Saturday, August 25, 2007

Personality Personalities

It's been a week of social interactions, transitions, and personality profiles, inventories, and surveys for our family. I've quit a job NOT because of negative people, lousy pay, or odd hours, but because of my own personality quirks... My husband and I have been continuing the social transition of meeting new people (as have our children), spending time with them outside of the required Army situations but only because we've met them thanks to the Army... and for homework my husband "got" to take personality profile tests, one after the other, assessing his personality "type" when working with others. Of course I took the tests too, I was curious!

First I completed the Jenkins Activity Survey: This survey (JAS) "was developed in an attempt to duplicate the clinical assessment of the Type A behavior pattern by employing an objective psychometric procedure. Individuals displaying a Type A behavior pattern are characterized by extremes of competitiveness, striving for achievement and personal recognition, aggressiveness, haste, impatience, explosiveness and loudness in speech, characteristics which the JAS attempts to measure."

One of the benefits of the Type A behavior pattern is the "work work work, get it done, get it done, get it done" aspect. Type A people get more things done in a given period of time, and the social approval that results from accomplishing so much supprts a person's urge to hold on to the Type A behavior. But Type A's also experience negative aspects of their behavior. Close relationships usually aren't built on hard-driving, competitive, aggressive and hostile interactions, so many Type A's admit to having few if any, close friends.

And how did I score? The JAS ranks behavior by four scales each offering percentile marks. The higher the percentile score, the higher degree of Type A behavior exhibited. In the Type A Scale, I fell in the upper average range, while my husband blew it off the chart. In the Speed and Impatience Scale, I again scored in the upper average range for Type A behavior (my darling man scored in the highest percentile again), in the Job Involvement Scale I scored in the highest average category you can reach before having one's score considered "well ABOVE AVERAGE," and in my Hard Driving and Competitive Scale I scored in the middle average range, my "lowest" Type A score. SO... I try to do more than others in less time (true), I set high, sometimes rigid standards and I pride myself on performing well and achieving (true), I do not "feel content or satisfied very often" (false), and can at times be "aggressive and easy to irritate." NO COMMENT! Ha!

I took the KOLB Learning Style Inventory to find out what type of learner I am. Here's the big fancy description if you're interested "thanks to Zanich, 1991" (and apologies, my "link" button isn't available:

I scored highest in AE, Abstract Experimentation ("doing"), then AC, Abstract Conceptualization (thinking). Moving down the list I scored 31 in RO, Reflective Observation (reflecting), and the learning mode I rely on the LEAST is CO, Concrete Experience (Experiencing). Weird classifications, huh? According to the KOLB, "A high score on Active Experimentation indicates an active, "doing" orientation to learning that relies heavily on experimentation. High AE individuals learn best when they can engage in such things as projects, homework, or small group discussions. They dislike passive learning situation such as lectures. These individuals tend to be extroverts." I CAN HEAR JESSICA LAUGHING ALL THE WAY IN KANSAS AS SHE READS THIS!

My learning style could be found in one of four classifications after the AE, AC, RO, and CO scores: Accomodating, Converging, Diverging, or Assimilating. What's funny is that while I scored as a Converging Learner, I often choose to behave as a Diverging Learner! A Convergent Learner's "knowledge is organized in such a way that through hypothetical-deductive reasoning this person can focus it on specific problems. Research on this style of learning shows that Converger's are relatively unemotional, preferring to deal with things rather than people. They tend to have narrow technical interests, and choose to specialize in the physical sciences. This learning style is characteristic of many engineers." Hmmm.... okay, I'm a teacher. While a Divergent Learner "has the opposite learning strengths of the converger, I find myself often CHOOSING to look at situations and new information as one. This person is best at Concrete Experience (CE) and Reflective Observation (RO). This person's greatest strength lies in imaginative ability. This person excels in the ability to view concrete situations from many perspectives. We have labled this style Diverger because a person with this style performs better in situations that call for generation of ideas such as a "brainstorming" idea session. Research shows that Divergers are interested in people and tend to be imaginative and emotional. They have broad cultural interests and tend to specialize in the arts. This style is characteristic of individuals from humanities and liberal arts backgrounds. Counselors, organization development specialists and personnel managers tend to be characterized by this learning style."

Maybe I'm just flattering myself. Finally, the simplest self-assessment of all was found online, at the Personality Test Center, (where is that link button?!?!?)

I could have been a "journalist," "field marshall" or even an "inventor," but scored as a CONSERVATOR ("ISFJ"): "These people are service and work oriented - very loyal. They may suffer from fatigue and tend to be attracted to troublemakers. They are good nurses, teachers, secretaries, general practitioners, librarians, middle managers, and housekeepers. 6% of the total population."

Teacher? Check. Librarian? Check (okay, years ago). Housekeeper? Check. Am I attracted to troublemakers? Nope, just "Type A" MP Army-Harley-riding types, *wink*.

Take the Personality Test and report back, IF YOU DARE!

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