Eysenck You Very Much

Source:

Cattel and Eysenck: Trait and Factor Theories

“XI. Measuring Personality
[Hans] Eysenck believed that genetic factors were far more important than environmental ones in shaping personality and that personal traits could be measured by standardized personality inventories.”

Eysenck he’s right, but I would like to read more about where he drew the line between these two factors. If a person’s intrinsic personality traits (genetics) are at odds with accepted norms of a given culture (environmental), where do we consider the resiliency of those traits against the social tide? If said person also has the trait of persistence, rebelliousness or at least stubbornness, could these traits “come to the rescue” of other traits?

It would seem to me that we end up needing to consider so many environmental factors in the shaping of personality. However, if genes are the stronger force in ultimately determining an adult personality,  then in any given culture will their be natives to that culture who feel ‘freer’ (the genetic personality is a better match to the cultural values) than ‘constrained’ (an ongoing disharmony between the genetic personality and cultural pressures to conform)?

Given that we accept Eysenck’s statement above, is it not a mystery that genetic personalities come and go, but culture remains? Culture changes, but that change is slow, and people are born and die without seeing considerable change in a culture. Is there not enough variety in possible personalities? I hope you’ll agree that is not the case. Thus the rough-and-dirty conclusion is that the average person does not seek change does not forcefully seek change in his/her culture. Why is that? Is it only to gain or maintain social acceptance?

I’m trying not to confuse ‘self-concept’ with ‘self-expression’, but I find that difficult to do, and I don’t even know if making that distinction leads to any better understanding. So for now, I’m leaving my statements as-is, but I welcome anyone to direct me to a source that could alter my views.

 

Let’s Go the Long Way Around

Yesterday my 5-year-old son explained his experience with the piece of gum I’d given him: “I smashed it with my teeth so many times…” He went on to explain that suddenly all of the flavor disappeared. I’m sorry I can’t recall the exact wording of the rest of the sentence. I was too busy being smitten by his long-way-around description of chewing.

That made me think about our use of words, especially the ones with moderate-to-lengthy definitions. “Chew” does not require a long definition to explain. It’s fairly straightforward. But when you don’t use the word and take the long way around an idea, it has the potential of illuminating the way toward other ideas.

The kind of words that I’m talking about are shortcuts. “Jealous” has to be explained. “Vivacious” as well. Furthermore, many words are loaded with nuances. Instead of vivacious, we could say lively, but those two words each have their own subtle differences, their own character, their own “feel”.

When we describe someone’s personality, when we describe our own personality, we use loaded words. When we use these terms in conversation with others, we use these words in order to spend less time to get the idea in the sentence out, keeping the pace of the conversation up, but we make a bargain in the process – these adjectives, adverbs and idioms don’t always provide any shortcut to understanding or, in the case of your own personality, being understood.

What someone else thinks of when they hear you say “anxious” may not be exactly what you mean of when you use the word. So often we have to further describe: Anxious how? Then you end up performing some kind of corrective measure with an explanation of what you mean by “anxious”. Your “shortcut” is no shortcut after all.

We have art for self-expression. Paintings, dances, novels, sculptures, plays, films, poems, etc. Each work of art comes from someone trying to express something. They are taking the long way around. Although some could argue that working with words is the long way around. It could depend on what you’re trying to express.

Back to personalities, telling someone what you see in your own personality may be best served by taking the time to avoid terms that might trigger a mental image or response that you don’t intend. It will require more care before speaking, and a bit more time to finish a thought, but being as close to perfectly understood from the start is far better than having to repair what you said in haste.

Your Possible Selves Want to Talk With You

If I watch myself on tape, I’m not only viewing with my self-concept in mind, I’m comparing “me” to my “possible selves,” the “me’s” I wish to become. Here is where an unbridgeable gap opens up between people: I will never have a sense of anyone else’s possible selves, nor they mine.

via Metaperceptions: How Do You See Yourself? | Psychology Today

Ever seen Defending Your Life? It’s pretty good. The part where they go to the Past Lives Pavilion and get to see who they once were and how they lived in past lives is the part I’m latching onto here. Those were other selves, weren’t they? Other me’s, he’s and she’s?

If we could have a Possible Selves Pavillion, we could each watch what we could have been (or are, if you’re game for the concurrent alternative reality concept) and at the very least see your potential on display. Could be depressing, could be inspiring. There’s no reason you couldn’t aspire to what you consider the best of your selves.

