November 18, 2009

A description of you

I suspect that you, reader of this blog, will recognize yourself reasonably well in this description:
You have a great need for other people to like and admire you. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. Your sexual adjustment has presented problems for you. Disciplined and self-controlled outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. You have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic. Security is one of your major goals in life.
Read here why I think that.


  1. Hi Coert,
    Yes, indeed an interesting posting. Right in the category of horoscopes and enneagram. But what does this tell us. Are we all prone to self delusion? Are we bad judges of our own behaviour? I'm interested to read what you think about this.

  2. Thanks Richard. Here is what I think.
    The fact that people generally think that vague and generic personality description are actually tailored specifically for them should warn us for astrologists, hand readers, paragnosts, graphologists and so forth. It seems we have a tendency to be gullible about these things while we shouldn't.

  3. Many thanks, Coert, for leading the way back to this 1949 study by Bertram Forer about the gullibility of human beings regarding "personality" descriptions and distinctions.

    Because I use a statistically valid, field-normed natural strengths assessment in my coaching practice, I am exquisitely sensitive to the confusion that's often created by magazine-style personality quizzes and surveys. When people have been gulled by these kinds of "tests," they can become quite cynical about the value of temperament indicators. And rightly so.

    We human beings are much more alike than we are different. AND we are different. It seems to me crucial that we understand our differences so we can learn to appreciate others' strengths - as distinct from our own - and begin to curb our native tendencies to generalize our strengths and preferences and project them onto others.

    I want all my clients to have access to this classic study AND to take maximum advantage of the full range of data I can provide them using the ProScan, too.

    Wondering what this topic brings up for others, too...

  4. What I'd like to know is why we like to fit this frame and how it reveals sth about our desires. It's like this is rather a test for our urge to belong and be authentic at the same time :). If so, this whole test may be a tool to illustrate the basic assumption of Ryan&Deci's approach to Self-Determination-Theory where they say that our three basic psychological needs are competence, autonomy and relatedness.

  5. What an interesting point of view, Hannes. Something to reflect on...

  6. Hi Hannes and Meri, maybe I'll share a few more thoughts about this soon, when I have a bit more time.

  7. Always always interested in your thinking, Coert!

  8. Coert,

    I only identified with some of the statements. I'd heard about the Forer effect before (although I'd forgotten the name) and I wondered if that's what you were getting at. Because I've read about that I'm a bit skeptical of anything that tries to describe me and I think critically about it as a reflex. You'll probably recognize that as the psychological immune system at work. When people are aware of a bias they tend to compensate by working against the bias.

    So by you making us aware of this, you've helped us to overcome the bias.

  9. I think this kind of skepticism is wise, Rodney


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