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Poll: What are the Meyers-Briggs personality types of HN?
58 points by hop on Nov 16, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 78 comments
Interested to see what the cross section of hackers and entrepreneurs that read HN are. I found my type to be dead on accurate.

Test: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

INTJ
284 points
INTP
250 points
ENTP
75 points
INFP
72 points
ENTJ
68 points
ENFP
29 points
ISTP
22 points
INFJ
21 points
ENFJ
20 points
ISTJ
17 points
ESTJ
11 points
ESFJ
6 points
ISFJ
5 points
ESTP
3 points
ISFP
2 points
ESFP
1 point



Obligatory references on the subject of the unvalidated Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®:

http://www.skepdic.com/myersb.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator#Cri...

http://www.psychometric-success.com/personality-tests/person...

"Overall, the review committee concluded that the MBTI has not demonstrated adequate validity although its popularity and use has been steadily increasing. The National Academy of Sciences review committee concluded that: ‘at this time, there is not sufficient, well-designed research to justify the use of the MBTI in career counseling programs’, the very thing that it is most often used for."

http://www.indiana.edu/~jobtalk/HRMWebsite/hrm/articles/deve...

http://www.amazon.com/Cult-Personality-Testing-Miseducate-Mi...

I found my type to be dead on accurate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forer_effect

http://www.skepdic.com/forer.html


RE: Forer

Looking at all the other types, ENTP fits me like a glove. I could see where the forer affect would apply to vague, subjective descriptions - like a horoscope or palm reader, but my personality traits, as quoted by wikipedia --

ENTPs are frequently described as clever, cerebrally and verbally quick, enthusiastic, outgoing, innovative, flexible, loyal and resourceful. ENTPs are motivated by a desire to understand and improve the world they live in. They are usually accurate in sizing up a situation. They may have a perverse sense of humor and sometimes play devil's advocate, which can create misunderstandings with friends, coworkers, and family. ENTPs are ingenious and adept at directing relationships between means and ends. ENTPs "think outside the box," devising fresh, unexpected solutions to difficult problems. However, they are less interested in generating and following through with detailed plans than in generating ideas and possibilities. When ENTPs are used correctly on a team, they offer deep understanding and a high degree of flexibility and problem solving ability. The ENTP regards a comment like "it can't be done" as a personal challenge, and, if properly motivated, will spare no expense to discover a solution.

Is like none of the other personality types and fits me well. Truthfully, it was quite amazing the first time I read an ENTP description.


Hey, that sounds exactly like me... except that I'm sized up as an INTJ. Guess I'm an EINTPJ.

Seriously: the Forer effect applies. These descriptions are vague, because people attach entirely different meanings to the terms used. For instance, everyone thinks they are clever, flexible, loyal and resourceful, when compared to others. 80% of a class thinks they belong to the best 20% of the class. This is exactly the same.


It would only be the same if we felt that many of the descriptions could apply to us. For example, the ESFJ doesn't seem like you :)

'ESFJs are people persons - they love people. They are warmly interested in others. They use their Sensing and Judging characteristics to gather specific, detailed information about others, and turn this information into supportive judgments. They want to like people, and have a special skill at bringing out the best in others. They are extremely good at reading others, and understanding their point of view. The ESFJ's strong desire to be liked and for everything to be pleasant makes them highly supportive of others. People like to be around ESFJs, because the ESFJ has a special gift of invariably making people feel good about themselves.'


The Forer effect doesn't necessarily require that everyone feels that a specific characterization applies to them: only that the person being characterized feels that that specific characterization applies to him. This is an important difference, because it allows astrologers, illusionists and their ilk to use all kinds of the usual psychological insights to determine broadly into which category someone falls, before coming up with a characterization that will necessarily be recognizable to someone in that category.

Anyone can put me in the INTJ, ENTP or the two intermediate categories. That's already 4 out of 16. Now collect some characteristics from those 4 and mingle: voila, you have produced something I will consider recognizable. In this way, everyone is as good a psychologist as Jung.


Around 75% of CS majors are INTJ. Certainly there are an infinite number of personalities, but this sizes them up pretty well.


This whole discussion seems to be missing a large part of MBTI's value. MBTI is not just about knowing yourself, but also understanding how other people in a group might be feeling/reacting, regardless of whether or not that reaction is indicative of their personality all of the time.

