I found this video during my travels across the internet and it got me thinking (always dangerous). Graphology is currently considered a ‘pseudoscience’, that is something that purports to be scientific but actually has little proven scientific research behind it.
And yet the idea of graphology has made its way into popular culture with everything from Sherlock to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation at one time or another using graphology to get an insight into the personality of a suspect. The idea that ‘who we are’ can be analysed is a powerful one.
One of the things that everyone struggles with at some point is knowing who they are. There is no objective standard to use. As individuals our point of view is heavily biased, sometimes towards the positive or sometimes to the negative. We ask those who know us well their opinion but again, there is the danger of a hidden agenda. Either people will focus on positives to spare our feelings, or sometimes might focus on negatives to score points.
There is little point asking people who don’t know us… as they don’t know us
So we turn to analysis of the effects of our personality. The individuals that we are leave impressions on the environment around us, the people we interact with, the choices we make… perhaps even our handwriting? Our impressions on a page.
If we can understand ourselves, we can accurately assess our strengths and compensate for those things that challenge us so we can improve and develop.
Very noble. However, our own brains get in the way of making full use of this knowledge. We instinctually need to classify and categorise. This is why in psychology there is an important difference between personality types and personality traits.
Types categorise. People are either/or. So someone is either introverted or extroverted. Traits acknowledge a sliding scale. People can be place on a line between ‘fully introverted’ to ‘fully extroverted’. Because of problems with consistency and how people answer psychometric tests, personality type theories have fallen out of favour in psychology (just for your information, MBTI is a ‘type’ instrument).
There is another issue with this objective analysis. Ironically, we can struggle to come to terms with the idea that something other than ourselves can tell us who we are. We resist the categorisation of any instrument even if it is a ‘trait’ instrument ESPECIALLY if it goes against our own self image.
For example, on the Buzzfeed personality tests of Facebook I keep getting R2 D2 when I am CLEARLY Han Solo!
The other thing to bear in mind (and I fall into this trap myself) is we look for how the objective test can be wrong, even in the most minute detail… like when I come out as something else other than Han Solo
On a Sliding Scale
Although the Talent Dynamics test has 8 personality profiles, it isn’t a ‘type instrument’. These are simply handy, easy to remember reference points. Behind the types is a mix of 4 energies (traits) that scales from 0 – 100%. It is the mix of these traits which can be used to objectively ask questions of yourself and allow focused development with an understanding of strengths and challenges.
But none of us are an island and the final issue with psychometric testing is the isolation that many tests engender. It is focused on you. One of the most valuable things you can take from a psychometric test is how you relate to others. Even Carl Jung, pioneer of “Psychological Types”, came up with the concept in an attempt to reconcile his own perspective with those of Freud and Adler, whose relationship had grown… ‘tense’ due to differing perspectives. In effect, the start of psychometric testing was to learn how everyone could ‘play nice’ (dazzling use of technical jargon there, DT) despite the tensions of extroversion, introversion, intuition or sensation.
“In attempting to answer this question, I came across the problem of types; for it is one’s psychological type which from the outset determines and limits a person’s judgement.” ~ Carl Jung
Ultimately, all the self-knowledge in the world will be largely useless if we don’t understand how we can use that knowledge of ourselves to improve our personal and professional relationships.