Ooooh, what if you could carry on conversations with your possible selves? Then they could tell you their alternate-reality stories, and you’ll get to know what they’ve been through and what worked for “them” (namely, you). You would benefit from your (their?) experience.

You and the possible you’s could work as a team for the benefit of all of you’s (that sounds kinda mafia).

And what if in said Possible Selves Pavilion others could view your possible selves? Wouldn’t they get a more well-rounded idea of who you are? This is what the author quoted above is lamenting about, and there is something of a solution for now, though not nearly as cool as what I’ve been talking about.

Here’s the solution: share more of yourself. Let people get to know you in as many different ways as you can. Even those silly online quizzes of “Which color do you gravitate to?” and “Which dog breed are you?”, “Which Star Wars character shares your worldview?” are valuable for your Facebook friends to reconsider another take on their impression of you. If there isn’t already, there ought to be a website where all of those results from personality tests and less serious quizzes end up in one place. Then your “friends” can get a better look at you. It’s not just based on chance experience.

When you consider any given moment of your HPA Axis, and the way the world went down those nights when you went out with your friends (plus whatever was going on with them), you have to admit that soul-connection moments are fewer and further between than you might prefer.

You need to make up for what a roll of the dice didn’t deliver, and that’s by being a little more insistent on getting people to see you in new lights. Of course, it’s up to you to be as jarringly honest about yourself as you can. And that’s not easy to get right, even if you’re willing.

The great thing about writing is that you can hammer it out, put it under your bed, and read it in the morning to see if you still agree. If not, make changes. Then sleep on it again. Eventually you’ll feel good enough about it to let it be. But before that happens, let it go. Throw it into the public for all to see. Maybe there’ll be something in it that you didn’t mean to divulge, but is nonetheless true of you. (See my post on the Johari Window for a decent explanation of the value of this.)

Baring yourself is scary (trust me, I feel it in a very real way). But baring yourself is good for your soul, no matter the outcome. You can be proud of yourself for taking the chance. Beyond that, you can royally complicate your life, but that’s just part of the fun! C’mon, what are ya, a Scorpio? Don’t you want to find out who can withstand your true self (true friends) versus who would turn away from you (fake “friends”)? Weed them out. You’ll save yourself a lot of time, energy and heartache.

I had to get rid of a friend that I’d had for over 25 years. It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad I did it myself instead of tolerating that person and maybe suffering worse. I came out the winner. Some people just won’t value you the way that you deserve to.

Idiosynchronicity

The top line: You probably do know what people think of you

But it’s likely you don’t know any one person’s assessment. “We have a fairly stable view of ourselves,” says Bella DePaulo, visiting professor of psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. “We expect other people to see that same view immediately.” And they do. On average there is consensus about how you come off. But you can’t apply that knowledge to any one individual, for a variety of reasons.

For starters, each person has an idiosyncratic way of sizing up others that (like metaperceptions themselves) is governed by her own self-concept. A person you meet will assess you through her unique lens, which lends consistency to her views on others. Some people, for example, are “likers” who perceive nearly everyone as good-natured and smart.

via Metaperceptions: How Do You See Yourself? | Psychology Today

I dunno. My view of myself seems deeply influenced by my mood, but if that’s what she thinks is within the realm of “fairly stable”, I guess I’ll go along with it.

I asked my wife if I seem like a nervous person. She said no. I was surprised. I told her that a lot of times I feel like a nervous wreck, and then she was surprised. She assured me that I don’t come off that way. I believe her when she says that. I’d know if she were only trying to make me feel better, because I know her so well.

I do agree with the above statement that we each have “an idiosyncratic way of sizing up others” according to our self-concept. People expect me to hold opinions of them that are not what I caught on to when I met them. Then I wonder what kind of face I was making when I met them. I was probably aloof, off in my own head, trying to think of something clever due to my ridiculous desire to say something funny to make them laugh, because that’s what I think will have the best chance of making them like me and not think I’m boring.

If I get to know them well enough, we’ll probably agree. Or at least I will have addressed the disparity in their expectations and the actual outcome of what kind of person I believe they are.

Integrity, Anyone?

