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  1. #1
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    Default Considering Confirmation Bias

    Have you ever questioned the validity of MBTI, Socionics, Enneagram, or any of the other personality theories discussed on this website?

    In 2014, I inadvertently started a project that led me to question the methods behind personality theory even more than I had prior.

    My experience goes back to 2009, when I first joined this website. It was then that I typed myself as a Feeler in MBTI and eventually Socionics. On this typing, I received very little argument or push-back. Most of the time, people corroborated my self-typing by supporting it with their own assessments, anecdotes, and feelings.

    Then, 2014 rolled around, and someone who knew me more intimately than anyone I had known up until that point doggedly convinced me that I was a Thinker in socionics. Moreover, the reasons behind the argument that I was a Thinker undermined my own reasoning for being certain types in various systems. Overall, I had to re-evaluate my self-concept to suit new information.

    So, in the aftermath of Typology Central's email leak, I started a new account and listed new types. I told only a handful of individuals that I was Ginkgo/Mystic Tater. And, similar to my experiences back in 2009, I found virtually no objection about my listed type from people who didn't know me prior. Mostly, people corroborated my self-typing as a Thinker.

    Overall, I think my experiences shed a light on how much confirmation bias influences the analysis of someone's type. In making conclusions about what my type was, it didn't matter what my behavior was so much as what I listed on my profile. Objectivity gets lost when information simply supports pre-existing conclusions.

    So, after all this time, I've found even more reason to be skeptical about the methods used to type people - especially as they concern online communities.

  2. #2
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    With personality type theories you are never going to be able to avoid the frequent phenomenon of people mistyping, but nobody will ever know you better than you can know yourself. It is useful to rely on other's opinions, especially if they have much knowledge in the particular area, but that should never be what you rely on. When you have a label, it's easier to see those qualities in someone. My advice to anyone struggling with their type would be to evaluate how well you understand the MBTI system and how well you understand yourself, then start trying to pin down your type. Starting with little knowledge on MBTI and going 'I think I might be INTJ' before the previous steps will only lead you towards a potentially bias typing and understanding of type altogether.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by notmyapples View Post
    With personality type theories you are never going to be able to avoid the frequent phenomenon of people mistyping, but nobody will ever know you better than you can know yourself. It is useful to rely on other's opinions, especially if they have much knowledge in the particular area, but that should never be what you rely on. When you have a label, it's easier to see those qualities in someone. My advice to anyone struggling with their type would be to evaluate how well you understand the MBTI system and how well you understand yourself, then start trying to pin down your type. Starting with little knowledge on MBTI and going 'I think I might be INTJ' before the previous steps will only lead you towards a potentially bias typing and understanding of type altogether.
    I understand. Oneself is the best authority on oneself.

    However, even self-assessments can fail. For example, the Forer Effect causes myopia that limits a person's range of data to work with. Furthermore, in many cases, people subconsciously type themselves based on what feels most desirable.

    Additionally, some personality systems don't even hold up to their own logic, nor do they stand the test of empirical evidence. For instance, the J/P dichotomy doesn't really apply to everyone, nor does necessarily stack up when people lead with a introverted judging function.

    I see the merit in what you have to say, though.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jaguar's Avatar
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    Honestly? The whole time you were posting as an ISTP I figured it was a lie.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floki View Post
    I understand. Oneself is the best authority on oneself.

    However, even self-assessments can fail. For example, the Forer Effect causes myopia that limits a person's range of data to work with. Furthermore, in many cases, people subconsciously type themselves based on what feels most desirable.

    Additionally, some personality systems don't even hold up to their own logic, nor do they stand the test of empirical evidence. For instance, the J/P dichotomy doesn't really apply to everyone, nor does necessarily stack up when people lead with a introverted judging function.

