Myers-Briggs Personality Tests

Geeks love taking tests and quizzes to find out which Stargate character they are, which Dungeons and Dragons alignment they are, or which anime girl is their perfect soul mate. They can’t get enough of the Beliefnet Belief-o-Matic quiz or the Political compass test. For people who pride themselves on not following the herd, they are second only to teenaged girls in wanting to classify themselves and declare the results to others.

The Myers-Briggs Test, though, is their greatest love. First published in 1962, it is a method of creating a psychological profile by finding where the subject lies on four different pairs of traits. This results in sixteen possible outcomes, four more than the signs of the Zodiac, making the Myers-Briggs test four more scientific than Astrology.

This all plays into the geek’s love of quizzes, science, and “science”, but to really understand the appeal of the Myers-Briggs test to geeks you need to look at one of the sixteen categories in particular. It is referred to as “INTJ”, which means “Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking, Judging”. This is the category that most geeks fall into, even though it supposedly makes up only 2.1% of the population.

Geeks absolutely adore being INTJ, and who wouldn’t? Famous (supposedly) INTJs listed on Wikipedia are Dwight D. Eisenhower, John Maynard Keynes, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Ayn Rand, which is about as representative of geeks as you’re going to get. Also, the description of the INTJ type speaks to geeks on many different levels:

INTJs are strong individualists who seek new angles or novel ways of looking at things. They enjoy coming to new understandings. They tend to be insightful and mentally quick; however, this mental quickness may not always be outwardly apparent to others since they keep a great deal to themselves. They are very determined people who trust their vision of the possibilities, regardless of what others think. They may even be considered the most independent of all of the sixteen personality types. INTJs are at their best in quietly and firmly developing their ideas, theories, and principles.

They’re smart, they’re special, they get things done, and they don’t need you.

Which is all fine and would certainly be enough to endear INTJ-ness to geeks in itself, but there’s one more thing about being INTJ that geeks love.

This type is commonly referred to as the “Rational Mastermind“.

A science quiz that lets them call themselves “Rational Mastermind”? This is the pinnacle of hotness for geeks.

And that’s why geeks LOVE Myers-Briggs Personality Tests.

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11 Responses

  1. Sadly they actually use this laughable bit of pseudoscience at my workplace.

    The first time I took it answered everything A.

  2. My highschool actually required my class to take this quiz our junior year. We took a field trip to a local college to do it, even though we could have just as easily done it in our homerooms.

  3. OMG this is so true! The fact that geek-created variations on the Myers-Briggs test list characters like Capt. Picard and Snape as INTJs probably just lends more credence to the phenomenon that all geeks are wannabe INTJs.

    I’m a geek who is an INTP, which is basically an INTJ who doesn’t always get shit done. Basically, any result with Introverted and Thinking is going to make a geek swoon if they get it. Just don’t dare to peg them as an extrovert or as a feeler, especially the latter. They can’t stomach the thought of themselves as a “people person” (which to a geek, is only a stone’s throw from “conformist”) or – shudder – as an emotional, “illogical” type.

  4. I took a Myers-Briggs test once, and got XSTP. The X is what you get when there’s a 50-50 split (like INTX means the test taker got a 50-50 split between the P and the J). How geeky or ungeeky is that? :)

  5. You know what’s confusing…the percentages on my last test are all almost 50-50 except for Introversion.

    IXXX, anyone?

  6. INFJ is God’s choice … the protector

  7. Using a self report questionnaire to discern where you land upon four dimensions of personality and then combining those scores to generate one overall personality archetype is directly comparable to using your birthdate to generate a description?

    Then again this site is basically written by geeks, for geeks since geeks thrive on evaluation and analysis. If you can recognize it, it doesn’t apply to you… right?

    So I guess I’m doing the ‘accuracy’ thing, and the pseudoscience people are doing the ‘intellectual elitism’ thing. Science is a geek domain, so each field must be placed within a hierarchy of scientific purism. Social sciences are at the bottom, of course.
    Ew. People.

  8. My school uses Meyers-Briggs to match roommates, though the success of this technique varies wildly (I got extremely lucky, my friend next door did pretty well, and my friend across the hall got an absolute disaster, though in fairness her roommate lied about factors like smoking). It’s a thousand times better than something like a horoscope, but nonetheless ridiculously subjective. I’m an INTP, but if I took the test on a different day, when I was sadder or happier or had just come back from visiting friends, I’m sure it would have been different in at least one, probably two fields. In the end, the Meyers-Briggs is an all right diversion if you like that sort of thing, but no one should base monumental or life-altering decisions on a half hour personality test they took once. A four letter ID can’t sum up an entire person any more than a butterfly can flap their wings and start a tornado.

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