For more see the full article at Northcentral University Higher Degrees Fall 2013
For more see the full article at Northcentral University Higher Degrees Fall 2013
Several courses I teach include discussion regarding the importance of understanding personality preferences. Students often take personality tests to determine their “type”. Part of their type includes whether they are introverts or extraverts (Myers Briggs spells extravert with an “a” instead of an “o”). In my training to become a qualified Myers Briggs MBTI trainer, I learned that people have preferences for how they like to receive and process information. We were told it was similar to how people prefer to write with their right or left hand. That is why I found the recent Wall Street Journal article titled How an Introvert Can Be Happier: Act Like an Extrovert to be so interesting. The title contradicts some of what I learned in my training.
Some interesting highlights from this article include:
If Myers Briggs information teaches us that people have certain preferences and feel more comfortable with those preferences, this research contradicts that. However, not all researchers agree with these results. Some of the researchers in this article believed that trying to act against type would deplete glucose resources due to the concentration involved. If genetics truly plays a role in whether someone is introverted or extroverted, then people may find it difficult to constantly fight their natural tendencies.
Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, argued that the people should draw on their strengths rather than try to be something they are not. This is not unlike the position Tom Rath, author of Strengths Finder 2.0 takes in his book that embraces working on strengths rather than weaknesses. In the book, It’s Not Your It’s Your Personality, several of the top personality theories and assessments are addressed including Myers Briggs and Strengths Finders, DISC, and Emotional Intelligence.
The word Millennials is used to describe adults born between the years of 1980 and 2000. They are also known as Generation Y. Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me explained Millennials tend to be more self-focused and may expect to receive a lot of recognition. Sixty Minutes aired an interesting story titled The Millennials are Coming. In this show, they explained how this younger generation expects good things and expects them with little effort. I have noticed that this sense of entitlement has carried into the online classroom setting.
Most of my students are very respectful. They follow directions. They ask questions with the proper tone. However, there are a few that are more demanding. Although I have not formally studied the age group of the students who demonstrate issues with entitlement, I have noticed that my older Baby Boomer students seem to demonstrate more respect.
Some students become frustrated with expectations as they enter higher level programs. Some of my students have managed to get through their undergraduate program with poor writing skills. If I make comments about things that they need to work on for future assignments, some of them become upset or angry. It is as if they expect to receive an A with very little effort. They may make comments that express their indignation that I would even suggest that they might write “a lot” as two words, or indent a paragraph per APA guidelines. I might even receive a note from them about how other professors did not mark down for certain things.
I do not take that many points off for writing or APA-related issues. I teach business-related courses and should not have to make grammar or structure my main focus. What is interesting to me is that their anger does not seem to be about the score received as much as the fact that I have pointed out something they have done incorrectly.
Many students tell me that professors do not insert comments on their assignments. Perhaps that is why some of them react the way they do. However, it seems to me that a graduate-level student should write at a graduate level.
Based on the reaction I get from the younger students, I often wonder if some professors “let things go” in order to keep the peace. I have spoken to other professors who perform peer-reviews and deal with conflict resolution. They have told me that students will complain about many little things. If students complain, professors must respond, and then that creates more of a hassle for them.
The squeaky wheel may get the grease. If professors do not want to tell students the truth, for fear of reprimand, they may just let things slide. My concern is that younger students’ entitlement issues have made them complain too easily and kept them from developing important skills.
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HR professionals within organizations have given personality assessments to potential employees for many years. I was asked to take a personality assessment for a pharmaceutical sales job in 1987. The changes I have noticed since that time include the type and frequency of personality tests given. What also may be trending is the fact that leaders of schools have become more interested in personality assessments. In the Wall Street Journal article Business Schools Know How You Think, but How Do You Feel, author Melissa Korn explained, “Prospective MBA students need to shine by showing emotional traits like empathy, motivation, resilience, and dozens of others.” Schools may be interested in these traits because organizations value these traits. Korn also explained, “Measuring EQ-or emotional intelligence quotient-is the latest attempt by business schools to identify future stars.”
