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A Survey of Character Strengths Test

For my class of Financial decision making, I needed to take the character strengths test. If I understood the test correctly, a person was supposed to put more emphasis on the strengths. I guess in some sort of attempt to use the Matthew effect.

So I did the test, and while I know why it is important to ask similar things in a questionnaire, I was still a bit annoyed at the 240 questions. Maybe I was more annoyed what, they kept informing me, that I needed to answer all 240 questions.

But I did, and here are my strengths in order:

  1. Curiosity and interest in the world
  2. Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness
  3. Love of learning
  4. Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
  5. Fairness, equity, and justice
  6. Bravery and valour
  7. Caution, prudence, and discretion
  8. Self-control and self-regulation
  9. Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness
  10. Modesty and humility
  11. Perspective wisdom
  12. Zest, enthusiasm, and energy
  13. Industry, diligence, and perseverance
  14. Hope, optimism, and future-mindedness
  15. Forgiveness and mercy
  16. Gratitude
  17. Kindness and generosity
  18. Humour and playfulness
  19. Capacity to love and be loved
  20. Leadership
  21. Citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty
  22. Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith
  23. Social intelligence
  24. Appreciation of beauty and excellence

But let us be clear. Only the first couple of them are actually my strengths. The lower part of the list is clearly consisting of my weaknesses. Which, among other things include a capacity to love and be loved, appreciation of beauty, forgiveness, kindness and sense of purpose. So basically a bored psychopath. Thankfully, one of my weaknesses is also social intelligence, so I can't be a very effective psychopath.

On the other hand, my strengths are mostly in the group called wisdom and knowledge. Which I am alright with. Especially if I had to pick one, and the rest of them are courage, humanity and love, justice, temperance and transcendence. Through the courage looks very tempting, in the end, I would not pick one of the other anyway, so I am pretty satisfied with the result.

Thinking about it, this is a very INTPish group of strengths. It includes the curiosity, critical thinking, judgment, open-mindedness, love of learning, and perspective. So basically being very logically thinking (Ti) and be good with ambiguity (Ne-Ti) and not only open to new ideas but constantly seeking them (Ne and Se). Maybe calling them a more ENTPish group of strengths might be more accurate, not that I think about it.

But let my try to stay on the topic. We can talk about it all day, whenever to improve our strengths or work on our weaknesses. But I believe that whichever way we lean, we end up working on our strengths anyway. That is why people use analytical thinking to help them navigate the social situations. This is why some people use their social intelligence to help them navigate the technical and logical problems.

For the record, I had only seen the later, and I have only experienced the former.

On the end, I don't have an answer to whenever to work on our strengths or on our weaknesses. Both have their pros and through at least the opportunity costs, their cons. For now, I will leave this decision is the hands of every person itself.

Tests for Impicit Biases

We people have a lot of biases. Some or all of them were really helpful for survival in the past.

But it really helps to get aware of the biases. Some of the biases are pretty general, like the loss aversion bias, or the sunk cost bias. But then there are also biases that refer to how we perceive other people. And these biases can also be implicit.

Project Implicit have a website where you can check your own implicit biases. There are some for health issues and a couple of more interesting ones, like gender, weapons or race.

I decided that I am going to post my results and compare them with my explicit biases. So for each test that I did, I first check explicitly, what I think my biases are. Then I checked if my implicit correspond to this. In most cases it did, but there were some differences.

Theme Explicit Bias Implicit Bias Strenght of Implicit Bias
Treatment Therapy Therapy moderately
Food High-Fat Food Low-Fat Food strongly
Myself Good Good moderately
Myself Life Life moderately
Drinking Abstaining Abstaining strongly
Myself Anxious Calm moderately
Myself Happy Happy slightly
Danger Mentally ill Mentally ill slightly
Science Male Female slightly
Sexuality no preference Streight slightly
Career Male Male moderately

I was mostly surprised by the two difference. One is with regard to the link between science/humanities and gender. While I do think that they should be equal, I am aware that they are not. So I was expecting a strong male-science and female-humanities connection. To get a reverse connection was really surprising in a positive way.

