Yesterday I was checking my referrer log and came across a weblog called PTypes, which rates famous people, and bloggers, by personality type, and also draws linkages between three well-known personality typing schemas. I have commented before that the majority of bloggers seem to be INTPs or INFPs on the Myers-Briggs personality test, but the PTypes blogger list contains more ‘Counselors’ (INFJ) than either ‘Architect’ (INTP) or ‘Healer’ (INFP) personalities.

More surprisingly, How to Save the World is identified as an ‘Inspector’s’ (ISTJ) blog, which surprised me. I had always been a strong NT, and right on the line between E-I (to quote Neil Young, who seems to have a similar personality to mine, “I need a crowd of people, but I can’t face them day-to-day”), and right on the line between J-P (I’m a compulsive list-maker, but I hate inflexibility). So I couldn’t understand how the author of PTypes assessed me as ISTJ.

Rather than argue, I decided to re-take the Myers-Briggs test. I Googled ‘Myers-Briggs’ and took the first four tests that came up, including this quite detailed one, which all produced the same answer: my personality has changed markedly since I started blogging. I’ve plotted the shift on the charts above. Using a small letter instead of a capital for close-to-the-border (less than 55-45%) scores, I’ve gone in one year from iNTj (a Thinker) to eNfP (a Change Agent), after not moving on the test for a decade. I suspect my blogging is more a reflection of changes in my ‘personality’ rather than a cause of them. But it’s interesting — is anyone else’s personality changing, and why? Are personality changes fundamental and enduring, or situational and transient?

Oh, and there is a ‘disorder’ associated with each of the 16 personality types when that personality becomes extreme or pathological. For INTPs it’s schizoid (disengagement) behaviour, for INFPs it’s histrionics, for INFJs it’s avoidant, for ISTJs it’s depression (maybe that’s why the author of PTypes pegged me as ISTJ), for INTJs like I was last year it’s schizotypal (social anxiety), and for ENFPs like I’ve apparently become this year it’s paranoia.

Not sure I buy this last stretch, since if I were borderline paranoic I would have self-censored some of my recent blog posts.

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  1. Denny says:

    I’ve read more than one study that shows the MBTI types change from administration to administration with as many as 30%-50% of subjects. That’s not great reliability, even though it’s been a popular personality test for a long time. So it may not be you. It may just be the test. If you’re really interested in these things, you might try MindFrames on, which is based on brain science and doesn’t type people. The basic report is free.I just discovered your blog and enjoyed your writing. I believe I’ll be a regular visitor!

  2. tonio says:

    That’s quite interesting. I’d noticed a change myself, rather radical, from ENFP (70-80% E, borderline F and P) to INTP (on some tests– still usually an E on others, but in those that give % and ratios, *barely*). Whoa. Blogging’s keeping me home. Or perhaps I’m blogging because I am home. That, or the incipient schizoid temperament exacerbated by too much public introspection. ;)

  3. shari says:

    It’s ironic to see that from the most mystical of our psychologists do we get tests. However, I don’t think Jung was directly involved in creating them; I think his personality theory was the inspiration. Despite it all, I do like the Myers-Briggs because they stay on the positive side of defining personality. Psychology too easily gets mired in ‘pathology’, unfortunately. And for those who get different results, lots of explanations. The tests with more questions are more ‘stable’, with regards to your type, because some just have a few questions and some have substantially more. If you are between two areas (say right near the borders), your answers on a few questions may make a diff in your type. And then, it does make quite a bit of sense to me to see changes as we get older and wiser. From this INFP…

  4. Jay Cross says:

    Dave, my experience parallels yours. I’m a former INTJ turning into an eNtP. I have no doubt that my blogs are a result of shifts in my personality rahter than vice-versa. I can almost feel the changes kicking in. In 1992, I was VERY INTJ: I 70%, N 85%, T 80%, J 65%. Some people found me insufferable. The “Scientist” label fit well — “Most self-confident and pragmatic of all the types. Decisions come very easily. A builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models.”The ENTP “Inventor” label fits me now. “Enthusiastic interest in everything and always sensitive to possibilities. Non-conformist and innovative.” Truth be told, I think Myers-Briggs and similar instruments are great catalysts for reflection but poor measures of personality. Lately, I’ve become a convert to the positive psychology movement spearheaded by Marty Seligman. (See Authentic Happiness. I can’t say enough good things about the book or the philosophy on which it is based. (Don’t strive to be normal; push through that ceiling to happiness and fulfillment.)On the site, the VIA Signature Strengths Survey grabbed my attention. Granted, my scores are extreme, so I couldn’t very well go into denial over their validity. On Creativity and Originality, I scored higher than On this strength, you scored as high as or higher than . . .100% of all Web site users100% of all male respondents100% of all 55 to 64 years old100% of occupation group CE100% of all Post-college grads100% of those in Zip Code 947xxOn curiosity and interest in the world, I scored as high of higher than…100% of all Web site users100% of all male respondents100% of all 55 to 64 years old100% of occupation group CE100% of all Post-college grads100% of those in Zip Code 947xxOn love of learning, I scored as high or higher than:100% of all Web site users100% of all male respondents100% of all 55 to 64 years old100% of occupation group CE100% of all Post-college grads100% of those in Zip Code 947xxOn Bravery and valor, I scored as high or higher than:99% of all Web site users99% of all male respondents98% of all 55 to 64 years old98% of occupation group CE99% of all Post-college grads99% of those in Zip Code 947xxThis last item came as a total surprise. I would have guessed I’d be at maybe 60%. Unlike my reaction to Myers-Briggs, soon after seeing those scores, I vowed never to get stuck in an uncreative rut for the rest of my days. Another condition of whatever work I do is freedom to learn, to explore, and to play with new concepts. The Bravery thing was an anomaly. Some of the more daring things I’d done, I’d chalked up to recklessness, not valor. The test itself changed my self-image and my behavior. Now I am fearless, particularly of social convention. I don’t have ice-water in my veins, but I can’t imagine a project I would not dare to tackle. Sorry to ramble, but I encourage everyone trying to “find themselves” or feeling unhappy to check out the Authentic Happiness site, tests, and book. It has helped me to keep on smiling and lead a more productive life.

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Shari: I think you’re right — perhaps there is an inevitable Myers-Briggs shift as we age.Jay: I was taken by your enthusiasm, so I took some of the Happiness tests. I scored highest in the same 5 categories you did, and had the same response to ‘bravery’. Maybe most people don’t think of themselves as very courageous. I didn’t really learn anything new, though, so I guess I’ll have to check out the book to see what the deal is.

  6. Miranda says:

    >for INTJs like I was last year it’s schizotypal (social anxiety)You may want read my free articles on Social Anxiety / Social Phobia.

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