Objective Personality System
A summary of how we are approaching objective personality typing.
Hard Road Ahead
We all start out in the subjective, confirmation bias based mindset as kids. We are young and eager to do big things right away. We see the “old world” as outdated and stuck in their ways. “How could they be so blind to this awesome new information we just discovered? This new info is so powerful and anyone can use it to change their life if they just believe in it!” And so the slide into pseudoscience begins. We are thankful for our youthful years in pseudoscience land. Those 20 years of going in circles taught us what not to do. We wrote about our journey here: Subjective vs Objective.
In 2012 we were hitting rock bottom and started to see that trying to patch up the old Myers-Briggs based personality system was just not working. Everything needed to be thrown out and built from the ground up. Before we ran back into studying personality types with a new perspective we first built up our scientific-method-muscles. We knew that as humans we were never going to eliminate our subjective biases, but we needed to know how to at least recognize them. Our heads were so filled with the wrong subjective habits, we needed to see an example of how to approach personality types the right way.
BIG 5 / HEXACO
The Big 5 and its newer variations are in no way a perfect personality system, but it is accepted by the scientific community. Why is that? The scientific community is not asking them to produce perfect results, they are only asking them to do what they claim they can do. The MBTI made a fatal mistake by setting the bar high, and not being able to jump over it. The Big 5 did not make the same mistake. They have very modest claims and according to the numbers, they can jump over the bar they set for themselves just fine.
This is worth looking into yourself, but the basic idea is the creators of the Big 5 sat down and looked at all the adjectives people use to describe themselves. They put all the words into 5 general categories. These categories are then put into trait like descriptions. So you are high or low in Extrovertism, high or low in Openness, etc. The Big 5 is not claiming that these 5-6 facets are in someway part of the genetic wiring of your mind. They are taking a bit more of a pragmatic approach and just tracking descriptions of behavior. How and why are some people wired this way and not another? That is something they don’t claim to know.
The Big-5 is also not held by some official guru organization that “is the only one” who holds the true understandings. There is no “special test” that only their “weekend certified practitioners” can administer. The Big-5 opens itself up for anyone around the world to have the authority to test its claims. The Big 5 is open to peer testing and criticism where the MBTI and other similar personality systems are not (which is why they stay the same over the decades). We started to see a clear contrast between the MBTI and the Big 5. The MBTI had big amazing claims that we all want to be true, but are then let down over time. The Big 5 is just the opposite. The claims are very modest and even a bit boring, but over time they can be built on.
After all the bashing we do to the Myers-Briggs we still could not fully break our assumptions that there was something to Carl Jung’s 8 Functions and 16 types. Could we objectively prove this to the scientific community? Not even a little bit. So why couldn’t we do what every other science minded, disgruntled MBTI groupie does and just abandon it? The reason was money. The “16 types” (whatever the hell they were) brought us money. Meaning, we were using them in our business very consciously. Our entire business team, sales campaign, marketing strategy, and even YouTube campaigns were all purposely built off of the 16 personality types.
From 2004-2016 we had a hobby website and forum devoted to radio controlled airplanes. We hypothesized that roughly 75% of our long term customers were Si/Te (ISTJs). What we were able to track in our sales numbers over the years is the more our campaigns worked with their Functions, the more sales increased. The more we went against them, the more sales dropped. We weren’t exactly getting small numbers either. We were just a couple kids in their 20s and we made over $100k many years in a row and built a YouTube channel with over 100 million views. All of which was built off of our personality type understanding. At the time, we were not sure what science wanted, but we were more than convinced from our sales numbers that there was something trackable with personality types.
But then again, this was just our subjective experience. Does this mean that everyone else who understands the 16 personality types can get the kind of numbers we were getting? Of course not. Were there other factors at play there? Of course. What I’m sharing here is that we personally could not throw out the 16 types because we thought they were connected to our numbers. Meaning, I could throw out the 16 types intellectually, but to be honest about it, I knew my internal assumptions still believed them to be true. So we just went with it. Let’s see if we could prove or disprove the Functions objectively (not anecdotally).
