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INFP Personality Type – The “Dreamer”

Introverted (I), Intuitive (N), Feeling (F) and Perceiving (P)

INFP Personality Type Population Pie Chart

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The INFP personality type is nicknamed the “Dreamer” and belongs to the NF Visionary temperament.
INFPs are idealistic and deeply sensitive.
They are characterized by their loyal and
gentle nature. Beneath their easygoing
disposition runs a fixed passion for the causes
they believe in and the people they
care for.

INFPs direct their energy inward. They are energized by spending time alone. They are private and internally aware. INFPs are independent and keep to themselves most of the time. INFPs are Intuitive . They are imaginative, idealistic and creative people. They generate endless possibilities and ideas. Their thought process is profound and abstract. Dreamers live in the future. Dreamers are Feelers that make decisions with their heart. They are driven by emotion. Dreamers dislike conflict and are easily hurt. INFPs are random and spontaneous. They like to keep their options open and dislike feeling confined by rules and schedules.

INFPs are loyal, caring and warm with the people they allow into their inner circle. On one hand they are playful, fun and posses a unique sense of humor. On the other hand they are intense and serious. INFPs are generous with praise and encouragement. They look for affirmation, affection and integrity. They are good at identifying inconsistencies in themselves and others. Dreamers are romantics.

“Constant kindness
can accomplish much.
As the sun makes ice
melt, kindness causes
mistrust, and hostility
to evaporate.” — Albert Schweitzer

INFPs love to excel and learn. They grow restless in rigid and impersonal environments. When engaged, they can learn well on their own. Although they might pursue an educational avenue to please others, they are happiest when they are true to their own identity and sensitive nature. They have a need to create and express themselves.

Describing an INFP

INFPs can often be described with these words. They commonly posess the following strengths and weaknesses.

Characteristic of an INFP

  • Idealistic
  • Introspective
  • Future-focused
  • Easygoing
  • Independent
  • Artistic
  • Guarded
  • Meaningful
  • Warm
  • Loyal
  • Abstract
  • Imaginative
  • Intuitive
  • Empathetic
  • Private
  • Adaptable
  • Sensitive
  • Peace-loving
  • Internally aware
  • Selfless
  • Gentle
  • Creative
  • Intuitive
  • Values-oriented

Typical Strengths

  • Loyal and devoted
  • Deep capacity to care and love
  • Warm and playful
  • Excellent at reading feelings and motives of others
  • Desires to meet the needs of others

Possible Weaknesses

  • Tends to react emotionally
  • Extreme dislike of criticism
  • Tendency to blame themselves
  • Has trouble in conflict situations

INFPs by Gender Pie Chart

  • INFPs make up 2% of all 16
    personality types. INFPs are one of the most rare
    personality types. Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling and Perceiving are all less common than
    their opposite preferences.
  • 1 in every 66 males is an INFP (1.5%
    of all males). 1 in every 40 females is an INFP (2.5%
    of all females). Male INFPs are one of the least
    common type-gender combinations.
  • There are more female INFPs than male. Just over one third of INFPs are male. One reason there are more female INFPs
    is that females tend to be Feelers (F)
    while males are more often Thinkers (T).

INFP Preferences

The INFP’s Preferences are Introversion, Intuition, Feeling and Perceiving. These determine the INFP’s Personality Type .

Introverted (I)

Introversion is characterized by a preference to focus on the inside world. As introverts, INFPs are energized by spending time alone or with a small, familiar group. They find large group gatherings draining because they seek depth instead of breadth of relationships.
Like other introverts, INFPs process information internally.
They are often great listeners.

Feeling (F)

As Feeling people, INFPs are subjective.
They make decisions based on their principles and values.
They are ruled by their heart instead of their head.
INFPs judge situations and others based on their feelings and extenuating circumstances.
They seek to please others and want to be appreciated.
They value harmony and empathy.