I've found that an understanding of MBTI has helped me immensely when facilitating or leading groups. Knowing that there will be some people that are most creative when brainstorming on their own (often introverts) and some that are most creative when working in groups (often extraverts) means that I give time for both in any session I'm leading. If I'm running a meeting that is going to go over time, but is producing good results, I'll ask everyone if they are ok with going over time and will set a new time limit. Before I knew about MBTI and realized that people with a J preference (unlike myself) often disengage from any process that doesn't appear to have a defined ending, I was losing out on the contributions from all Js in any meetings gone over time.

Those are just a few examples, but hopefully they show that MBTI isn't just about 'knowing your type'. People will act with preferences on either side (I lean a little bit to the I side, but often play the role of an E depending on the group I am in) but understanding how all of these preferences play out in groups gives you a much better chance of getting the best contribution from everybody on the teams you work with.


I'll go with an option not on the list: "useless", as are the results of all these personality tests. The whole notion that you can absolutely quantify something as nebulous and volatile as personality is absurd; the idea of doing so within the constraint of four axes is down right laughable.

Seriously, these things are the real-life equivalent of a silly Facebook quiz.

edit: Having looked over the questions in the linked quiz, my answer to most all of them was "it depends". I guess this means I have no personality. :)


I up voted for your anti-herd thought. Even if it is a bit invidious for those that find value in it.

The Myers-Briggs typology based on Carl Gustav Jung's work, is in my opinion, an accurate and useful tool for generalizing intelligence types.

You are correct, in contending, that quantifying the psychic whole of a person to an absolute degree is absurd because the psyche of a person is constantly evolving. The MBTI type only seems to shift in a minor way, though, despite gnostic shifts in the psyche.

I can account for this. I was typed as an INTJ early in life when I mostly just built stuff, didn't socialize much, and sandboxed in my own mind; throughout life I've experienced many things and people that would be considered "outside" the profile of an INTJ. Those experiences didn't change my typing, they only made it more potent.

Instead of a socially inept introvert, I became a socially adept introvert. Instead of being intellectually rigid and intransigent, I became intellectually focused and discerning. My type hasn't changed at all, despite traveling through India, experimenting with psycho-active drugs, and working for soul crushing corporations.

I'm supporting your statement that it isn't necessary, because it isn't. At all. However, is it useful? Fun even? Yeah. It is.

I view Astrology in a similar light. Your "sun sign" is just a "blueprint" upon which your living of life molds and evolves (another discussion though).


It does describe a few of axes of your personality, but it's not that great. It's not like they are really poles - you don't get many total introverts or extroverts, people sit on a continuum. A normally distributed attribute is a lousy way to categorize people.

Introverts are people who tend to think before acting (which makes them more shy), and extroverts act before thinking (which makes them less shy), but those aren't the only factors in social adeptness. A polite introvert who can make good jokes will have more friends than the extroverted class bully.

The main value of MB is that it's value free. It's easy to talk about introversion-extroversion, sensing-intuition, thinking-feeling or judging-perceiving; it's hard to say people are lazy-hardworking, boring-interesting, smart-dumb, or brave-cowardly.


Good point that the norm of these axis tend to be on the line.

However, a good M-B test will also provide a degree of strength or clarity of your various dimensions. So it can be useful to see where you deviate from the norm.

Personally, though I'm INTP, the only dimension that is particularly pronounced is the N (88). And that does say something about me. While in all the other dimensions, I can't see a clear preference in myself, I can say that I do live primarily in the world of abstract thought over sensory data.


I know I'm a bit late in replying, I'm guessing this won't be read - but oh well!

Typically, it is assumed that a typing represents the whole of the Self; I tend to use it only as a generalization of the Self.

Coming from a Jungian background, the psyche is composed of multiple (if not many) complexes. Each complex being an autonomous psychic entity but a component of the psychic Self.

Each complex can have its own typing. The Anima (feminine complex) could very well be an ESTJ and the Animus (masculine complex) could be a INSJ. The compound result of all the complexes results in the dynamic and volatile nature of the psyche.

This multi-faceted nature of the psyche produces a (to me) accurate view of the psychic Self; a person can too have a type that generally dominates the whole of the their psychic Self as well (ie: I'm an INTJ, my Animus is more of an ISTP and my Anima is an ENFJ - don't forget there are other complexes).

