How we think intrigues me greatly. I’m not a huge fan of psychology in the academic sense (I find it rather boring), but I can’t resist Myers-Briggs personality tests.
Within the realm of thinking and perspective, it would be interesting to see how different “types” of people think, and from there, create. As for me, I’m an INTJ (Introverted, iNtuition, Thinking, Judging). This means that I ponder everything, wondering what works, what doesn’t, why, and I do what I know. Reason is key.
I have a rather scientific/mathematical mind for an English major. This probably results in my obsessive need for research; if I don’t know how something worked (at least at a basic level), then I get hung up on the details. I want to know exactly what uniforms looked like, the hierarchy, all of the social aspects, etc.
As a result, I hate to share my work unless it is absolutely perfect; I’m often secretive about the specifics of plots, scenes, characters, etc. Critique groups I avoid. Goals are swell.
I don’t put all of my faith in these tests, but they are fun, and provide interesting insight into oneself.
6 thoughts on “The Way We Think”
I tend to show up as an INTJ on online MBTI quizzes as well, though I sometimes show up as an INTP. I don’t trust them either, since they’re not administered by a trained professional.
I wouldn’t say, however, that you have a mind that’s particularly scientific/mathematical considering that you’ve chosen to major in English. If language (including that bastard mongrel tongue English) did not have an underlying logic, then philology and linguistics would be nothing but mental masturbation.
Besides, would you call it strange that I have computer programming as a day job, but continue to write? Whether I write in English or in C, I’m still hacking. Writers just hack the human imagination, instead of computers.
I took one that was administered by a trained professional (the INTJ response), most of the online ones I’ve taken say I’m an INFJ.
I don’t think it is strange at all that you do computer programming and write! Like you said, “writers just hack the human imagination, instead of computers” (great quote, by the way). Creativity is often spread across many fields. 🙂
I say mathematical/scientific because I like order in the ways I go about things, such as the scientific process or a geometric proof. I like finding patterns in things, like when conjugating verbs in Italian or Spanish (irregular verbs kill me until I can figure out the pattern). And I need to know how things work.
I like things to make sense as well, and get annoyed when they don’t. It makes doing my “duty as a citizen” and paying attention to politics and government a royal pain in the ass, because politics never makes sense unless you look at it as apes in suits flinging poo at each other.
You’re welcome to use that line about hacking the human imagination if you want (not that I could stop you), though it could probably use some refinement. Perhaps something along the lines of, “Programmers hack computers. Writers hack the human imagination. The former makes perfect sense as a day job for the latter.”
I wonder if you’d find it strange that in addition to being a programmer by trade and an amateur writer, I have also been a musician.
I don’t have much respect for these personality tests. I can’t imagine that they can truly gauge the composition of something as vast, deep, ever-changing, inconsistent, and glorious as the human personality. At best, maybe they can generalize, or maybe they can give you a snapshot of a moment in time of your personality (but what if you didn’t sleep well the night before the test? or you ate too much for lunch before hand, or you’d just had a lovers spat?). Regardless, I don’t like the idea of having myself pigeon holed. I this too much self awareness can be dangerous for a creative person.
You might want to look at the blog On Fiction. (Sorry, I don’t have the URL.) It’s about the psychology of fiction, and probably 75% of the posts are way beyond me, but I do occasionally find something interesting there.
Paul, thanks for the suggestion! I’ll do a search for it.
Personalities definitely do change over time, and different aspects are brought out depending on who we are around. I definitely take a shaker of salt with the results; I find some of them to be kind of true (like being a rational thinker) but other aspects of my apparent personality type to be completely false (such as being cold and distant).
Matthew, what did you play? I played the flute and the bagpipes.
I played the viola, bass guitar, and keyboards. However, I gave them up in college. Playing wasn’t making me happy, I was never more than a competent musician, and there was no passion or soul in my music. I was strictly a technician, not a performer.