Myers Briggs and Keirsey Personality Tests in Dissociative Identity Disorder

Myers Briggs Type Indicator and Keirsey Temperaments are two different personality questionnaires to help people understand themselves and to assess psychological differences. I had struggled taking the Myers Briggs before my diagnosis (“This test sucks – I feel two ways about MOST of these questions!”). After my DX, I wondered if different personalities in DID have different types, so I decided to test it out. Survey says, Yup!

Quickie intro into Myers Briggs Type Indicator

There are four main characteristics, each with a dichotomy or “bipolar factors” (not to be confused with Bipolar Disorder!) based on theories by Carl Jung, making 16 possible combinations. They address how you acquire information, how you view the world, how you make decisions, and how you live your outer life. From the Myers Briggs website, these four bipolar factors are:

Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I). (My instructor clarified that this is not whether you are introverted or extroverted as a personality type, but how you “recharge” your batteries – are you more solitary or do you party more to de-stress? This is a common misconception with this factor.)

Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in (from your 5 senses) or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning (based on hunches, adding other information, considering future possibilities)? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).

Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).

Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

These four factors are further grouped into perceiving/information gathering (Sensing and Intuition) and decision-making (Thinking and Feeling). The factors represent “preference” during normal activities rather than actual ability.

So you end up with type indicator that has four letters, e.g., INTP. This website provides a description of the 16 types or “descriptions” along the left side – click each and learn a boatload. [MetaRasa] This website provides a nice overview of the four main characteristics and learning styles of each. [Brightman]

My past experience with Myers Briggs

I took the Myers Briggs type indicator a few years ago – the full test that you have to pay for. When it came back, I was classified as INTP (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perceiving) – the analytical, logical person who is more interested in ideas than social interaction. Quiet, intuitive intense problem solver; thinker. Overall, sounds like my life at the time, and actually, a large percentage of my life as an adult.

But looking at the raw results, I could see that I was only weakly strong on any of those bipolar categories. For example, consider the “Information” category (Sensing vs. Intuition to gather information). My final result looked something like this:

I was classified as Intuition, but I wasn’t strongly either one…kind of in the middle. Hmmm.

The results also contained information about the individual answers – my answers were distributed like this in this chart – many strongly indicated a sensing personality and most of the others strongly indicated intuition. Not much in the middle. A bimodal distribution, not a centered Gaussian normal one!

Turns out that all of the four Myers Briggs categories were bimodal distributions like this one. So the AVERAGE of all these answers put me near the middle of the road between the extremes (see 47% Sensing vs. 53% Intuition above), and I was weakly classified one way or the other depending on where the average happened to fall.

Why the heck am I so “middle of the road?” I am a STRONG personality in many regards!

I hated that test – I felt like I was being pulled in two directions – I’d feel very strongly one way, and then very strongly the other way. I have always felt like this, and I just chalked that up to me playing Devil’s advocate. I go back and forth on both sides of an issue, and many times cannot make up my mind. That is reflected in the bimodal distribution.

Heh heh. But NOW I understand what was REALLY going on! I took that test with a bunch of technical types who were trying to learn emotional intelligence and how to be good leaders. My engineer and my nurturing communicator were arguing through that whole test!

But last year when I suspected that being a multiple was the reason for this strange dichotomous behavior on this test, I/we RETOOK the test several times to see where the REAL scores lay with each of us!

Now, I can’t MAKE all parts of me come to the table. But a few did, and we tried to extrapolate for some of the others. Interestingly, NONE of me individually are INTP!

I don’t think it is illustrative to present the 4-letter types for each of me. Instead, the 16 different types are categorized into 4 groups or temperaments, and these are easier to understand and compare. So let’s talk a bit about those now.

Myers Briggs and Keirsey Temperaments

One way to look at broader categories is to consider the four Keirsey Temperaments and four supersets of the Myers Briggs. While they seem at first glance to align very well, there is a difference in relative importance between the two. But the difference is really beyond this article – Wikipedia actually does a decent job of describing Keirsey and Myers Briggs, and a comparison of the two is shown here.

For now, let’s just use the basic descriptors to paint some broad strokes. I’ll introduce Keirsey and then show how Myers Briggs and Keirsey are related below.

The four Keirsey temperaments

Artisans are observant and pragmatic. Variants: Composers, Crafters, Performers, and Promoters. Greatest strength is tactical variation, and they excel at expediting or improvising.

Guardians are observant and cooperative. Variants: Protectors, Inspectors, Supervisors, and Providers. They seek membership/belonging and are concerned with responsibility and duty. They excel at logistical intelligence, organizing, facilitating, checking, and supporting.

Idealists are introspective and cooperative. Variants: Healers, Counselors, Champions and Teachers. They seek meaning and significance and are concerned with finding their own unique identity. They excel at diplomatic intelligence, clarifying, unifying, individualizing, and inspiring.