Also, MB typing is not value free. If something were value free it would not be of value ;) The difference between "introverted" and "boring" isn't in the value of each term, it is in the interpretation of the value of each term.

One could consider boring and introversion to both be an inward psychic motion. Boring - to bore - going within; is uncomfortable for many people because within their psyche they must experience their complexes as opposed to projecting their complexes and experiencing them outside of the psyche (with other people, things, etc...). Hence why "boring" is imbued with bad or un-associative thought.

Introverts tend to be internally focused and rarely engage in the projection atmosphere commonly seen with large groups of familiars or extroverted (to different degrees) people. When a person is not engaging in a projection that another wishes to engage in, the person not engaging is typically considered "boring" or "serious" or "anti-social".

Please note, neither extroversion nor introversion is better or worse than the other. Claiming and accepting the complexes of the psyche within leads to both a happier introvert (that is more extroverted) and a happier extrovert (that is more introverted). Just like claiming and accepting the feminine or masculine self leads to a more balanced individual; it just happens that one is already dominated by the other and finds it to be a natural setting. The above paragraph was using familiar language to convey a point, but was limiting in its scope.

All things have value, even if that value is unit value (or 1). Value is provided by the human mind and subject to valuing meme levels (context dependent).

The majority of Hacker News readers are in a mix of systemic (computers, systems) and entrepreneurial (startups, ambition) valuing memes. The Hacker News reader typically values the experiences they have within their life at this stage based on those memes.


I became aware of MBTI about fifteen years ago and it's been an ongoing fascination. I see it mainly as a useful conceptual framework upon which one may build a set of intuitive tools that enable effective interpersonal understanding. I've always felt it somewhat loose and inexact but unlike many of the posters here (borderline trollers actually) I don't have a problem with that looseness. And it's perhaps unsurprising that the type I seem to prefer to manifest is an extreme minority type both in the context of this site and in the context of the general population.

You seem to have a more rigorous and holistic understanding of the psyche than I do. I have a set of intuitions built from this framework. It seems you have understandings of additional surrounding frameworks, and probably a more clear understanding of MBTI itself than I do.

Do you have a reference (ideally a published book or books) that could help me expand my understanding of MBTI and the enveloping aspects of the psyche?


Learning how the psyche works is crucial, in my opinion, to being able to grow as a person. Intellectual skills increase with the understanding too, hence why I've been adamant about learning what I can.

Read Carl Gustav Jung's work, his psychoanalytic process and framework is very powerful. Particularly his works on the shadow self, symbols and the psyche, and alchemy as a transformative psychic tool.

I also pull quite a bit from Claire Grave's work on Spiral Dynamics. Ken Wilbur is also known for taking his work and expanding upon it (a simple Google search will turn up some good resources). Here's a blurb I've got copied on it:

Here is a link to my present understanding of the spiral dynamics: http://antiquatis.info/tool/vmeme


M-B is actually quite interesting to me. It is a very well defined personality type system, and I've found the results of tests to often be insightful.

The test does not claim ANY kind of "absolute quantifification". That would be claiming that there are only 16 personalities in the world, which, as you note, is absurd. It is merely an attempt to define a few of the dimensions that make up a human personality, and provide a framework for talking about how those different dimensions interact.

If you aren't interested in this, it's your business. But you should really reflect on where the attitude of "this is too nebulous and volatile" a subject to study and try to quantify, and decide if that's really how you want to react to things that are too big and complex to be immediately understood.

If you really think the test is bullshit, then why am I, and the vast majority of the respondents on the previous poll (linked above/below) NTs, also know as Rationals? Seems odd, considering the figure I've heard quotes Rationals as 10% of the US population. Unless, of course, these results are revealing something specific about this population in particular?? Hmm.


MBTI is more complicated than that. Those four preferences interact to form a fuller picture of the personality type. Regardless of whether you choose to view it as informative, it certainly has more depth than a Facebook quiz. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator#Typ...

Personality is indeed a complicated thing, and MBTI respects that. It's understood that only the person in question can decide what their type is, since so much about it is below the surface of what another person can observe. It's only a tool for analyzing and understanding certain parts of your own personality that most people share, that can vary widely, and that tend to face one of two directions.

