Friday, August 8, 2014

Psychology For Imaginary People

Over the last few years, I have been reading a lot about psychology. Mostly I’ve been reading about it because it interests me, but I think that having some knowledge of psychology can be helpful for writers. Your characters might be more realistic if you understand what makes real people function.

One of the things that I’ve been reading about is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This is a questionnaire that reveals how a person sees the world and makes decisions. For example, is the person extraverted or introverted? Does the person prefer to think problems through or improvise solutions quickly? Does the person prefer to base decisions on feelings or logic? There are sixteen possible types that are each referred to by a four-letter abbreviation. None of the types are good or bad. The test just shows the ways that a person prefers to deal with the world.

Fictional characters, like real people, all see the world in slightly different ways. If you are struggling with character development, the Myers-Briggs types could give you a blueprint for creating a realistic person.

I’ve noticed that different versions of the questionnaire will give you slightly different results. Every questionnaire that I’ve done says that I’m either ISTJ or INTJ. Here are links to two different versions of the questionnaire:

With fictional characters, it might be more helpful for authors to just read about the sixteen different types.

I’ve heard that the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is more accurate than many other psychological questionnaires. For fiction writers, an understanding of the types may help you create characters with realistic strengths, weaknesses, and ways of responding to the world.  

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