(165) Extravert, Introvert, and Controvert: All Types of People and Dogs

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Golly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)

Myers Briggs Type Indicator 

Everyone has a psychological preference that makes up their personality. That preference definition dates back to Carl Jung (1875 to 1961), a psychiatrist influenced by Sigmund Freud. In a brilliant work, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, constructed a personality inventory test to help people know more about their personality and understand how it affects interaction with others.

The first of the preferences refers to how we build our energy and focus our attention by either turning inward or focusing outward. An introvert recharges their battery, spending time alone by reading or engaging in activities by themselves. An extravert recharges their battery by joining with others in parties or gatherings.

In the book, Life Types, Hirsh and Kummerow offer a brief list of other defining characteristics that show the differences between the two preference types (Hirsh, 21):

  Extravert Introvert
External Internal
Outside thrust Inside pull
Blurt it out Keep it in
Breadth Depth
Work more with people and things Work more with idea and thoughts
Interaction Concentration
Action Reflection
Do-think-do Think-do-think

You might wonder where the controvert fits in. Admittedly, I made it up after several days of researching the need for connectedness in today’s world and how isolation can harm people. Controvert refers to an individual, who raises arguments against or voices opposition. When ignoring the need to be connected with others or when failing to recharge our energy, one becomes moody, detached, and negative.

As an introvert, I enjoy being by myself and enjoy solitary activities such as swimming, writing, painting, and sewing. My husband, more of an extravert, loved attending concerts, playing team sports, and parties. As we age and with his PTSD, we are becoming more isolated and disconnected, bordering controver-sion—a dangerous place to be. So, today, we went out for lunch. William wore his new ball cap that announced to the world he is a Vietnam Veteran (–just like an extravert). A recently retired Afghanistan/Iraq Veteran approached William to thank him for his service. Although the interaction was brief, it made my husband’s day and sent him home energized. For me, I stumbled through my Spanish to talk with the workers at Chipotle’s for lunch. Overjoyed that a customer attempted their language, they sent me home with a paper bag written in Spanish for me to read later that night—now I’m recharging and connected.

Why is this Useful? 

For years, I used the Myers Briggs test instrument with my grad students and employees. It helped people work together by showing them their strengths and weaknesses and how to communicate with the 16 different styles. While the original test boasts over 200 questions with a difficult scoring system, there are a number of simpler versions, including a free on-line version at https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test. There are a number of books that interpret the test results and share in easy-to-understand terms what they mean. The Hirsh and Kummerow book I referenced above covers how to live, learn, labor, lead, have fun, and love with your particular style. It also offers advice on how to relate to others with different styles in each of those categories.

This is an awesome resource that promises insightful self-help with humor and answers many questions about how to deal with difficult people in your life.

If you already know your style or have used the instrument before, then all you have to do is focus on connectivity and avoid the controversion complex.

Is there a Personality Test for Dogs? 

While I found several tests for canines, I did not find one to determine if Molly is an extravert, introvert, or controvert. Since she hasn’t bitten anyone, I can rule out the controvert. As for extravert or introvert, here is my contribution to the dog whisperer profession.

An Extraverted Dog

An Introverted Dog

Jumps in a pool with other dogs Scratches
Gives slobbering kisses to everyone Licks herself
Barking Whining
Sniffs indiscriminately Sniffs own body parts
Spends free time hanging out at dog parks Spends free time sleeping in the closet
Chases cars Sleeps in closet
Plays with a Frisbee Plays with a bone, sleeps in closet
Barks at bear, reconsiders, barks at bear Sizes up bear, barks, puts tail between legs and hides

Oh, yeah, she’s definitely an introvert. That explains why she asked me about yoga lessons

Notes:

There is no right or wrong personality profile. Each of the characteristics is descriptive and not intended to be judgmental.

To find a book that interprets and explains test results, go to amazon.com, select books, enter “myers briggs personality test.” You will see titles such as What Type Am I?, Gifts Differing, Please Understand Me, Essentials of Myers-Briggs. An informative website on the test instrument is: http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/.

Post your Comments: 

Have you ever taken the Myers Briggs instrument? If you described your service dog or pet by one of the indicator types, what would it be? Please reply below.

Photo credits: pculbrethgraft

Source cited:

  • Hirsh, Sandra and Jean Kummerow. LifeTypes. New York: Warner Books, Inc., 1989.

About the blogger 

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.