The Conversation Here LO9664
Sun, 1 Sep 1996 10:20:04 -0400

Replying to LO9513 --

Ref MBTI quadrants, Rachel Silber asks:

>At some level of detail, of course, we are all different. But how do
>you work with 5.5 billion personality types in a useful mental model?
>We all do some amount of aggregation of the data around us, MBTI is more
>conscious and formal, but most of the time we do it automatically and
>informally. The crucial thing to me is, how fluid can we be about accepting

>new data, correcting the model in real time as we are making it?
>Otherwise MBTI or any other model becomes a set of prejudices, and
>may distort more than it helps.

I would suggest that it is somewhat different, and possibly more useful, to
ask "what can I do with the knowledge inherent in MBTI?" than it is ask "what
should I do with knowledge of people's MBTI classifications."

For instance, if MBTI, or a variety of similar concepts, imply that some
people learn better from an analytical view (i.e. a sequential, linear
breakdown) of information and some people learn better from a holistic view
of information, why not try and present to both styles?

The typical class-room/conference-room has a single overhead projector from
which a single view of information is provided. Why not have two projectors
and present an analytical view of information on one screen and a holistic
view of the same information on another?

Truly this is easier said than done, but many types of information can be
conveyed in both analytical form (text bullets, matricies, etc.) and in a
more holistic form (flow charts, process maps, causal loop and stock and flow
diagrams). Presenting information in both styles at once might be effective
both because it caters to both learning styles and because, despite the MBTI
quadrants, individuals will tend to have some degree of both styles.

Note that, if you agree that this might be an interesting teaching technique,
it seems applicable regardless of the specific "breakdown" of your audience
into categories. Thus, one might make good use of the information inherent
in the MBTI model without trying to categorize any single person or group of

I believe that similar approaches could be taken with other implications of
MBTI if one moves ahead with the question "how can I use the information
inherent in MBTI to recognize and cater to the range of personal 'styles' I
am likely to encounter?"

(forgive me if any of my terminology/semantics are off, I'm a little rusty on
my MBTI)

Robert L.


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