Great Minds Think Alike, Small Minds Seldom Differ
I promised to not reach any scientific conclusions in my personality test post and I intend to keep that promise by pointing out that these conclusions are not scientific.
(Before we say anything, though, I think that I should say that I tried to come up with something interesting regarding Enneagram numbers but there were far too many people with three numbers, let alone with two numbers for me to do anything with… and even if I were able to do something with the numbers… then what? Though I did consider adding all of the numbers together and dividing by 65 and coming to a conclusion about that.)
Now when it comes to the meat of the essay, the meat I was able to butcher anyway, I’d like to say that we had pretty awesome turnout. We had 65 people provide their Myers-Briggs data (12 of these people pointed out that they read but usually didn’t comment that often… and that’s the only criteria I’m using for whether I’m going to include them in the “reads but usually doesn’t comment that often” category, and that’s really sweet). But before we get to the results, we should take a look at what the usual breakdown of Myers-Briggs categories are. The good stuff, is, of course, after the cut.
I was going to use the MBTI Statistics that I get from the Foundation itself because, hey. It’s the Foundation. Then I remembered “Hey. Didn’t you say that you wouldn’t reach any scientific conclusions?” and so I said “WIKIPEDIA!!!” so I went there. They linked me to here.
So I’m using that.
I’m also planning on doing comparisons between “Total Numbers” rather than attempt a gender breakdown of the site because, hey, science. So what does the chart say?
Well, if you’ve got 100 people randomly distributed, you’ll have percentages that look like the following:
Check that out. About half of everybody is one of four personality types: ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ, and ESFJ. That’s quite a distribution.
That, in itself, makes me wonder about our own little band of self-selected, self-reporting folks.
Here’s what I said in the original thread, a million years ago: “I’m pretty sure that everybody here is an INTP or an INTJ, for example. I know that I, in my own life, don’t interact with a whole lot of non-NT types. (IT. You know how it is.)”
So let’s see how that prediction holds up…:
Holy cow! More than half of those of us who reported are one of TWO personality types. INTP or INTJ. More than 1/3rd of those who reported are INTJs. (though I should point out: When it comes to the folks who, by their own admission, read but don’t usually comment that often, the breakdown is this: INTJ 8, INTP 1 ,INFP, 1 ESTJ 1, ENTP 1.)
To break it down even more, it seems like we have an overwhelming number of Ns vs. Ss (58 vs. 7!!!), a pretty lopsided breakdown of Is vs. Es (48 and a half vs. 16 and a half) and a statistically equally lopsided number of Ts vs. Fs (48 vs. 17), and the *CLOSEST* we come to parity is the Js vs. Ps (35ish vs. 27ish).
The way that the tests usually break stuff down is between the N-third letters and the S-fourth letters, so let’s do that. We had 42 NTs, 16 NFs, 4 SJs, and 3SPs… which leads me to my non-scientific conclusion:
It’s not *THAT* surprising that a group of self-selected people would end up in a vaguely homogenous society. Not necessarily people who agree on the semantics of any given topic, but people who unconsciously already agree on the syntax. It’s like picking up a videogame controller and knowing, automatically that ‘A’ jumps, right-trigger shoots, and select opens the inventory… and being able to play within seconds without having to look at the guide. Or, for those not video game savvy, going over to a friend’s house and opening the cabinet where you would put the coffee cups and, ta-dah, that’s where the coffee cups are. Opening the right drawer on the first try and finding the spoons.
Of course, someone who does not think about things the same way as others (even if they superficially agree) will find that when they visit the friend’s proverbial kitchen, they have to open every single dang cabinet before finding the coffee cups (WHY WOULD YOU PUT THE COFFEE CUPS NEXT TO THE STOVE RATHER THAN NEXT TO THE SINK???). Or, in video game parlance, to have ‘A’ be cancel and ‘B’ be interact. Immediately, you sit down and you don’t know how to do anything… when you do things the way you’ve always thought about them, you close menus you were trying to open and you keep finding the spatulas instead of the spoons.
This can get frustrating and given that there are so very many opt-in communities out there where people can visit and immediately know where everything is, it’s a lot easier to sit down and feel like you’re at home. (For example, whatever the personality distribution happens to be at etsy, I’m willing to bet that it’s not going to map 1:1 with our personality distribution here. The same again for the forums at ESPN’s website.) I’m thinking that, when it comes to communicating, we’re spending far too much time on semantics and making the semantics welcome and open without thinking about the underlying syntax. If we don’t tackle the underlying things that we don’t even think about because they’re just so intuitive, we’ll be stuck wondering why people show up and immediately feel like they’re at home and others show up and keep communicating that, no matter how much we say “make yourself at home! get some coffee!”, they feel like they’re just visiting.
If we want folks to feel as hospitably welcome as we are trying to make them feel, we have to do a better job with making them not feel like just visitors despite our best, most well-intentioned efforts.