May 27, 2015

Openness, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Introversion, Natural Reactions


Past readings led me to think about my innate “strengths and weaknesses,” how I might assess them, and what to do with the possibilities for improvements. I searched online for possible assessment tools and started with 123test®. This particular tool, as is the case with other companies, has less interest in self-knowledge than work-related factors and their discovery.

123test® is an international company, headquartered at Radbound University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The company operates with contributors from all over the world through a network of websites. Their tests are free and fast while also scientifically valid and reliable. Users can go beyond the free start to pay for fuller analysis and documentation. 123test®’s “highly successful” development scheme follows.

  • Using scientific literature as a theoretical basis for tests.
  • Collecting massive amounts of empirical data to ensure representative sampling.
  • Drawing upon the skills and experience of PhD level test developers.
  • Generating valid reports through ‘expert systems’ based on empirical findings.
  • And some other stuff we prefer not to say.

Though their battery of assessments focuses on employment-related skills, I chose as my own basis, the most generic and fundamental personality test, though they also have DISC and Jung tests.

Test results for the “big five personality factors” hinge on responses to 120 statements. The system requires all 120 responses; otherwise, it does not compute the results. Responders can strongly disagree, disagree, take a middle position, agree or strongly agree. The instructions come with the caution about the middle: “Try not to use the ‘Neutral’ option too often.” Directions identify use of ‘Neutral’ as when “you are neutral about the statement, if you cannot decide, or if the statement is about equally true and false.” I am so glad for this level of possible response.

After taking the free online test and getting results, I went back to the 120 questions and tabulated how I answered.

  1. Strongly Agree – 10
  2. Agree -18
  3. Neutral – 28
  4. Disagree – 14
  5. Strongly Disagree – 50

I wondered if this pattern identified me as a contrarian.

As with the many inventories I have taken in the last 40 years, answers depend on one’s understanding of the terms of the statements offered. I always find myself asking a couple starter questions. What does each combination of words really mean? How does the statement apply to my generalized or usual experience?

In this case, if I am to avoid the neutral option as much as possible, why does it mount up to equal the total of agreements and why is it some measure less than half of the disagreements?

For one thing, several statements cause me to strongly disagree. For example:

2. I make friends easily. What is a friend? For me, friends are those you know well or very well on the road to fully knowing one another. Many such friends in my life may still be friendly and understanding, but relatively incidental. I am not sure that we make friends so much as find them. None of friend-making is easy. As with most things I have a high standard for what makes the term. In short, though to be highly prized, friends are few: the rest are acquaintances.

11. I often feel sad. How often is often? For me often is frequent, at least routine or regular. I know horrible things are constantly happening around the world, but I don’t see myself being sad about them unless I deliberately dwell upon such misfortunes. I work to maintain a positive attitude despite obvious existing ignorance, intolerance, and cruelty.

46. I am afraid to draw attention to myself. Afraid? Well, I was afraid when a child since there were so many things where my performance ability was non-existent to poor – games, sports, singing, art work, mechanics, penmanship. It was best to stand on the sidelines or take myself out of the picture. I’m still reserved but often actually on stage as a speaker, entertainer, or panelist – all done in support of some other goal. However, I never want or feel the need of attention for attention’s sake. I like to think I am doing my part where asked or needed.

57. I have a lot of fun. As I have written several times in the past, I have a very low regard for fun which to me is a great distraction and an inferior human experience. Instead, I hold up enjoyment, a blessing more rare and worthy than fun. Enjoyment follows from excellence and achievement in myself or my realization of others’ magnitude. I admit that many things are fun or delightful – positive comedy, laughter, the cleverness of children, dancing and picnicking – and these soon also bring enjoyment. Mostly I abstain from games, parties, or any entertainment trivial, demeaning or at someone’s expensive, especially concussive sports or athletics that thrive on drugs.

