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Keirsey Temperament Sorter


Briefly, the Jung/Meyers-Briggs/Keirsey personality model comprises four dimensions, and each question attempts to help find your position in one of these dimensions, be it extroversion/introversion (E/I), intuition/sensing (N/S), thinking/feeling (T/F), or judgement/perception (J/P). For details on the meanings of these terms, please see the Keirsey site, especially the page about the dimensions of temperament.

The Test


My Results

INTJ (Rational/Mastermind, I+6 N+8 T+18 J+2).

The Questions

I had problems with a lot of the questions in this test, mostly because I could see more than one way to interpret them. (Which was, no doubt, due to my INTJ-like personality.) When you visit the page, the questions are presented in random order. For ease of commentary, I've grouped the questions functionally, so related questions are near one another.

Keep in mind that I'm not any kind of psychologist or anything... I'm an engineer by upbringing and programmer by profession. What follows are just my personal thoughts and opinions. Further, I'm not judging any of my answers as right or wrong, merely as mine.

That said, here's the test, my choices, and comments:

Extroversion/Introversion (E/I)

This section is made up of ten questions that gauge how introverted or extroverted you are. I found most of the questions very easy to answer, in which case I always landed on the "introverted" side of the fence. The other questions were more difficult, making me want to qualify my answers.

"Hey, I must be introverted..."

At a party do you
     interact with many, including strangers
     interact with a few, known to you
Does new interaction with others
     stimulate and energize you
     tax your reserves
Do you prefer
     many friends with brief contact
     a few friends with longer contact
When the phone rings do you
     hasten to get to it first
     hope someone else will answer
Do you
     speak easily and at length with strangers
     find little to say to strangers
In company do you
     start conversation
     wait to be approached
In phoning do you
     just start talking
     rehearse what you'll say

"It's hard to say..."

In your social groups do you
     keep abreast
     get behind on the news

I'm generally abreast of the news (the extroverted answer), but it's not through any active intent on my part. It would be more accurate to say that I "am kept abreast" of the news rather than that I "keep abreast" of it. But the question doesn't make that distinction, so I have to choose between "semantically inaccurate" and "outright incorrect".

Are you more inclined to be
     easy to approach
     somewhat reserved

My difficulty with this question stems from not being able to distinguish this as an either/or exclusive question. I am inclined to be somewhat reserved in public, which I take to mean that I prefer to be one nameless face among a crowd. (I don't like to do anything to draw attention to myself---again, out in public---and definitely advocate "sit down, you're rocking the boat" behavior.) On the other hand, I don't do anything to try and discourage people from approaching me.

At parties do you
     stay late, with increasing energy
     leave early, with decreased energy

This was actually very easy to answer, but I'm commenting on it because my answer was the extroverted one. I've always been more of a night-owl, so staying (up) late is natural for me. Any parties I go to are thrown by me or my friends, with whom I am much more of an extrovert. If there were a party that I suspected I would want to leave early, I probably wouldn't go in the first place!

Intuition/Sensing (N/S)

Questions in this section were generally difficult for me to answer. For the "do you prefer actual (sensing) or ideal/theoretical (intuition)" questions, my first reaction is to answer "both". Depending on the situation, either can be useful.

An excellent example of this is when I'm programming. If I'm just getting started, it's important to think about what should be, and what can be, not only what is. On the other hand, once I get down to cranking out code, I am---and must be---constrained by the system within which I am working.

The rest of the questions made me want to qualify my answers, again.

"Why can't I say 'both'?"

Are you more intrigued by
In writings do you prefer
     the more literal
     the more figurative
Are you drawn more to
Are you more inclined to be
Do you prize more in yourself a
     good sense of reality
     good imagination
Are you usually more interested in
Are you more drawn to
     substantial information
     credible assumptions
Are you a more
     sensible person
     reflective person
Are you more frequently
     a practical sort of person
     an abstract sort of person
Do you prefer to work with
     practical information
     abstract ideas
Which are you drawn to
     accurate perception
     concept formation
Are you more drawn to
     hard data
     abstruse ideas
Do you feel
     more practical than ingenious
     more ingenious than practical
Are you more interested in
Do you have more fun with
     hands-on experience
     blue sky fantasy

"What do you mean, exactly?"

Traditional common sense is
     usually trustworthy
     often misleading

Maybe I'm just too cynical, but it's my experience that traditional common sense is anything but trustworthy. (Of course, it could just be a case of a few misleading ones standing out in memory, while the trustworthy ones go unnoticed.) Non-traditional common sense---by which I mean "trying to reason things out logically"---is generally trustworthy, as long as your logic is sound, and your assumptions correct.

     speak for themselves
     usually require interpretation

This was a tough call. I actually think that facts speak quite well for themselves, but people tend to misinterpret them. (Probably because they use traditional common sense!) By far the best example of this is statistics. You can "prove" almost anything you want using statistics, but it doesn't necessarily mean anything. There's got to be a great example of this out on the Web somewhere, but I haven't gone looking for one yet.

Do you prefer writers who
     say what they mean
     use lots of analogies

Here's another vote for cynicism... I think that analogies are a great way to explain things, but you have to watch out for implications of the analogy which aren't supported by the facts it's trying to explain. So, while I might understand something much easier when an analogy is used, I know I understand it if it's all there in black and white.