I find this trend to be particularly interesting because I teach business, I am a qualified Myers Briggs instructor, a certified EQ-i instructor, and I wrote my dissertation on the relationship between emotional intelligence and sales performance. I have also witnessed that online schools have placed more importance on personality assessments. Many of my first-year students must take a Jung-like personality test. Many of my undergraduate and graduate business students have to assess their EQ.
I think it is important for these personality preference and emotional intelligence issues to be addressed in online courses. Some of the things that may hurt a graduate’s chance of obtaining is job include having poor self-assessment skills, poor interpersonal skills, and a lack of concern for how they are perceived by others.
When I was in pharmaceutical sales, they rated us each year on our concern for impact. It was such an important part of what they believed made us successful in the field, that there were consequences to poor judgment and rude behavior. In the book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, there is a chapter regarding concern for impact, as well as one for Myers Briggs MBTI, Emotional Intelligence, DISC, and many other personality assessments that may help young adults in the workplace. One of the universities for which I teach requires students to read this book in a foresight course.
It is important for online students to learn about these assessments because employers use them. Some personality traits stay with us throughout our lives. The MBTI is an example of an assessment that determines preferences that may not change. This assessment may be helpful to students who are not sure about career paths. Other assessments like the EQ-i determine emotional intelligence levels. The good news about emotional intelligence is that it may be improved. Marcia Hughes has written several books about how to improve EQ in the workplace. The savvy online students will work on developing their EQ and understanding personality preferences before they graduate. By being proactive, students may have a better chance of being successful in a career that matches their personality preferences.
Was Einstein a genius because he inherited good genes? That is just one of the questions some new research may be able to determine. According to the article A Genetic Code for Genius in the Wall Street Journal, “In China, a research project aims to find the roots of intelligence in our DNA.”
There is no denying that emotional intelligence has become a buzz word in HR. Employees’ emotional quotient or EQ may sometimes be more important than their IQ. However, the roots of many personality and intelligence issues like IQ still remain a mystery. According to the Wall Street Journal article, “Studies show that at less half of the variation of intelligence quotient, or IQ, is inherited. Truly important genetics that affect normal IQ variation have yet to be pinned down.”
The average person has an IQ of 100 and Nobel laureates have an average IQ of 145. In a study of intelligence in China, the researchers are looking at individuals who have an IQ of over 160. To date, studies have not been large enough to give very useful information about IQ and genetics. This latest study “will compare the genomes of 2,200 high-IQ individuals with the genomes of several thousand people drawn randomly from the general population.” The problem is finding the people with such an extremely high IQ. The researchers likened it to finding a bunch of people over 6-foot-9 inches tall.
In an attempt to understand intelligence, researchers have once again focused their attention on Albert Einstein’s brain. A study published in a recent issue in the Journal Brain disclosed some new insight as to what made Einstein so intelligent. In the Red Orbit article Photos of Einstein’s Brain Reveal Areas That May Have Made Him A Genius, Anthropologist Dean Falk from the Florida State University explained, “The overall size and asymmetrical shape of Einstein’s brain were normal. [But] the prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices were extraordinary. These may have provided the neurological underpinnings for some of his visuospatial and mathematical abilities, for instance.”
There have been 14 new photos found of Einstein’s brain that have been evaluated. The USA Today article Einstein’s Brain: It Was Better Than Yours, explained, “After the photos were taken, the brain itself was cut into 240 separate blocks for analysis, most of which remain at the University Medical Center in Princeton, N.J., where Einstein’s brain was taken after he died.”
In 2009, Odyssey reported that the reason for Einstein’s intelligence may be due to an increase in glia cells. “Glia help neurons by giving them nutrients and by cleaning up after the mess neurons make when they do their work. Neurons can make electrical signals because they are tiny batteries. Just as in a flashlight battery, the voltage in a neuron is generated by a special salt solution. When a neuron fires an electric pulse, sodium, which is the positively charged partner of the salt known as sodium chloride, flows into the neuron.”