Among the statements are some that are so reprehensible, they prompt from me an automatic Strongly Disagree. Such as, “I use and manipulate others to get my own way” (9); “I over indulge and go on ‘binges’” (21); “I am very spontaneous – I act without thinking” (29); “I don’t mind cheating to get ahead” (39). The list goes on. Who would admit to such things as “I shout and yell at people” (49); or, “I make rash decisions” (60)? And that is only statements from the first half.

I used the Disagree response when the statement is largely untrue but applicable in some situations. 47. I never sit still – I’m always on the go. Here I took ‘sit still’ and ‘on the go’ as metaphors translating to not doing or doing something. Use of ‘never’ and ‘always’ verge on the impossible or the absent so far. I am active at one thing or another during my waking hours, most frequently 8 hours at my desk. I also go for walks, bicycling, exercise, and attend movies, theaters, concerts and watch a small amount of tv. I’m on FB with a limited number of family and “friend” contacts. I email at length with three of my long-term and closest friends. With my three siblings, I join in round robin email communications.

62. I avoid coming into contact with people If I can help it.  Disagree. I do not usually walk up to strangers and start a conversation, something I question because it seems to me imposing. I don’t so much avoid people as live in a situation where acquaintances are just that or I am, otherwise, by myself doing what occupies me – thinking, reading, researching, writing – all solitary occupations.

The relative number of middle responses, a split between agreement and disagreement, is often due to the random status of situations, the mixture of happening and not happening.

42. I try to be in charge – to lead others. It’s tough enough to be in charge of one’s self, and I’m more interested in cooperation than leadership. In most opportunitiess, I wait to see who goes first. I only volunteer when I see I have a suitable skill or appropriate background on some aspect of a project. I favor most those things I can do on my own – thinking, researching, problem solving, concept-formation, or writing. Facilitation is my principle group skill, followed by administration at the direction of the group.

48. I prefer to stick with things I know. At basis, I am constantly mulling things over and most of my opinions, however lasting, are open to change or alteration. Most of what I know develops within the enlarging context which I endeavor to learn. I deliberately strive for good decisions, based on some studied evidence, and the search for increasingly relevant knowledge.

55. I get the job done and carry out my plans. Yes and no. Most of what I am working on requires a long process due to several factors. I am a slow starter and must have enough background information and clear understanding before I set to work. I have multiple interests and want to know in depth whatever has my attention. I live in a constant stage of revision as I seek some fuller and final satisfaction. The priority of deadlines captures most of my projects so that the less public endeavors fall to the bottom. I have attempted a dozen novels, a few of which came to an end, but I am not satisfied with any of them. I am working on the 13th which has taken so far a year and a half to establish the foundations, but likely will take another six months before I set to developing the story. Story depends on tension: because I do not hold with conflict as the basis of story-logic, the setting of tension requires my deepest and prolonged thinking.

65. I handle tasks methodically. And method means …? Webster’s Collegiate sees method as a procedure or process for attaining an object. More specifically, a systematic procedure, technique or mode employed by a particular discipline or art. That’s me, by and large, due to my focus on reading and thinking, learning and experience in library and information services, predilection and practice. However, I berate myself that I am not methodical enough, nor persistent enough. Often I lack focus. As I age, I tire more easily and divert myself by turning from one task to another. I rage with myself that I have let too many years go by unproductively; that is, without a finished product.

Alas, I find that I can only Strongly Agree with a few statements – 10 of 120; that is 8.33%. They follow.

3. I have a vivid imagination. I substitute “lively” for “vivid.” I try to keep my imagination going, thinking of alternatives, making up stories when I am awake in bed.

8. I think art is important. Why would this be a question?

15. I keep my promises. I do, or try to do, given the time they might require to fulfill.

17. I am always busy – always on the go. This is the flip of 47 above.

20. I work hard. If hard means attentively, then yes. Of greater pertinence, I see myself doing work that is itself “hard” in that much of it is without precedent, or even a ready model.

