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MIT blogger Cami M. '23

Cognitive Processes by Cami M. '23

or: i take a personality test again

For those who know me well, you’ll know that I’m an absolute sucker for personality tests. I’ve done practically every personality test there is out there in the world. I read into my zodiac and stuff, not necessarily believing it, but just seeing if I relate. (I’m an Aquarius and a water snake, iirc.) I would definitely say I’m a superstitious person — I believe in ghosts and the paranormal and all that. So yeah, you could say I’m pretty into this stuff.

While on a YouTube binge with Mariia, as I introduced her to the old YouTubers I watched like The Try Guys, Dan and Phil, and KickthePJ, I encountered PJ’s most recent video Retaking the Personality Test.

In this video, PJ talks about how he took the 16personalities quiz three years ago and was told he was an INFJ. He wanted to do this exact same video three years later, but after talking with some people about it, he was going to do a slight analog of the quiz called the Keys 2 Cognition: Cognitive Processes quiz since people had bashed pretty heavily on the 16personalities quiz and saw it as just flat out wrong.

Not only was I strongly interested in taking this test because I’m really into personality tests, but I was really intrigued on how PJ was an INFJ. Every year from high school to now, I took the 16personalities test and the Harry Potter house quiz.

Here’s how it shaped up over the years:

  • HS Freshman: Slytherin + INFJ
  • HS Sophomore: Ravenclaw + INFJ
  • HS Junior: Ravenclaw + INFJ
  • HS Senior: Ravenclaw + INFJ
  • Right before college: Gryffindor + INFJ
  • End of Freshman IAP: Gryffindor + ENFP
  • End of Freshman Year: Gryffindor + ENFP

I was actually really, really sad when I saw I had switched from an INFJ to an ENFP. If we’re too deeply look into this, I’ll wholeheartedly admit that I took a lot of pride in being an INFJ just for the sake that we made up less than 1% of the population (supposedly) and I really liked having this special snowflake feeling. Shallow, I know, but that’s the honest truth! This is actually kind of funny to write down because I know that the 16personalities test was absolutely bogus, but it was still nice to feel some weird validation from some random (albeit false) website.

In regards to Harry Potter, I secretly still want to be a Slytherin. I always admired the Slytherin work ethic and vision, and I always, always imagined myself as a Slytherin in the times I do go to Hogwarts. Although, I guess this is kind of irrelevant since Harry Potter is heavily overrated and I think people should choose a different universe to immerse themselves in (Percy Jackson, perhaps? Or have you considered Avatar the Last Airbender?).

So, intrigued by this alternate test, I was really, really interested in seeing what it would say about me. Would it say I’m an ENFP still? Would it even give me these letters? Are they even analogous?

I wanted to write about my experience taking it, and maybe talk a little more about the answers I gave as some weird, very public self-reflection. I’ve also been talking a lot more about different stances and positions I have on topics with my boyfriend and it’s been super enlightening, so I thought it’d be fun to bring some of those conversations to the blogs! I’d love to read about other people’s results and thoughts on the answers I gave, so please do message me or leave some comments below if you wanna chat about it.

The Test

The test consists of 48 statements that you rate on a scale from “Not Me” to “Exactly Me.” The test also states that understanding the various phrases is part the assessment, so there are going to be certain questions that readers might not even be able to understand or comprehend, and this most likely means the phrase doesn’t apply to you and you should just put “Not Me.”

And I dove in! Here are the answers I answered strongly to — Not Me, Little Me, Mostly Me, Exactly Me. The ones I skip over were things I was somewhat netural to or flip flopped between, so they’re not that interesting to talk about.

2. Offer various unrelated ideas and see what potential they might suggest. – Mostly Me

This was something I did a lot in my internship when we were first brainstorming what idea to come up with for our app. I would just kind of throw spaghetti at the ceiling and just hope it stuck. I like to consider myself a somewhat creative person and I’m a firm believer that sometimes the best ideas come from the weird and unconventional.