Looking For Answers
So what could we do? If some of the best minds in the world haven’t been able to officially, objectively “prove” Carl Jung's 8 Functions for the past 100 years, what the hell were we supposed to do? I finally ended up talking to an older person who was familiar with the pseudoscience vs science game. He was not familiar with personality types in particular, but understood alot about the scientific method. He explained to me how in order for something to be accepted as true science and actually be in textbooks forever, it has to have thousands of verified case studies conducted by many people around the world. Something the MBTI has never come close to even starting. He told me to not think of the scientific community as some mean old group that can never be pleased. You don’t need to start with some million dollar funded project with people all around the world, you can work up to that. These kinds of things usually take decades, so pace it out.
Setting The Bar
My friend told me that we just need to follow the scientific method and not worry about proving this to some big organization at first. He told me to just focus on making a “proof of concept” on a small scale and then level up from there. This helped clear away alot of the overwhelming pressure to try and prove personality systems right or wrong in a short period of time. All we had to do is find an experiment that followed the scientific method that was simple, and budget friendly. Ok, we might be able to do that.
The Objective Challenge
Then one random day as I was reading one of these “bashing personality types” articles the author said something along the lines of, “Two personality practitioners can’t even agree with each other.” I was familiar with what the author was talking about. I knew that even in the medical field they have problems with doctors agreeing with each other. The studies are scary. They have found that doctors often don’t agree with each other when independently tested, but they often don’t even agree with themselves if you come in after lunch and test the same doctor again! This is an insight to just how subjective and biased we as humans can be. Doctors and personality practitioners aren’t “idiots”, they are just humans and the biases get the best of us all.
This article gave us the idea we were looking for. We could create a system that puts the pressure on a team of people. The minimum number of people we would need is two. Put one of us in one room, the other in another room, we then type the same 10 people, and when we are done we compare our results. This is simple enough because it puts the pressure on the “math” or the odds. This experiment is also something even "Joe-idiot" could see that the chances of two people in separate rooms randomly guessing the exact same personality types so many times in a row was astronomically low. Doing this is not going to get us any kind of world wide scientific recognition, and it doesn't have to. It just has to prove to us (and our team) that there is something objective here. From there we can scale up the experiments over the years.
How hard could this be? After all, we were internet hot shots when it came to personality type… right? We should be able to get some pretty accurate results when put to the objective test. In 2012 we tried to type personality objectively for the first time and failed miserably. We typed just 10 people that we all thought would be easy. I remember specifically thinking, “Oh, my partner is definitely going to see that this person is an ENFP, it's so obvious!” Yeah, that was one we didn’t agree on. That one and 6 out of 10 others. We could have flipped a coin and got better results. God damn it. It was embarrassing and humbling.
We tried this objective test many times for months. We kept typing people separately and then comparing our results. Every time, the best we could get was 5/10 right. We quickly realized (like science has been saying all along) that we had no idea how to define and identify the terms. What was Ne for one of us was Se or Ni for the other. Where do you go to get accurate terms for these Functions that we hypothesized were real? When you go to the Internet, the MBTI, and even Carl Jung’s writings you get very confusing, contradictory information. It’s kind of a chicken and egg situation. To really understand what the Functions are you’d have to be able to see them produce objective results to know that you have the right definitions. But you can’t get objective results if you don’t already have the right definitions.
By painfully sticking to the scientific method and working together as a team, we were able to uncover a few more understandings of Carl Jung’s Functions. He said that the personality code as far as he could see it, worked in 4’s. He also said that when the personality code is finally unfolded there could be 360 personality types for all he knew. He seemed to be saying that there was some kind of “punnett square” structure (working in 4’s) and these simple parts could arrange themselves in a large number of combinations (not just 16). Again, this is all just a theory but it got us thinking that if we could really understand one part of the code, we might be able to use that piece to understand its opposite. And if that worked we could keep unfolding the unknown using the leverage from what was known. Again, assuming Carl Jung’s personality code is even on the right track to begin with.
What we found over the next few years were a series of built in cross checks. Meaning, when I’m trying to type someone and I think that they may have Ni as their first Function, I must have some way to check my assumptions. It’s just like a math test in school. For example, you wrote down on your math test 8+16=25 you could check that error if you go back over and remember the rule that “any even number plus another even number is an even number”. Oh that’s right, so therefore 8+16=25 must be wrong. Let me go back over that and see what happened.