Are you usually more interested in the
     particular instance
     general case

As a programmer, I run screaming from the "particular instance". Okay, perhaps that's a bit extreme. It is true, though, that designs which minimize special cases tend to be better and are certainly more maintainable. There's sort of an Occam's Razor quality to program design, where the simplest design that does what you want is probably the design you should choose.

Children often do not
     make themselves useful enough
     daydream enough

I had to answer this question "on principle" rather than from any direct experience. I don't think children are really supposed to "make themselves useful", so there's no way I can think they don't do it enough. If I had to cope with unhelpful kids a lot I might have chosen the other way, but I don't, so I didn't.

Thinking/Feeling (T/F)

For the most part, I answered these questions "mind over heart", every time. There were many questions where I felt that the two choices weren't mutually exclusive, however.

"I'm ruled by my head..."

Are you inclined to be more
     cool headed
     warm hearted
Are you usually more
     tough minded
     tender hearted
Is it more natural for you to be
     fair to others
     nice to others
Do you tend to be more
In judging are you more likely to be
Are you more comfortable when you are
Are you usually more
Do you consider yourself more
     clear headed
     good willed
Which rules you more:
     your head
     your heart
Are you more inclined to be
Are you more naturally
Are you typically more
     just than lenient
     lenient than just
Are you typically more a person of
     clear reason
     strong feeling
Are you usually more
     fair minded
     kind hearted
Would you rather be
     more just than merciful
     more merciful than just
Are you more
     firm than gentle
     gentle than firm
Which is more satisfying:
     to discuss an issue thoroughly
     to arrive at agreement on an issue
In judging are you usually more
In first approaching others are you more
     impersonal and detached
     personal and engaging

Despite the overwhelming "thinking" response, I don't consider myself to be a cold fish. It's just that when push comes to shove, I trust reason and logic more than my fickle heartstrings. There's even a rationale for it (but of course, there would be): where decisions made based on "feeling" could easily change depending on my mood, the situation, or any other of a number of factors, decisions made based on "thinking" should always end up the same. This consistency appeals to my programmer/scientific "Occam's Razor" aesthetic.

"Whose dictionary are you using?"

Do you value in yourself more that you are

My interpretation of this question would place it in the judgement/perception dimension, rather than here. I read both "unwavering" and "devoted" as "stubborn, in a sense". The difference is that while someone "unwavering" will never change their mind, someone "devoted" will, given sufficient reason. Perhaps my internal connotations for the two terms shade the question in a way that was never intended.

Judgement/Perception (J/P)

I was almost even on this section; changing one "judgement" answer to "perception" would put me right in the middle. Even more than in the intuition/sensing section, I wanted to choose both answers.

"I have to be flexible..."

Do you prefer things to be
     neat and orderly
Do you usually
     settle things
     keep options open
Do you put more value on the
Are you more prone to keep things
     well organized
Are you more prone to
     schedule events
     take things as they come
Is it preferable mostly to
     make sure things are arranged
     just let things happen

I prefer not to be the one who has to arrange things, and am happy to "just let them happen".

"You can count on me..."

Are you usually rather
     quick to agree to a time
     reluctant to agree to a time
Do you prefer to work
     to deadlines
     just "whenever"
Are you a person that is more
Are you usually more

I like to be someone that others can count on, which requires consistency in behavior. Also, being punctual is just one of those things that strikes me as important. It is symbolic of the kind of courteousness that I think ought to commonplace.

Do you tend to be more
     deliberate than spontaneous
     spontaneous than deliberate

Despite being "quick to agree to a time", I still consider myself more deliberate than spontaneous. As I see it, "agreeing to a time" isn't particularly spontaneous, just decisive.

Do you tend to choose
     rather carefully
     somewhat impulsively

Being a "thinking"-type person, I have to put thought into choosing. Just look at all of the thought I put into answering these questions!

Is it more like you to
     make snap judgements
     delay making judgements

"Making snap judgements" sounds too much like "making uninformed judgements" for me to even consider choosing it.

Is it your way more to
     get things settled
     put off settlement
Are you more comfortable
     setting a schedule
     putting things off

I am great at procrastinating.

Does it bother you more having things
Are you more comfortable
     after a decision
     before a decision
Are you more comfortable with
     final statements
     tentative statements

Even though I'm good at procrastinating, having things "incomplete" goes against my work ethic.

Are you more comfortable with
     written agreements
     handshake agreements
Are you more comfortable with work that is
     done on a casual basis

If I'm going to have to rely on someone else for work, or for something that requires even a handshake agreement, I'd rather make it official. That way, everyone is clear about what their responsibilities are.

On the off-chance that you've changed some of the answers, thinking that you might be able to take the test yourself, I'm afraid you're out of luck. Instead, please take the test at the Keirsey site. Although you may agree with my personal opinions on a particular question, you'll probably get more accurate results if you start from a clean sheet, so to speak.

If you did change some of the answers, and want to reset them, go right ahead:



So how accurate is this? Unless you happen to know me personally, it'll be hard for you to judge. There are certainly elements of the temperament description which seem to be right on the mark, but some of them are a bit off. On the whole, however, the description seems pretty accurate.

I had enough difficulty with enough of the questions to make me wonder if I was really interpreting them the way they were supposed to be interpreted. I haven't read Keirsey's book (Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types), and I haven't had any kind of psychological training, so I might well have completely missed the point of some of the questions. On the other hand, I suspect that the test is designed to cope with vagaries like this. For all I know, they may even be the whole point of the test!

If you have any insights on the test you think I should know, please feel free to drop me a line.

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