23. I enjoy reading challenging books and articles. Of course: what use is learning that is not challenging? I go to clearance book sales at the end when there is little or less remaining, making it easier to find what others ignore, and wind up with the likes of Alter, Ancient Israel, the former prophets (2013); Murray, The Problem of God (1964); Collins & Makowsky, The Discovery of Society; 3rd ed. (1984); Gardner, Morale (1978); Late Nineteenth-Century American Liberalism (Filler, 1962); Kersten & Pearlstein, Close to Home: the American experiment in freedom (2000); Brooks, The Well Wrought Urn [the structure of poetry] (1947). And those are among the less challenging works I read. When I bother to worry, my worries range over the decline in learning and the loss of access to serious sources such as these. Though I have given decades to intellectual freedom issues, I have become repulsed by the vacuity of most media and its decline from the central elements of our lives together. My mind goes back to 1959 when reading Huxley, Brave New World (1932) and his portrayal of mass culture for a manufactured population. Why have we not benefitted from his prescience?

51. I rarely over-indulge. What a imprecise statement, less so than the binge in  21 above. Indulgence appears here without context and in terms further clouded by the relative vagueness or rare. Whatever. I determined it as something going on that ought to be avoided.

67. I prefer to be alone. This is most certainly true. As a confirmed INTJ, solitude is the source of my strength.

87. I love life. Certainly, considering the alternative.

97. I avoid crowds. Another way of saying 67.

Given all my kvetching about the way questions are phrased, I must say that I concur with the results.

Big Five Results

  1. Openness to Experience: 74% (High Range). I am imaginative, open-minded, and experimental.
  2. Conscientiousness: 54% (Middle Range). On the bell curve, I am above the 40% average of the middle towards conscientious, disciplined, efficient, and well-organized.
  3. Agreeableness: 53% (Middle Range). Similarly towards compassionate, eager to please, good natured.
  4. Extraversion: 8% (Low Range). Here I am at the bottom of the low range towards being reserved, formal, serious, and quiet.
  5. Natural Reactions: 5% (Very Low Range). As reported, I tend to be not easily upset in stressful situations and relaxed.

Each of these alignments in my personality are well-recognized by me as central to my life, my preferences and habits. The results clearly and markedly parallel other inventories taken and reported on the MY TYPE page.

Now I am on to reflecting about my strengths and weaknesses.

Slightly revised, 12 January 2016.

© Copyright 2015 by Roger Sween.

Type and Testing

March 11, 2015

Could I possibly be an ISTJ?

Over the decades of my life, I have come to regard myself as having a certain personality profile. How I arrived at this particular configuration could be due to a variety of influences. Mostly, even as a child, I felt myself different from others, and it was not until my middle years that I had an inkling why. Through a presentation at a Minnesota Library Association convention, I learned that individuals exhibit a variety of psychological types and assessments of recognized characteristics point to these types. I felt I was stumbling towards some better understanding of others and myself. However, it was not until July 1991 that I obtained the relevant book and found a method of ascertaining who I really am. This approach is the Jungian set of personality types amplified by the research of Katheryn Briggs and Isabel Myers (mother and daughter) and presented by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates in Please Understand Me. See more of my exploration of types in the posts under MY TYPE.

I discovered myself to be an INTJ whose primary characteristics are Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking, and Judging. I recognize and applaud the value of society, but I am fully myself and charged when alone (I). I see myself as primarily intellectual, but one who is constantly in pursuit of ideational answers to comprehending the issues of life (N). For me, the mind and its cognitive faculties, especially reason’s use of evidence, lead us on to actionable knowledge, truth, and conduct of life (T). While I readily accept that our knowledge is finite and incomplete and though I can live with a great deal of ambiguity, I readily come to decisions of a procedural nature although recognizing that the conclusions are subject to revision thanks to information – the difference that makes a difference – (J). I am so happy knowing I am INTJ that I feel confirmed when at the 100% level, as INTJ as it is possible to be.

Accordingly, I enjoy trying out new assessment scales when I find them, as I can always learn something either confirming, disconfirming, or challenging. As I was poking about recently, I found reference to HumanMetrics and its battery of personality “tests.” One of these, the Jung Typology TestTM, a free online tool, serves as an introduction to other services and further assessments. Out of curiosity, I took the 72-point free questionnaire, which then automatically generates a typology profile.