Knowing my type (INTP) has been pretty valuable to me. It's given me a clearer understanding of the preferential basis for some of my attitudes and behaviors, and it helped me accept my introversion as a natural part of who I am. Looking at the previous HN poll (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=204240), there's a strong presence here of types that are uncommon in the general population. At the very least, that correlation is pretty interesting.


Those four preferences interact to form a fuller picture of the personality type

I don't know what this means, and to be frank, it sounds like a lot of gobbledy-gook. The whole point of categorizing is that the categories should convey some information about the thing categorized. The point I'm making here is that these personality categories don't even come close to this. The problem is that personality is an extremely complicated concept, and one that is prone to constant change. I seriously doubt that you could say something meaningful about a subject's personality with 10 axes, let alone four.

To illustrate this, ask yourself two basic questions of these test results:

    1) Are the conditions and results repeatable?
    2) Can you use them to make any meaningful prediction of behavior?
My contention is that the answer to each is a resounding "No", and hence the results are essentially useless.


The Wikipedia link I provided describes preference interaction in depth.

It seems you're saying that a categorization system that doesn't describe its subjects in complete, full, everlasting detail is worthless. I'd have to disagree.

Look at the poll right now, or its predecessor. INTP has a higher tally than all the other types, which is particularly interesting considering its relative rarity in the general population. You could therefore conclude that an INTP is more likely to vote in a poll on HN than, say, an ISFJ. That's information. Useless information perhaps, but information nonetheless. If MBTI didn't actually indicate anything, then the tallies would more closely fit the type distribution in the general population.

Your concerns about the test's reliability are valid, but any attempt to categorize something that we don't completely understand is going to have its inconsistencies. It's a far leap from there to useless.


It seems you're saying that a categorization system that doesn't describe its subjects in complete, full, everlasting detail is worthless.

No, what I'm saying is that a categorization system that doesn't say much of anything about its subjects is useless.

INTP has a higher tally than all the other types, which is particularly interesting considering its relative rarity in the general population. You could therefore conclude that an INTP is more likely to vote in a poll on HN than, say, an ISFJ. That's information.

You're using INTP in conjunction with a hacker news poll to draw a conclusion here; not INTP itself. The reason for this is that it's not possible to draw any meaningful conclusion from the INTP result itself. And even this conclusion is very vague: what does it tell you exactly that the incidence of scoring INTP is higher on HN than the general population? What prediction can you make from this fact?


Except that the theory suggests that a high prevalence of INTP / INTJ types on a forum dedicated to intellectual curiosity and rational discourse is exactly what you'd expect.

Couple that with the mentioned fact that the entire four set of rational types is less than ten percent of the general population and I can't see how you couldn't find that just a little indicative that perhaps they're onto something.


What it tells me is that most HN readers are introverts who like solving abstract problems, but that's news to no one.

A categorization system that could make accurate predictions about how a person may act or be or feel would be far more complete than MBTI. I think we agree on that. But I don't think that's what MBTI claims to be. What I've gotten from it is an improved vocabulary for describing my personality in general. My type didn't tell me much I didn't already know. What it did tell me was that my lack of meatspace organizational skills and my well-structured code (or meticulously organized music library) may share a source in my preference for introverted, abstract thinking. Which is to say, it highlighted an aspect of myself of which I was dimly aware and caused me to relate it to the way I behave.

Ultimately MBTI is a personal tool for limited reflection. Any larger conclusions about a population should be avoided or qualified with "generally speaking."


FWIW, when I take the tests I come out INTJ every single time and I usually "act like an INTJ" most of the time, which is to say, if the only thing you knew about me was I'm INTJ, you could meaningfully predict my sort of behavior a good percentage of the time ;P


That was exactly my response when a psychologist friend of mine told me about the M-B tests. Then we did a test at work and the result was surprisingly accurate. I know you think it's a waste of time but maybe try it out anyway.

Also, as with many of these things: "the map is not the territory". Use any insight it gives, ignore what it doesn't.


You're confusing this with a lot of the garbage out there. This is based on Carl Jung's work and is absolutely valid. It's not "quantifying" personality; it's helping -you- understand yourself better. That's it.