As an infant scans his mother’s face he absorbs clues to who he is; as adults we continue to search for our reflections in others’ eyes. While the parent-child bond is not necessarily destiny, it does take quite a bit to alter self-concepts forged in childhood, whether good or bad. People rely on others’ impressions to nurture their views about themselves, says William Swann, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, Austin. His research shows that people with negative self-concepts goad others to evaluate them harshly, especially if they suspect the person likes them—they would rather be right than be admired.

via Metaperceptions: How Do You See Yourself? | Psychology Today

If you don’t mind, read that last sentence again for me. Does this explain assholes? I’ve been puzzling this out for years and years, and this is the best explanation I have heard. Another way to say it, without putting words in the mouth of the author, is that because people who have negative self-concepts may also value being true to themselves, “being right” and being awful is being a real person, and being admired is “selling out”. It’s a matter of pride to show resistance to mass pressure. I can understand non-assholes having a tough time understanding that someone’s idea of a better choice is to be a worser person, but that’s the topsy-turvy logic of someone who feels like their existence is not a benefit to the world, and yet still has a shred of integrity.

In order to change such a mentality, one would need to admit how wrong one got it, come back to human and face the fact that they’re not so smart after all. In effect, they’d have to take back all they’ve said and done in the name of showing their contempt for themselves and for the lack of understanding they’ve received from others. They’d have to abandon the sinister vines they’ve wholeheartedly nurtured in the garden of pride and defense.

When we talk of someone’s idea of conviction and standing their own ground, it is hard to give up and change, no matter who you are, or in which direction.

In cyberspace, no one can hear you laugh.

via Metaperceptions: How Do You See Yourself? | Psychology Today

I really enjoyed the article linked above. Truly fascinating, and it gives anyone plenty to talk about. Print it and bust this out at your next gathering. Guaranteed to weird some people out, bum out a few more, encourage accusations. People’s heads will hurt. There’s a chance you won’t be invited back. You should definitely do this.

from the article:

“…”metaperceptions” – the ideas we have about others’ ideas about us.”

I don’t know what you’ll think of me for saying this, but my unfortunate preoccupation is in trying to figure out what others think of me. I was always an individualist, always trying to be independent of the influence of others. I end up, against my will, falling into the typical Aries hypocrite. I’m eccentric in my own special way, and fiercely proud of it. I might as well be proud of it because I’m no good at putting on an act. Besides, acting all day long, every day in real life is self-torture. If everybody would just be their own weird selves, we’d all get used to it and no one would get to call anyone else weird without in turn also being called a hypocrite.

However, I do hide quite a bit of myself. I don’t do it for a conscious reason, and I wish that I didn’t.

Try as I have, I can’t shake the worry that I’ve misrepresented myself and caused a reaction in someone else that I didn’t want or intend. I’ve always been socially awkward, so I’ve been stung by this situation many times. People treating me in a manner befitting someone else’s personality, someone I don’t recognize…it’s troubling. And you don’t always get a decent chance to remedy a false impression.

“Your ideas about what others think of you hinge on your self-concept—your own beliefs about who you are. “You filter the cues that you get from others through your self-concept,” explains Mark Leary, professor of psychology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.”

This is one of the reasons why I learned to be funny in conversation: When people laugh at your witticism, they display (and announce) approval of you for having told the joke. And if they know I made it up myself, then that’s approval of me. My sense of humor is deeply personal. I get as much of a thrill out of a witty comment (pride, the good kind) as the person who laughed. I imagine some of their synapses firing, making a connection that wasn’t there before. With certain people, I imagine it as a spark in their mind, a case of me bringing light into an otherwise dark and dreary place.

Writing a blog is a different animal. If I make you laugh, I don’t get to hear it. I don’t get to see it. Unless you communicate to me in comments, I won’t know. My point is, at least at the moment it seems like I’m performing for the void, sending signals into space. I don’t know if there will be any feedback. There is no metaperception to be had. Just gotta have faith that my message in a bottle comes back with a new note inside.

In yesterday’s post, I introduced the concept of the Johari Window. This article has much to do with two panes of the window – the one known as the “Blind Spot”, and the other, (un)known as the “Unknown”. Check it out, yo!

Watch Yourself Through a Johari Window

via Johari Window – take the test online

Above is a link to a site by Kevan Davis that allows you and your chosen friends to participate in the creation of a Johari Window all about you. On the same site, here’s the link for the “Nohari Window” – even better!

Nohari

A Johari Window is a model of the self that can help people take a step closer to self-awareness. It is food for thought, but powerful enough to be its own buffet – it has the potential to bring up a cornucopia of questions, but will leave you starving to know more about yourself.

