January 26, 2007


Since Say Uncle talked about it in a meme related post & The Smallest Minority did an entire post on it, who am I to turn down easy blog fodder?

Uncle mentioned that he'd heard that a small percentage of the population had a certain personality type but a high percentage of bloggers had this same type. I believe he reffered to it as prick. Personality tests are useful if you remember that they're guidelines & not set-in-stone assessments. That made the shock easier when the first one I took told me I had a Personality Typo. :)

According to this site I rated as an ISTJ. It's based on the Myers-Briggs type of personality tests. I took the test twice & while the results varied a bit in terms of strength of preference I was an ISTJ both times. It's odd because I took another personality type test a few months back & it came to a slightly different result. It's not really a fair comparison since the previous one I took was based more on the Keirsey Temperament Sorter type test (which in a simplistic way just expands a bit on the Myers-Brigg thing). In that one (the Kiersey) I came out as an Idealist, which seems to be a form of NFJ or NFP types (scroll down to see how they label things with the Myers-Briggs results in mind). Whereas according to the Myers-Briggs results I should be more of a Guardian type. But according to this listing of the prevalence of certain aspects of a personality type Introverted Feeling is a tertiary function of the INTJ types (& the ISFJ types have some characteristics that are similar to ISTJ types) so there could be some crossing in the results depending upon the test given. I think. According to yet another site I scored as a Rational which seems to be a grouping of NTJ & NTP types (I didn't feel like paying to see which type of rational I was).

But going with the Myers-Briggs explanation here's what it says about ISTJ folks:

"ISTJs are often called inspectors. They have a keen sense of right and wrong, especially in their area of interest and/or responsibility. They are noted for devotion to duty. Punctuality is a watchword of the ISTJ. The secretary, clerk, or business(wo)man by whom others set their clocks is likely to be an ISTJ.

As do other Introverted Thinkers, ISTJs often give the initial impression of being aloof and perhaps somewhat cold. Effusive expression of emotional warmth is not something that ISTJs do without considerable energy loss.

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.

ISTJs are easily frustrated by the inconsistencies of others, especially when the second parties don't keep their commitments. But they usually keep their feelings to themselves unless they are asked. And when asked, they don't mince words. Truth wins out over tact. The grim determination of the ISTJ vindicates itself in officiation of sports events, judiciary functions, or an other situation which requires making tough calls and sticking to them.

His SJ orientation draws the ISTJ into the service of established institutions. Home, social clubs, government, schools, the military, churches -- these are the bastions of the SJ. 'We've always done it this way' is often reason enough for many ISTJs. Threats to time-honored traditions or established organizations (e.g., a "run" on the bank) are the undoing of SJs, and are to be fought at all costs.

Functional Analysis

Introverted Sensing

Si is oriented toward the world of forms, essences, generics. Time is such a form, a quantifiable essense of exactitude, the standard to which external events are held. For both of the IS_J types, the sense of propriety comes from the clear definition of these internal forms. An apple "should" have certain qualities, against which all apples are evaluated. A "proper" chair has four legs, (and other qualities this poor INTP can only guess). Jung viewed introverted sensing as something of an oxymoron, in that the natural direction of senses is outward toward the object, rather than inward and away from it. One has the sense that Introverted Sensors are drawn more to the measure of the concept of the perceived object than to the experience of that perception.

Extraverted Thinking

The moderation of the Te function serves to socialize the expression of these forms. When the Si function is ready to relinquish the data, Te may speak. Otherwise, silence is golden. ISTJs seem to have a few favorite forms (the tried and true) which may serve for most occasions. My ISTJ dad woke me every morning with the same phrase for more years than I care to remember. Asked, 'How are you?' he answered with the same stock phrase. ('As well as my age and habits will permit' was used for about two decades.) 'It's a good form, a sound form--it's the form for me.'

Introverted Feeling

Since Fi is turned inward, it is rarely expressed. Perhaps this enables the ISTJ to resolutely accept that 'we are all doomed.' When told that Lazarus had died, Thomas said, 'Let us go and die with him.' (He could just as well have said something like, 'I knew this was bound to happen sooner or later.') Only in times of great distress is the Introverted Feeling expressed (as I witnessed in my dad when a neighbor's son was killed in a hunting accident). Otherwise, feeling is inferred, or expressed nonverbally, through eye contact, or an encouraging smile.

Extraverted iNtuition

The Ne function of an ISTJ does not serve her very well. It needs a lot of help. She was surprised, for example, to find that someone she had talked with only by phone had red hair, because she 'didn't usually like' people with red hair! This inferior Ne seems to be a major source of, and a natural breeding ground for, stereotypes. Failure of the banking system is but one bogeyman which arises from the fear which feeds on the ISTJ's mistrust of real world possibilities. The shadow inhabiting the inferior Ne strikes at the precious forms and standards in the heart of the dominant Si function. "

I can see some of those things being an accurate assessment of the way I function. I just can't buy into it in its totality. On another site I tied on one aspect (Intuitive versus Sensing) & could have just as easily been considered an INTJ. I've also seen astrology pages that do a pretty good job of describing me (also look here), but that doesn't mean I buy into it as a definitive indicator of what I am. It's impossible to come up with generalizations that will apply to every individual; at the most I look at these things as guidelines. But they can be fun to kill some time & they're usually more insightful than the "what kind of cartoon are you" type quizzes that float around the net. (But a "what Kind of Firearms are you?" quiz is a different story, as is shooting kittens out of cannons...h/t to Say Uncle).

It is odd though; if Uncle is correct and 1% of the overall population is of the INTJ type whereas around 30% of bloggers are that type that'd be almost spooky. I'd be curious to know what gunbloggers specifically & libertarian leaning bloggers in general rate as (I'd almost be certain that the ESFP folks would be the minority). :)

(I typed too soon. Tim Lambert has a survey up with 26 results so far. Not enough for a sound idea of the blogosphere but so far the ESFP slot is blank.)

Posted by Publicola at January 26, 2007 03:58 PM | TrackBack

Actually, a better (more direct link) is here.

And LawDog very recently mentioned that he's an INFP, an unusual type for a lawman.

Posted by: Kevin Baker at January 26, 2007 09:28 PM

My picture belongs in the book next to the definition of "INTJ". Wouldn't surprise me at all to discover that IxTJs are massively overrepresented among libertarians and lib-cons, especially in the blogosphere...and we're definitely extraordinarily rare in the general population.

MBTI is mostly hokum, but their categorization happens to describe precisely just about all the ways in which all my friends and I deviate from the norm, that it works for me.

Posted by: Matt at January 27, 2007 12:53 PM
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