In the same way, if I think that someone has Ni as their first Function I can cross check that with their Human Needs. If someone has Ni or Si as their first Function, the Human Need for “Control/Organize” should be their highest Human Need. And if Control/Organize is their highest Human Need, then Variety/Gather should be their lowest Human Need. And if Variety/Gather (Se or Ne) is their lowest Human Need, then their recurring life problems should be about missing the facts, understanding what’s really going on, and having tidal waves of chaos. And who knows this best? Their friends and family. This takes time, but using these kinds of methods we can cross check assumptions and get some kind of verification.
From 2013-2016 we got in a workout routine that went like this: Objectively type 10 people - compare results - examine hits and misses - look for new understandings - repeat. We put in over 4000 hours into this workout routine. It was not easy, but slowly over time our objective results started to climb from 50% to 60% to 70%. We hit many walls along the way and found that there were “other coins” that had to be discovered. Fast forward to 2017 and we can consistently type the 16 types with 90% consistency or higher.
In fact, we personally don’t use the old Myers-Briggs 16 types anymore because as we unfolded the code, we saw that there were many types inside of types. Just as many people have been suspecting. Not everyone of a certain type is exactly the same. For example, when we say that person is an “INFJ” (has the Functions of Ni/Fe/Ti/Se) we then ask, what kind of INFJ because there is more than just one. In our YouTube shows we will be sharing how to type up to 32 types. How exactly do we do it? Besides the thousands of hours of practice with your partner that you have to put in, it’s pretty simple to understand. We teach how to get objective results in our video classes that are posted on YouTube. It takes alot of work, memorization, and practice with a partner, but we encourage people to try it.
The OPT-100 (Objective Personality Test)
The OPT-100 was first instituted in 2014 and is the self regulating standard we use to test for objective results. In order to insure diligence to the scientific method we require anyone claiming to have consistent objective results in typing personality to pass the OPT with a score of 90/100 or higher. This is the minimum requirement. The testing procedure for the OPT goes as follows:
- A list of 100 video interviews of random people are compiled by a third party.
- Once the third party has a list of 100 video case studies to their satisfaction, they are presented to two Operators.
- The two Operators must be kept separate during the entire test to insure objectivity.
- The two Operators are to type all 100 people and write down the specific personality number of each person (1-512).
- For example, if Operator-A types “Sally” as personality type 399/512, Operator-B should get the same number.
- To conclude the test, the third party checks to see if both Operators have consistent numbers for all 100 cases.
- The results are also checked to see if the previous two Operators also got the exact same numbers for all 100 cases.
- For the two Operators to pass, they must have at least 90/100 people typed the exact same type/number.
What This Means
Ok, so you can put us in separate rooms, give us a list of 10 people to objectively type, and when we are done we will have at least 9/10 of them typed as the same personality type/number. Now, does this mean that the Jungian Functions/Types are proven and ready to be accepted by science? No, not quite that fast. All this means is that we are able to objectively track something, apply terms to what we are seeing, and be objectively consistent. For example, just because we both separately typed someone as number 25D (FF-Fe/Ne-PB/C) does that mean we know their personality type? What and who’s definition of these terms are we using here? All we have proven is that there is SOMETHING there in personality traits that we can define and objectively track consistantly. What it is exactly is another question.
We created a Google doc where we would objectively type people and log them by their type/number. We started this doc in 2014 and have been adding to it ever since. It takes at least a few hours to objectively type someone and get them right. And even if we both got the same type for a person how do we know it’s not just a lucky guess? I mean, if you’re just working with 16 types you have a 1/16 chance of getting it right. With this objective typing method we are not proving that this one person is this type. All we can say is in a batch of 10 people we got 9/10 of them the same as the other idiot in the other room. Could some of those be lucky guesses? Absolutely. So we work in batches of 10 and build up and graph our numbers on a larger scale. At this point we have over 1000 people objectively typed.
