I did a post about mistyping back in my ancient days…read that.
When it comes to mbti sites, I definitely don’t ignore them. In fact, I consult pretty much the entire internet arena of typing information for a given character/person before I settle on a decision. I look at all the arguments and decide which one best fits my knowledge of the character.
You’ll notice on all my posts that have the potential to bring up controversial arguments, I make note of all the existing arguments and then state directly why I’ve typed the character the way that I have.
I disagree with Charity (the mod for funkymbtifiction) on quite a few levels, but also agree with her on many topics as well. Many of the things she has to say regarding the jungian functions are very accurate and interesting. However, I disagree with many of her character typings.
She mainly focuses on television characters, and when it comes to most mainstream American telly, her typings are fairly accurate. However, she doesn’t do much reading, so I’m leery of accepting her typings of book characters. Let’s put it this way: if you’ve only seen the movie, you haven’t really gotten to know the real character.
Book and movie adaptions differ on characters quite a bit. For instance, movie Ender Wiggin could easily be interpreted as INFJ while book Ender’s thought process was very clearly INTJ. Keira Knightly’s Elizabeth Bennett was ENFP, while book Lizzie was ENFJ.
Since my blog started out primarily typing literary characters, I’m naturally picky about accuracy in that area.
I find that funkymbtifiction’s mistypings happen as a result of misinterpretations of the characters, rather than a misunderstanding of the functions. On the whole, she has an excellent understanding the Meyers-Briggs theory, but when it comes to understanding people, she’s less attuned.
The second reason I disagree with many of her typings is that she can be a bit indecisive, even when it comes to her own type. Over time, she’s switched between believing herself to be an INTJ, ENFP, ENTP, INFP and now ISFJ. (All I can say is…she’s definitely not an Ni user).
I’ve never successfully managed to rationalise that I was anything other than an INTJ because I understand myself on a deep level. I questioned briefly the possibility that I might be an INFJ, but after sitting down and considering it, I realised this was just me being depressed and that I was definitely an INTJ.
She on the other hand, has managed to fully convince herself that she was various types, believe it for long periods of time, and then switch out of nowhere to fully believing she was a completely different type. Honestly though, who goes from thinking they’re an INTJ to thinking they’re an ISFJ?
If you can’t type yourself, how likely are you to be completely accurate in typing fictional characters?
I admit, I too have retyped characters in the past. However, I don’t retype them with the frequency that she does. She’s retyped Sherlock at least three or four times since I started following her blog, suggesting over time that he was an ISTP, INTP, INTJ, ENTJ, ENTP and ESTP.
I mean, come on. Really? Sherlock a Ti-using extravert??? She’s really over-thought him…just like the rest of Tumblr. (I have strong feelings about Tumblr, so don’t get me started on that).
16 Personalities Website
When it comes to the 16 Personalities Website, I disagree with almost all their typings, the reason being that they type everyone based off of the test –not the functions.
The personality tests aren’t always an accurate way of finding your type due to wording and interpretation issues in the way questions are phrased. The tests typically try to ask questions about all the functions, but they don’t always do it in a way that people will interpret accurately. In some cases the test works accurately –but only when the person understands the questions and themself.
Also, stay away from the ones with only a yes or no option –those are the least accurate of all.
Also, the test is less accurate when it comes to people with any form of mental or cognitive disorder. If you have and attention disorder, you’re likely to score on the test as a P-type, even if you’re not. If you have anxiety, you’ll probably score as a J-type. If you’re depressed, chances are, you’ll score as a P-type. If you have OCD, you will most surely type as a TJ.
Typically, I can type people from just observing their actions and listening to their words over time, and after a long time of doing this consistently, I can promise you the tests aren’t accurate.
How I type
In general, I tend to question what certain bodies of information tell me about character types. Specifically tumblr, forums and various blogs. In my research, I consult all of the above, picking out the best arguments from among them and comparing it with whatever information I can get on the character.
If it’s a book character, I go back and review the book, then read what critics have said about the character and compare those analyses’ to the mbti info. I’m an English Major. I do my research (I don’t always check my grammar though…as you may have noticed).
If it’s a movie/telly character, I go back and rewatch the movie/episodes that the character is part of, compare what I see them doing to likely motivations (based on everything I know about human nature) to the mbti info.
If it’s a real person, I might read their biography and/or watch documentaries to get a sense of their life and interpersonal relations. If they’re still alive, I’ll read things they’ve written, watch interviews, listen to what other people have said about them etc. Then when I’ve gotten a sense of who they are, I’ll compare that to any mbti info I can find.
Often times, when it comes to celebrities in particular, I won’t be able to find any mbti info except a lone forum, which is fine, since I know so much about how the functions work (in general I only use outside mbti info as a second opinion for characters that bring up controversial debates).
Usually, I don’t type the ones with a lone forum the same way that the forum does –and especially not when it’s clear to me that the forum members have no clue what they’re talking about.
Example: David Tennant
When I typed David Tennant, I went into it with full expectation of typing him as an F-type and certainly not an INTJ. The only MBTI info I found on him was a lone forum in which members argued inconclusively over whether to type him ENFJ, ESFJ, ENFP, INFP or INFJ. Hardly any of them gave an argument.
At that point, I started reading/watching interviews and doing various research, stumbled across his video diary and at that point I started getting a very, very Ni-dom vibe. The problem was, it was saying “INTJ! INTJ!” and my brain was going, “No! it can’t be, he’s got to be an INFJ!”
But, since I’m incapable of lying (to myself or anyone else), I eventually accepted him as an INTJ because he’s definitely an auxiliary Te. Then I had to calmly remind myself that I too am capable of laughing and smiling in public when I see a direct need for it.
How to avoid being misled
I once stumbled across a fangirl-run blog that was trying to type Benedict Cumberbatch as an INFJ…
Sorry, but no.
Evidently, the girl writing the blog was an INFJ who wanted to somehow connect herself to Benedict Cumberbatch…dear me, fangirls. I just don’t understand them.
My advice is to be wary of blogs that fall into any of the following categories:
- Doesn’t produce a clear argument for why they’ve categorised a character as they have (examples: 16 Personalities website)
- Produces an argument but only bases it off a couple of quotes (example: Celebritytypes.com, Van’s Phunky Spam)
- Is based only in Tumblr (simply because everyone on Tumblr assumes that their opinion is right, regardless of whether it’s logically sound).
- Types characters from books they haven’t read (Example: funkymbtifiction)
- Frequently retypes characters over and over again (Example: funkymbtifiction)