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April 03, 2003 - Image 16

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By Ellen McGarrity
Daily Arts Writer

Photos by Elise Bergman

A look into the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and its usc

Personality assessments are no
longer just used by psycholo-
gists anymore -they have
now made their way into the hands
of companies across the country. A
look at one of the most popular of
these tests, the Myers-Briggs Type
Indicator, gives insight into why
so many organizations are begin-
ning to trust its results in their hir-
ing processes.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is one of the
most widely used personality inventories in the
United States. It attempts to link people's person-
alities with one of 16 types 'based on four key
traits. In the 1940s, Katharine Briggs and her
daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, invented the test,
drawing on ideas from Carl Jung. Jung divided
people into eight different types, but Myers and
Briggs expanded on those, resulting in the 16pro-
files used on the test today.
PERSONALITY IN FOUR DIMENSIONS
There are several versions of the MBTI out
there, including an extended one, but generally, it
consists of approximately 25 questions aimed at
determining a person's styles and preferences in
four dimensions. Below is an in depth look at,
each of those dimensions.
DIMENSION ONE: EXTROVERSION VS.
INTROVERSION
While many people immediately think of either a
loud, talkative, party-loving person or a quiet, anti-

In contrast, intuitive people are more skilled at
picking up on the realities of relationships of those
around them. They excel at very quickly realizing
the wider implications of a complex explanation or
description they read, often skipping right over the
verbal into "just knowing things."
While sensors can tell you exactly how they
came to a conclusion, intuitives have a hard time
retracing the decision gathering process.
DIMENSION THREE: THINKING vs. FEELING
When making a tough decision, do you let your
heart lead the way or do you use logic to make the
final say? This dimension can tell you if you are
ruled more by your emotions or by your reason.,
As Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen put it in
their book "Type Talk," "(Thinkers), in the deci-
sion-making process, prefer to be very logical,
detached, analytical and driven by objective val-
ues as (they) come to conclusions. This group
strives for justice and clarity."
Whereas when feelers make decisions, they are
driven by their interpersonal involvement with
the people concerned and are more subjective.
DIMENSION FOUR: JUDGING VS. PERCEIVING
The judgers of the world are the people who are
always on time - or, are early - to the meeting.
They are those who are always neat and clean,
and they are endlessly planning in detail the
events of the upcoming year, month, day and even
the next ten minutes.
Without the judgers, the world would be very
unorganized. But the perceivers offer their own
special talents too. Perceivers are wonderfully
adept at dealing with the unexpected. Because

they often don't have a

"Measures like these don't suggest that
people are always this way or always that
way," said Prof. Sam Sommers, who
teaches Social Psychology. "While there
may be some general differences in peo-
ple's dispositions, the situations and con-
texts in which we find ourselves has a
huge effect on how we behave. We're not
limited by our personality type."
He believes, as most social psycholo-
gists stress, that a person's behavior
changes based on the situation in which
they find themselves. The MBTI, in con-
trast, tries to predict how a person will act
across many situations, implying that an
individual's personality is constant, not
changing.
Prof. of organizational psychology
Margaret Shih agreed with Sommer's
observation.
"I think the test has some validity, but
people's personalities can change over the
course of their lifetime," said Shih.
In the personality department, Prof.
Lilia Cortina is in favor of using the test.
Cortina said the test has undergone a lot
of scrutiny and has proven itself useful
over the years. She stresses that as long as
the test is valid and reliable, it can tell us
a lot about an individual's personality.
PERSONALITY TESTING:
COMING TO AN EMPLOYER NEAR YOU?
Could a test like the MBTI really mea-
sure your personality? Could it help an
employer place you in the best spot for
your talents in a company? Or, what if
you were turned away from a job because
of your results on such a test?
Right Management Consultants is a
national organization that is very familiar
with personality assessments. Companies
hire RMC to help them in their hiring
process, guide struggling employees in a
new direction and even get executives to
Types in the bedroom
-Judgers schedule sex, whereas
Perceivers are always up for an
impromptu romp.
-Intuitives may never be fully
happy with their sexual experi-
ences because their imaginations
have built it up to be even better.
-Sensors like to fantasize- but after
the act is already over.
-Extroverts don't mind dirty pillow
talk while Introverts prefer to savor
the experience with silence.
-Thinkers don't mind rating per-
formance under the sheets in
hope of improving for the next
time
-Feelers hate analyzing sex- they
worry it will take away the beauty
of the event