If the science one was a positive surprise, then the sexuality one was a negative one. As an asexual person, I really hoped that I had no preference what so ever. So I was a little disappointed that even though I am not really a part of it, I still think in a very normative way.

What are your results like?

Tables of Astrology Signs in English and Slovene

I have problems remebering the traslations for astrological signs in English. In order to have a reference, I am publishing the traslations here in the table.

English Slovene Element
Aries oven fire
Taurus bik earth
Gemini dvojček air
Cancer rak water
Leo lev fire
Virgo devica earth
Libra tehtnica air
Scorpio škrpjon water
Sagittarius strelec fire
Capricorn kozorog earth
Aquarius vodnar air
Pisces ribi water

Astrology and Personality Types, or Why I Don't do much Astrology

I still remember the first time, when I decided to use an outside model to help me understand people. The first model that I tried was an astrological one. You know, the one where the time and hour of birth was supposed to give you certain traits.

It ended up badly. I was desperate, so I am sure that I had a relatively high conformation bias. But the predictions that I could made from the sun signs of people around me were not in accordance with my observations.

It might also be, that my and my mother have the same astrological sign, but we are only partly similar.

I then started to ask people around, to try and predict the sun sign of my and other people around me. For some reason, most if not all of them were wrong. None of them said cancer, which is my sun sign. Most frequent was Libra | my moon sign) or scorpion | my Pluto sign). But if they can just guess, and it has to me in one of my signs, then they have a more than 50% to get it right. So, I can't really take this into account. Especially, since the results were pretty similar for guessing other people.

They always told me that I need to know their exact charts to be able to understand people. Since I could not find out a practical way at the time how to so it, I found it useless for my endeavour. I needed something that will help me understand people without leading them through the structured interview before.

Though, there are some supposed correlations with astrology and personality. For example, the people with the sun sign in the fire and air sun signs tend to be more extroverted. The people with the sun signs in earth and water tend to me more introverted. Though it is hard to tell, how much does the knowledge of astrology impacts this.

But even as I got more generally interested in the differences in people, I never really invested the time again in the astrology. And the reason for that is the mentality of people that practice or believe in it. I might just meet a small subset of people that were interested in the astrology, but they were a bit... cultish?

What I mean by that is, that they always tried to explain things away, and never were really interested in studying things in a more self-directed manner. The astrology was what the books were telling them, not what the reality was. And all inconsistencies with realities were explained that even they don't know everything that is in the books yet.

If it reminds you of some people... well, they are like these religious fanatics that try to explain everything with the bible. So, not really something that I want to be a part of it. Even if they were not as pushy as the religious folks.

So these are the main reasons, why even though I was interested in personality for years now, I never really got deep in the astrology. Even though it is the most frequently used personality type model. And considering that these reasons are a bit similar to the ones mentioned in Thagard article, I think that I still mostly did the right choice.

Did you Think about how much the Technology will Change You?

One thing that I noticed recently is, how much do some of the technology change the way we think, feel and behave. It might be easier for me to look for this, as for one, I am the only person that I know that has no phone number and even though I do have a phone, in most days I only use it as an alarm clock.

But here I am not going to talk about how other people use technology. Just because I think that constant checking makes them miss quite a lot, it is their own choice. Instead, I am going to be talking about a couple of technologies that I am using and what I am noticing when I am using it.

I am going to start with the email. The email was quite nice for me, as long as it was only used to get blog posts and to arrange for the meeting times with people, that I did not see that frequently. But now that I am abroad, I get a lot of messages that are more like conversations about our lives. In one way, it is kind of nice to get some sort of message of that is going on. On the other hand, it is a really strong reminder, that I am not spending the time in person. When I was in Germany and Hungary, that was not that bad, since I only got these kinds of messages from my family. And we found the frequency that worked for us.

But now, it is not just my family, but it is some of my classmates, some of my former co-members of the Toastmasters and so on. And not only are these not the substitution for the face to face communication, they also made me realise, that I am not really living the life of 'excitement' that is expected from the life abroad.

And this can be real pressure. I am not interesting to the party scene, and I don't like seeing attractions, which means that I mostly work for school, good to the meetups and walk around the city. Not very interesting, when I actually have to talk about it. So even though I am satisfied with the life that I am currently having, I can still feel this pressure.

