Lion of the Blogosphere

Off-the-cuff thoughts about personality factors

There were some comments of the nature “MBTI is bogus, Big Five is real.”

I strongly disagree, they both have elements of reality and bogusness woven into them.

The most real and true personality research was done quite some time ago by H.J. Eysenck, yes he’s the same guy who did a lot of research into intelligence. Just as he believed that intelligence was a biological concept that could be measured, he applied the same ideas to trying to measure personality.

The two biggest factors he discovered, Extraversion (E) and Neuroticism (N) are thus the two most basic personality factors, with E being more dominant. The H.J. Eysenck explanation of Extraversion is more real than either MBTI or Big Five or HEXACO. More recent personality research is mired in political correctness.

With E, one could say that just as there is a general factor of intelligence, g, there is a general factor of extraversion, E, which correlates with being sociable, active, lively, impulsive and sensation seeking.

Later on, Eysenck added a P factor. People who score high on P are aggressive, antisocial, cold and egocentric. Eysenck’s P was then ignored by personality research, until recently when the HEXACO model got created with an “Honesty-Humility” factor, which sounds like a sub-factor Eysenck’s long-ignored P super-factor.

So is MBTI bogus? It’s bogus that MBTI assigns people to either-or, because personality traits are distributed along a normal distribution and most people are average. And I am sure that H.J. Eysenck could measure E a lot better than the MBTI questions. But as I wrote in the previous post, I feel that the S-N (Sensing vs. iNtuition) and F-T (Feeling vs. Thinking) dimensions, although confusingly named, are measuring something more useful and more distinct than Openness and Agreeableness which they are said to correlate with. As I’ve written several times before, I believe that Openness is the most bogus of the Big Five personality factors.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 16, 2018 at 10:19 AM

Posted in Psychology

9 Responses

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  1. I think you’re under-estimating the importance of conscientiousness. It’s positively correlated with two negatively correlated traits that are of central interest in psychology (intelligence and conservatism).It’s also correlated with various measures of economic well-being (like savings) and health, above and beyond intelligence. High conscientiousness is a key component of the Obsessive-Compulsive Personality, which I’ve suggested is a key component of Success.


    July 16, 2018 at 10:53 AM

    • In my eleven-factor model, conscientiousness is replaced with orderliness and future-time orientation.

      • Lion, this is brilliant stuff. INTJ describes me perfectly, but I can stretch into INTP while I’m at work. So I tend to like MBTI for that reason. A lot of people are right in the middle for each of the 4 factors, or they’re more flexible for where they are in the factors, and MBTI looks like garbage to them.

        I think there’s a great deal of value in big 5, but it doesn’t work that well on me because I can score different ways on different traits depending on which sub-factor you ask questions about (see graphic).

        Morality is a sub-factor of agreeableness. Most police officers are super high in morality and also good at using cooperation. However, they considered low in agreeableness. An agreeable person is not good at confronting criminals, whereas a disagreeable person might actually enjoy it.

        Orderliness seems to be the outlier here. I know plenty of ‘lazy programmers’ who organize things efficiently to reduce the total amount of work they have to do. Granted the truly lazy never get that far, but the foil of the ‘lazy programmer’ is the try-hard manager who wants everything done the hard way. The try-hard manager is super high in conscientiousness, but appears too low in orderliness to make systems that run efficiently.

        How is immoderation a facet of neuroticism? I thought that neurotic people were excessively cautious. So how do we give someone points for being more neurotic if they throw caution to the wind?

        Intellect and emotionality are both sub-facets of Openness. If anything, there’s probably a negative correlation between these two, at least in outward behavior. People who are more ruled by intellect are proportionately less ruled by emotion, and vice versa.


        July 16, 2018 at 1:08 PM

      • Intellect should be measuree with an IQ test and not a personality test.

        Neuroticism is emotionality in general. Neurotics have anxiety, but also lose control more easily.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        July 16, 2018 at 1:40 PM

  2. “More recent personality research is mired in political correctness“

    You can extend that to many other areas. I like reading history but it too has been infested. There are a few trusted ones I can still read.

    Movies and the like, same. Even something like a mystery novel may be infested. There are deliberate “diverse” type who are always “the good guy.”


    On the topic of personality types, I’m only vaguely interested. I’ve become less interested in “examining myself” as I get older. At one point I would have rushed out to test myself. Now the subject is a bit of a bore.

    Why don’t you check your readers demographics by age?

    Frau Katze

    July 16, 2018 at 1:28 PM

  3. When I did HEXACO, I was surprised at how low I scored on Honesty-Humility and Altruism. They seemed to ask a lot of variations of “Do you forgive your enemies?” and I thought, well, I don’t have an enemies; if I did, it would have to be because they did something really harmful to me or someone I care about, so it would be irresponsible if I just forgave them easily. And the test results are like, wow, so harsh and unforgiving!

    Greg Pandatshang

    July 16, 2018 at 6:49 PM

    • I don’t forgive my enemies.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      July 16, 2018 at 6:54 PM

      • The trendy thing to say now is “I forgive but don’t forget”. Not me…I don’t forgive or forget.

        Jay Fink

        July 16, 2018 at 7:10 PM

      • I’m a big believer in the Satanic golden rule: “Do unto others as they do unto you.”

        As for altruism, I bet I’ve donated more to charitable causes than the typical practitioner of slactavism, who’s constantly sending positive vibes but not actually doing anything that requires cost or real effort. Funny how it’s also the “greediest” people I know who donate the most money time and work to organized charities, and just helping people they know.


        July 17, 2018 at 9:58 AM

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