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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    I think it's deeper than that. To dismantle the false dichotomies of MBTI (which perhaps ironically, a trait-based theory like FFM which maps closely onto MBTI does best) is to abolish "type" as a concept with any predictive validity or pretty much any meaning at all...
    Bipartitism? Well. The dichotomies may indeed be false, but I think that is a moot point if trait and trait-culster theories (which a "type" theory like MBTI is being formulated as) are, as a whole, based on a house of cards. The simple idea that a person "has" a personality trait in the same way that object has a particular property needs quite a bit of validity.

    Like Davenport's paper was making out, trait based theories (he didn't include FFM, but it shares almost all the failings of the three theories he mentioned), give an impression of a "period table" as pertaining to personality.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #52
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Bipartitism? Well. The dichotomies may indeed be false, but I think that is a moot point if trait and trait-culster theories (which a "type" theory like MBTI is being formulated as) are, as a whole, based on a house of cards. The simple idea that a person "has" a personality trait in the same way that object has a particular property needs quite a bit of validity.

    Like Davenport's paper was making out, trait based theories (he didn't include FFM, but it shares almost all the failings of the three theories he mentioned), give an impression of a "period table" as pertaining to personality.
    You don't have to throw out trait-theories to demolish MBTI though. That's the point.
    Because if we are simply measuring traits (albeit an arbitrary, non-definitive list), "types" disappear.

    Questionnaires which force a choice between "opposites" which aren't actually opposites (non-dichotomous) must perforce, produce spurious results. Questionnaires which arbitrarily select a mid-point to determine whether a person is introvert or extrovert, sensor or intuitive are entirely misleading.
    Introversion exists, so does extraversion. But only 16%* of the population is accurately one of these "types", the vast majority are ambiverts. Same on every other scale. Normal distributions across the board. The similarities between people far exceed the differences. But 2 million people a year aren't going to pay to hear that they aren't special snowflakes. There's no money in telling someone "hey, congratulations, XXXX, you're basically normal". It's a racket.

    *according to Eysenck
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  3. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    You don't have to throw out trait-theories to demolish MBTI though. That's the point.
    Because if we are simply measuring traits (albeit an arbitrary, non-definitive list), "types" disappear.

    Questionnaires which force a choice between "opposites" which aren't actually opposites (non-dichotomous) must perforce, produce spurious results. Questionnaires which arbitrarily select a mid-point to determine whether a person is introvert or extrovert, sensor or intuitive are entirely misleading.
    Introversion exists, so does extraversion. But only 16%* of the population is accurately one of these "types", the vast majority are ambiverts. Same on every other scale. Normal distributions across the board. The similarities between people far exceed the differences. But 2 million people a year aren't going to pay to hear that they aren't special snowflakes. There's no money in telling someone "hey, congratulations, XXXX, you're basically normal". It's a racket.

    *according to Eysenck
    Yes. I realize what yo are saying.

    There are two additional points I was trying to make:
    1) Trait based theories could just as well be bunk. True we can have traits without "trait clusters" to some extent, but the fact that factor analysis based on the lexical hypothesis leads to five factors, and that these factors are based on descriptors, may indicate nothing about personalities, and only illustrate how descriptions of people through traits correlate to each other on average. IOW, FFM could be a theory of human language with an add-on of how a particular person can be described, rather than human nature and the nature of the person herself/himself.
    2) Perhaps the more subtle point, is how questionnaires are designed.
    a) I am sure you are aware, that averaging/summing independent measurements of any random variable tends to produce a Gaussian distribution of some sort. If X is a uniform random variable, the sum or average of measurements of X will produce a more Gaussian distribution. If Y is a bi-modal distribution, the sum or average of measurements of Y will produce a more Gaussian distribution. Thus, the very act of averaging/summing can can conceal the true nature of the underlying distribution, and make everything look Gaussian.
    b) Also, polarizing questions are often offensive to people. Thus questions that may reveal a true "split" in personality "types" may be too difficult to place on a questionnaire because the question may offend some.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  4. #54
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Last night I watched Jack Kerouac typing his famous novel, "On the Road". And I was struck by how mechanical typing is. After all, a typewriter is entirely mechanical.

    And I couldn't help thinking that typing on a typewriter is just as mechanical as typing a personality.

    So we are all on the road with Jack Kerouac, Dean Moriarty and Marylou, looking into the rear vision mirror, watching the mechanical age recede behind us as the electric age rushes towards us through the windshield.

  5. #55
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Yes. I realize what yo are saying.

    There are two additional points I was trying to make:

    1) Trait based theories could just as well be bunk. True we can have traits without "trait clusters" to some extent, but the fact that factor analysis based on the lexical hypothesis leads to five factors, and that these factors are based on descriptors, may indicate nothing about personalities, and only illustrate how descriptions of people through traits correlate to each other on average. IOW, FFM could be a theory of human language with an add-on of how a particular person can be described, rather than human nature and the nature of the person herself/himself.
    2) Perhaps the more subtle point, is how questionnaires are designed.
    a) I am sure you are aware, that averaging/summing independent measurements of any random variable tends to produce a Gaussian distribution of some sort. If X is a uniform random variable, the sum or average of measurements of X will produce a more Gaussian distribution. If Y is a bi-modal distribution, the sum or average of measurements of Y will produce a more Gaussian distribution. Thus, the very act of averaging/summing can can conceal the true nature of the underlying distribution, and make everything look Gaussian.
    b) Also, polarizing questions are often offensive to people. Thus questions that may reveal a true "split" in personality "types" may be too difficult to place on a questionnaire because the question may offend some.
    These are interesting points.

    1. I don't think you can argue it says nothing about personality. You can argue it isn't the last word, but it does say something. Even (human)language says something about (human)personality. And when features are universal, it says something meaningful. But all this stuff is derived from folk psychology, from what Daniel Dennett calls "the intentional stance". It's a useful abstraction to employ when you don't know any better.

    2a. It's not a problem with questionnaire design, because the questionnaire is implementing the theory. The problem is with the theory. The questionnaire inadvertently proves the theory wrong (by producing contradictory results).
    You don't need to sum the results. You simply need to look at the results pattern which is that most people cluster around the median - I.e., do not exhibit strong preferences one way or the other, which you would expect if the categories were true dichotomies.

    B. If that's the case, it's pointless to attempt, so we still end up with a flawed approach to defining personality differences.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

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