Interview: Interview Profile

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Personality Interview

One of the things that makes us unique, but still human, is our way of finding archetypes and similarities in the world that both enhance and conform to our particular personality type. Part of personality is the way we process and interpret information, and certainly the way we use that information to make sense of the world. Cognitive science models typically specify cognitive architecture in one of two ways, symbolic and connectionist. The elements of symbolic systems are symbols, which are stored in associative constructs. A strong proponent of the symbolic theory of cognition was psychologist Carl Jung who described cognitive processes in greater detail -- yet still based on two unique rubrics: perception and judgment. Sensation and intuition are types of perception; thinking and feeling are two kinds of judgments. In the 1940s, Isabel Meyers developed an extension of these theories, developing a self-reporting questionnaire to help individuals work with their own semblance of Jung's theoretical construct (Eisner, et.al. In "Levels of Learning," 2009). Taking the Jungian approach, Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs took these indicators and formulated a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure the way individuals both perceive the world and make overall decisions about themselves and their environment. It has become one of the most widely used personality assessments, and while some academics feel that it does not provide convincing data others find that it has a great deal of consistence and reliability in predicting the manner in which an individual might approach a problem, colleagues, a task, or even how that individual might relate towards stressors in the environment (Capraro 2002). To see how the theoretical and practical merge, we will use a short interview based on the Meyer's Briggs Test to uncover some of the ways the subject learns, approaches new tasks, and interacts with the world.

Subject - The subject in question is a white male, aged 26, college junior dual majoring in History and Education. We will call the subject "Tom." Tom was born in a mid-sized town in the Midwest, has one brother, two sisters, and considers himself to be moderate politically. Tom is an avid reader, loves movies and all types of music, and since leaving High School has learned to enjoy more solitary sports like hiking, backpacking, scuba-diving, and jogging. He is passionate about new ideas, connections within the academic world, crossword puzzles, and while he enjoys a great red wine or microbrew, is not a typically college partier. Tom spent his first three years working to save money for a car and college fund, and feels that he is better equipped to handle college being a bit older (and wiser, he says).

Meyers-Briggs Test

Learning Style - Tom tends to adopt different styles of learning in different situations. For classes, he prefers that the instructor lecture from the own experience, using notes, PowerPoint, etc. -- NOT from the text. He will often pre-read material (scan) prior to class, listen in class, jot a few notes, and then post study the text or texts more carefully. He is adept at Internet research, and most particularly at synthesizing massive amounts of information into very cogent and understandable packets. He prefers to observe behavior and situations and then apply previous knowledge to those situations. Because he is such an avid reader, he is able to draw inferences from a great deal of material that otherwise would be foreign to him.

If it is too quiet, Tom finds it difficult to study. He prefers to study to classical music; usually something rather rhythmic and tonal (Mozart, Bach, Handel, etc.) but often allows the local classical station to play. He says the greatest study invention is Pandora, because he can set up different musical genres based on the type of studying… his most recent is Big Band and 1940s vocals when working on research writing -- makes the time go faster.

Meyers-Briggs - Tom smiled at the results of the MB, commenting, "Yes, that sounds like me; not too extreme on either end." He admits that he gets teary in certain movies and events, most recently he said he was watching a PBS documentary about Echo the Elephant matriarch who had been under study in a national park… [END OF PREVIEW]

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