    I see the merit in what you have to say, though.
    Yes, self-assessment is also not a flawless system which is why I said that nobody will ever know you better than you can know yourself. I don't believe dichotomies are very reliable at all because of how commonly they fail and disregard functioning, I think you really need to research cognitive before settling on a type. Like I said, mistyping is never going to be unavoidable because there is no foolproof test or technique that'll tell you your true type, but the most accurate way you will be able to type yourself is by self-assessment and knowledge. At least as of now. It would be quite an impressive discovery if someone could figure out a test or method with 100% accuracy, but the realist in me doubts that will be something achieved any time soon.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
    Honestly? The whole time you were posting as an ISTP I figured it was a lie.
    I thought you might. I mean, how many times did I screw around with some other type there? Lol.

  7. #7
    Its time. Cassandra's Avatar
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    You've also changed your language patterns, Flokes.

    With your own perception being shifted, and you now identifying as a T (which, btw, I don't agree with ), you now use and value the typical word usage of a T-user more.

    I think it also helps that as a guy, it gets you more...credibility, almost? Besides, with age comes a certain ambidextrousness in F/T matters, allowing us to more easily dip into the other's pool.

    As for your topic - I agree it's a problem, but I too believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, as they tend to know themselves best - especially when we consider that we only see a small part of them, through the written word, no less. The loss of information alone makes our perception of that person, along with our own amateur status regarding the typing of others even less reliable than their own assessment would be. That said, I have called out people before, with serious caveats included, when they displayed a clear set of recurring patterns that invariably seems to belong to just one type. But few people are *that* stereotypically recognisable, hence the problem
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    You've also changed your language patterns, Flokes.

    With your own perception being shifted, and you now identifying as a T (which, btw, I don't agree with ), you now use and value the typical word usage of a T-user more.

    I think it also helps that as a guy, it gets you more...credibility, almost? Besides, with age comes a certain ambidextrousness in F/T matters, allowing us to more easily dip into the other's pool.
    I agree that one's typing tends to play into how they behave: self-fulfilling prophecies.

    But, at this point, I'm not convinced that MBTI accurately reflects who I am or who most people are. Recently, I've become disillusioned with Model A in Socionics as well.

    So, I don't think that assessment really accounts for how I'm acting. I communicate to be intelligible and engaging to my audience.

    In any case, weren't you one of the few who said that I "vibed" like an ENTP back in the day? A few people said that about the way I argued. With respect to my writing-style, not much has changed. So, the type-development angle you're getting at doesn't have all much strength to it.

    However, by all means, believe what you like.

  9. #9
    Phase-shifted beam Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floki View Post
    Overall, I think my experiences shed a light on how much confirmation bias influences the analysis of someone's type. In making conclusions about what my type was, it didn't matter what my behavior was so much as what I listed on my profile. Objectivity gets lost when information simply supports pre-existing conclusions.
    This sounds much less like confirmation bias to me, than simply a healthy deference to a person's self-typing based on the principle that they know themselves best. That being said, I have had occasions when, as I get to know someone better, their stated typing seems distinctly at odds with their manner. I generally keep this to myself, though, unless they ask.

    Quote Originally Posted by Floki View Post
    But, at this point, I'm not convinced that MBTI accurately reflects who I am or who most people are. Recently, I've become disillusioned with Model A in Socionics as well.
    MBTI reflects who we are as accurately as gender, race, religion, generation, sexual orientation, or any of the other categories into which we sort ourselves; I find generally moreso, in fact. None of these can reflect who an individual is completely. Even in aggregate, they are at best a closer approximation. That doesn't render the categories worthless, just places important limitations on their utility.
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. ~ Buddha
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  10. #10
    I'm too sad for pants. Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    I have found the confirmation bias here (in the forums) to feel tedious at times. It's like people seem more intent on deciding the truth than on discerning it. And when the 'deciding' process works in a self-serving direction, it gets to feeling stale and almost rancid sometimes to behold. Because when several people get together and 'decide' something is true about type theory, it's like affirmation to all involved that it's true. Being an FJ, obvs, all sorts of red flags come up for me in this regard when discussion of Fe/Fi comes up.

    But anyway, yeah. There's a difference between discerning the truth and deciding it. And too often the type discussions feel like the type theory is being forced to explain a situation/experience.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

    INFJ 5w4 sx/sp Johari / Nohari -or- disagree with my type?
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