Rationals are introspective and pragmatic. Variants: Architects, Masterminds, Inventors and Field marshals. They seek mastery, and self-control and are concerned with their own knowledge and competence. They excel strategic intelligence, any kind of logical investigation such as engineering, conceptualizing, theorizing, and coordinating.

Myers Briggs and Keirsey

This table compares the Myers Briggs and the Keirsey Temperaments. The overlap is pretty apparent.

Myers Briggs Keirsey Temperatments
SP – sensory perception – Tactical Artisans – observant/pragmatic
NF – intuitive feeling – Diplomatic Idealist – introspective/cooperative
SJ – sensory judgment – Guardians Guardian – observant/cooperative
NT – intuitive thinking – Strategic Rationals – introspective/pragmatic

After I retook the test several times (and in several sittings!), I listed the parts of me according to these types. Currently there are many of me. (And some times I am not sure who I am, but that is another story.)

NT: (Rationals – strategic): None

NF: (Idealist): The happy social one who knows no trauma, the nurturer/teacher, the artist

SJ: (Guardian – logistics, protecting, seeking security): Both girls who took the trauma

SP: (Artisan – tactical): The center “presenting” personality, the engineer and the tomboy protector.

It is pretty clear the three parts of me who are classified as Idealists – the parts of me who are not aware of the trauma or who do not concern themselves with the trauma…they seek meaning in life, unifying and inspiring others. Yup!

There are two girls in me who took the trauma – the birth child and an older girl who carries the rage. They are Guardians. While they both obviously seek security, I was confused why they would be guardians, but then I realized that they were created to protect the little girl in me (who was not around when I did this experiment, so she is not listed).

Artisan – tactical includes several of us – obviously the technical engineer and center, but also the tomboy protector. At first, I was confused why my tomboy protector was not in the “protector” category, but in thinking about her, she is really more tactical and pragmatic, having been created to lead the birth child back to safety when she ran.

So it all magically makes sense!

So what?

This whole exercise was kinda neat. Finally understanding the frustration I had taking the test several years ago. But remember, it is just a type indicator and not a mechanism to pigeon hole you.

Carl Jung said, “every individual is an exception to the rule.”

These types can help you understand your personality and explore your identity. They do not imply that your type determines what you are good and what you are not good at. Everyone is unique. These types can be wrong, and should not be used to make major decisions, for judging other people, or for hiring purposes. [Team Technology]

But, my changing results are interesting. When I took the test as a singleton years ago (and struggled with it mightily), I was classified as an NT Rational in a strategic role…A good place for an engineer with people skills to be. But interestingly, NONE of the individual parts of me is an NT….we had to MAKE an NT by putting us all together!

And NOW when the main part of me who presents (heh heh, the “presenting personality”) takes the test, she is an ISTP – the tactical one. That makes sense as well – the integrator who has to take input from all and put everything into action.

The final test will be when I am integrated (if that ever happens). Who the heck will I be, and what personality type will we all merge together as?

Personality Tests and DID

I searched the web for any references to personality test results for different alters in DID. I found nothing, except a blog entry by Faith Allen. She reported here that her Myers Briggs results changed after she integrated.

I scored very high in being detail-oriented and very low in having a global view. Since integration, my global view ability has skyrocketed. I am still good with the details but not to the detriment of being able to see the bigger picture.

If you find anything else, please let me know. I think this is fascinating for fun and interest rather than for serious diagnostic evaluation.

We are cautioned that personality tests are not very relevant for psychological analysis, and are considered more for “entertainment” value. [Richmond] So consider me entertained!

Taking the test

The full Myers Briggs is not free – costs about $100 with a decent interpretation. The Myers Briggs website provides these options for taking the full test. They stress that the results need to be interpreted and explored with a qualified practitioner – this did help me understand the assessment the first time I took it. Another popular site is here.

There are a few places on the web that have stripped down versions of the test, or other tests which can be “translated” into Myers Briggs results, such as the MMDI Questionnaire. After you answer the questions, you submit them and then have them converted. The results page (sample shown here) gives you a percentage fit for all 16 categories, which is pretty cool. MyPersonality.Info also has tests.

The Similar Minds website has a BUNCH of different tests to play around with.

Here is a humorous interpretation of the Myers Briggs personality types, recast for use in today’s world. INTP: The Egghead, ENTJ: The Evil Overlord, ENFJ: The Cult Leader, etc. I had some fun here!

References

Brightman HJ. (2006). GSU Master Teacher Program: On Learning Styles, Georgia State University, accessed from http://www2.gsu.edu/~dschjb/wwwmbti.html

Flynn T. (???). Personality Tests, accessed from http://similarminds.com/

Keirsey Temperament versus Myers-Briggs Types (2005). Accessed from http://users.viawest.net/~keirsey/difference.html, Prometheus Nemesis Book Company.