Much to my surprise, I emerged this time as an ISTJ: Introversion over Extroversion 89% (strong); Sensation over iNtuition 1% (marginal); Thinking over Feeling (38%) (moderate); Judging over Perceiving 89% (strong). Why did I get these scores, especially the low scores in Thinking and the marginal status of iNtuition? To see myself as even marginally an S bothers me since this distinction makes a major difference of the categories in type. Further, I remember a colleague of mine who administered the Myers-Briggs InstrumentTM, maintained no one was in the middle unless they answered incorrectly.

Consequently, I reviewed my answers. Where the Kiersey Temperament Sorter uses 70 questions that ask for preferences, attitudes or actions between two alternative choices, HumanMetrics asks for yes or no responses to statements. In my list of those questions following, I have paraphrased the statements to make them more direct while expressing the same point. In addition, I have indicated why I answered YES or NO as I believe or habitually act.

In the Typology Test: Responses and Why.

  1. Almost never late for appointments? YES: I dread being late and am usually early.
  2. Like to be active in a fast–paced job? NO: I am active, but methodically deliberate.
  3. Enjoy a wide circle of acquaintances? NO: I desire a few deep friendships.
  4. Involved watching soaps? NO: Never: I am mostly involved in mysteries and classics.
  5. React first to a sudden event? NO: Someone else goes first while I mull things over.
  6. Interest in general idea more than details? YES: Concepts are primary with me.
  7. Unbiased regardless of relations? YES: Is this not the right thing to do?
  8. Established rules prevent good outcome? NO: May established rules prevail.
  9. Difficult to get excited? YES: I strive for the even keel.
  10. Nature to assume responsibility? YES: Absolutely.
  11. Often think about humanity and destiny? YES: My primary concern.
  12. Best decision easily changed? NO: Best decisions ipso facto are not easily changed.
  13. Objective criticism is always useful? YES: Why not?
  14. Act immediately without speculating? NO: I consider options before acting.
  15. Trust reason rather than feelings? YES: That’s my pattern.
  16. Rely on improvisation more than planning? NO: Planning is the way and can be sufficient in itself without ever acting.
  17. Spend leisure socializing? NO: My interests are chiefly solitary and serious.
  18. Plan actions in advance? YES: Nearly always. As in 16.
  19. Actions influenced by emotions? NO: I consciously control my emotions.
  20. Somewhat reserved and distant in communication? YES: Usually.