3. Determine success by measurement or other objective method such as the time taken. –Mostly Me

I am someone who requires tangible evidence to determine my success. When I work out, if I’m lifting heavier, then that means I’ve been successfully working out. If I study differently for a math quiz and score higher, my method was successful. If I’m able to answer more LeetCode questions after reading through Cracking the Coding Interview first, that means that the book was successful in helping me.

4. Feel inclined to be responsible for, and take care of, others’ feelings. – Mostly Me

This is a pretty bad habit of mine, but I feel pretty responsible for people’s feelings and problems and can sometimes really strongly feel the weight of their problems even if it’s not mine. I’m working on letting that go, though.

5. Experience a premonition or foresee the distant future. – Exactly Me

This goes back to the superstition thing. I have a lot of experiences with deja vu or being able to anticipate things before they happen. Not often, though, but I believe in it.

6. Notice whether the details in front of you match what you are accustomed to. – Not Me

Remember when the test was like “if you don’t understand the wording, that probably means you don’t relate”? Yeah, had absolutely no clue what this meant.

8. Feel strongly that something is good or bad. – Mostly Me

I try to also get rid of absolutes, but I do think I view the majority of the world in absolutes. This food is good. This class is good. My friends are good. I usually take very strong positions on controversial topics rather than being wishy-washy or grey with my position.

11. Achieve a metamorphosis, definitive insight, or powerful vision of change. – Exactly Me

I’m a big believer in change and self reflection. That’s pretty obvious from, like, half of my blogposts. I believe I am constantly changing and learning and I love looking back on the past and now and seeing and analyzing those changes.

12. Compare and experience against a storehouse of familiar experiences to find what’s reliable. – Little Me

Once again, honestly didn’t understand the wording. I interpreted this as “Do you compare your current experience with the past to make decisions?” and I don’t think I really do…?

13. Remain in touch with what you want for yourself, what motivates you, and what is good. – Mostly Me

Absolutely. I always remind myself my purpose in doing the things I do and make sure that it aligns with what I want overall. I study because I want to learn and because I’m interested. I do this internship because I want to learn more. I blog because it is good for me and it is a safe space for expression for me. I always make sure to remember myself. It might be selfish to some, but I’ve learned to put myself first.

14. Apply leverage to a situation to solve a problem impersonally using minimal effort. – Not Me

Wording + I don’t believe in solving problems “impersonally”. I think removing emotions totally and completely is bad in a majority of situations. Humanity in decision making is good.

17. Recognize and usually adhere to shared values, feelings, and social norms to get along. – Mostly Me

As assertive or as aggressive as I come off, I usually try my best not to cause too much friction with people, read the room, etc.

18. Conceive a comprehensive plan to maximize progress toward multiple goals at once. – Mostly Me

I’m a big multitasker. I enjoy tediously planning everything, from my courses to my Pokemon teams to even how my island is going to look like in Animal Crossing. I try my best to minmax and try and get as many tasks done in once. This is exemplified pretty well in the way I play Wizard101 (shoutout to the real ones who’ve played W101, I have probably like over 2000 hours in the game), where I essentially grind to get the best gear and also take on every sidequest but time it so that I can complete sidequests along main quests.

19. Freely enjoy doing what you want for your own personal happiness. – Mostly Me

Although sometimes I am motivated extrinsically, whether that be the pressure to succeed or societal expectations, I ultimately try to do what “sparks joy.” Even if it is good for networking or gives me some boost in some other regard, if I’m not happy when doing it, I will drop it.

20. Concisely reference multiple frameworks at once while problem solving. – Exactly Me

I just interpreted this as do you look for inspiration for problem solving for untraditional or unexpected resources or just..a lot of places, and I do. I find myself referencing a lot of different places when talking to my coaches in Microsoft when discussing the reasoning behind why I am pushing to lead our project in one way or another, whether that be my experience with the Internet, feedback I got from friends, or my own gut feeling.

21. Gain a profound realization from a mystical state or sudden release of emotions. – Exactly Me

This plays a bit in the superstition thing, but mainly just who I am. I am very much guided by my emotions and I often times wake up with these large epiphanies after a storm of emotions. I think there’s a lot of good that comes out of feeling things strongly.