Everyone is a combination of these things. The most introverted person in the world is sometimes extroverted, and the opposite as well. My wife is introverted around friends but extroverted at home; I'm extroverted with friends but introverted at home. You're answer "it depends" is absolutely valid and yet doesn't invalidate any part of Meyers-Briggs. You don't like to be pinned down and that's fine, but you have preferences, and that's all it's asking. You may be able to write with both left and right hands, but which one do you sometimes prefer? And if you prefer that, you might also prefer 'x'.

If you give it a chance, you might be surprised to learn something new about yourself.


I generally think so, but I was sitting at a table with my friends in a bar once, and we discovered that all of us were INTPs. The more different people are from my personality type, the more difficulty I have communicating with them. Sometimes I feel like we're not even the same species, as they offer me homeopathy for a burnt finger, or tell me they're psychic with a straight face.


What are the M-B personality types of the people you have most trouble communicating with?


I 100% disagree... I found it to be extremely accurate. Like Scary Accurate.


You mean scary accurate like a horoscope?

A basic problem with this kinds of tests is that it's too easy to interpret the results to fit a very wide range of personalities - just like a horoscope will fit just about everyone who believes in them.

But they're still fun, and might give a hint about some general tendencies.


Compare and contrast distrubitions;

above vs http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=943884

So no, not scary accurate like a horoscope. :)


That's not really comparable, though. That question is "what's your birthday", not "answer a bunch of ambiguous questions and see if the made up blurb that results is applicable to you".

There's also the aspect of giving the "right" answers to achieve a desired result. It's not very difficult to e.g. get an inrovert or extrovert type, and everyone knows that "real" hackers are introvert, so...

Basically it's not science, definitely not in this form.

[edit: I would have expected more extroverts in the results here, since the target audience is entrepreneurial hackers. Maybe it's the proggit exodus that's showing?]


I doubt that people actually bother to lie on the test to get a specific result, especially here. Noone knows anyone else's type, and even if they did, they could always just lie.

My point was that the constant claims that these categorisations were qualitatively indistinguishable from the zodiac are patently false, and there's the evidence.


Derren Brown did a magic trick where he gave people scary accurate statements of their personality. At least that's what they thought: they were all given the same text.


Excellent. Could you run the text by HN and see if we think the same thing?


I think that xenophanes is referring to Bertram Forer. Here's the text he used in his class, taken from the Wikipedia article on the Forer effect:

"You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic."


I am referring to Derren Brown, a magician/mentalist on UK TV. I didn't think it was an original trick, though. And I don't have the text, but yours is nice, and I wouldn't expect it to work too well on HN readers anyway. They might generally agree with the text, but I think a lot of them would not be fooled into believing the text contains detailed, non-generic personal information about them.


Brown's text was longer, but he credits it as Forer's idea originally (in his book 'Tricks of the Mind' p322)


To all the skeptics about MBTI: isn't it weird that the best copywriters out there study and apply MBTI in their work?

People who write sales letters that are mailed a few million times, or who write copy for the 30 minute infomercials - use MBTI constantly. Before writing down a single word, they do research:

Step 1: Which MBTI profile dominates this particular products usage? (For HN - it would be NT)

Step 2: What do these people look for - to make a decision?

Step 3: How do we give this information to them?

When millions of dollars are spent on persuasion, people bet on writing for specific MBTI profiles - and not for the general audience. They realize that MBTI is not perfect. But it is a good framework none the less.

Its like being left handed or right handed. Being left handed doesn't mean you won't use your right hand at all. It just means that you prefer using your left hand for most tasks. And so it is with MBTI. Finding your specific type doesn't mean you don't have other types in you. It just means that you prefer one type over 15 others for most things. And it would be smart of me to focus on that one type to persuade you.


Looks like NT's dominate Hacker News. Its interesting because they(we) take up such a small relative percentage of the population. From a study here - http://www.infj.org/archive/typestats.html, the breakdown for a whole population --

INTJ - 2.1%

INTP - 3.3%

ENTP - 3.2%

ENTJ - 1.8%

Total - 11.4%

So this small percentage of the overall public dominates about 75% HN, as the votes tally up. People here are about 7x more likely to be of the intuition not sensing and thinking not feeling personality types. Also, if you look at all the NT's on the right side of that link, males are about 2x more prevalent than females to be NT's.


