Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

CHAT: Conlanging and Myers-Briggs tests (was: Re: Profile of a Conlanger)

From:Dan Sulani <dnsulani@...>
Date:Friday, May 14, 1999, 13:28
On 13 May, Etherman wrote:

It's known as a forced choice questionnaire.  It's not assumed
that the world is black and white, that's why it uses words
like "tend." You're supposed to pick the one that is more
likely to describe your behavior.  Because there are multiple
questions one finds that a spectrum is created.

Ed Heil wrote:

You may not be familiar with the technique of "forced choice."
Designers of
surveys have found that it is often a useful technique to present people
a forced choice between alternatives, and multiple questions on the same

issue.  The hope is that if the person *really is* "in the middle" on an

issue, he or she will scatter answers in one direction as often as
and when it's all added up, the person will come out "in the middle."
if somebody has a small tendency in one direction or the other, when
forced to
choose, they will choose in one direction somewhat more than the other,
though if they had been given a middle choice they would have selected

My problem is not that I feel in the middle, nor am I bothered about
multiple questions that will statistically show me more one way than the
Rather, I felt equally positive about _both_  choices and to choose one
would be
to deny the other; ending up in the middle would deny that I felt
about both choices (this kind of test can only put me at _one_ place
along a continuum, whereas I see myself as being in more than one place,
at a given time.)

Lars Mathiesen wrote:

Also, they stress that your result will change according to whatever
stresses and expectations you encounter in your daily life. If you
want your "real," underlying temperament, you need some kind of
trained assistance to help sort out the various influences.

I am a Speech-Language-Pathologist and I assess people all the time
(from a speech/language point of view it is true, but I also have to
ways of determining when it is advisable to refer the person to
psychologists for further evaluation along those lines.)
One of the first things that my professors drummed into our heads
was that it is wrong to use tests to categorize people. (In my
day it was known as "cookbook therapy": teach me the test
categories and the exact procedure to follow with each one ).
We were taught that this is not good, and will usually lead to
inferior treatment. The proper use of tests is to arrive at a first
approximation, a basis for starting the treatment.( Or, perhaps
as a screening, the results of which imply that further treatment
at this time is not necessary.)  Then, as time goes
on, every bit of information derived from knowing the person,
his/her  problem, and his/her  response to therapy should shape one's
understanding. It's happened to me often enough that later
information has radically changed the picture I built up on the
basis of initial testing. After many years of doing therapy, I see
the wisdom of what my professors were trying to teach us.

Ed Heil wrote:

I don't know if this was the motivation for the structure of the Kiersey
you took, but it strikes me that it might be a factor that angered you

My anger comes from experiencing the results of tests  that label
My biggest trauma, perhaps, was a test I took in 12th grade in high
(which test shall remain nameless). This test, essentially divided the
into "winners" and "losers". I achieved _exactly_ the cutoff score.
A classmate of mine (IMHO the true genius of the school, and _way_
smarter than me) got _one_ point less than me. I was acclaimed a
certified  genius,
opportunities were showered upon me; recruiters from out of state came
offer me a  scholarship to a presigeous university. My classmate, in
was dismissed as certified trash! After all, the great test had said so!

He didn't make the cutoff, did he? As they say, "close" only counts in
 playing horseshoes.
Doors slammed in his face; he suffered a total breakdown (universal
rejection would tend to do that to a person) and he dropped out of
just weeks before graduation; he never did get his high school diploma!
    Now, even though I personally came out ok, it scares me to think
that on any
other given day, our scores, and our lives, could probably have been
I am _angered_ that the world lost the talents of a very bright person!
Who knows what we all would be benefitting from today, if not for
one point on a test and the labelling that resulted!
    One more example, (although I could list many more): Have any of you

ever seen a person with an IQ of zero? I have.  ( :-P  ) A girl I was
had, inter alia, extreme problems relating to people. It took me 6
before she would even respond to me. Once, she was taken (_not_  by
my referral) to another city to a strange (to her) place full of
who put her through a battery of tests (and thoroughly traumatised
She had, so I was informed, shut herself up tighter than a clam.
I saw the report that came back which said nothing about the
in obtaining responses. The result said that the girl had been
tested and (with no response on any subtest) had statistically come out
a definite IQ of zero! We won't dwell here on the IQ I'd assign the
    I guess what I am trying to say is that, being in a therapy field
I am not always satisfied with tests and the uses to which they may be
Especially when applied to personalities of highly creative people, such

as conlangers.

Dan Sulani

 likehsna  rtem  zuv  tikuhnuh  auag  inuvuz  vaka'a.

 A  word  is  an  awesome  thing.