Intuitive (N)

People with Intuition live in the future.
They are immersed in the world of possibilities.
They process information through patterns and impressions.
As Intuitives, INFPs value inspiration and imagination.
They gather knowledge by reading between the lines.
Their abstract nature attracts them toward deep ideas, concepts and metaphors.
They can see the “big picture”.

Perceiving (P)

Perceiving refers to a person’s adaptability and flexibility.
Dreamers are random thinkers who prefer to keep their options open.
They thrive with the unexpected and are open to change.
They are spontaneous and often juggle several projects at once.
They enjoy starting a task better than finishing it.
Dreamers play as they work.

INFP Cognitive Functions

Every person engages the world through four Cognitive Functions .
The INFP’s primary function is Introverted Feeling and secondary is Extraverted Intuition.

Introverted Feeling (Primary)

INFPs use this function most often. When Feeling (F), Dreamers make decisions based on feelings, so the Introverted Feeling function allows them to know what they value.
It is the ability to see through others and know what they are really like as if the INFP had internal radar.
When they identify a person with similar values, there is a desire to connect.

Extraverted Intuition (Secondary)

INFPs use of this function is somewhat high. With Intuition (N), INFPs process new information through impressions, possibilities and meanings. Extraverted Intuition allows them to see different paths or ways.
When an INFP receives information, they are able to see that there is more than one way to look at things.

Introverted Sensing (Tertiary)

INFPs use this function but to a lesser degree. Through Sensing (S), INFPs process data with their five senses.
The Introverted Sensing function allows them to remember data in detail and to compare it with current information.
It is the ability to link present experiences to past experiences in search for a connection.

Extraverted Thinking (Least)

INFPs use this function least of the four. While Thinking (T), INFPs make decisions based on logic.
The Extraverted Thinking function enables them to organize and categorize items such as thoughts and arguments.
It is the ability to see the logical consequences of actions.
It follows sequence and organization.

INFPs and Work

INTPs work well in solitude. However, their agreeable and kind disposition allows them to work well with others. They set high standards for themselves and strive for perfection, integrity and honesty. Their job must be fulfilling and meaningful. Otherwise, they lose interest and become discouraged. They are creative and enjoy generating and working with ideas. Their life’s work must fulfill their idealism.

INFP Career Matches

People with the INFP personality type may find satisfaction with the following careers which tend to match well with their Dreamer personality.

  • Activist
  • Church Worker
  • Missionary
  • Educational Consultant
  • Social Worker
  • Physical Therapist
  • Fashion Designer
  • Counselor
  • Teacher
  • Musician
  • Therapist
  • Actor/Actress
  • Artist
  • Journalist
  • Professor
  • Minister
  • Filmmaker
  • Librarian
  • Editor
  • Graphic Designer
  • Writer
  • Psychologist
  • Translator/Interpreter
  • Social Scientist
  • Web Designer
  • Photographer
  • Human Resources
  • Video Editor
  • Holistic Health Practitioner
  • Speech Pathologist
  • Employee Development Specialist
  • Researcher

Famous INFPs

Here is a sampling of Famous People and Fictional Characters that are likely to share the INFP personality type.

  • Albert Schweitzer
    Theologian, Doctor, Pianist
  • Princess Diana
    Princess of Wales
  • William Shakespeare
    Poet, Playwright
  • Henry W. Longfellow
  • A. A. Milne
    Author (Winnie the Pooh)
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder
    Author (Little House on…)
  • Helen Keller
    Author, Activist, Lecturer
  • Fred Rogers
    Mister Rogers
  • Dick Clark
    Television Personality
  • John F. Kennedy, Jr.
    Lawyer, Publisher
  • Neil Diamond
    Singer, Musician
  • Tom Brokaw
    Television Journalist
  • Virgil
    Ancient Roman Poet
  • John
    Disciple of Jesus
  • James Taylor
    Singer-songwriter, Guitarist
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Scott Bakula
    Actor (Start Trek Enterprise)
  • Lisa Kudrow
    Actress ("Phoebe", Friends)
  • Aldous Huxley
  • J. R. R. Tolkien
    Author (Lord of the Rings)
  • Peter Jackson
    Filmmaker (Lord of the Rings)
  • Calvin
    Calvin and Hobbes
  • Anne
    Anne of Green Gables
  • Doctor Julian Bashir
    Star Trek: Deep Space 9
  • Bastian Balthazar Bux
    The Neverending Story
  • E.T.
    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
  • Doug Funnie
    Doug cartoon
  • Tommy Pickles
  • Rocko
    Rockos Modern Life
  • Fox Mulder
  • Deanna Troi
    Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Wesley Crusher
    Star Trek: The Next Generation


