Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mumbo Jumbo

A Phrenology bust One thing doing the blog rounds at the moment is this, the Typelyser. It psycho-analyses your blog, or any blog you ask it to.

Barkingside 21 is ISTP The Mechanics

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts. The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

The Barkingside 21 blog is not all written by one person although the editor does have a major influence. The Editor’s personal blog comes out as:

ESTP The Doers, which is not a million miles away.

Now, I expect you are wondering what those capital letters stand for. These are classifications in the Myers-Briggs type indicator which is used extensively by employers in vetting potential employees.
The four letters can be Extrovert/Introvert, Sensing/iNtuition, Thinking/Feeling, Judging/Perceiving.

I encountered Myers-Briggs many years ago while at an Open University summer school. It is quite lengthy and the analysis quite complicated. We were tasked to do it on ourselves, and having done it looked up my type. That sounds like me I thought. Then in speaking to another I realised that I had made a mistake in the analysis and did it again which came out as a different type. That sounds like me too I thought. So, then I read all the types and guess what? They all sounded like me! I guess I’m just versatile?


  1. There's big money in devising and selling psychometric tests that claim to assess the suitability of potential employees, especially in the USA. As you found out, most of them are no better than a fortune telling. Couched in suitably vague terms, the good fortune teller can convince you she knows all about you. "Yes, that's me!" you cry excitedly. Oh yeah?

    However, there is one stunningly simple test to measure creativity, useful to know if you need to employ someone to innovate. No jargon, no pretence. It's called "The Uses For a Brick Test".

    All you do is take a sheet of paper and a pen, sit down and think how many things you could do with a brick. (I'm not pulling your leg.) Most people will start with "build a wall". It's an open-ended test. In other words, you end the test yourself when you run out of ideas and become bored with the whole thing. Then you go through your list and cross out duplicates. Then you add up what's left. If you scored 200 or more, you are an extremely creative person. (It takes about an hour to reach a score like that.)

    I tried this test on a friend with a high IQ. He gave up after 5 minutes and scored 8. This test is one of the factors that discredited the 11-plus exam, which is an IQ test with an essay thrown in to test writing skills. Educationalists used to think that a high IQ guaranteed creativity. Then along came Liam Hudson, who worked in a public school. He noticed that the boys building rocketships and the like weren't necessarily those with the highest IQ's. What had gone wrong?

    He suggested the boys could be divided into convergent thinkers and divergent thinkers. The convergent thinkers did well at IQ tests, because they spotted the one correct answer, while the divergent thinkers - the ones being creative - could see more than one answer and couldn't guess which one the examiner wanted. So, the IQ test wasn't measuring intelligence alone. It was also measuring convergent thinking. As society claimed to want innovation in the arts and sciences, it was selecting the wrong boys!

    A lot of other factors led to us ditching the 11-plus exam in most scools. The post-war baby boom meant there weren't enough grammar school places for deserving kids, and their middle class parents rebelled. The Labour Party objected to the elitism of grammar schools. But the simple "Uses For a Brick Test" played an important role.

    Try it and see.

  2. Never mind bricks, what are we going to do with all those ash trays that used to be pubs?

  3. Recycle the glass - and produce more beer jugs rather than the standard "jam jar quality" glass!

  4. Ah yes, Morris. You prefer the DoubleKegWatneysDiamond Dimpled Jug.
    I prefer a straight glass.
    It's breeding you know!

  5. I have seen many used for a brick in Hainault, and not all of them have been good.

    The most prefered 'use' around some estates, is still as a misile, especially at bus stop windows, passing cars etc, however, building came in as a 'top second choice', followed by 'car chock', paper weight' and 'spousal present' (probably grounds for divorce)

    I hear they have been used at closed 'auctions', where some poor buyer, bids on a fancy looking hi,fi, only to be given a large cardboard box full of bricks!

    I currently have a couple as 'decorative bookends' and I know of people who have baked them in the oven to put in a pan to heat the bed....

    Yes there are well over 200 things to do with a brick....


  6. I was going to complain about the 'male' slant of the thread. (How many things can you do with a thread, could be a female slant?) Then Newbie came on the scene, with a brilliant sense of humour, for the many practical ways to use a brick. Yes, I remember hot bricks stored in the coal-fuelled oven during the day and then wrapped up in rags instead of hot water bottles we could not afford.
    At some point we did not even have water in the house, we had to fetch water in a small stream called the Robec.
    And, whilst I think about this, we were jolly lucky to have this stream a few steps away. I wonder how others coped who did not have a stream nearby!

  7. Hey Anne,
    I was going to complain about the negative image of Bricks, they are not all bad you know! And there is an amazing variety and diversity among Bricks. A Fletton, for example, makes an ideal ash tray.

  8. Ive seen them used as bats (think about it)

  9. Right: ashes, another opportunity for lateral thinking. For me: potash, excellent for the garden!
    Even the smelly residues from tobacco have some use in polishing silver, not that I have any silver, not that I polish either!

  10. You seem to "polish off" a pint of Guinness fairly well, Anne.

  11. One? I am deeply offended by this!
    Can't you count properly?
    My reputation is in shreds!
    And don't forget the accompanying crisps.

  12. Sorry Anne, I was merely referring to the way they disappear rather than the frequency with which that happens.