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Posts Tagged ‘Behavioral Psychology’

 contributed by Tony Pankuch.

What kind of reader are you? Are you the type who enjoys psychological quizzes and assessments? Are you a seeker of personal introspection in the form of multiple choice, “Yes or No” style questions? Or do you find these exercises to be a trivial bore? Read on to discover whether you fit the profile of a personality test aficionado!

Today, most of us have taken some form of personality assessment. The Myers-Briggs Test is one popular example of this, sorting people into one of 16 psychological categories based on the theories of Carl Jung. Other examples can be found all over the internet; consider the multiple choice “Which developmental psychologist are you?”-style quizzes that you might see shared on social media.

This sort of testing has its roots in the early 20th century, and one of the early enthusiasts of the format was William Moulton Marston, a psychologist best known for his lie detector prototype and the creation of Wonder Woman, the popular DC Comics superhero. A regular contributor to popular psychology magazines, Marston created a number of tests and self-assessments for recognizing personal defects and psychological “types.”

Let’s take a look at a few. First up, how shy are you? Follow the instructions for “The ? Test” and find your score, from 0 (most shy) to 100 (most outgoing, presumably).

To test yourself, answer the following questions prepared by William Moulton Marston., distinguished psychologist, educator, and author. Each question may be answered in three different ways. If your answer is an unqualified "No", score yourself 10 for that question. If it is "Yes", score 0. If it is "Sometimes", score 5. When several examples of the same type of shyness are included in one question, you may score yourself separately on each example, then average those part-scores together to get your complete score for the question. To arrive at your total score for the test, simply add the ten question scores.
If you want to know what impression you make on other people get your friends to score for you. 
1. Do you dread meeting people for the first time, attending parties or other social functions, or making calls on comparative strangers?
2. Do you hate to ask favors of people, to ask for a	job or a raise in pay, or to ask strangers to direct you when traveling?
3. Do you look enviously at a group of people who are laughing and talking together without making any effort to join them, and do you feel awkward and tongue-tied when you are a member of such a group?
4. Do you hesitate to return articles that you have bought just because they are not just right, and does it make you feel small to insist upon the salesperson giving you exactly what you want?
5. Are you afraid of policemen, lawyer's letters, prominent people, or your superiors in business?
6. Are you afraid of what barbers, manicurists, or waiters may be thinking about you?
7. When you express an opinion or idea, and someone says authoritatively that you are wrong, do you thereupon believe your own ideas worthless?
8. Do you make misplays in golf, bridge, or any favorite game when you know people are watching you?
9. Do you agree politely with opinions contrary to your own in order to avoid an argument?
10. Do you let acquaintances or business associates impose upon you rather than take them to task and insist upon your rights?
1913. J. Gustav White papers, Test Center

What was your score? Are you feeling confident in your personality? If not, maybe the Inferiority Detection Test will help you to understand why.

Answer the following questions frankly: this test is worthless unless you do. You must acknowledge, at least, the symptoms of your favorite inferiorities before you can begin to play the exciting game of defeating them. 
1. Do you privately resent or despise some business superior?
2. Do you avoid social contacts with some person, or group of people, who have, in your opinion, more money or social standing than you possess?
3. Do you frequently belittle a successful person mentioned in conversation or in news reports?
4. Do you often feel rage or hatred against individuals with whose political principles you disagree?
5. Are you convinced that the opposite sex has more faults and weaknesses than your own?
6. Are you intolerant of any religious or racial group to which you do not belong?
7. Do you resent the success of another person in your own field of endeavor who has educational standing which you lack, or who lacks educational training which you possess?
8. If you're a girl or wife, do you flare up spitefully and critically against women who interest the man you love?
9. If you're a man, do you resent feminine heart-flutter­ing over male movie stars, fiction heroes or attractive men in your own social set?
10. Do you feel that the world or people in it are unjust to you, that you aren't getting a fair chance in life?
Your Personality magazine, Fall 1944, Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

According to Marston’s ratings, identifying 5-7 of these inferiorities in yourself should serve as a “warning,” while holding 8 or more is a sign that “your personality situation is precarious.” If you’re feeling like you need to take action, you might consider pursuing some of Marston’s “Suggestions for Self-Changing Practice” (featuring another short set of tests).