Do you suppose there might be any selection bias as to which 'personality types' are more likely to know what 'personality type' they are? And which ones are eager to take a test to find out, and rush back to be counted? And any bias as to whether they report back accurately?


Exactly.

Anyway, this kind of voluntary response poll would have exactly NIL value in answering the question that appears to be asked here, which is, what Myers-Briggs types are there on HN? The people who come forward to answer the poll are not a random sample of the tens of thousands of people who read HN.

http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=194473&tsta...

http://aurora.wells.edu/~srs/Math151-Fall02/Litdigest.htm

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5168/


I don't know much about the other types, but INTPs are the "scientist" type and as such are obsessed with data. We love polls. The demographic survey on HN had me salivating.


And where on the list are the types that aren't obsessed with data and in love with polls? How much should we move them up to compensate for their relative lack of participation?

If we presume that the prevalence of polls of this sort has increased here at HN, and we presume that attitudes toward polls correlates to personality type, what would the results have looked like for an earlier HN? Is there possibly a type that drools only for accurate data? (one-tenth smiley)


Any scientist knows that pretty much all data is inaccurate, especially those that rely on survey. (one-fifth smiley)


here's the link to the exact same poll: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=204240


Sorted results of that poll (as of 9:30 PM EST 11/15/09):

  INTP - 207
  INTJ - 188
  ENTP - 76
  ENTJ - 57
  INFP - 41
  ENFP - 30
  INFJ - 27
  ENFJ - 16
  ISTP - 12
  ESTJ - 11
  ISTJ - 11
  ESTP - 4
  ESFJ - 3
  ESFP - 2
  ISFJ - 2
  ISFP - 2


not unexpected results for hn but the NT groups are supposed to be the least common in the general population less than 4% if I recall.


I was mildly surprised about that as well. And mildly pleased to find myself INTJ.


Wow, the pattern seems to be, in decreasing order, NT, then NF, then ST, then SF. That by itself isn't surprising given the nature of HN, but what is surprising is that each of the 4 groups are grouped off perfectly. I wonder if it'll be the same this time around (my guess is no because it was probably a coincidence). Isn't there a name for the psychological bias where the results get screwed around if you know in advance what it should be?


0ddly, the split is more between NT / NF / SP / SJ ... SJ types are more likely not to do things that involve risk.


I have to question some of the questions, like this one: "37. Often you prefer to read a book than go to a party"

So, the question seems to be finding out if you like to do stuff on your own, rather then going to a party, but it mentions something specific: a book

My answer: Well, no. I don't like reading books that much. However, I prefer reading hacker news, rock climbing, programming, designing, working on some music, etc.... But I wouldn't read a book over going to a party.


From what I remember about the MBTI test is that an introvert will prefer activities that do not involve other people. So even if you don't particularly enjoy reading books the general discomfort of being in a party will outweight your lack of enthusiasm for reading.

In a well administered test though, one of these questions shouldn't significantly impact the final outcome as other questions with different wording will also be used to help gauge your disposition.


I'm happy to see INTPs (of which I am one) neck to neck with INTJs. I took a software engineering class once that claimed that 80% of programmers are INTJ, and it made me feel like perhaps my temperament was a letter off for this sort of thing... but perhaps not, after all.


The problem with any personality indicator is how rapidly results can change. I fluctuate between INTP and INTJ depending on time of year or who I had to deal with the day prior - and depending on specific social context I am very, very much E.

As a general indicator, sure - it confirms our own self-conceptualization, and can give general guidelines to others as to how we'll respond to stimulus. But the stress is on /general/. Its predictive ability leaves much to be desired.


Grouping by the letters slightly hides that each is a continuum, from P to J, from I to E, etc. Lots of people also fall around the middle of some of these.


While I've heard many people dismiss such personality tests, I found that the description of my role variant (INTJ, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastermind_(Role_Variant)) described me extraordinarily well. I'd be interested to hear whether other people think the same thing about their respective personality type descriptions.


Not to belabor the point here, but I think you're falling for the old horoscope trick. These categories are so broad, and the concept of personality so amorphous, that you would probably find that most of them describe you "extraordinarily well".