MetaRasa (???). MMDI personality questionnaire and personality type descriptions, accessed from http://www.metarasa.com/resources/

Richmond RL. (2007). A Guide to Psychology and its Practice, accessed from http://www.guidetopsychology.com/mpd.htm#4

Team Technology (???). MMDITM ‘Basic Report’, accessed from http://www.metarasa.com/resources/mmdi-report/

Advertisements

8 Comments»

  ken wrote @

“Why the heck am I so middle of the road?” In almost every case it is because you are using one of your “least” instinctively preferred psychological functions allot…and this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is back to the old analogy of bing right handed or left handed in instinctive preference. If one is right handed but uses their left hand a great deal (for whatever reasons) they will feel more comfortable with their left hand. It is like that with personality type It appears that you are a “Intuit” (as am I, ‘INFJ) but your are using “Sensing” a very great deal..that is just fine and very healthy (usually) and balanced. It becomes unhealthy when we use a less preferred function too much…and that is different for everyone but can become extreme.
All the best!
Ken

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

Ken

Thanks for the comment. What you said makes sense in a strange way for multiples. The idea that using a “less preferred” function is unhealthy struck me wrong at first. I thought, “Well hey, the distribution of my answers is due to different parts of me expressing themselves, and each has different preferred psychological functions.” So this is NOT unhealthy for multiples.” But if we take it one step further, that being a multiple is in some ways “unhealthy”, then your argument works.

I just have to decide if multiplicity – having different personalities with distinctly different traits, skills, wants and needs – is inherently unhealthy. As someone said, “It is a very sane reaction to something that would otherwise cause insanity.” But perhaps over time, untreated, if the dichotomy of responses on something like a Myers Briggs still has this bimodal distribution, it could suggest that integration would be a healthier alternative to the current splits.

Interesting thought experiment. Thanks for the opportunity to ponder on this one a bit.

  Secret Shadows wrote @

I scored very similarly as well. The college I went to gave us the Meyers Briggs as Freshman. The idea was that as we understood ourselves more, it would help in planning for majors/careers. I scared as an ENFP, which is Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceptual, but I was barely an E according to that test, strongly N and F, but just slightly tipped on the P side. I took it another time and scored an INTJ. Go figure. The Intuitive piece was the only piece that stuck.

In graduate school, I took another test, and for the life of me I can’t remember what it was called. If I remember I will come back and write the name here, but it classified people as Concrete or Abstract, and Sequestial or Random. So, one could be CS (Concrete Sequential), or CR (Concrete Random), AS (Abstract Sequential), or AR (Abstract Random). I took the test and I was Equally Concrete as Abstract, but mostly Random, so I was considered to be CR and AR equally. No one else had that. Everyone else was pretty much strongly one thing or another. It is interesting. It would be interesting to test a large group of people that have DD and see. Do you know if there is an online version for any of these tests?? We could sort of do our own mock study and see. I know there’s one in the book Please Understand Me. Would be interesting to note how many of us are straddling multiple personality types.

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

Interesting idea – to see how we all score.

In Please Understand Me (by David Keirsey, the tests used are Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI), andThe Keirsey Temperament Sorter. I list the links for a few in the post.

As for the test you mentioned, it is called the Dr. Gregorc’s Mind-Styles™ model (http://gregorc.com/)

Here is a blurb about it from a website that has a good description of the different classifiers:

“”The Gregorc model is a cognitive model designed to reveal two types of abilities, perception and ordering. Perceptual abilities, the means through which information is grasped, translate into two qualities: abstractness and concreteness. Ordering abilities are the ways the learner organizes information, either sequentially (linearly) or randomly (non-linearly). Gregorc couples these qualities to form four learning categories: concrete/sequential (CS), abstract/sequential (AS), abstract/random (AR), and concrete/random (CR).” (http://www.floatingneutrinos.com/Message/arcs/links_on_abstractrandom.htm)

Here is an online version of the test:
http://www.thelearningweb.net/personalthink.html

Hmmm – if people are interested, we could do one of these tests.

Em

  davidrochester wrote @

This was so very interesting … I have always scored as an off-the-charts INTJ, which is, actually, the personality of me and two of my alters. I have often had the experience, when taking this test, of inward dissent from other voices, but they so seldom appear to interact with the world that I decided to ignore them.

Which is pretty symptomatic of why I’m having such a lot of trouble with integration, generally speaking. Hmmmmm.

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

“Inward dissent” – great descriptor!

Decided to ignore…hmm. I think for me, I don’t really ignore, but the input either isn’t there or isn’t strong. Other than the ever present “this test is really stupid.”

Integration trouble…not sure these are the same things. I think/hope after integration that there are still different feelings about things, but perhaps more cooperation in expressing them.

But I don’t think that will ever result in making it easier to take these types of tests!

Em

  Secret Shadows wrote @

That’s right!! Gregorc’s Mind Styles!!!! 🙂

[…] Believing the first 4/6 of the Dissociative Spectrum, but not the rest • Myers Briggs and Keirsey Personality Tests in Dissociative Identity Disorder • Why do we […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s