1. Observe these danger signals: Are you so filled with hatred and fear of marauding, map-changing nations that you are unable to concentrate upon the necessary changes to be made in our own national life? 
Do you associate and converse mostly with people whose opinions agree with yours? 
Do you rise and go to bed every day at the same time, eat the same things for breakfast and generally let the clock control you? 
Do you believe that your salary should be raised for staying in the same, unchanging job a long time? 
Do you avoid reading, radio and conversation on topics you are not in the habit of thinking about? 
2. If the above tests show your personality is ossifying, begin limbering up your character as follows: Change all your physical habits for a week and repeat the prescription once a month. Rise earlier or later, eat different meals, walk if you usually ride or vice versa, alter every item on your daily schedule which lies within your power to 'change. 
Expose yourself to new ideas. Buy a different newspaper, read unaccustomed books, attend lectures and hold conversations on subjects totally foreign to your present mental habits. 
Adapt socially to unfamiliar people. Invite new acquaintances to the house, share sports with new companions, make a card index of everybody you know and see a different person on your list every week. 
Do new work. Volunteer at the office to help on work in advance of your own. Do some business studying, reading, take some courses. 
Change your home attitudes. Give your wife or husband a treat they have always wanted but never had; visit some new place every day; let each member of the family, on Sunday morning, prescribe something for another member to do which he or she has not done for a month or more; spend one evening a week, in suitable domestic seclusion, without clothes.
Your Life magazine, September 1940, Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

Some of these suggestions may feel a bit outdated, unless you’re a big fan of card indexes. Alternatively, you might be eager for some more definitive personality “types,” rather than vague psychological weaknesses. In that case, you’re in luck.

Type D 
1. If your way through the woods were blocked by a bramble patch, would you force your way through rather than detour half a mile?
2. Would you rather be a prominent person in Skeedunk than a little known individual in New York City?
3. When you start a thing do you pride yourself on finishing it?
4. Would you break the string on a bundle, if you could do so easily, rather than go for scissors?
5. Do you get tired of hearing about much-publicized people and feel an impulse to belittle them? 
6. When someone says a thing is impossible do you want to do it?
7. If you fell going down hill on skis, would you want to try that hill again immediately?
(Alternative: If a closet containing something you want immediately were locked and the key lost, would you break the door open?) 

Type C:
1. Do you obey "Keep Off the Grass" signs? 
2. Do you like to make careful preparations before beginning a task? 
3. Would you rather keep a purchase that is slightly defective than go back and argue about it with the store clerk?
4. Would you wear an unbecoming hat, because it was stylish?
5. Would you rather keep your job at your present salary than risk it by asking for a raise?
6. Would you give in to a child rather than endure his temper tantrums?
7. Would you rather live in a less commodious house in a fashionable neighborhood, than in a more adequate one "across the tracks?"
(Alternative: If your boss wanted you to do something in a way you believed inefficient, would you do it without protest?)
Your Life magazine, September 1939, Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

This is Part One of Marston’s test to reveal “Your True Self.” Your answers above will reveal whether you are Dominant, Compliant, or Desireful.

  • If you answered “yes” to more of the “Type D” questions, you are a Dominant personality type–an independent master of your own fate. Marston writes that the “surest way to get you interested in something is to tell you it can’t be done.”
  • If you answered “yes” to more of the “Type C” questions, you are a Compliant personality type–timid and cautious. According to Marston, you “prefer security to prestige and safety to triumph.”
  • Lastly, if you answered “yes” to an equal number of both question types, you have a Desireful personality. Marston suggests that “your purposes in life should contain a happy blending of dominance and compliance.” He goes on to argue that those occupying this category have a blend of qualities suited to overcome most any obstacle in life.

Interestingly, two of these categories mirror Marston’s “DISC” model of behavioral expression, which sorted behaviors into four categories: Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance. DISC theory would later be adapted into a form of personality assessment, but not by Marston. The DISC model was used for personnel selection by industrial psychologist Walter V. Clarke, who slightly altered the four categories to describe four personality factors that he observed in his own studies.

So how are you feeling? Have you learned anything about yourself? Personality psychology has changed considerably since Marston’s popular work. Today, the APA recognizes personality assessment as a proficiency in professional psychology that involves “empirically supported measures of personality traits and styles.” Regardless, anecdotal tests like these, popularized by Marston in magazines, can be a fun way to pass time and think a little bit deeper about our personalities. They can help us to better understand how we and our friends function in our social environment.

Just don’t take them too seriously!

Citations:

Scullard, M., & Baum, D. (2015). Everything DiSC Manual (pp. 185–187). Wiley.

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