The “Window” is simply four panes, drawn simply as a square cut into fourths. Even Americans can do that for themselves.

The upper left pane is the “Arena”: the you that you see in yourself, and that others can see as well. Show-off.

The lower left pane is the “Facade”: the you that you see in yourself, but that others cannot see. You big fraud.

The upper right pane is the “Blind Spot”: the you that you are in denial of or cannot see, but others see clearly. (I think this is the one that worries me the most.)

The lower right pane is the “Unknown”: neither you or anyone else can see this part of you. How exciting! The you we never knew.

I said in my last post that personality tests should aspire to more than being a reflection of your opinion of yourself. You and I both know too many people with a skewed impression of themselves to take any stock in that. You might want to know what Kanye West scored on his test, but it’s not like it will change your opinion of him. If there were a way to allow others who know you well to contribute, the tests can be much more meaningful. Anything to protect you from handing your money over to Tony Robbins.

Though technically you could simply ask loved ones to take a personality test with you in mind, with how they see you, it’s not clean and easy (even worse than your facade to them muddies the results). I haven’t been introduced to a test that is designed for the input of others, save the one linked at the top of the post. (I don’t know so much yet, so I’m hoping I get to edit this post when (if) I find one.) (I want you to pay for your crimes.)

Ye Olde Myers-Briggs

via MBTIonline.com | The Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Currently one of the most well-known personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. I’m not trying to disparage it by saying that the last time I took this test I came out a four-way tie. That’s not really their fault, that’s the story of my life. Allow me this aside:

My astrology chart is fairly well-balanced around the wheel, which for me means that I’m pulled in different directions at once. I’m some of this, but also that, and I land in an in-between place that is neither here nor there. I’d make a horrible Nazi. That’s part of why I’m attracted to the subject of personality: I appreciate the peculiar and often humorous traits of others, but I also need to – you guessed it – get a grip on myself. But a couple jots better than Britney Spears does.

If you hear anyone talk of being a personality type and rattling off four letters that are unpronounceable together, that person may have taken the Myers-Briggs (or another test based on the same/similar concept, such as 16 Personalities. Both were launched from the work of Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, who, in his 1921 book Psychological Types, laid the conceptual groundwork these tests stand upon).

16 Personalitites.com

I think of myself as an INTJ (Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging) type, or as 16 Personalities puts it, an “Architect”. Yet again, in their test, I came out nearly a 4-way tie (though technically a 2-way tie).

I think these tests are wonderful, and everyone should take them. Take all personality tests, for that matter. There is no real harm. But what does eat at me is that they are only asking me about me. My perception of myself, no matter how honest I think I’m being, is most likely skewed.

Were these tests handed to friends (let’s do it) and family (shudder), I expect the results would be different. I think me next post will be about the Johari window, and how best to clean it.

Relatability

I know individuals who are “outspoken” by voicing opinions and displaying traits that go against the “regional” average personality, crossing the line of what’s socially acceptable where they live. Let’s say that one of these individuals lived in the same town his whole life, until he takes a very extensive trip around the world, lives in various place and gets to know people in a number of different cultures. Years later he returns to the town he originally lived. He now can see the difference between his hometown’s culture and other cultures. If most of the other cultures he exposed himself to tolerated his personality easily, does he readjust his perception of himself? Does he turn a critical eye toward his hometown? I sure hope so. I wonder what Dolly Parton’s take is on this.

The way you describe your personality traits is in relation to a perceived average, how you describe the “average person”. I only say this to acknowledge it, the subjectivity of it, or better yet the subjective idea of objectivity of it. Are you following me so far?

There’s a lot I’m not accounting for here, or at least haven’t addressed yet, such as the difference or relationship between behavior and the personality, or Woody Allen. Think of going out with your girlfriend when she feels like she’s got something to prove, and the disaster she half-calculated it would be.

In my hypothetical individual and his hypothetical trip abroad, he’s living in comfort, the places he lives are in stable condition without turmoil or desperation. The economy is good, it was before the 2016 election, there was a sense of relative stability. That’s not reality now, but I need something to hold still long enough for us to look at it under a magnifying glass.

So is there an objective human personality? Some standard we can compare ourselves against? George Clooney, even? I hope that in my research I find someone who can argue that there is or isn’t such a thing, one way or the other. I don’t mind being proven wrong, as long as it’s proven in the real world, not Fox News “proven”.