21. Put time to good purpose? YES: Time is in finite supply: I worry often that I am not putting time to best use.

  1. Readily help people without return? YES: I try since we share this planet.
  2. Often contemplate life’s complexity? YES: Frequently.
  3. After socializing, feel the need to be alone? YES: Socializing wears; solitude restores.
  4. Often do jobs in a hurry? NO: I work deliberately to be thorough. As in 2.
  5. Easily see the principle behind specifics. YES: In most cases.
  6. Frequently easily express feelings? NO: Seldom; I ponder them.
  7. Find speaking loudly difficult? NO: Soft-spoken generally but speak loudly where necessary.
  8. Bored reading theoretical books? NO: How so? Theory is my life. Besides, how can one be bored if there is a problem needing solution?
  9. Tend to sympathize? YES: Actually, I’m empathetic.
  10. Value justice higher than mercy? YES. Justice encompasses mercy.
  11. Rapidly involved in social life of workplace? NO: Not employed and never got rapidly involved, especially in social life.
  12. Speaking with many people, you feel better? NO: Does not connect for me.
  13. Rely on experience rather than theory? NO: In effect, I rely on theory, properly understood.[1] As in 29.
  14. Keep check on how things are going? YES: I track and monitor what engages me.
  15. Empathize with other’s concerns? YES: See 30.
  16. Prefer a good book to a party? YES: My whole life; it doesn’t even have to be a very good book.
  17. Enjoy being at the center of events? NO: The center does not apply to me; I’m an observer and critic.
  18. More inclined to experiment than follow past approaches? NO: I have more confidence in past approaches that worked than uncertain experiments. Thought experiments are okay.
  19. Avoid obligations? NO: I embrace obligations.
  20. Touched by stories of people’s troubles. YES: Such is the nature of classic lit.
  21. Deadlines are relative NO: Deadlines demand.
  22. Isolate from noise? YES: I flee from noise, of which the levels seem to increase.
  23. Try things with own hands? NO: Trying things myself seems inefficient.
  24. Almost everything can be analyzed? YES: Certainly, however not always completely or suffiently.
  25. Failure to complete on time is uncomfortable? YES: Such failure is agony.
  26. Pleasure in putting things in order? YES: Order is one of the supreme pleasures.
  27. At ease in a crowd? NO: Anonymity is fine and crowds can rouse curiosity, but may also be loud and oppressive.
  28. Good control over desires and temptations? YES: My desires are long-term, requiring conscious attention. Rather, unproductive habits need better control.
  29. Easily understand new theoretical principles? YES: Usually.
  30. Search for solution more important than solution itself? YES: That’s where the challenge and enjoyment are.
  31. Place yourself to the side than in center? YES: The perspective is better. As in 38.
  32. With problem follow a familiar approach than new one? YES: See 39.
  33. Stand firmly by your principles? YES: At least until I learn otherwise.
  34. Thirst for adventure close to your heart? NO: I live to minimize risk, unless it is the adventure of ideas.
  35. Prefer small groups? YES: Six-eight people, tops. Compare 48.
  36. Attend to current situation than possible sequence? NO: The current is likely transitory: rather, seek the foundation of the present anomaly.
  37. The rational approach best? YES: May reason prevail is my fondest wish.
  38. Difficult to talk about your feelings: YES: See 15, 27.
  39. Often think of how things could improve? YES: What are we here for?
  40. Decisions based on feelings rather than planning? NO: See 16, 18.
  41. Spend leisure alone or in tranquility? YES: See 17, 24, 32.
  42. Comfortable sticking to convential? YES: As far as social conventions go. Yet, I remain unconventional in my thinking, interests, and pursuits.
  43. Easily affected by strong emotions? NO: See 15, 19, 27, 33, 59, 61.
  44. Looking for opportunities? NO: I know the opportunities, and doubt I will ever get to them all.
  45. Desk usually neat? NO: Unfortunately, numerous interests, involvements, and projects overcome my struggle to maintain good and efficient order on my desk top. Piling instead of filing is a major challenge for me.
  46. Current preoccupations worry more than future? YES: Current concerns obsess me, though I do not necessarily worry about them unless they seem irreconcilable.
  47. Pleasure from solitary walks? YES: From solitary anything!
  48. Easy to communicate in social situations? NO: I am not social.
  49. Consistent in habits? YES: Boringly consistent.
  50. Involve in matters that engage sympathies? YES: If I think I can help.
  51. Easily perceive ways in which events could develop? NO: The unknown is never easy, if possible.

Of course, there is no right and wrong about the questions when it comes to type. People differ and that is reality. However, the typology task is assessing where a choice is pertinent to me.  Instructions for this list state

When responding to the statements, of the two responses please choose the one you agree with most. If you are not sure how to answer, make your choice based on your most typical response or feeling in the given situation.

This is excellent advice and appropriate to the task. The challenge comes, as with any preferential poll or survey, in writing questions that are patently clear, single-pointed and unarguable, that is – devoid of interpretation. I am a fussy responder to such questions since in many cases I do not see the questions as either or. Also, questions often carry assumptions about the responder. For example, #4 assumes everyone watches soaps, at least sometime. Therefore, I can error as in understanding the intent behind the instrument’s questions. Some of the questions that I found especially imprecise follow.