Have you actually read the descriptions? They are concrete and specific. They don't leave much room for overlap. For example, compare http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENTP#ENTP_characteristics and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENTJ#ENTJ_characteristics


Yes, I have read on this particular test in the past. And I see a lot of room for people of many different personality types to believe that they fall into a large number of the categories, especially if they have been presented with their category membership following a seemingly scientific test.


And I see a lot of room for people of many different personality types to believe that they fall into a large number of the categories

That's not my experience. The INTP description fits me almost exactly. Change one of the indicators and the description is partially accurate but with clear discrepancies; change two or more and it's not even close.


Sure, if you're only reading a paragraph or two about a given personality type, it might seem like the words would apply to anyone. In my experience (and most others it seems), if you take the test honestly and actually read several page reports explaining intricate details of the personality type, you would be very suprised how accurate it is. If you're expecting to learn what your favorite ice cream flavor or movie should be, then of course you will end up disappointed about how 'broad' it is and that it didn't describe you in that manner of detail.


So then the same people that 'fall' for this test should be the ones who fall for horoscope tests?

With such a lot of intellectual suspicion, I'd guess you're an INTP or similar ;)


As an example:

  If you're pretty add 1, otherwise add 0.
  If you're smart add 10, otherwise add 0
  If you're kind add 100, otherwise add 0

  Result of the test: if you have accumulated 111, 
  you're known among your friends as a beautiful,
  big-hearted genius.


Reading the description of my type for the first time after eye-rolling my way through a test was a bizarre experience. Its accuracy made me suspect that there was something to it.


I think they’re mainly dismissing their big-picture usefulness, not whether they describe you well.

You could also group people according to eye color, and tell people with blue eyes that they probably have light-colored hair, but it wouldn’t necessarily be helping them understand themselves better.

(I’m undecided about how useful these tests are. Just trying to clarify why people might dismiss them.)


Of course it describes you extraordinarily well you Mastermind, you!



> "Interested to see what the cross section of hackers and entrepreneurs that read HN are. I found my type to be dead on accurate."

"i am large. i contain multitudes."

as with a horoscope, you're more likely to agree with an assessment than disagree. i'm both shy and outgoing, a follower and a leader, logical and emotional--depending on the situation. the complexity and variety is amazing. i expect nothing less of humans.


Wow, looks like most of the 2% of the population of ENTPs is on here :) Never met another one, at least that I know of. Cheers!!


I have found that when ENTPs meet, we have a very productive and exciting sense of camaraderie.


You should have your INTP badge revoked if you believe in the blatant quackery of Myers-Briggs.

Just read about its history and development. You don't need to read the criticisms to see it's bunk.


I'm in INTJ. Does this test identify a sociopath?



All that says is that behavior is highly context dependent. No one is disputing that. However, twin studies have shown us that despite that, personality characteristics are highly heritable. This suggests that despite differences in behavior due to context, there are genetic and thus pervasive personality traits that are fairly immutable.


Twin studies have not shown that. Please cite it and state the definition of "heritable" used in the study you cite (in general, they do not use the definition one might expect).

Also, going from "genetic" to "immutable" is a non sequitur, and is not supported in any way by twin studies. It sometimes turns out that genetic features (such as hair color) are not so hard to change after all (e.g. with dye).


There is only one definition of heritability used in biology, and it's the one I mean: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heritability#Definition

Your implication that it's disingenuous that the layman's definition differs from the scientist's definition... is dumb.

And again, I didn't say that personality was immutable. I said that part of it was. Longitudinal studies show that a correlations of personality across an individual's lifetime is about .83, which is pretty damn high. http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev....

There are a billion and a half studies on this, and heritability estimates range between 20-45% for different personality traits being tested. http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0070366055/student_vie...


No need to call me dumb! Here is an explanation about the word heritability:

http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/weblog/520.html

Whether a person does change their personality is a different issue than whether it could be changed (possibly requiring some new knowledge, or possibly simply requiring a change in preferences). So that correlation study doesn't provide evidence of immutability.

I know there are a lot of studies on heritability. Now, if you are interested in an open discussion, cite one study that you stand behind, and state the definition of heritability it uses, in your own words or quoting from the study itself.


I didn't call you dumb. I said that your implication was dumb. And it still is.

I'm not really sure what you wanted me to get out of that blog post. I did cite a study- I linked to it. And the definition of heritability is still the same.


Dye doesn't change your hair colour. It simply masks it for a little while.




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