learn what skills they will need to keep
their organizations progressing.
Right uses the MBTI as well as other valid
and reliable tests like the Birkman and the
Strong as their main
tool of aid. "I think the
"In many compa-
nies, some form of validity, but p
assessment is part of alities can ch
the hiring process," c
said Rita Amell, vice course of their
president of senior -
professional services Organizati
at the RMC branch in
Grand Rapids.
"Hiring gurus say 50
percent should be based on interviewing, 25
percent on references and 25 percent on
some objective form of assessment."
Because the tests could have such an
impact on whether you get a job or not,
many people are uneasy and skeptical
about taking them. Still, Amell stressed
that in most cases, the testing can only
help you.
"It's the unknown," Amell said. "Some
people are very unfamiliar with it. People
are apprehensive that deep dark secrets
will be revealed, but it helps the decision
maker. Honestly, only a couple of times
have I seen somebody decide to drop the
individual because of an assessment."
In the cases where an applicant for a
job is dropped, it is usually for good rea-
son. Often the person's style clashes with
the style of his would-be boss.
For instance, Amell described a client
she had identified through personality
testing as someone who needed a very
structured work environment with strict
deadlines. His would-be boss was a very
flexible, unstructured man and the per-
sonality assessments showed that neither
would work very well together. The appli-
cant would have had to move across seven
Goin' down in history
ESFJ: George Washington
ISFJ: Mother Teresa
ESFP: Marilyn Monroe, John
Goodman
ISFP: Charlie Brown,
Jackie Onassis
ENFJ: Martin Luther King Jr.,
Oprah
ENTP: Walt Disney
INTP: Albert Einstein, Marie
Curie
Key: E=Extrovert, I=Introvert,
S=Seeker, N=Intuitive,
T=Thinker, F=Feeler, J= Judger,
P=Perceiver

cant) can fit witht
test has some
eople's person-
ange over the
lifetime."
Margaret Shih
onal Philosophy
Professor

the culture, if they're
going to be up to the
needs of the job
itself, certain styles
or behaviors (for the
job) - and the
assessment can help
confirm that for us,'
Amell said.
As of right now
personality testing is
legal for companies
to use as long as it is

social, bookish person
when confronted with
these terms, there is
more to this dimension
than these stereotypical
images. Extroversion
and introversion really
refer to where an indi-
vidual gets his or her
energy.
"The primary dif-
ference between

states for the job - for a job he probably
wouldn't have liked.
"(The tests) are looking for if (an appli-

"Hiring gurus say 50 percent should
be based on interviewing, 25 percent
on references and 25 percent on some
objective form of assessment."
- Rita Amell
Vice president, senior proffesional
services
Right Management Consultants

set plan, spontaneity is
what makes their
worlds exciting. They
don't mind if the game
goes into overtime or if
their friend shows up
half an hour late.
judgers and perceivers
also differ in the speed
at which they make
decisions.
Judgers tend to make
quick judgments and
stay with their initial

a test that is valid, reliable and is given by
people certified in use of the test
However, in the last year, lawsuits have
been filed concerning who owns the
rights to the information revealed by the
test and how it is utilized.
This is why Amell suggests to students
who will likely encounter this sort of test-
ing in their job search after college, tc
always ask a potential employer how the
information from their test will be used
and who will have access to it.
A good thing to remember about person-
ality testing is that, as Amell described, "it is
only a mirror." The tests reflect back to us
our styles and preferences for living. They
do not tell us that one type is better thar
another. So don't be afraid of whatever the
tests reveal about your unique personality.
Whether you agree with their results or
not, personality tests are something stu-
dents going into the workplace will likely
become familiar with. After becoming
acquainted with the ins and outs of the
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, hopefully
students will be more comfortable wher
they are faced with the tests and aware o:
how the results are being used.
In vogue?
NF "The Trendsetter"
-tries to create a unique, trendy
look by merging textures, styles
and colors.
NT "Comfort before Style"
-buys clothes based on price and
durability, paying little attention
to what is in.
SJ "Can't go wrong with
Classic"
-favors coordinated outfits that
will look good for years.
SP "Make an Impact"
-loves mixing bargains with
designer labels to create a bold,
daring style.

introverts and extro-
verts is how they recharge their batteries. extro-
verts are energized by the outer world ... intro-
verts, on the other hand, are energized by the
internal world - by ideas, impressions, and emo-
tions," as Marti Olsen Laney expressed in her
book "The Introvert Advantage."
Only when extroverts have been around people
enough, can they have enough energy to be on
their own. Similarly, introverts, once revved up,
can actually be quite talkative in social settings.
DIMENSION TwO: SENSING VS. INTUITION
Perhaps two better words for this dimension
would be observation and introspection. David
Keirsey, author of the bestseller "Please
Understand Me," has a website that explains this
dimension in depth. "(Sensors) see what is in
front of them and are usually accurate at catching
details ... they want facts and trust facts ... they
focus on what is happening, or what has hap-
pened, rather than (what might be)," Keirsey's
website reports.

conclusions, while perceivers have a hard time
even making a concrete decision as they think it
is better to keep their options open.
What's important to remember about the
dimensions is that they are each a continuum; no
one is completely introverted or completely
extroverted. In fact, many people fall somewhere
in the middle. And this is where, in some critic's
opinions, the test fails.
When a person falls in the middle on two or
more dimensions, his type is uncertain and that
individual may not relate to the type assigned to
him by the -test. That's why Myers and Briggs
made the test to be a loose guide, not a definitive
script, of what a person's personality is like.
'U' EXPERTS WEIGH IN
Not everyone has the same opinion on the
MBTI. Even in the University's psychology
department, one would be hard pressed to find a
consensus.

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