Einstein died from a ruptured aneurism in 1955. He was 76. An autopsy was performed in Princeton Hospital. According to the Einstein Quarterly article A Brief History of Einstein’s Brain, “Einstein’s brain weighed 1230 grams, well within the range of 1200-1600 grams that is normal for a human male.” Einstein never gave approval to study his brain. Permission came from his family once they were made aware that his brain had been removed and preserved.
The brain is often described in sections, referred to as Brodmann’s areas. Einstein’s Brodmann area 39 (part of the parietal lobe) showed a statistically significant difference from the average brain. The parietal lobe may be an important indicator of intelligence. The latest research has discovered some differences in Einstein’s frontal lobe as well. To find out more about the importance of this lobe, check out the Nova video at the end of this article.
Some interesting things about Einstein include: He had dyslexia as a child; he figured out the theory of relativity in his 20s, he played the violin, and Einstein had an IQ of 160.
To find out what happened to Einstein’s brain, check out Nova’s video: How Smart Can We Get
QuantMethod is a site that offers ways to help companies market to customers based upon understanding their personality type. The Quant Method assessment puts people into 1 out of 4 categories. According to their site, these types include:
I took the test and I came out as a thinker. I assumed I’d either be that or a mastermind. The results don’t tell you how close you are to another personality type. The site claims that my results puts me into the same category as George Washington, Michael Caine, Donald Duck, Eliot Ness, and Johnny Carson. Hmmm … interesting group … especially Donald Duck. Apparently half of U.S. presidents are “thinkers”.
In the results, it listed tactics about how to appeal to this type of personality in terms of suggested sales tactics.
This company surveys customers to find out their personality type. They claim their instrument is similar to Myers-Briggs MBTI but with 1/6 the size. The thought process behind this business is that people like to deal with others that are on their same level of thinking.
Time Magazine article Get Personal with Marketing and Net More Sales reported that this Quant Method may be helpful because, “Knowing more about personality types can help you optimize email messages and websites to include specific landing pages with information that the four different personality types like in order increase conversion rates.”
While I find this to be an interesting way to market, it may be difficult to get people to respond to these assessments. When marketing to a large database, it is not feasible. I like the concept of targeting to the individual’s needs. The real trick would be to get people to actually take the assessment.
Professor James Flynn is a New Zealand researcher who is known for studying intelligence. The Flynn Affect refers to, “the substantial and long-sustained increase in intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world from roughly 1930 to the present day. When intelligence quotient (IQ) tests are initially standardized using a sample of test-takers, by convention the average of the test results is set to 100 and their standard deviation is set to 15 or 16 IQ points. When IQ tests are revised, they are again standardized using a new sample of test-takers, usually born more recently than the first. Again, the average result is set to 100. However, when the new test subjects take the older tests, in almost every case their average scores are significantly above 100.”
There is a debate about whether IQ scores are improving without a corresponding rise in intelligence. There is even conflicting reports that IQ scores are dropping. If they are actually rising, some speculate that there are a number of contributing factors including: education, technology, nutrition, and removal of toxins from the environment.
While countries have made gains of up to 25 points in intelligence, there may be difficulty making comparisons due to testing measures. Some tests are based on fluid intelligence, while others are based on crystalized intelligence. For explanations about these intelligence tests, check out: The Flynn Affect
David Shenk, author of the article The Truth About IQ explained, “IQ tests measure current academic abilities — not any sort of fixed, innate intelligence. More specifically, the best-known IQ battery, “Stanford-Binet 5,” measures Fluid Reasoning, Knowledge, Quantitative Reasoning, Visual-Spatial Processing, and Working Memory. Collectively, these skills are known as “symbolic logic.” Among other things, IQ tests do not measure creativity; they do not measure “practical intelligence” (otherwise known as “street smarts”); and they do not measure what some psychologists call “emotional intelligence.”
