Published on January 17, 2019
Personality Test: How Does Your Mind Work?
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You’ve probably noticed that the people around you all work in different ways. Sometimes it’s almost like we’re just wired differently. Why do some of us enjoy getting our hands dirty and thrive on action, while others like to be left alone in a quiet place to daydream?
The human mind can be a perplexing thing, and many personality psychologists have come up with theories to explain personality traits like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Big Five. But do personality tests work?
Take this fun personality test to find out which thinking style (or ‘cognitive process’) you use the most in everyday life, then read on to find out more about your test results.
The Thinking Styles – 8 Cognitive Processes
Personality types can be restrictive, and they can make it feel like you’ve been put in a box. Of course, personality changes over a person’s life and in different situations. In the early 20th century, before the Myers-Briggs personality test became a big deal in the human resources world, psychologist Carl Jung came up with a model of how our brains work. The Myers-Briggs (MBTI) personality inventory built on Jung’s original theory, expanding it into a theory of types. But the original theory focused on what we do and how we think, rather than what ‘type’ we are. This allows for a more flexible way of thinking about personality.
According to Jung, (and others who have updated his ideas with more modern terms), we each have 8 cognitive processes – or thinking styles – available to use, but one of them is the strongest. Like having a dominant hand, one process feels the best and most natural to use, and so we use it most of the time, which in turn causes it to get stronger and stronger. All people are capable of creative thinking, they just use different processes to get there.
People who use this thinking style most heavily tend to be logical and analytical, preferring to reason concepts through for themselves. Rather than comparing their conclusions against evidence from the outside world, these thinkers tend to check the internal consistency of their own arguments. Looking at a problem from many sides, they will spot contradictions or flaws in the logic. These people often enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together to see how they work. They seek new knowledge for their own sake and are wonderful troubleshooters and problem-solvers.
People who use this style of thinking the most tend to focus on results. They are natural leaders, usually great planners, and schedulers, and have a gift for seeing what needs to get done to move things forward. They are interested in measuring the world around them and seeing how it could be improved. They will often come up with a system for the most efficient way to get what they want, and most of all they want to find out what works, do it, and move on to the next challenge.
People who are dominant in this style tend to weigh things against their own internal compass, a strong sense of their own values and preferences. They tend to ask themselves, does this feel right? Is this what I want? They often have strongly held convictions and hold themselves to a high moral standard, and they expect the same of those around them. They may not appear warm when you first meet them, but they are quite sensitive and their emotions run deep. They tend to be creative, expressive and genuine, albeit in their own distinctive style.
This style of thinking is about discovering and trying fresh possibilities. People who use it are often brimming with new ideas, and enjoy trying things out just for their own sake. They don’t take well to routines, as they do tend to get bored with doing the same thing over and over – for them, novelty is the essential spice of life. This does mean that they tend to discard things once they’ve lost their sparkle, however. They have vivid imaginations, are seldom satisfied with the status quo, and often come up with creative approaches.
This style of thinking is about comparing past experiences and data with the current situation. People who use it tend to collect and store lots of impressions from their lives, and are excellent at collecting information that may be useful someday. Often quite practical and level-headed, these people have a strong sense of connection to the past, paying close attention to the lessons history can teach us. The downside can sometimes be that they get stuck in the past, or one way of doing things. They tend to value tradition, and don’t see the point in reinventing the wheel. They are often diligent and loyal, making excellent friends.
People who favour this thinking style are attuned to the needs and emotions of others, and take them into account when making decisions. They tend to ask, “how will this affect the people around me”? They seek close connection and, well, harmony with the people in their lives, and are often excellent at saying just the right thing to make someone feel comfortable. People love being around them and are drawn to their warmth and generosity, but they are not all cuddly teddy bears – just wait until someone crosses their friend or family member!
People who are dominant in this thinking style tend to be insightful since they are able to discern the patterns below the surface of things. Often experiencing strong gut feelings that they struggle to explain, they make leaps of understanding and enjoy getting to the root of ‘why’ something happens. This leads to them coming up with surprising but often accurate predictions and conclusions. They tend to think in terms of the future, often making long-term plans and looking at the big picture.
This thinking style is all about getting into the middle of the action and experiencing life directly. People who use this the most are hands-on doers, and they can be the life of the party. They tend to understand how to do things quickly and easily, learning on the fly. That’s because they are very present in the world around them, noticing small changes in their environment and adapting to a variety of situations well. They’re objective thinkers, preferring to focus on the information at hand rather than abstract concepts. They often enjoy taking risks and won’t shy away from a challenge, and they treasure their freedom.
So, what did you find out about yourself? Share this personality test with your friends and compare your dominant thinking styles!
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