Pop Psychology: Type A / Type B Personalities
February 12, 2008 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Are you a Type A personality or Type B personality? There are lots of tests online to find out. Type A and B personality descriptions always remind me of the supposed left brain / right brain differences, but according to the Wiki, the differences between right and left brain are not so simple.
posted by kdern (24 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Damnit, right in the middle again! Why can't I be definitive about anything?
posted by desjardins at 2:48 PM on February 12, 2008

I'm sorry, but Wikipedia is best of the web now?

posted by docjohn at 2:50 PM on February 12, 2008

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who can wear purple, and those who can't. I'm devising an online test so internet users worldwide can tell which group they fall into, and by god that test will be advertising-intensive.
posted by goatdog at 2:52 PM on February 12, 2008 [2 favorites]

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who can wear purple, and those who can't

*eats the purple people*
posted by jonmc at 2:58 PM on February 12, 2008

Isn't Wikipedia the best of the web? Maybe not for linking on Metafilter, but still...
posted by Raoul de Noget at 2:59 PM on February 12, 2008

This is another example of the human mind's amazing ability to categorize things being a hinderance.

There are only two personality types? On a planet of 6.7 billion human beings?
posted by Ironmouth at 3:00 PM on February 12, 2008

There are only two kinds of posts: good and bad.
posted by absalom at 3:03 PM on February 12, 2008

The test for type A is that you start pounding on your keyboard as the "type A or B?' test page loads too slowly.

Probably the internets have made us all more type A.
posted by bad grammar at 3:05 PM on February 12, 2008

Please forgive me, but isn't this a double?
posted by Dizzy at 3:07 PM on February 12, 2008

Totally middle of the road. Again.
posted by AwkwardPause at 3:16 PM on February 12, 2008

This is either a

1) false dichotomy;

or a

2) false dichotomy.

posted by False Dichotomy at 3:17 PM on February 12, 2008 [4 favorites]

There were people of type A and B in the 1950s, but they are now horribly outdated and wrinkly. The Alphabetical theory progressed until theory of generation X, and then it stopped caring, as it felt it had no future. After failing in distinguishing personality types, capital letters have found new use in encoding temporary emotions. LOL-type emotions are often reported by adolescents. (NOT LEXICALIST)
posted by Free word order! at 3:18 PM on February 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

You either love this post with all your heart, or you hate it with the fire of a thousand burning suns.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:18 PM on February 12, 2008

Seriously, unless you're a cardiologist sent back in a time machine to 1955 or so, "Type A" and "Type B" is anti-thought. "Type A" today is is an older, vaguely socially acceptable reason for explaining to others why your SO is such a prick. Nowadays you can just shoot straight for the assburger exemption. I just updated Wikipedia to reflect these undoubted truths.
posted by meehawl at 3:32 PM on February 12, 2008

assburger exemption

I LOLed.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:04 PM on February 12, 2008

Type B. TYPE B? The goddamned test called me a TYPE FUCKING B?

Oh, jesus, I'm trying to calm down here . . . just take a deep . . . jesus. . . o jesus fuck . . . I'M NOT A TYPE B!!!!! Do you hear me!!?!?!11?! TYPE B PEOPLE CAUSE ME TO TRY TO BITE MY HAIR!!!!! And this test just rated me a strong TYPE B personality!!!! What. The. FUCK!!?!?!

Gotta go drink something. I've never be so insulted in all my . . . TYPE Fucking B . . . .
posted by John of Michigan at 5:25 PM on February 12, 2008

165/380, 23/100 and 29/100 puts me pretty clearly in Type B territory, according to the tests. If I'd have taken these tests 10 years ago, I'd be much closer to Type A. Thanks, therapy!
posted by Stewriffic at 5:42 PM on February 12, 2008

There are two kinds of people in the world: type A walks around with bowls of shit looking for someone to stir it up. Type B walks around with a stick looking to stir shit up.
posted by sephira at 7:18 PM on February 12, 2008

Luckily there's only 2 kinds of people on this planet.

Sadly, one of those kinds squanders time their precious time on meaningless generalizing.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:28 PM on February 12, 2008

This is another classic example of people hoovering up shit research because it is presented in a way that fits with our preconceived notions. Angry people are going to blow a gasket. Calm people are wonderful. Artistic people are special.

The science behind these pop psych notions has been completely destroyed years ago. Yet they persist because they have some weird cultural resonance with our prejudices. Of course the pop psych shelfs filled with books written by Arts graduates who took intro psych and never once examined the psychometric properties of the tests they administer don't help either.

I did the full range of multivariate analysis on a number of self-esteem inventories with thousands of subjects in several different samples for my honour's thesis as an undergraduate . Not a single one of the main self-esteem inventories had the psychometric properties that they claimed. Not one. And those were the tests that were current at the time (and are probably still in use). Of course most of them were for sale. Go figure. Turns out nobody really knows what self-esteem is and nobody can measure it. Has that been mentioned on Oprah?

I haven't done this for Type A/Type B but other people have. The results are not pretty. Split brain I won't even talk about since you and the people you apply it to likely haven't had a brain split and the analytic/artistic division is just plain stupid.

Never trust a personality test. Ever. Unless you can see the data used for norming and it is flawless and there are maybe about 10 more flawless confirmatory studies. Even then it is probably still wrong for what you want to use it for.

The tolerance that research psychologists have for the misuse, abuse and outright fraud from their fellow members in their respective professional organizations has always horrified me. This shit is snake oil and every decent psychologist knows it yet because their professional organizations mix researchers (a minority of whom are shit and snake oil merchants) and clinical practitioners (possibly a majority of whom are shit and snake oil merchants) nothing is done about it.

When I heard about the NHS in the UK opening the door to Homeopathy one of the first things I thought was that they are creating a psychology style problem for themselves where they will be infiltrated by idiots. Sure most doctors don't believe but once they are in the same building, becoming your friends,backing your development initiatives and bringing in money or patients are you going to point out that they are con men?
posted by srboisvert at 1:10 AM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

*eats the purple people*

Thanks jon. Now I am picturing you in short-shorts.
posted by longbaugh at 2:57 AM on February 13, 2008

Yeah, in the middle again with 64%. "Yours is a healthy attitude toward life."
Must be because I'm a left-handed person trying to compromise in a right-handed world.
posted by jasminetea at 4:09 AM on February 13, 2008

One of the [many] things missing in the OP is a link to any site trying to establish or explain a connection between supposed Type A / Type B characteristics and brain-lateralization theories.

FWIW, I did the three Type A / Type B tests and got different results on each one. If anyone asks, I'm Type ____. (as in fill-in-the-blank)
posted by Robert Angelo at 8:14 PM on February 13, 2008

There are only two types of people in the world: those who can finish a thought.
posted by reventlov at 11:12 PM on February 13, 2008

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