Flynn’s most recent research had some important findings for women. In the ABC News article Women Beat Men on IQ Tests for the First Time, author Carrie Gann explained, “James Flynn, a New Zealand-based researcher known as an IQ testing expert, said that over the past century, women have lagged slightly behind men in IQ testing scores, at times by as much as five points. But now, Flynn said women have closed the gap and even inched ahead in this battle of the intelligent sexes.”
To find out more information about factors that affect IQ, check out the following articles:
The Myers-Briggs MBTI assessment claims it can help determine whether a person is an introvert or an extravert. According to the official Myers-Briggs site, people know they are an extravert if they think things like, “I like getting my energy from active involvement in events and having a lot of different activities. I’m excited when I’m around people and I like to energize other people. I like moving into action and making things happen. I generally feel at home in the world. I often understand a problem better when I can talk out loud about it and hear what others have to say.”
I have received the training to be a qualified Myers-Briggs instructor. Whenever I have taken the MBTI assessment, my score or preference for extraversion is very high. According to these results, “I am seen as “outgoing” or as a “people person.” I feel comfortable in groups and like working in them. I have a wide range of friends and know lots of people. I sometimes jump too quickly into an activity and don’t allow enough time to think it over. Before I start a project, I sometimes forget to stop and get clear on what I want to do and why.”
Lately I’ve considered that I may be a bit of a reluctant extravert. Many of these points just do not fit me. I would say that most people that meet me would consider me outgoing. I do like to talk. I have a hard time handling “dead air”. I also like to have a lot to do. These are definitely extraverted traits. However, usually I prefer to avoid being around a lot of people. Many of the above-listed points do not really describe me at all. For example, I don’t jump into things without a great deal of thought.
Why would my score come out as having a high preference for extraversion? In my training, they explained that we can act more introverted or extraverted based on a situation. I think it can be difficult to lump people into categories or types. I think Myers-Briggs does it as well as any assessment can. However, even in the training I received, they acknowledged that we are all different. No one is always one way or another. It is about preferences. Our preference for introversion or extraversion is similar in how we prefer to be right-handed or left-handed. We might be able to write with both, but we prefer one over the other. We may be able to be outgoing or not, but we prefer one over the other.
One of the reasons I co-wrote the book It’s Not You It’s Your Personality is because I don’t think any “one” personality assessment can truly explain people. There are many theories about personality that need exploration. I felt that the Big Five, Management by Strengths, DISC, and other assessments offered some valid insight into people’s personalities. While I highly recommend learning about Myers-Briggs and the MBTI, I also think some of the other assessments are worth researching as well.
Companies often use personality tests like the Myers Briggs MBTI, emotional intelligence EQ-i, or others like the DISC to determine if potential employees’ personalities are a good fit for jobs. I noticed a conversation about whether companies should use personality tests for screening employees. It seemed that many of the responses indicated that people will just lie to get the job.
There is the possibility that any subjective, self-administered test could be manipulated. However, many of the tests have built-in detectors that try to catch inconsistent responses. For those of you who have taken these tests, you may have noticed that it seemed like they asked the same kind of questions more than once. Many of these tests reword things several different ways to determine consistency.
I took a personality test for a job as a pharmaceutical representative in the early 80’s. Because it was a sales job, I knew that they were looking for sales-related qualities. It was common sense to figure out that since I was applying for a sales position, I should use appropriate adjectives like motivated or driven to describe my personality.
The problem with lying on the personality tests is that in the end, you will end up with a job that does not really fit with what makes you happy. Also the company will end up with an employee that is not the best match for the job. In this economy, many people are willing to do whatever it takes to get any job. However, the experienced HR professional should do more than just use a personality test to determine a good candidate. These tests can be useful tools if used correctly. However, they are just one of many tools.