INFPs are highly idealistic. They defend their values and do not like to have them challenged. They are catalysts for harmony and healing. Their greatest contribution is their ability to be present with another person at a deep level.

Take the Free Personality Test to get 20 pages of results, return to the Personality Types section or jump to another personality type below.

  • Protectors (SJ)
  • ESTJ – Overseer
  • ESFJ – Supporter
  • ISTJ – Examiner
  • ISFJ – Defender
  • Creators (SP)
  • ESTP – Persuader
  • ESFP – Entertainer
  • ISTP – Craftsman
  • ISFP – Artist
  • Intellectuals (NT)
  • ENTJ – Chief
  • ENTP – Originator
  • INTJ – Strategist
  • INTP – Engineer
  • Visionaries (NF)
  • ENFJ – Mentor
  • ENFP – Advocate
  • INFJ – Confidant
  • INFP – Dreamer

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Is It Possible to Change Your Personality Type?


4 years ago


Every personality type has its strengths and weaknesses – there is no ideal type just like there are no ideal humans walking on this planet. That being said, it is almost inevitable that at some point in life you will say “I wish I had a different personality”. You may want to become more outgoing, more in tune with your senses, more organized, more resistant to criticism etc. Not surprisingly, one of the most frequent questions people interested in personal development ask is “Can I change my personality type?”

Unfortunately, the answer is not that simple. According to most personality type theories, the individual’s type is inborn and does not change. However, individuals can develop traits and habits that differ or even directly contradict the description of their type. How does that happen?

Let’s use an example. Imagine that lights in your flat suddenly go off and you are in complete darkness. You may be able to navigate your way to the door, but what senses are you going to use? Touch? Hearing? Smell? It would be anything but vision, your preferred sense. However, as soon as the lights come back on, you will switch back to using vision again as it makes it much easier to navigate around the flat.

The way your personality works is very similar. The environment you are in shapes your personality in a certain way, forcing you to develop traits and habits that might be foreign to your type. For instance, if you are naturally casual and spontaneous (Prospecting), but your work schedule is very structured and your manager is obsessive about schedules, your preferences are likely to change. However, you will probably switch back to being a Prospecting individual as soon as you leave that job. The same rule applies to other traits as well.

We should probably mention one more thing. Sociability is often confused with Extraversion, just like shyness is confused with Introversion – this is one of the most common mistakes when it comes to discussing personality types. While Extraverted individuals naturally find it easier to talk to other people (they gain energy when they do this), there are many shy or solitary people among them. Conversely, Introverted types lose energy when they communicate with others, but you would be able to find many eloquent individuals in that group.

In fact, certain Introverted types (e.g. Advocate or Mediator ) are often more sociable than most Extraverted types. In Western societies, Extraverted individuals outnumber Introverted ones by a large margin and consequently most people believe that everyone should strive to be outgoing, confident, have a large circle of friends etc. This is a misguided belief as every personality type is unique and has different strengths – yet this is often the reason behind the “Can I change my personality type?” question.

To conclude, your basic personality type cannot change – however, you can (and should!) change the aspects of your personality that you are unhappy with. By doing this you will strengthen your shadow traits and become a more well-rounded individual, even though your dominant traits will still remain the same. Such a change could be triggered by either the environment you are in or your own will – to each his own.


