personalities from perspectives

Ever since my introduction to Psychology course I took my first semester of sophomore year at Wake Forest, I’ve been ever so fascinated with the human mind, particularly social psychology. No, scratch that. I’ve always had an interest, but this class solidified it. Which brings me to a primary component and basis of my “brilliant” idea:

The Briggs Myers/Jung Typology Personality test.

When we were covering social psych, each of us took the Briggs Myers/Jung Typology test, which evaluates the multiple aspects of each of our personalities. It’s a series of 72 yes/no statements of which you answer based on whichever applies most to you.

I first took the test as an ENFJ. When I revisited the test after much growth and experience despite a two year gap, I discovered I was an ENFP: Extraverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving (the counterparts being Introverted, Sensing, Teaching, and Judging, respectively).

I learned that this meant that I am both an “idea-person” and a “people-person” that believes they can “change the world with just one idea” and a “brilliant spark of madness.” A “true free spirit,” I rub elbows with Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Anne Frank, Walt Disney, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston, and Ellen Degeneres. Learning this not only reinforced my own self-confidence with my leadership abilities (particularly because this upcoming winter I’ll returning to Kolkata, India, to lead a group of 12 brilliant classmates on a service trip) but it also showed me ways to counterbalance my own personality to make myself into a more adaptable person.

With that in mind, it got me thinking as to how I was perceived and how I perceive others in comparison to how they perceive themselves. So, I revisited the test once more, again rendering myself an ENFP.

This time, however, in perfect only-child-syndrome fashion, I also had my mother and father take the test and answer the 72 questions for themselves. I then took the test twice more, the first time answering the questions for my dad and the next for my mom. I had each of them do the same for me and for each other.

on Mom on Dad on Ashley

As you can see, for the most part, we were all pretty agreeable with certain parts– particularly the Introversion and Extraversion.

With any aspect of personality, each facet has different levels of intensity– the very fiber that makes each of us unique. For example, you could meet two INTJ’s but one might have stronger preference of Introversion than the other, whereas the other could have very negligible preference of Judging over Perceiving (putting them on the fence between J & P).

Here’s a further look at what I found (when it came to preferences of one aspect over the other):

Mom (on self): I 67%, S 1%, F 25%, J 56%
Dad (on Mom): I 78%, N 12%, T 50% J 33%
Ashley (on Mom): I 22%, S 1%, T 1%, J 67%

Dad (on self): E 44%, S 1%, T 1%, J 44%
Mom (on Dad): E 89%, S 25%, F 31%, P 39%
Ashley (on Dad): E 44%, S 38%, T 38%, J 44%

Ashley (on self): E 33%, N 50%, F 25%, P 3%
Mom (on Ashley): E 67%, S 25%, F 50%, P 33%
Dad (on Ashley): E 56%, N 12%, F 50%, P 28%

So, what does this all mean? Is one person’s perception of the other more accurate than self-perception? Not necessarily, and that’s not exactly what I was going for. After each of us took the tests (for ourselves and for each other), we all went back and compared our answers of self-perception to the answers of objective-perception: I had clicked “yes” for certain questions on my mom for which she had answered “no”, and vice versa.

My one comment towards each of the questions was that they weren’t fully “yes” or “no” in every scenario. A lot of the questions, in fact, garnered a solid “yes” in one situation, but in another a definite “no”. It just depended on the situation at hand. So a note to you is to just answer the statements as they apply to the most general sense– (IE in general, is this a “yes” or a “no” for you?).

No, it doesn’t mean we’re out to lunch about each other or that we’re ultimate geniuses. Rather, it means there were certain facets of our personalities that maybe the other saw more or less prevalent in ourselves than we did. As you can see, I saw my father as more Sensing (38%) than he did (1%), and my mom saw him far more Extraverted (89%) than he did (44%).

This simply goes to show that we as humans are like diamonds: multifaceted and complex; everyone views them slightly differently than the other. I could see the colors projected from the light bouncing off as a vivid violet and sunset orange, but you could see them as more of a berry red and sunflower yellow. It is why we click and clash with the people with whom we interact.

It also confirmed to me that whenever people tell me I’m a spitting image of my dad (both looks-wise and personality-wise), I can vouch for that. P.S., I’m also Ron Weasley, the Champion.

If you ever want to give this a go, let me know what you find! You may be surprised.


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