Episode 8 Personality Profiles: Tool, Diversion, or Trap?

Caren and Doug talk over our culture’s obsession with personality profiles and the instruments to construct them, ranging from “What’s Your Hogwart’s House?” to Myers-Briggs and Big Five Factors. We also touch on StrengthsFinder, Gretchen Rubin’s Four Temperaments, and the Five Love Languages. What drives our fascination with these, at the personal and institutional levels? What are they good at identifying and what do they distort? More important, is the whole enterprise misguided? Walker Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book provides the (delayed) epigraph.

Show notes (these will be fun):

If you’d like to take free versions of the personality tests mentioned on the show.


Gretchen Rubin’s Four Temperaments

The Open Source Psychometric’s Project has a range of tests you can take, including the Big Five Factors, which has come to fill the niche Myers-Briggs used to for institutions.

Clifton StrengthsFinder (not free, but no real free equivalent yet)

The Five Love Languages

On Ignation meditation and examination of conscience, see the extensive resources compiled by Loyola Press.

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, translated by Gregory Hays. You need the physical copy of this book. If you know someone in your life who thinks all philosophy is dry, abstract, and pointless, this book will change their mind.




2 thoughts on “Episode 8 Personality Profiles: Tool, Diversion, or Trap?

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  1. So much to dig into here in the world of psychology, one of my favorite worlds. In my occupation as a counselor and the realm of quantifying, measuring, and diagnosing it’s easy to become jaded in the categorizing of it all. Don’t get me wrong, I find thrill in a good personality test and being able to find an explanation or “know thyself” better (INFJ, Princess Belle, and Giving/Receiving Gifts/Quality Time Here…oh and I know my top 5 strengths from memory), but our challenge is to always remember we are a whole person, innately unique and multi-faceted, just as reflected in the Creator Himself. Some of that can be known, especially in relationship to our Father and His vision of us, but the rest is just the great mystery…and I think that’s the point! If we could figure it all out in self-help style now there wouldn’t be need of a Savior, would there? Thank you both for your insight and thoughtful dialogue on this topic, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your indulgence of a couple of foolish laypeople, Mary-Claire. Love your comments, particularly on the mystery of the whole person. We’ll be talking about Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos next week. Have you read any of that?


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