It’s been long enough that we can’t remember who we typed a couple years ago. So what we do is set up a “test-retest” situation. One of us makes a Google doc, puts a list of people we have already objectively typed, and puts just their name and videos on the doc. The point is to hide the previous results from the other partner. We then bring in the other partner and have them type these same people we typed years ago and see what they get. To our surprise, we get again 90% accuracy with our previous selves. We continually do a test-retest of some kind every 6 months to continue to try and objectively monitor ourselves. We really started to know we had something when we kept seeing that we could consistently do what no other personality system has been able to do yet.
Each Operator has a lengthy checklist that they go through when typing someone. They are then responsible to fill out all the boxes below. They then add it all up and determine an exact personality number. We then compare the results of the first Operator to those of the second Operator. When we are off from one another, we are able to go back to our checklists and see exactly which boxes we got wrong. When we first started doing this in 2014 our checklists were very primitive and we could only get 40-50% accuracy. Over the years we’ve learned alot more, improved our understandings and checklists and we now independently can get the exact same personality number the far majority of the time.
The more people we objectively type and log in our docs, the more patterns start to emerge. We need to objectively type thousands of more people before we have anything conclusive. Here are just 4 examples of interesting patterns we see emerging so far:
1) Doppelgängers. The more people we have logged inside any given type number, the more people start to look alike. Many factors need to be considered such as race, age, weight, etc. Our objective system does not use any type of “face reading” or anything like that. All we noticed is that as we logged more people, we started to notice that people of the same type number often resemble each other.
2) Hair. Certain hair colors will “cluster” around certain type numbers. For example red hair shows up over 70% of the time in males in type number 77D. Black hair and black eyebrows are the dominant hair color for the females of type number 29. Blonde is very prevalent in the females of type number 64. Brown hair is also far more prevalent in several different type numbers and not others. Male pattern balding is also a trait that tends to cluster around certain types and skip others.
3) Disorders. One of the most clear and easy to track and predictable traits in our personality spectrum is disorders. For example “anxiety” and “depression” aggressively cluster around certain types. The people that claim to “see ghosts” also cluster around certain types. Physical disorders and diseases are also starting to cluster around certain types, just to name a few examples.
4) Gender. The most distinct, and very unexpected pattern we are seeing at scale is sexual identity/preference. The majority of the LGBT males are on the left end of our spectrum, and the majority of the LGBT females are on the right end of our spectrum. For example, 70% of males in number 25 are gay, bi, or trans. In type number 77, over 70% of the females are gay, bi, and trans. The males of the same number (77) are all straight. We are seeing this play out throughout the personality spectrum in a very consistent way.
We do track masculine and feminine traits on our checklist. In fact, there are several cross checks with this trait and it is one of the easiest traits for us to objectively track. We can conclusively say at this point that if a person is one type they may have less than a 1% chance of being LGBT. If they are one of the types where this is clustering around, they will have over a 70% chance of being LGBT.
When we started this research we had no knowledge about any kind of “gender spectrum.” All we can say now, from what we are seeing at scale, is there does appear to be a clear, measurable, gender spectrum, We have singled out this trait and are studying it in more detail. Our guesses from the data is that gender is wired in the brain, part of your personality type, and is happening in the womb. This has led us into a further study of identical twins and personality type... and yes, we are seeing the same kind of patterns there as well.
We have a long way to go until we have a team of 10 or more objective personality Operators and over 20,000 people objectively logged. Until then, we are in no position to try and “convince” anyone. Our goal in sharing all this is to invite and encourage others to pursue work in the objective personality field.
We are currently uploading many of our edited training classes onto YouTube to recruit young people who believe in what we are doing and want to be a part of building this. We are in Portland Oregon, and have public meetups a few times a year. If you want to meet us, reach out to us using our contact page and we can go from there.
Type Number 18C
Type Number 25A
Type Number 25 Over 50% of the males are LGBT.
Jere Burns 25B
Greg Proops 25D
Tyler Oakley 25D
Michael Buckley 25D
Type Number 64D
Type Number 77D Less than 1% of the males are LGBT. Over 50% of the females are LGBT.
Type Number 96
Rich Eisen 96B
Dana White 96B
Kevin O’Leary 96D
Will Sasso 96D
Type Number 106A
Type Number 112 Roughly 20% of the females are LGBT.
Leah Remini 112C
Michelle Rodriguez 112C
Rosie O’Donnell 112D
*This a sample checklist the OPS Operators practice with. Not intended for public use.