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Thursday, January 7, 2010

T3 - Personality "Types" Overview

Since we're done with personality disorders, I thought it would be nice to do a series on personality "types," something everyone can relate to. So consider this week the overview, complete with two versions of tests...fully approved by The Character Therapist as being helpful...to start us off.

When I was in college, I took this personality quiz to see if I was a lion, otter, beaver or golder retriever. (Gary Smalley and John Trent, two Christian counselors I hold an amazing amount of respect for, developed this system to pair personalities with images of an animal instead of some clinical term.) It was my first real exposure to a "pop" psychology personality test.

Now, there are many versions of this test out there. I've personally taken the DISC (stands for Dominant, Influential, Steady and Conscientious, which is just another way of describing the animal test). There's also the 4 temperaments or humours (like sanguine and choleric) and Types "A/B/C/D."

More validated tests include the Myers-Briggs and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (or MMPI, as some of you might recognize). Therapeutically, it's helpful to know where a person falls in these types of tests because it can affect how a therapist approaches them or how their outcome will be.

How is this helpful for writers? Personally, I think everyone should take the following tests below to see where you fall on the personality spectrum. Since we have a tendency to write what we know, most likely our heroes and heroines are the same type as we are, or at least our secondary type.

But what about the villain who's the exact opposite? Or the side-kick friend? Or--*gasp!*--a hero/heroine who doesn't think or act like we do who we don't quite know what to do with? It's important to know what type they are so that you make their reactions believable and realistic. You can't have a Lion respond like Beaver on a regular basis. All personalities can do things out of character for them (and should...as this makes for multi-dimensional characters, according to Donald Maass), but by and large, our personality type dictates how we respond to certain situations.

So are you ready to take this easy little test for yourself...and then for your characters? If so, click here. You give yourself one point for every word or phrase that applies to you and then you double it to receive your score for each animal personality type. Highest score indicates your type. There is additional information there about strengths, weaknesses and Biblical counterparts, which is cool.

Another version of this test can be found here on Quibblo. This particular version is essentially the Personality Plus test developed by Florence Littauer (which is copyrighted, so I'm not exactly sure how the test creator got away with it...but there you have it: the evils of the Internet for your advantage). Go with your GUT reaction. When in doubt, select the word that most often applied to you when you were a child. (The first 20 questions are strengths, the last 20 are weaknesses...so beware that about halfway through, you're not going to want to select any answer...but be fair to yourself. And don't be put off by the picture paired with your personality type. The pictures were selected by the test creator and in no way reflect the content of the test.)

The next 4 Thursday Therapeutic Thoughts (T3) will focus on one of the personality types below:

Lion/Choleric
Sanguine/Otter
Melancholy/Beaver
Plegmatic/Golden Retriever

Once you take the test and figure out where you fall, sit back and wait for me to touch on your personality type. We'll go over strengths and weaknesses regarding emotions, work, friends, spirituality, and more. We're talking a potential WEALTH of info about your characters, so hopefully you'll join me over the next month on Thursdays.

Q4U: Leave a comment with what type you are, from one or both of the tests. It could be fun to see where everyone lines up. :)

Wordle: signature

24 comments:

Mary Aalgaard said...

I'm a Golden Retriever.

Jen Chandler said...

This is great! I've always enjoyed doing personality tests to see how I've grown and to better understand myself in general. I'm heading over to take them now...I'll be back!

Jen

Jen Chandler said...

Yep, it's just as I suspected: I'm an Otter.

Tamika: said...

I'm heading over to take the test too! I'll be back...

Tamika: said...

I'm an Otter!

Jemi Fraser said...

Can I be a tie? If so I'm a golden retriever and a beaver. Kind of a scary visual image when I combine them :)

Maureen said...

I'm a Turbo Beaver. My husband and daughter are both Otters...and my son is a Golden Retriever.

:O

Patti Lacy said...

Jeannie,
We conducted this test at a Christian family camp. I have Tiger tendencies but an otter heart and body. Mainly otter with a few stripes and a claws.

Blessings for a great weekend!!
Patti
www.pattilacy.com/blog

Jordan said...

Very interesting! I was a Beaver, and so was my heroine (but I think she probably has a strong mix of something else in there; I'll have to take the other assessment to check it out). My hero was a Lion.

Elaine Bach said...

Oh dear, I am a choleric Beaver. I would not have guessed the choleric type, but I bet my kids would have. I saved both of the sights because it was great as a writer to see so many succinct personality descriptions. The possibilities are endless.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Cool testing!! Thanks, Jeannie!

I'm a Golden Retriever first, secondly a Beaver. It is interesting that all but one of my heroines fall within these two types.

Dara said...

I'm tied between a golden retriever and beaver (phlegmatic and melancholic). I'm not organized like a beaver, but definitely need the reassurance like one and tends to have a hard time seeing the optimistic side of things.

My current heroine is definitely a golden retriever/phelegmatic--a darker version of one though--while my other heroine is most certainly an aggressive lion. :P

Mary Campbell said...

This is a fun test and very interesting. I'm the exact opposite of my female MC, but I think I'm similar to my male MC. I think I chose to make my MC opposite of me because there are so possesses so many traits that I wish I had. In essence she is what I wish I could be.

Jessica said...

First, why was an introvert considered to be weakness??? LOL!

I'm phlegmatic, which I forgot I already knew. LOL I'm pretty sure I made one character a phlegmatic, and she's the most boring one. LOL

Maureen said...

Jessica - I'm with ya! Tired of the looks of pity when it's revealed that I'm an introvert! So I'll say it here:

I am an Introvert and I'm Proud!!

Ah, that's better...

:D

Christine H said...

I know from taking this in the past that I'm a lion. But I really don't eat people. I promise!

Darcie said...

Thank you SO much for coming over an leaving a comment yesterday. I have to admit your blog intrigues me. I did the above quiz...I am a Golden so I want to tag along and find out what you have to say about them. ;-)

Nishant said...

I'm heading over to take them now...I'll be back!

Work from home India

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

thanks for responding, everyone! i'm a lion myself, with a strong golden retriever sub-type. anxious to see what everyone thinks after reading their tyep breakdown!

Christine H said...

"anxious to see what everyone thinks" Yeah, me too. I tend to post things, or do things, in a flurry of lion-ness and then fall apart afterwards worrying about how someone will react.

Mj said...

otter...golden retriever's in a close second place though..wonder if that fits with my borderline i/e, n, f, p myers briggs?

Mj said...

sanguine

olivia said...

I got a lion. :)

Lexus said...

choleric / lion

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.