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4 months ago

Living with my mom and her husband (step-dad) & sister (ESTJ, ISTP, & INTP) has allowed me to double side my feeling verses thinking. Though i am like 80% feeling. I havent changed types its just I can be rational and emotionally expressive in all the different aspects of my day and life. Serving as a counter balance to my turbulence and emotional breakdowns.


7 months ago

For some reason, I am scared to redo the personality type again because I feel very connected to defenders already and if I get something else, I would feel like Im not myself anymore.


7 months ago

I had the same feelings as you do now, but our personalities are unchangeable on a big scale. So Im sure that if you retake the test It will get you the same results 🙂


10 months ago

I guess that explains why my personality summary had quite a few contradictions about me. To be honest, I just thought I was a "divergent" mediator or something.


11 months ago

Yes, I know environmental influences have changed me, brought me out of my shell , but also the Constant Improvement trait means that you want to improve, so, of course, the most likely to change personality a little


7 months ago

Are you mediator type?


2 months ago

They are ISFJ (Defender)


2 years ago

I used to be an ENFP. I went to a small private school that I had been in since Kindergarten, so I knew everyone. I was the life of the party; I loved being with everyone there and I just couldnt get enough.

My freshman year I went to a bigger school. The people were so much different, the classes were so much different, it was just an overwhelming change. That combined with family issues going on at the time turned me into an entirely different person. I started hanging out with a bunch of introverted analysts to avoid the complicated emotions that came with trying to be who I usually was, and eventually, I became INTP. Even now that I am comfortable there, I have not gone back to my ENFP self.

Wondering if this is a permanent change, or if maybe thats who I always was and never realized it because of my Ideal, unchanging environment. Either way, I think I like myself more as an INTP. I get more things done and think more rationally when not hindered by emotions.


1 year ago

Maybe (Im just theorizing, dont take this too serious, you know more about yourself than I do), you enjoyed speaking to people because it was people you already knew, and had a relationship with. I have something similar, where I can get along quite easily with some colleagues, which also happen to be friends, and I always talk a lot with the teachers, but, when a weekend arrives (or vacations, as now), I tend to stay at home a lot, and Im not that comfortable with people I still dont know. Also, I dislike places such as parties, but now Im going off topic.


10 months ago

I do experience something similar. So many changes to my environtment enrich my point of view and impact the development of my mindset. Im an INFP-T with the intraversion and feeling factor got near to the middle. It appears to me being different person in certain circumstances, such as being an extrovert (and getting energy too) while getting along my close friends or be The Debater (ENTP) while facing something challenging my value. In such situation I do enjoy and call it "the other side of me".

However, it tooks time passing for me to accept that I was born as INFP (and maybe include the percentage composition). Now Im glad with my personality.


8 months ago

Hi Nim, I am also INFP-T and I have almost the same experience like you, in certain circumstances I developed more extrovert part of my personality..


7 months ago


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Can You Change Your Personality?

Research suggests that personality may not be as fixed as you think.

Posted Sep 07, 2015

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Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures.  F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Personality defines us and how we interact with the world.  Though there are different theories about what personality really is and how our basic personality traits are first formed,  the general consensus is that personality is shaped by early life experiences and tend to stay stable over time.  According to the most widely accepted model of personality, there are five basic personality dimensions that can define us as individuals.  Each of the”Big Five” traits, openness, conscientiousness , extraversion , agreeableness , and neuroticism , have a cluster of related traits that shape our emotions and behaviours in a wide variety of situations. 

The personality traits we have as adults tend to grow out of the kind of temperament we had as infants and toddlers .  Much like the Big Five adult personality factors, there are also different kinds of temperament that seem to arise out of the interaction between our genetics and the upbringing we receive as children.  Also, differences in temperament can also influence how children are treated by caregivers and children their own age.  This can result in children having life experiences that can reinforce early differences in temperament and lay down the kind of personality they have as adults. It can also lead to their developing dysfunctional personality patterns that can develop into full-blown personality disorders later in life.  

