IT IS NOT too difficult to distinguish between two types of personality that are poles apart -- the highly practical and the highly impractical, the doer and the thinker. In between are the vast majority of people who are both doer and dreamer, but not remarkably either. Yet there are often situations in which the scales are tipped suddenly one way or the other and the classification of the individual in one camp or the other is made more obvious. Let me illustrate this. The one type drives along in his car, giving no thought to the complexities of the vehicle he drives, until suddenly for some unknown reason it coughs and splutters and comes to an awkward halt. For a moment he is baffled. He gets out, lifts the hood, looks in the general direction of the engine but can see nothing obviously wrong, pauses a moment, slams down the hood again and tries the starter once more. Failing to start the motor, he deserts the vehicle and heads for the nearest telephone. In a similar situation, the other type looks quickly at the dashboard, turns the key off and on and tries the motor again. Failing this, he methodically raises the hood, checks the plugs, the wiring, or other singular components one by one, and refuses to phone except as a last resort. Until such a situation arises for both men, it might be difficult to distinguish between them. But an incident like this reveals quite a lot about their personalities. The first man is not a mechanic and cannot be bothered with details but acts at once to organize the future. By him, the car is looked upon as a whole entity which either works or doesn't work -- the details don't interest him. Lifting the hood is merely a gesture, and probably the only mental note that is made before closing it again is that the engine is still there. This has been termed a "Whole Response." The other man evinces what may be called a "Detail Response." The distinction between the two types of behaviour reflects a real distinction
between the two types
of personality. Moreover, these differentials characterize people
throughout their lives from childhood to old age. They are, in
Perhaps the most familiar of the projection techniques for sorting out such factors is known as the Rorschach Test. Other tests are the Thematic Apperception Test, the Zondi Test, and the Tautophone Test. We shall describe the first two very briefly. The principle which lies behind all such tests, is that to determine the content of the personality we use a structured test, and to determine the structure we use an unstructured test.
The Rorschach Test employs a series of ink blots which have been created haphazardly by spilling ink onto a sheet of paper and folding it over upon itself so that the smudge takes a mirrored form on either side of the crease. A series of these nondescript shapes are presented to the subject one at a time and he is asked to describe what he sees. If we over-simplify the situation, we may say that the response takes one of two forms. One type of individual will look at the whole blot and, seeing it as a whole, will say, "It looks to me like a such-and-such." The other type will examine the figure piece by piece, isolating fragments or details here and there, and by association describe them as separate items. The conclusions which would be drawn by an examiner are as follows: The first man sees situations as wholes; he will make a good executive. The second man takes things apart; he will make a good mechanic. Those who have administered such tests will be horrified at this over-simplification. Yet they would have to agree, I think, that the principle is correctly stated. The ink blot is unstructured and the individual structures it. And in so doing he unconsciously reveals his habitual way of dealing with life situations. Naturally there are all kinds of half-way individuals in between, and the evaluation of their responses requires great skill.
Apperception Test (or TAT as it is called) takes the following
form. A series of detailed pictures which are fairly complex
and suggestive is presented one by one to the subject. He is
given all the time he wishes to study each picture and is asked
to say what he thinks has happened to lead up to the situation
indicated by the scene. He might, for example, be shown a picture
of a man with his head on his arm either asleep or in grief,
sprawled across a table in a dingy room with a dog lying on the
floor, looking up at him. The question is, Is this a picture
of a man merely tired -- or drunk -- or grief-stricken -- or
afraid to go to bed because of an argument with his wife? There
is a tendency for the subject after studying the scene, to fill
in the details in such a way that he reveals the kind of man
he is himself, whether quarrelsome, or tenderhearted, or whatever
may happen to be his own particular temperament. In this kind
of test case, the picture is structured and is charged with an
invitation to supply its emotional content.
obvious that most people
are neither remarkably philosophical nor remarkably practical.
Most of us fall pretty well in the middle. But during our childhood
we will be subject to influences which reinforce one or other
of these tendencies, thus tipping the scales. No matter how ingenious
and practical an individual may be by heredity, if he grows up
among philosophers who make no allowance for his practical bent
to develop itself, whatever philosophizing tendency he may have,
is encouraged. There is a general feeling that, for those who
might be either, the decision is pretty well made for them by
the time they are five years old.
We are approaching
the point at which many of the things we have been discussing
will begin to throw light in a special way on a number of key
terms in Scripture that relate to the personality of the new
man in Christ. It is therefore very necessary to be quite clear
about the meanings of the terms used thus far. To begin with,
there is no doubt that we recognize several very different capacities
in people, artistic, philosophical, practical, and so forth.
These are due to hereditary bents. The artist deals most successfully
with forms, the philosopher with ideas, the practical man with
things. One either is, or is not, an artist -- however early
or late in life the talent manifests itself an artist is born
an artist. This is equally true of the others also, though perhaps
they are not so readily recognized, because they are expressed
in less specific ways, unless exceptionally developed.
affecting the moral character
and disposition of the individual. But conversion does nothing
to change the natural talents. This is not to deny, however,
that such talents may be enlarged or re-directed. Moreover, hidden
talents may now be brought to light for the first time. The pagan
musician who happens to be a wicked man does not cease to be
a musician when he is converted, nor the pagan philosopher to
be philosophically inclined, though each will cease to be wicked
men and in due time will probably devote their talents to the
service of God instead of themselves.
will, of course, be apparent that the individual character as
represented by dots, circles, or crosses, may be applied in the
figures in any way desired. As contents, they are not bound in
any way to the structures in which we happen to have put them.
It will, of course, be apparent that the individual character
as represented by dots, circles, or crosses, may be applied in
the figures in any way desired. As contents, they are not bound
in any way to the structures in which we happen to have put them.