This pressure is NEVER present, when I talk to people face to face. So, yes, when it comes to the actual communication with other people, I really don't like the email. But I use email because it is convenient. Made me start to seek the different way how I am going to handle this in the future.

Now that I think about it, the working hours is something that we accepted because of the technology change. I guess for some people, the first association would be industrial revolution. But my first association is with agriculture.

Before we had agriculture, we lived in a completely different community. But the best part, in order to live a life, a person worked on average 6 hours per day. But don't compare your working day to this. The preparing the food and eating were included in these 6 hours.

But then we decided that the advantages of the agriculture were worth working more. I don't know if it was a well-thought decision at the time or if people adopted it because it was popular. But a decision that most people adopted 10.000 years ago robbed us of free time, that we still did not get completely back. We came a long way, but there is still a way to go.

There are many other examples in my life. I currently don't want a car in my life, because the cost, the time needed to take care of it and so on is higher than what it would help in my life. Everybody tells me that this will change and I am open to it, but I can't see myself with the car, even in my future. I do like kitchen utils. I am really missing the oven right about now, and I would take any oven. But if it would go my way, I would have a professional oven.

I think it is really important to make sure, that we decide in which technology to accept in our life deliberately. Because any technology that we use is going to change us. The question is, how and if the results of the technology make up for these changes.

How Much do you Want to Think?

I still remember my talks with one of my Toastmasters co-members. I was always on the side of needing to make people think during the speech. He was on the opposite side. He was convinced that people that listen to speeches are usually tired and distracted and the speech needs to be made as simple as possible and then even simpler.

I agree with him more now that I did back then. But then again, back there I did not understand, why would people not want to think. I was a bit naive at that time, and I probably still am. Well, eventually I found out that there are things that some people don't want to think about and some people were less likely to want to think.

On thing that can measure this is Need for Cognition Scale, that I recently found on the internet. Sure, I took the shorter version that is posted on this site. I am at 80% percent, if the 50% is middle and 100% and 0% are the end points.

Not sure, if the scale is linear, logarithmic or something else. Also, I have no idea how do I compare to other people. But I am quite proud that I am on the higher need for cognition side. Which you most likely would not realise, considering the level of my English writing on this site, which is horrid.

So, how much do you want to think?

What the Hell is Enneagram Type?

When I read around the personality type on the internet, the Enneagram types are quite frequently mentioned. But unlike the other personality models, like The Big Five, MBTI, BIS/BAS theory and many others, I don't actually know what it is supposed to tell me and where did it come from.

I mean, when I can find a more direct explanation in the astrology signs, then I don't know how to deal with it.

I mean, I took the test, and I according to the test, I am Type 5, the investigator. Well, the description is somehow acuate. From primary to high school and maybe even at the beginning of the university level, I did withdraw to avoid my problems. Not sure about the intelligence bit. I am confident in the mental world more than in the real one. I don't think I am sensitive, but I do sometimes put distance between myself and people. I do prefer minimalist style and prefer not to make many demands on other people. So overall correct.

And I could read about the rest of them. But that still does not tell me the whole structure. And that picture of the cycle with a couple of lines don't really explain much more. So, apparently the wings are what is next on the cycle and lines represent... what exactly?

Well, one of the websites did start to say, that there is a dominant emotion for each group of types. As five, I would have fear as dominant feelings. The other two are anger and shame. I wonder if they made all three of them negative on purpose?

Overall, I have no idea why this model is so popular on the internet. It is probably have to do with my not understanding it enough to use it. Even so, I guess I will for now stick with the models that I actually know.

The Big Five analysis of Tony Stark from Iron Man Script

I have recently found another website, that calculates the personality scores simply based on the text used. This one comes from the IBM, and I was really impressed with the accuracy fo the results for me. But then I got another idea. Could this be used to find the personality types of the movie characters.