That said, personality changes can still occur depending on new life experiences.  People who have experienced severe emotional trauma or life-changing events can experience significant personality changes as well. Even the kind of social roles we take on can change personality.  First-time parents or people heavily invested in new jobs can find themselves becoming more conscientious as their new responsibilities force them to change how they think, feel, and behave in general.  People in new romantic relationships can find themselves becoming more conscientious about their partners’ well-being as their perspective on the world changes.  As our lives change, so do our personalities. 

For that matter, simply growing older can mean significant personality changes.   As we become more mature, we (usually) become more agreeable, conscientious, and develop greater emotional stability.  Growing more comfortable with our sense of self, our personality can change as well to match how we see ourselves.  With this in mind, many different treatment methods aimed at dealing with personality disorders such as antisocial or histrionic personality disorder usually involves teaching patients how to alter destructive personality patterns. These personality patterns are often extremely difficult to change but it typically depends on how motivated people are to try. 

But do most people really want to change their personalities?   While we tend to admire people who are more extraverted or conscientious than we are, how many of us are really willing to put in the effort to make the kind of long-term changes that can alter personality traits?  According to a recent research study by psychologists at the University of Illinois most people are dissatisfied with their own personality and wished to change in a more positive direction.   For each of the Big Five personality factors, only thirteen percent reported being satisfied with themselves as they were. 

As for whether people really can alter their personality traits, the evidence is a little more controversial. Though many people try to change their personalities, either through counseling or by developing their own self-improvement program, e.g., taking public speaking courses to become more social and outgoing, it’s still debatable how effective these approaches are in the long run.   With this in mind,  Nathan Hudson and R. Chris Fraley of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted a study to see whether research subjects could change measurable aspects of their personality.  

Their study, which was recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology ,  involved two experiments using adults recruited from an introductory psychology class.  In the first experiment, one hundred and thirty-five participants were told that they were part of a “personality study” that took six weeks to complete.  

At the beginning of the study, each participant was told about the Big Five personality factors and rated  themselves on each factor using an  online rating form on the study website.  They were then asked to decide how many personality traits they wanted to change over the course of the study.  That included coming up with different ways of achieving this change and their progress was measured using weekly online sessions.  Half of the half of the participants in the personality change group also took part in a “change plan” condition in which they were asked to complete a brief writing task asking “what it would look like if you attained your desired changes … The purpose of this step is to envision what specific changes you would like to make.”  In weekly sessions, they were reminded of their goal and completed additional writing assignments to measure their progress.  Half of the participants in the study were placed in the control condition and simply given feedback on their personality and completed assignments in what the results meant.

In the second experiment,  with a similar,number of participants, Hudson and Roberts replicated their first experiment but focused on changes in daily behaviour that were linked to the personality traits that participants wanted to change.  They also used more comprehensive personality rating measures to reinforce the personality change process.

What the researchers found was that participants were able to make significant personality changes over the course of both 16-week studies.   For example, people who wanted to become more extraverted tested as being higher in extraversion by the end of the study period.  Along with changes in how they responded to personality testing, they also reported significant changes in their daily behaviour which matched the personality changes they wanted to make.  As one example, people who described themselves as being more extraverted by the end of the study also reported interacting more easily with other people and doing daily activities that matched their more extraverted nature . 

Even using comprehensive change plans and weekly booster sessions, the actual amount of personality change that took place was modest at best however.  Despite guidance from researchers, sixteen weeks was likely not long enough for comprehensive personality changes to occur.  Still, as Hudson and Fraley point out, changing patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving can eventually lead to permanent changes in different personality traits.   One possible reason for this kind of personality change is that people often change their very social identity as well, including how they see themselves.  In other words, people who see themselves acting more extraverted may come to view themselves as being more extraverted as a result.

And what do these results suggest?  Over the course of our lifetime, we often become more agreeable and conscientious due to greater emotional maturity.  Is this just a natural part of aging or do our personalities change because we work to make ourselves more agreeable and conscientious?   Recognizing that personality can be changed can lead to more effective treatment for people with personality problems as well as helping to overcome resistance to change.  All too frequently, patients insist that they are incapable of change when actually they are either unwilling or afraid to try. 

