On introversion and so forth

This is what my extroversion graph looked like about six years ago. I don’t remember scoring so low! It does explain a lot of things – in particular the recurring difficulty I have with certain personality types thinking I don’t like them because I may be particularly quiet. I’m tempted to take the test again to see if anything has changed. It’s $50 for a very detailed report along with strategies for overcoming one’s personality hurdles – at Personality100 if anyone else is interested.

I don’t usually think of myself as especially introverted until things happen to highlight the contrast against more extroverted people. Like brainstorm sessions or loud parties. Then it’s incredibly obvious. I like being around people, but I like spending time by myself. I find talking difficult, typing much easier, but if you ask me to sing my feelings, I could do it more happily. Apparently singing engages a different part of the brain – I’m not sure if that’s true, but at times I do find it easier than talking.

Socialising isn’t hard, just uses up a lot of energy. I find I can be around people more easily if they don’t mind my daydreaming.

All this notwithstanding, I’m slightly skeptical of personality metrics. I think test results can be a useful guide to understanding preferences and patterns, but there must naturally be influence from one’s environment too. For example, I get different results from this test depending on what mood I’m in when I take it (I’ve been INFP, INTP, ESFP, INTJ and now ISFP). My interpretation of the questions change, the memories I recall when validating my answers change, and I’m sure my ‘idealised answer’ would change too, depending on what’s happening in my life at the time.

What does personality mean if it can keep changing? Can you ever say you know yourself or someone else if by the time you lock down a type, something can happen to alter the actuality? For this, I consider personality studies an exercise in probability for the purpose of understanding how to deal with each other; a fascinating and useful, but by no means infallible, system for economy of thought.

What do you reckon? Tweet me, especially if you’re interested in personality or if you study it yourself. :)