22. Follow steps to ensure tasks are predictable and completed correctly. – Mostly Me

I’m actually surprised I answered this question this way. I didn’t remember what I had put, but I expected something lower on the spectrum, but after thinking about it a bit more, I am definitely pretty careful with making sure a job is done right when I care about it.

24. Quickly move to take advantage of immediate options for action. – Mostly Me

I’m a pretty impulsive person and I really hate not having security, so I tend to go with the first good option. This became pretty evident when I was looking for apartments. I had set a two week deadline to find a place to live, which is…pretty fast, but I really didn’t want to exist knowing that I had nowhere to live. I held people to pretty strict deadlines so we could jump on the best possible offers.

25. Always remain true to what you want for yourself or others. – Exactly Me

I think this is pretty self explanatory, honestly. I do what I want and I drop what I don’t.

26. Analyze and critique what doesn’t fit with a well-defined principle. – Mostly Me

Honestly, I’m not too sure why I answered this. It just felt…right? If someone or something is breaking from something well defined or known, I’ll try and figure out why? I guess? Not too sure.

28. Feel attracted to the symbolic, archetypal, or mysterious – Mostly Me

Superstitious, special snowflake complex, god complex, etc.

30. Keep following tangents and new ideas without limiting yourself to one. – Little Me

So originally, I put “Mostly Me” for this because I consider myself a pretty creative individual, but I realized that I’ve usually been the one in my internship group that shoots down tangents and new ideas because I want to stick to the main idea and not get too ahead of ourselves. I think it’s pretty interesting how I would normally consider myself one way, but act another. I usually see myself as creative and spontaneous, but in the instances where I’m actually working on projects, I try my best to be practical and realistic.

32. Help make people feel comfortable by engaging in hosting and care-taking. – Little Me

I like making people feel comfortable, but not in these ways. Usually I do my best to make feel people comfortable just by treating them as I would any other friend or person in this group they are new to, rather than doting on them extra.

33. Lay out methods for others to complete tasks in time- and resource-efficient ways. – Mostly Me

Whenever I help people, I usually just link them to resources that’ll help them. I think I’m pretty efficient, at least in terms of multitasking.

34. Readily communicate personally to all members of a group to feel unity. – Exactly Me

Looking at my internship group, this is exactly what I do. I am definitely very loud, vocal, and casual when communicating with my group members so that I can build an environment where we can joke around with each other. I wanted to make sure I set the stage this way so people wouldn’t feel pressured or awkward and we could work better as teammates.

35. Fine-tune a definition or concept to support a theory, perspective, or framework. – Exactly Me

Usually to find things that support my perspective, I’ll look for common words or definitions or examples to clearly define it.

36. Evaluate what is worth believing in and most important to who you really are inside. – Exactly Me

Back to this concept of self-reflection and morals and ethics. I always ask if what I’m doing aligns with what I believe in and making sure I’m sticking to who I am.

38. Spur action and pull off results simply by making your presence felt. – Exactly Me

Now I know this sounds kind of narcissistic (I am also a raging narcissist, muahahaha) but I really relate to this a lot. I think I am very much a person that demands to be heard and that makes change when I want something done. This can be seen in the way I handle my internship, which I wasn’t too fond of in the beginning, or even Loop, my floor in Random.

40. Fulfill the same regular work or activity everyday at a comfortable pace. – Little Me

I have random spurts of highly productive moments, but for the most part, I hate monotony and I hate doing the exact same activity every single day. This has made it super hard to study since my energy and motivation is never consistent. Same with blogging.

41. Merge and feel intimate oneness with other people. – Mostly Me

I like connecting with people I like! Pretty straightforward, to be honest. I take a lot of pride in being able to connect with people who are known to be “difficult” to connect with, too.

42. Stick to making decisions based on impersonal measures such as points being earned. – Not Me

Absolutely not. My decisions are pretty heavily influenced by emotions that are then supported by logic. But it is never solely impersonal.

43. Continually examine if choices harmonize with important beliefs. – Exactly Me

I am constantly asking myself if I’m doing what I believe in and what I’m meant to do and I think it really helps keep me grounded, focused, and true to myself!