Despite their positive findings, Hudson and Roberts warn that their results are based on self-report and that the length of time involved was likely too brief to ensure permanent personality changes in many people.   Still, people appear capable of altering personality traits if they are motivated to do so and take part in psychological interventions that can help with the change process.  

So spare a thought for what you would like to change about your own personality.  Saying “I can’t help myself” may not be a valid excuse after all.

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Glad to see this experiments

Submitted by BigDog on September 8, 2015 – 9:53am

I too changed my personality because I realized I developed certain defense mechanism for surviving as a child in a violent environment. I actually think most of my adult life I was operating under PTDS. However, I read and observed others that I admired and noticed I react much different and then started to observe my actions and behaviours. I then noticed that before my actions and my behaviours, my thoughts were illogic. I then decided to watch(observe) my thoughts and that is when the light went on.

Then I did my own experiments of challenging my reactions to situations. I realized my default reactions were programmed not consciously done.

As I keep observing and challenging my default reactions, my actions and behaviours changed…my thoughts were harder to change, but meditation helped a lot.

One that was great learning for me were the following lines from some books I read:

The body scores (pain) – the body remembers so that is why my thoughts were operating from my childhood memories.

And a question: am I the talker or the listener in my head – I decided I was the listener…I felt the listener was the head of the table…and boom, my thoughts had a patterns and as I listened I learned what to ignore.

Whenever I have conversation with people, I mention yes you can change your personality and a lot of people do not believe that but I am a proof in my life so I know!

I used to unable to control my emotions, ruminate a lot unnecessary, and react angrily both outward and inward.

Today, I am 100% in control and regulate my emotions. They are not running amok. I am calmer and grounded and deal with adversity so much better.

I ruminate sometimes but I am very conscious of it and practice often – who is talking and who is listening? and then just listen and less talk…

The anger is probably the hardest one. I hate to be taken advantage of (but realistically speaking am i being taken advantage or imagining?) and that is why I have to go back to the first one – regulate my emotions. Let is sit for while and see how I feel. I now sit and forget….i choose my battles so much better. I am not off the handle as they say anymore!

  • Reply to BigDog
  • Quote BigDog


Submitted by KRW on July 31, 2016 – 11:19am

Hi bigdog, I would like to discuss your comment in further detail if this is okay by you..

How long did it take you practicing foreign ways of responding to situations before this became your natural behaviour?

  • Reply to KRW
  • Quote KRW

hi Krw

Submitted by bigdog on August 2, 2016 – 8:00am

I hope this finds you well.
I had a very violent childhood and developed some fundamental delays in terms of building relationships (in intimate settings) and my goal was to change that.

However, when I started to observe myself in relationships and study my attachment style and become convinced, I was doing something wrong not everybody else in my life, then I started to unravel my behaviour, my thoughts and my actions.

Of course I failed few times or failed back to my default of not trusting, avoidance and dismissive styles but I also become more kinder to myself rather than beating up myself.

I took specific actions that I can share with you if you like. I asked a very pointed (and often painful) questions and needed to reach answers that were jarring to me but I needed to do that in order to move forward.

Am I perfect today? Absolutely not. My default personality style will always be a bit avoident/dismissive person but I also just as much determined not to have that rule my life…so I always ask myself: Am I responding automatic or with discipline? Automatic being my default and discipline being thinking things through method.

I also asked my husband to let me know if I do things that may seem so out of ordinary to him. For example, for the longest time, I would be angry instead of sad or disappointed. I may not know when I do that so it was good he could point out for me. However, I will challenge it with him or within me to ensure the truth!

that is just one example. I will recommend you find a person you trust a lot to observe you as well. A lot of times others see us certain way and we see ourselves certain way and I find the bigger the gap, the bigger the issues.

Anyhow, if you have time and you would like to connect, email me at [email protected]

I live in Toronto, Canada.

