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Advice-filtering for Research, using Personality Factors

Thursday June 17, 2021

I find that I do this a lot these days:

  • Read content online, for example a question in an online community forum or group
  • Read comments or answers about it
  • Mentally filter all the comments by likely personality type, using a lot of intuition (Ni) based on the writing style, approach to the topic, psychological distance control with the topic, what the topic is, who typically flocks to these topics, etc. (Se)
  • Mentally filter all the comments by how much leverage / control the commenter has in this topic / area (See Relevant Notes below)
  • Mentally filter all the comments by how projection-y / blustery / braggy / whatever they are
  • If it’s an INTJ and they have a lot of leverage / control and the projection level is appropriate…

At that point I am paying a lot of attention to that commenter, based on the theory that in these ways, their psychology is at least a rough match for mine:

  • The various cognitive function models (huge)
  • Specific personality traits, outside of type (huge)
  • Interaction styles and DISC (huge)
  • Temperament (depends on the topic but often a big deal)
  • General function attitude (surprisingly relevant if you get into what I/E can really mean)
  • The usual four-letter type stuff (less useful in a lot of cases)

If it’s not an INTJ, of course that’s totally fine. I do the same thing but filter by cognitive functionality, function attitudes, interaction style, temperament, etc. (This doesn’t take long now that I’ve spent years and years coaching using these tools)

Some outcomes:

  • I was able to manage risk better by confirming that my psychology was suited for specific approaches to things. For example, when I wondered if coaching was a good fit for me, I paid extra attention to introverts and particularly experienced introverts who were Thinking-preferent. This paid off later when I was able to recognize similar patterns and remember their advice.
  • I was able to contextualize the whole group of helpful comments, for example if you filter an entire thread of comments and realize you are dealing with people who are projecting tons of experience, and yet there is zero depth to the conversation—OK, maybe find a different topic. If INTJs are doing this though, there’s a chance you are really onto something, because their intuition is lighting up but their experience level isn’t there yet.
  • I found some “quacks” (e.g. downvoted to hell, or literally called quacks in the thread, or whatever) who my filters told me were probably really trustworthy, or at least worth listening to. I followed up and learned a lot of specific career and research secrets that I didn’t understand before.

Relevant Notes

To estimate whether someone has a lot of leverage and control over their interaction with a topic or area of interst, I might look for these factors:

  • The topic is not particularly emotionally charged for them
  • They seem to be able to work with the topic in a positive way (not so much emotionally positive, rather they are persistently solving problems and working through them when they come up, for example)
  • They seem to be able to do this over a long period of time
  • They seem to be able to set normative time and schedule boundaries with the activity; it doesn’t consume their life
  • They seem to be satisfied with the results they get
  • They seem to plan to continue down this route

Filed in: Interests /111/ | Productivity /119/

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