ended up being an INFP. Moderately expressed introvert (33%) Moderately expressed intuitive (38%) a whooping (62% feeling and a slightly expressed perceiving (11%).

    The Introvert really threw me. Anybody who knows me, including me, would be surprised at that assessment, but when I read THEIR description, it fit me to a T. Who woulda thunk?

    A story based o the sixteen personality types could be interesting, but I think I would go nuts trying to keep track.

  19. I loooooove stuff like this, Donna! I find it so fascinating! Love the idea of basing a story off of this!

  20. Stina, fortunately the Kiersey is only a fraction the size of the MMPI.

    Debbie, or recognize aspects to your personality that you just never paid attention to.

    David, I've never had to take the MMPI, but I've taken the Kiersey several times.

    Faraway, a strong P, huh? I'm a very strong J. I'll get into the strength and weaknesses and why we need each other. My hubby is a P.

    Morgan, the descriptions of the 16 personality types is fascinating. There's even one for the flim-flam man. :D

  21. I studied developmental psychology, so this is up my alley. I've taken personality tests before. I can't remember the full results, but I'm an introvert.

  22. I love personality tests. I don't think I've taken this one though, so I'm on the hunt!

  23. I love learning about personalities. I've never taken this test but the Color Code is one of my favorites.

  24. Haha! You and I are the same, though I like to think of myself as more intuitive. How weird that they can come up with stuff. I now see how similar I am to my MC. Whoa, that's enlightening!


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