  • Reply to bigdog
  • Quote bigdog

Long paragraph

Submitted by Anonymous on November 23, 2016 – 11:31pm

I agree with Krw it is possible to change personalities though very difficult and complex. When I was little I was a tomboy and energetic but everything changed when I was 7. I went through an violent environment and was abandoned. I experienced feelings of guilt and sadness but somehow I got through it. I don’t really remember how I changed my personality twice but I did. I think it took me each about 2-3 years to change each personality. Now, I just look back and think “Wow was that really me when I was little? I’m seem so different”. Btw I am 14 now and never went through therapy.

  • Reply to Anonymous
  • Quote Anonymous


Submitted by Bryce on September 26, 2017 – 4:14pm

Did your change your personality or move on from shit experience at a early age. at 14 sounds like your just growing up normal.Bragging that you didn’t need therapy is wrong cause you must of had some help at that age LONG WAY TO GO YET

  • Reply to Bryce
  • Quote Bryce

The anonymous person who posted "Long Paragraph"

Submitted by Anonymous on November 23, 2016 – 11:34pm

Sorry, in the first sentence I put the wrong person it’s supposed to be bigdog

  • Reply to Anonymous
  • Quote Anonymous

Thank you Bigdog

Submitted by Rob on December 16, 2016 – 2:43am

Thank you Psychology Today and also Bigdog for your comments.

I was so happy to read your initial comment Bigdog. The terminology/language is straight out of the counselling, text books and personal development courses I have undertaken in the last 12 months. I have noticed a significant change in my personality style. I am far more grounded. Less reactive and in tune with my emotions. I am also now pleased with my personal identity. My catalyst for change was an awful first relationship I had after a dysfunctional 21 yr marriage. That last relationship failure caused me great pain. I fell in love. At 47 years of age and now only 1 year into working on the ‘self’ I can confidently say that Im changing my personality for the better. The comments I have received from friends and family has been very encouraging. Although its been confronting and difficult at times I know the investment into my personal growth and in changing my ‘personality’ has been worth it.

I can only encourage all readers to do the same and thanks again PT for your interesting articles. You have been part of my growth especially in the early days of my catastrophic relationship. You will be surprised just how much you do do to help people of many backgrounds. Well done.

  • Reply to Rob
  • Quote Rob

A book that helped

Submitted by bigdog on December 16, 2016 – 9:00am

Another book (very underrated) because it is kind of religion based (Christianity) and BTW I was not brought up in that religion AT ALL. I was born in Muslim. This book is really good breaking up the personality change.

I read this book recently but it confirmed almost everything I did without even knowing.

The road less traveled by Scott Peck.

The main reason for personality change is to have a goal. My goals were to be a better person, to be kind to myself (inside) and to be able to have a long term intimate relationship.

I knew what I wanted and could not find it so I looked inside and watched and observed and realized few things.
I was not nice to people
I had bad negative thoughts
and though meeting many good men wasnot connecting.

  • Reply to bigdog
  • Quote bigdog


Submitted by Robert on January 9, 2017 – 11:05pm

Hi Bigdog.
I’ll be sure to invest in this book. I have heard of it somewhere in my travels.

I like your goals and I can relate to your comments.

All the best for the new year.

Thanks again!

  • Reply to Robert
  • Quote Robert

Can personality change? The automation of personality.

Submitted by Rock Brentwood on July 27, 2017 – 2:42pm

For me, this is an important question: I am in the process of automating the creation and expression of personality. I’m doing this by solving the “inverse problem” for psychometrics. The forward problem of psychometric is that of producing a model from the answers given on a preference test; the inverse problem is to create a personality from the model itself; which, if it were to be subject to the preference test would express preferences that yield the original model.

To this end, I am taking the results of the 16 PF. I’m sitting on an anonymized database of about 2000 test results from my time working with a company that does testing for public safety officials. And yes, the company had a name consisting of a 3-letter acronym starting in O, had connections to Detroit, and they actually were involved with testing and recruiting a world-famous hero named officer Murphy. (But that’s another story for another time :))

As I see it: a personality is a matrix of preferences that determine whether one should decide to do A or B, in a given situation, where rational thought alone cannot provide an answer … along with a method for identifying, classifying and relating a situation where an A vs. B problem arises to those in a preference matrix. Without this extra infrastructure, a machine intelligence cannot move forward on its own, without being told what to do. It will just sit there.

