Very well put and insightful, dear Sub.It's probably a combination of both trying to figure out what's so damned bad about yourself that people keep saying these things (and then getting stuck in self-analysis mode), as well as trying to find the good in yourself in order just to cope. And then, when you find it, wanting others to see it too, perhaps more so than other types because you're so used to them not seeing it.
I know an INTP who says that he has to big himself up all the time because nobody else will. He also says that he talks about himself because he hopes by explaining himself, he won't be so misunderstood. I sympathize with that... I talk about myself far more on these forums than in RL - in RL I've learned not to focus on myself but on other people as much as possible and it comes naturally now, and also to have more confidence in people to figure out for themselves and see good in you if it's there.
But obviously here, people can't just see the way I live and how I interact with people, and of course the nature of the board is that there are a lot of questions asked for people to answer about themselves. So it's different.
I don't see people as lab rats at all, but I relate to Jennifer's idea of seeing myself as one - for other people.