  1. You believe the best decision is one that can be easily changed. What does “best decision” mean? If a decision truly is the best one, why would anyone want to change it? Therefore, this question can only be answered NO. Those who answer yes must think that best means best at the time and therefore is transitory in its bestness.
  2. Objective criticism is always useful in any activity. What does “useful” mean? Certainly, criticism is useful to some extent, especially if it is objective. Therefore, the question demands a YES. Those who answer otherwise must think that some activity will never benefit from criticism.
  3. You prefer to act immediately rather than speculate about various options. What does “speculate” mean? Of course, some actions are necessarily immediate; running from fire or flood for example. But where consideration of alternatives is possible, doesn’t a mental search for the better action require a YES? Do those who say no regard that thinking things over has no value. Likely it depends on the situation.

What does HumanMetrics have to say about ISTJ and INTJ?

ISTJs are most at home with “just the facts, Ma’am.” They seem to perform at highest efficiency when employing a step-by-step approach. Once a new procedure has proven itself (i.e., has been shown “to work,”) the ISTJ can be depended upon to carry it through, even at the expense of their own health. – Joe Butt, “Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging,”

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type. INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion “Does it work?” to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake. – Marina Margaret Heiss, “Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging,”

I align closer with the INTJ description than the ISTJ. However, it is the S/N distinction that is really telling. The sensation-preferring person wants and trusts facts, believes in and knows through experience, and grounds in physicality. Contrarily an intuition oriented person looks to the future, hypothesizes about situations, considers possibilities. Imagination and speculation become the N’s dwelling place. For me facts become data when they fit, confirming or disconfirming our theoretical expectations. Facts as evidence are a basis of what is true and actionable but are manipulated by concepts that build on their existence. When facts are found to be faulty, which has been the history of human knowledge, our concepts must necessarily change. Much of our mental work goes into establishing the validity of what are taken to be facts. I am always seeking a fuller, more comprehensive and usefully accurate understanding: I am an INTJ.

Perhaps, I have misinterpreted the HumanMetrics test. I have my doubts, but it is possible. One factor may also intervene. HumanMetrics as well as its competitor, CCP, Inc cater more to employment and business interests than they do to self-awareness and understanding. Many of the questions are project, team, corporate or employment oriented. I have been part of many teams, but remain fundamentally an independent person and desperate to develop as my individual, unique self. Thus, I do not coincide with the business model approach.

Even as a forthright individual, I am willing to contribute to the greater good. Predominantly, I want to learn, think, write, create and understand. And the foremost of these is understand.

[1] I answered mistakenly in the test. No is the right response for me.

[I found this draft, updated 1 January 2014, but not posted. I gave it a second update before this post.]

© Copyright 2015 by Roger Sween.

I welcome comments. Address personal comments to me at my email address.

Rog the Builder

November 15, 2010

Interpersonal Relationships More than Mating

According to: Helen Fisher, Why him? Why her?: finding real love by understanding your personality type. Henry Holt and Company, c2009.  289p.

According to book jacket blurbismo, Helen Fisher, Ph.D., is one of the world’s leading experts in the nature of romantic love and attachment.  She is the scientific adviser to the online dating service,, for whom she did much of the work that undergirds this book.  Otherwise, she is a research professor of anthropology at Rutgers University.

Fisher’s inventory, “My Personality Type Study,” analyzed the responses of 39,913 members of by four scales in its questionnaire.  Each scale has fourteen statements; respondents answer each statement as to level of agreement – strongly disagree, disagree, agree or strongly agree.  Subsequent scoring indicates a personality profile, a combination of the two highest-ranking types – Explorer, Builder, Director, and Negotiator.

Fisher briefly equates her four types with the preferences in their Myers-Briggs equivalents.

Fisher Percent MBTI
Explorer 26.0 Perceiving
Builder 28.6 Sensing, Judging
Director 16.3 Thinking
Negotiator 29.1 iNtuition, Feeling

For whatever reason, Introversion and Extroversion do not appear in these comparisons.  However, just as there are 16 types in Myers-Briggs, Fisher has sixteen types resulting from any two highest score combinations.  However, she hardly discusses any of these sixteen as though such variations do not account for differing personalities and mating matches.