A similar disorder actually exists in a few people whose logical and emotional centers have become disconnected: they have unusually difficulty making even the most simple day-to-day decisions.

This, of course, raises some questions. A fixed personality type is — in my mind — much too unresponsive to external events. A way is needed to adapt to push one out of ruts where their ways of approaching situations consistently leads them into cul de sacs. But if there is too much adaptibility, then all cohesion is lost, and the personality may completely drift over into an entirely different area of “personality space”.

So, I have yet to find a suitable framework for adaptation other than that (a) there should be a way for transient changes to occur for short-term adaptations (b) a way for slow gradual drift that moves toward a better end as one learns more and “becomes wiser” and (c) a way for a systematical internal evaluation and adjustment to occur in crisis situations, but yet which does not completely push the personality over to the opposite pole.

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You are going about this the wrong way Rock!

Submitted by bigdog on July 27, 2017 – 3:12pm

I read your comment twice and not sure if you are talking about yourself or in general theory of change of personality.

You mentioned either being fixed vs spaced. This could be the spectrum of any personality; however, anyone who is on either end, will not be even reading this topic cause they will be either too fixed and set their ways or too spaced out and flaky and in a serious tone both ends will have serious conditions requiring others to take care of them. They will not be in a place to be independent.

So now that we take the extremes out of the way, in order to change personality takes time. The fastest way is finding the right therapy and be receptive to change in a fundamental way. The scary part of changing personality is you may lose some people in your life who may not be able to connect or agree with your new peace of mind and change or maybe they were instrumental to stopping you…this could be covert abuse relationship or covert disagreeable relationships in families or friendships etc.

Now another way of changing personality is to do self therapy if you are in a safe space in your life and have the means to do for example you can afford time alone to reflect and you can afford again to lose some people who may be resist to your well being. This can take life time.

What you are missing and does not seem to grasp is: you must have a need to change personality. For example, all you are strained from all your kids. You are divorced three times and not sure why (but you are common to three failed relationships), you lose jobs, you feel unhappy about something in your life. There has to be a place or an idea or something to propel you.

Let us say for example, you are strained from all your children. A common complaint was you are selfish or you do not listen or you were negligent when growing up or you were abusive or something. The first thing is do you believe any of those are true? if yes, what do you want to do about it? and if no, what do you think is the real reason you lost in touch with your children? you keep asking a painful question until you get the painful answer and then you start to correct course.

So by asking the painful question, you may realize wow! my children, my exes all say the same thing. Am I blind to my own problem? keep asking and you may reach maybe I am not a nice person. I do say ugly things or did ugly things. I do not want to do that anymore…then you practice the goal you set.

The goal could be to be observant of your reaction next time so when you see you are about to go on default (your angry personality), you note, and eventually you stop cause the more you note/observe, the more you realize you are driving the ugliness in your life.

This is a long process and depending on how hard your life is it could take a life time.

In therapy it is faster cause the therapist may bring it up to you to dissect, rather than risking of self preservation and falling into the denial trap.

All you can take from my comment is you do not need much of science to change your life, personality. what you need is honest assessment of yourself and specific relationship or idea or belief to change. When you make a change one area, other areas follow.

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Personality Synthesis

Submitted by RockBrentwood on August 7, 2017 – 6:06pm

I think I made clear that my question pertains to no human being or biological organism at all, but that I am seeking a way to apply the science of personality toward the end of automating the creation and expression of personality — Personality Synthesis. If I have not made this clear — I am creating a fully functional Artificial Intelligence that will be endowed with a personality, like that of any human or other animal species. The important question in this endeavor is whether (and how much) this personality should be given the capacity to drift or evolve.

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