So the one that I tested on first was Iron Man. I used the script from the first Iron Man movie. I used all of Tony's lines until he ended up in the cave. The results are the following:

  • higher conscientiousness than 76% of people
  • higher neuroticism than 72% of people
  • higher agreeableness than 67% of people
  • higher openness than 35% of people
  • higher extroversion than 27% of people

I don't know, I would argue that Tony is kind of seeking new things, so that would mean that he needs a high extroversion or high openness. Also, having conscientiousness as the highest one... I mean, he does display some of them, like being workaholic. When we discuss dependency, it is only with some things. I don't know, I am not really satisfied with these results.

The site also provides the values and consumer needs of the person being analyses. For Tony, apparently the highest values are helping others, stimulation and taking pleasure in life. Which I do agree with, as least as far as I am aware of the character (I only watched MCU movies, so my knowledge is not that extensive).

Also there are some suggestions, which could be helpful for people's fanfiction writing. For example, apparently he likes horror movies, but does not enjoy documentary movies. Which would go with how I see the character.

The summary though... I guess I mostly agree with it. Even though my first knee reaction was on the opposite spectrum.

Now I am wondering what does this say about some of the other fictional characters.

Do you Know your Big Five Score?

I am using the Big Five quite a lot in my current computer modelling of the 'mind' seminar paper. So I decided to retake the test to see if I remember the results correct or even if I do, did I change in any. And actually, beside one factor, the results are still the same as I remember.

There is a reason why this test is used in most of the research. Except in business, where the MBTI is still having a strong hold.

So here are my results:

Extroversion (low)

Extroversion refers to how likely people experience positive emotions, how social they are, how risk taking they are and how likely the are to act and experience new things. The opposite is sometimes called introversion, but it is also called disengagement.

I, apparently, am really low on this one. Around 3% of people that took the test scored lower, which means that I am pretty low. Sure, there is some self-selection bias, because it is an internet test. But I think these results have a very low chance of happening by chance.

So, I am less likely to experience positive emotions, I am less likely to be social butterfly and I am less likely to take risks.

Agreeableness (low)

Agreeableness refers to the social skills and how pleasant a person is. The agreeable people are tolerant, trust-worthy, altruistic and make people feel warm and welcome.

I am also low on this one. Around 2% of people that took the test are lower than me. So, I am not a pleasant person to be around, this is what you can take from this test. I am critical and have a temper. There are also other adjectives associated with being low on agreeableness, but these two really apply to me.

Conscientiousness (middle)

The next one is conscientiousness. This one deals with being reliable, orderly, self-disciplined and so one. The opposite would be people that are rebellious, fickly, negligence.

I am middle on this one, just like I remember it. I think I kind of like the balance. I have enough self-discipline to finish things, but I also have enough rebelliousness to be able to resist the current order. I actually noticed that when I come in the new environment, I start with a pretty high level of if, but then it gets lower through time, as I become more rebellious.

Emotional Stability (high)

The next one is emotional stability. Usually I am more used to this being reversed and called neuroticism. This refers to the amount of negative emotions that are felt, like being timid and passive. It is also about how reactive the person is. The higher this one is, the less likely person is to experience these feelings and reactions.

I was surprised to be that high on the emotional stability. I should be in the middle or lower end. I am now kind of worried what kind of emotional wreck most people are. And they have to worry and experience negative emotions more than me. Or maybe it is the reactivities thing. I tend to experience a lot of negative emotions, but I don't react to them.

Openness (high)

The quiz calls it Intellect/Imagination, but I have seen it called a great many things. I think the openness is by far the best word to encompass all the aspects of this factor. This factor encompass the wish of intellectual stimulation, the appreciation for art and other sensory pleasant experiences and being open for experience.

I was always proud on this one being that high for me. I like learning about new things and listening to the people that know more about something that me. While I don't know a lot about art, I can still appreciate it. Though I am sure that there are billions of people that appreciate art more than me.

Not that sure about my openness for experience. I find myself pretty mediocre here.

So here are my results to the test. According to his I would be that crazy scientist that secludes herself and does not go along with people. But that does not even notice that this happened. Sometimes like that. I quite like this personality.

So, take the test and check what kind of personality do you have.

SEM Analysis in R

For my school project, I we needed to do a structural equation modelling (SEM) analysis. I played with it somehow. We ended up using an analysis done by my teammate, but I am still sharing it, in case it helps somebody.

The code can be found here.