A recent study by researchers at Northwestern University (NWUS) demonstrates how data and words are manipulated to misrepresent reality (what is true) to fit a preconceived notion and agenda. That agenda serves a political and social prejudice (feminist, progressive, postmodern liberalism). This is also known as confirmation bias. Unfortunately, today, this is a common practice in higher education. In this study, the researchers twist personality theory (OCEAN, or the Big Five) by misrepresenting and/or misinterpreting what is commonly understood to be the traits and behaviors representing extroversion and neuroticism. Therefore they mischaracterize just who is who and what is what. They do this by relabeling and redefining words. They manipulate words.
My independent synthesis-analysis
I deconstruct their research in figure 1 below. They assert that the “average” personality type is a “neurotic extrovert”, which is counter to all personality theory. Such an individual would actually have a Borderline Personality Disorder, characterized by extreme, impulsive and erratic intense passion. In other words, unstable emotions regarding interpersonal relationships. That is contrary to extroversion’s primary characteristic of cheerfulness and joy, with regard to almost all engagement of the external world.
The neurotic extrovert
A highly neurotic, highly extroverted person is rare not average. A good example would be the female Mercedes Benz saleswoman, Gloria Trillo, whom Tony Soprano was attracted to in the HBO serial The Sopranos. Borderline personalities’ tend to be very attractive (sexually), and also female.
The Borderline personality
I wrote a novel, OVERCAST: The Unauthorized Biography of Sunshine Rodriguez (2014), about that personality. In the novel I profile all the characters, as well as other historical figures, regarding their personality type using the OCEAN construct. I turned to my analysis in the book when I read about the Northwestern study. I looked for a highly neurotic, highly extraverted paring and found only one, the fictive Sunshine.
The neurotic introvert
What is far more common in today’s highly complex and confusing world is the neurotic introvert. Such an individual struggles on the inside, but may well try and cope by pretending to be cheerful and joyful, i.e. extroverted. Thus, they might answer a questionnaire untruthfully. That’s one explanation.
What went wrong
The researchers, seeking to confirm their hypothesis, either misinterpret or twist the data. This is not uncommon. They don’t use synthesis-analysis. Instead, they manipulate words. The reason being – time, money, and esteem.
The Northwestern study
Figure 1. My analysis.
Here in Figure 1, I straighten the authors’ manipulation (highlighted in yellow) with a more accurate description (mine, highlighted in pink). I use actual personality distribution based upon the theories of : Maslow, Eysenck, Wilber, Freud, Jung, Erikson, Wallace, Gosling, Nettle, Cattell, Adler, Wilson, Barash, Rogers, May, Bandura, Ellis, and others – who all suggest most people are not “self-actualized“.
The “average” person, in today’s highly complex and connected world, might well be a neurotic introvert. Most people are simply trying to survive by whatever works, pretending to be extroverted, or cheerful and joyful. The vogue-words today are mindful and grateful. But truly, on the inside, they’re frightened, anxious, needy and desperate. Hardly extroverted.
A few words about personality theory.
In general, this malpractice applies to all levels of social and professional interaction. Such as: Parenting, Friendship, Marriage, Teaching, Therapy, and so on. In other words, you’ve been ill-educated, via word manipulation and weaponized lying. I wrote about this problem of malpractice in my account of the presidential election of 2016. We (US citizens) are in trouble. Here is an excerpt:
Malpractice, Victimology, and the Greatest Problem [pages 97-100]
After finishing it, I googled her and saw that she is employed by the US government in Washington DC, and obviously, what she says carries some weight. This is, in my opinion, malpractice and exemplifies the greatest problem affecting the health and well-being of the general population of the United States. The problem is the failure “of observers of the world to determine whether their perceptions are genuine and verifiable or whether they are merely the projections of inner feelings [emphasis mine].”[fn 34] Said another way: “The single great informing conflict of the American psyche—the conflict between the subjective centrality of our own lives
fn 34 Michael Crichton, State of Fear (2004), 649.
versus our awareness of its objective insignificance.”[fn 35] What it is, in essence, is the distortion of reality via one’s own perception, so as to make oneself feel better or, in this case, to unscrupulously twist reality for one’s own benefit at the expense of others’ health and well-being (i.e., malpractice). Kim is, no doubt, a “thought leader” by virtue of her education, standing, status, and employment. And she is so wrong, which is likely not her fault, but nevertheless, it doesn’t absolve her of the responsibility regarding the health and well-being of others, given her profession.
The irony is this: Jesus Christ and Donald Trump live by the same rules, though with admittedly different results—Christ being crucified and Trump soaring around in a customized 757 jet airliner. But both got what
fn 35 David Foster Wallace, “The Suffering Channel,” in Oblivion (2004), 284.
What I’m going to do next is ask you to imagine in your mind a matrix of four squares. Clockwise from the top left is Donald Trump, a very high extrovert who is also a very low neurotic. To the right would be a person who is a very high extrovert and also a very high neurotic. This person could be diagnosed as bipolar or manic-depressive. Below that would be a person who is a very high neurotic and a very low extrovert (i.e., a neurotic introvert). It is that personality that Kim is exploiting— the neurotic introvert. (As do many others in the field of mental health, including Big Pharma and those individuals under their purview). In the
fn 37 Trump cites this in Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again (2015) yet alludes also to the advantages of considering negative outcomes, the downside, thus practicing a more real/accurate/practical form of Peale’s positive thinking (The Art of the Deal, p. 48–50). This is not the secret.
[end of excerpt]