At the recent socionics seminar in Düsseldorf, Germany I tried out an idea I had had about reading people a story containing all information aspects and then asking them questions to see which of the aspects they were better able to catch from the story. I was skeptical about the idea in the first place but decided to try it for fun. I composed the story myself and have been changing a few words here and there to improve it. It is meant to be read aloud just once:
A bizarre incident happened just last week which overturned by perception of reality and still has me puzzled to this day. I was chomping greedily on a thick, juicy hamburger -- the kind where the grease drips onto your plate with each bite and the lettuce keeps getting up your nose. By the way, by far the best ground beef for homemade burgers can be bought right across the street for just 3 Euros a kilogram and is supplied fresh daily. So I was blissfully biting into my burger when my cat gave a heart-rending screech and began hissing violently and grimacing at me like a maniac. Normally, my cat -- which is a pure-bred Siamese -- lies all day on its Persian rug, getting up just 4 or 5 times daily to take a walk around the house. He's such a lazy bum that I sometimes can barely control my urge to fling his fat, furry ass out the window or at least have my mother haul him away. My sweet mum has a tender spot in her heart for cats and other soft, furry creatures and is able to make even the most embittered pets feel welcome and at home. Ever since this mysterious occurence, I have had the strange sense that my cat is moving in a different direction in life, and our future together seems ever more uncertain.
(while not perfectly done, each sentence was intended to focus on a particular information aspect in the following order:
, , , , , , , )
Participants were asked to write their answers to the following questions without consulting anyone else:
- (general question): What is this story about (your own interpretation)?
- () When did this take place and why?
- () Describe the hamburger.
- () Where and for how much does the author recommend getting ground beef, and why?
- () What did the cat do, and how?
- () What kind of cat is it and what is its usual behavior?
- () What does the author want to do with the cat, and why?
- () What does the author's mum do and why?
- () What does the author feel as a result of this event?
There were a number of interesting answers from listeners that showed that they had ignored certain aspects of the story or had added something that wasn't there, but for the most part answers were not very differentiated and thus not very informative.
One participant noted a possible hidden perspective that theoretically shouldn't have been there; the story is about a realization concerning a relationship. Another participant noted that he wasn't able to focus on all the details in the story because they seemed to have no point in the plot.
This type of test is interesting because it aims to get at differences in the perception of information that make types different in the first place. However, new approaches need to be tried to find something that will effectively differentiate between types.