Saturday, February 27, 2010

Guest Post: The New Personality Self Portrait (Corin from

It's so exciting! Today we have a guest post by Corin from @infpblog. If you haven't had a chance to read his blog about living as (or living with) an INFP please go check it out.

The New Personality Self Portrait
by Corin

I love the Myers-Briggs. I think it's a behavioral preference test not a personality test. On the Myers-Briggs, I'm an INFP which basically says I'm idealistic. However, the letters INFP can't tell anyone what I'm idealistic about. The MBTI doesn't determine values, interests, priorities or what kind of movies I like. For that, I prefer the New Personality Self-Portrait by John M. Oldham and Lois B. Morris

What is the Personality Self-Portrait

The PSP test consists of 107 questions with Yes-No-Maybe answers. You answer Yes if the entire question is true. You answer No if none of it is true. You answer maybe if the question is partly true or if the answer is true sometimes and not others.

For example, one of the questions is: "I typically get into very intense relationships, and I usually find my feelings about the other person change from one extreme to another. Sometimes I almost worship, and other times I can't stand, the person I'm involved with." If it's all true, you answer Yes. If you get into intense relationships but don't move from extremes then it's a Maybe.

The Personality Self-Portrait is based off the Official Book of Crazy, otherwise known as the DSM-IV, The Diagnostic Statistics Manual. Psychologists use the manual to diagnose various psychological disorders. According the DSM-IV, there are 14 personality disorders. The Personality Self-Portrait posits the existence of 14 orders for each disorder, 14 personality styles that are not so excessive as to be categorized as a disorder.

The Personality Styles are:

Vigilant, Solitary, Idiosyncratic, Adventurous, Mercurial, Dramatic, Self-Confident, Sensitive, Devoted, Conscientious, Leisurely, Aggressive, Self-sacrificing, Serious

A personality is not one style. The test score is a line graph of how a person is in every style. Most people have 2 or 3 styles that are the highest, 2 or 3 that are the lowest and everything else is mid-range. Occasionally, I've encountered people with one Style that is very dominant, though I haven't seen that many out of the 100 or so tests I've interpreted.

Unlike the Myers-Briggs which types a person into 16 behavioral preferences, the PSP has 52,623,240,685,682,700 possible combinations.

What My Scores Mean

I'll give a brief overview of my scores.

I interpret the test by looking at the highest and lowest scores. My highest are Idiosyncratic and Adventurous. Adventurous means I take risks. When I was younger, it use to be physical risks, usually involving sports with high chances of injury. Now the risks are more personal like career and self-development. Idiosyncratic tells you that instead of normal risky activities like skiing. I took more unconventional risks which translated as rock climbing and martial arts. These days my unconventional risks involve business ideas.

My lowest styles are Dramatic and Serious. They are exactly like they sounds. I don't take life too seriously and since I'm zero in the Dramatic, I don't make things out to be bigger than they are to add drama to my life. I don't mind my life "boring". I think life is interesting enough without complicating it by reading too much into people and situations.

When looking at the middle scores, the most important thing I note is what has changed and what remains the same. I've always been low on the Vigilant. I let people into my life easily. I share details about my life. I don't make them jump through hoops to prove they're trustworthy like highly Vigilant people.

My Self-Confident has gone up which is to be expected as you get older if you set goals and accomplished them. My Conscientious has gone down because now that I have kids, Work isn't a priority. My Devoted has gone up. That's due to kids also. Highly Devoted people dedicate
their life to those close to them. Your life is their life. When it was just my wife and me, I was supportive but not doting. We had completely separate goals for our lives as well as goals together. Now that we have kids, my life has become much more about them so my Devoted has gone up.

What's interesting to me is that my Solitary has gone up. Before kids, I went out a lot. Now I limit it to once a week. Since the children are a constant whenever they're awake, I like to spend more of my time alone after everyone is in bed.

What the PSP Can Tell You

The Personality Self-Portrait measures things the Myers-Briggs doesn't. If you're high on the Devoted, stay away from people who are highly Aggressive or they'll take advantage of you and any relationship will be one way.

If you're highly Conscientious and low Solitary, make sure your job lets you work with people. If you're high Leisurely and high Self-Confident and low Conscientious, find yourself a sugar
mommy/daddy. If you're high Idiosyncratic and low Sensitive, stay away from high Vigilant people who will box in your free-spirit by wanting to know your whereabouts every second of the day.

I've interpreted around 100 PSP tests in the last 15 years trying to correlate scores with the Myers- Briggs. What I find is that the PSP gives me personality, while the MBTI gives me the default behaviors inside that personality. The Personality Self-Portrait has some holes because it doesn't explain the why. Why am I high Adventurous and not high Leisurely? I know the answer. For anyone else to know requires a conversation not a test.

Tests tell you What, but the Whys make people unique. There's no Yes-No-Maybe test that will tell you a person's Whys.

1 comment:

  1. This is very well written and concise. Thank you for sharing. Do you know if blank question pages are available on line? I made the mistake of writing on mine and would like to let other people take the test from my book.