As is my case with many kinds of questionnaires, I find some of the questions impossible to answer.  Either they are vague, bend to different interpretations, or remain incomprehensible as to what is meant.  Scale I asks questions 5, 6, 13 about being more optimistic, creative, energetic than most people.  How do I know this beyond mere impression?  Scale III asks if I am “tough minded?”  What does this tough-minded mean?

When I counted the scores, which unanswerable questions affect, they ranked Builder – 51, Director – 38, Negotiator – 23, Explorer – 3.  In other words, I wind up tagged as a Builder/Director.  What is the sense of this combination?

The BUILDER/Director has a streak of the independent, innovative thinker, comprising an unusual balance between conventionality and originality.  Like Directors, BUILDER/Directors want a partner with whom they can have deep and focused conversations.  Yet they are literal and emotionally contained.  So these conversations must be concrete, factual and informed.  BUILDER/Directors are probably the most ambitious and hardest working of the Builders even on a date. – page 132

Fisher talks repeatedly about variation in psychological type, but never in a determinative way, more as a caution and awareness of those personality characteristics that are out of type for a person of the type.  Builders equate with loyalty, an emphasis on order, tradition, being conscientious, doing what they ought.  George Washington is an archetype for the Builder.  Religiosity is a Builder characteristic (p.78-79), but some Builders will be atheists.  Fisher sees religion as equivalent to “self-transcendence” and the experience of the mystical.  I see myself as religious when I acknowledge the transcendence of God in relation to my own soulfulness, but base my acknowledgement of the otherwise unknown on ancient testimony and go on my from there by what teaching rationally follows.  In Word Type Study, the words “moral, morals, values” attract Builders as they do me.

As Builders identify with loyalty, so Directors with resourcefulness.  Albert Einstein (1879-1955) is the Director prototype; he was one of my chief heroes when I was a teenager.  Directors are supposed to be attracted to machines because of how machines work as a system.  I am not mechanical but attracted to human systems, primarily social systems and systems of thought – concept-formation, intellectual history, theory, philosophy, theology.  I do not have the spatial skills associated with Directors or musical or athletic ability, but I am analytical, logical and direct.  I have the autonomous personality of a Director, but am far from competitive as one.  Collaboration is my métier; neither do I want control over anyone except myself.

Though I did not score high on the Negotiator, termed “the philosopher king,” of which Charles Darwin is the example, I favor being philosophical with some Negotiator characteristics, chiefly mental flexibility, deep personal connections (though few), and introspection.  I am not convivial, social, or routinely aware of my surroundings unless deliberate in focusing my attention about me.

Certainly, I am far from the Explorer, an adventurer.  I remain adventurous only about ideas; otherwise, I am cautious, but not fearful.  Risk does not excite me; I strive to minimize risk.

Incidentally, being a Builder/Director with Negotiator in third ranking corresponds to me being an NTJ out of my Myers-Briggs profile: INTJ.

I am not sure what to make of Fisher’s claims.  I regard her scales as faulty and her lack of the full run of 16 types as insufficiently explained and misleading.  Mostly I question her arguments based on “what we are dealt,” which in her case means the chemicals that run the brain.  Explorers are dopamine-rich; Builders high on serotonin; Directors blessed with testosterone and consequently 2.3 men to women; Negotiators washed over with estrogen, 1.5 women to men.  Fisher mentions that her next survey will take blood samples to measure hormone levels in her various types.

Fisher maintains that Directors tend to have a longer ring finger than a pointer or index finger, due to a surge of testosterone in the womb.  I have it, and so does everyone in my family including a son-in-law.  (The Internet is full of references to studies by Alison Bailey and Peter Hurd that correlate finger-length indexes with aggression and other characteristics.)   Fisher seems to be the main source of the personality affinity claim.  I remain dubious.

See the other typology approaches listed on the My Type page.

Copyright © by Roger Sween 2010.

I welcome comments on this post.  Send personal comments to me at