47. Trust what emerges from brainstorming. – Mostly Me

The brainstorming process is so incredibly valuable and so many great ideas have arisen just from weird, wacky brainstorming sessions. I wholeheartedly believe in the saying “Trust in the process” because, really, it has never failed me before.

48. Easily get in sync physically with people and things around you. – Mostly Me

This goes back to the whole “read the room concept.”

The Results

description of the different kinds of cognitive processes

Essentially, this site works by giving you a lead cognitive process and an auxiliary cognitive process. It evaluates this based on a scale of “unused, limited, average, good, excellent.” If you fall into the unused or limited range, this means you only use this cognitive process in a passive/basic way. Average to good use means you can use the cognitive process in both its basic and developed applications, but usually need the help of other processes to do so or can only apply it to specific situations. Excellent use is you can determine when to use a cognitive process actively or passively.

As you can see, the test takes the elements from the Myers-Briggs and breaks it down into this basic cognitive process versus its developed one.

image of my results

These were my results. As you can see, they were really high in the Introverted Intuiting (Ni) and the Introverted Feeling (Fi) section.

Introverted intuiting passively is that “aha!” moment people tend to have. On a deeper, more developed sense, it is self-awareness and thinking about how you are and who you are.

Introverted feeling is “adhering to personal beliefs about what is important” in its basic use. In its active use, it is “evaluating situations and choosing what you believe is congruent with your personal identity.”

The test then categorized me as:

analysis of my profile saying im an infj

An INFJ.

I was pretty surprised I got INFJ after being told by the 16personalities test that I was no longer an INFJ. But after reading through the descriptions for the Introverted Feeling and Introverted Intuiting sections, I found a lot of my answers and descriptors for the answers really, really resonated with this common theme of knowing myself, asserting myself, and making sure what I did in life aligned with who I wanted to be.

The test described my “dominant” process to be that introverted intuition — focusing on insights and realizations, transformation, etc. Introverted Intuition is falls under “how we focus our attention and gather information.” I find it that my biggest learning experiences do come from how I feel, what I gain from my self-reflection, and how I can work to improving myself.

My auxiliary process was Extraverted Feeling — connecting with people by sharing common values and taking on their needs as yours. This fell under the judging portion — how we organize our experiences and make decisions. I will 100% admit that I am really reliant on other people with similar values to me to give me input and help me make decisions. I always turn to my friends, family, and mentors for really difficult decisions or whenever I’m at a crossroads and I take their opinions into really high consideration.

Along with giving us this four-letter type, the test also gave me a “temperament.” I was described as a Catalyst:

Want to be authentic, benevolent, and empathic. Search for identity, meaning, and significance. Are relationship oriented, particularly valuing meaningful relationships. Tend to be idealistic and visionary, wanting to make the world a better place. Look to the future. Trust their intuition, imagination, and impressions. Focus on developing potential, fostering and facilitating growth through coaching, teaching, counseling, and communicating. Generally are enthusiastic. Think in terms of integration and similarities and look for universals. Often are gifted in the use of metaphors to bridge different perspectives. Usually are diplomatic. Frequently are drawn to work that inspires and develops people and relationships.

I relate with this pretty heavily, but once again, I think these are pretty broad traits that a lot of people can read into and force themselves to fit into this box even if it doesn’t quite exactly fit. Although, I didn’t really see myself in any of the other temperaments (improviser, theorist, stabilizer), so maybe it is accurate..?

TLDR: Do I really believe in all this stuff? Maybe…maybe not? I think personality tests are really fun for me because it helps me with self evaluation. These questions made me really sit back and ask “Why am I answering the way I am? What do I value?” and I usually end up learning a lot by myself. Do I think people can be easily defined into a mere 16 personalities? Unsure. Probably not? I think the human experience is so incredibly diverse that 16 personalities doesn’t cut it. As Dan Howell said in his Coming Out video, humans are obsessed with labels. And this can be extremely harmful for those who don’t want to be labeled. But labels can also help the confused and lost find somewhere to relate to, a starting point. And that’s really how I see these personality tests. I don’t want to strictly define myself by it, but it helps give me a place to start when self-evaluating and digging deep into who I am as an individual.