Monday, November 18, 2013

Marvel® Meets Myers-Briggs®

I am a big fan of personality tests. They're not everyone's cup of tea but they certainly are mine. Lately, several Myers-Briggs® charts with fictional characters have made their way around the internet. The Lord of the RingsStar Wars, and Harry Potter charts are my personal favorites. As lifelong fans of Marvel, Elephant Robot and I really wanted an MBTI® chart that featured our favorite superheroes. We also hoped that the Marvel Universe would help alleviate four inherent limitations that result when pairing these other franchises with MBTI®.

Size matters

The charts I named above are built on universes that have a small-ish canon: there are only three Lord of the Rings books, six Star Wars movies, and seven Harry Potter books. I'm not trying to diminish any of these franchises, all of which I love. It's just that almost no single franchise, no matter how deep, has 16 major, well-rounded characters in them. That leaves some holes when trying to fill in the Myers-Briggs® types, which brings me to my second point.

Not all planners are evil

In fiction, evil characters tend to dominate the future minded dimensions, especially those that have TJ. This is primarily because in a classic good vs. evil story, good sits by passively and only acts when reacting to the long-term planning that evil has done. Saruman plotted his return for generations whilst the heroes sat around, as an example. Good reacts to evil, which means planning types, like INTJ, often get stuck with bad-guy characters in these MBTI® charts because there are no heroes that fit that description. Again, there's just not enough character variety in these universes to complete all the MBTI® types with major heroes. And the idea of variety leads me to my third point.

That is a lot of white dudes

I'll say it again...I love Star Wars. I'm also an avid fan of The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. But each of these franchises focus almost exclusively on caucasian men. That means hardly any woman or characters who aren't white are on these charts . That's not a knock on the chart makers...I can't think of any minorities in any of these franchises with the exception of Lando Calrissian. That means when you read through any of these charts, you generally only have a white guy to identify with, and maybe only an evil white guy at that.

Marvel Myers-Briggs

Unlike these other franchises, the Marvel Universe has decades of stories, hundreds of characters, and countless stories that have shaped its many heroes. This resolves each of the three issues I listed above as well as a fourth: the MBTI® dichotomies are a continuum, not four binary options. An extremely extroverted person and a mildly extroverted person can behave quite differently. But both would get an E when taking the test. When you only list one character in each slot, that doesn't fully reflect the diversity of behavior present in each type. Because Marvel has so many characters, Elephant Robot and I included four characters for each MBTI® type to embody the range of personalities we thought each type represented.

So! With all that said, here are some disclosures and caveats:
  • Neither of us has any professional MBTI® or psychology training.
  • MBTI® very nicely asked that their copyright be reflected in this post. Seriously, they were so nice about it!
  • While we are both life long Marvel fans, we don't expect everyone to agree with where we slotted each character.
  • We did not solve each of the issues identified in this post but we certainly tried!
  • We obviously own no copyrights to the characters or images in our chart. The chart reflects a commentary on characters that are part of the public consciousness.
That's it! We hope you enjoy what we've made. If you don't know your Myers-Briggs type, you can take the official MBTI® Complete for the best results. There are several free, shorter tests as well that are not affiliated with MBTI® but will provide you with the same four-letter personality type.

Click the image below to enlarge!




12 comments:

  1. One of the best I've seen! I disagree with a few of the LOTR, Star Wars, and Harry Potter types, but this is awesome. Thank you!

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  2. WHAT ABOUT THE VILLAINS? I love marvels villains, would be worth their own chart.

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  3. By an amazing (and funny) coincidence I just took a free personality type test (http://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test) (I'm INTJ by way, if anyone want to know...) and some hours later I found the image of this article on StumbleUpon (it's a good thing that the URL of the blog is in the image, cause I couldn't find an easy way to get here). Really good work!

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    1. Thanks Nelson! We are glad you found us, and delighted you enjoyed the chart. Stay tuned for more infographic projects in 2014.

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  4. Good work. You should do one for the DC Universe.

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  5. ISFP. Rogue, all the way. Another site penned her as an extrovert, which is incorrect. She is a borderline one, like me she's VERY outgoing. But scarred, and so she appears as extroverted. xD

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  6. Well, I vacillate between INFJ and INTJ. I'd also like to add that the Plotter from LOTR you mention is Sauron, not Saruman, Saruman got broken by Sauron's plans.

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  7. This Marvel one is awesome, but what about DC? Or even just one with the bat family? I haven't seen one of those floating around yet

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  8. First of all, John Romita Jr for almost every single character? Yes. Just yes. Secondly, Emma Frost introverted? Ummm

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    1. I'm glad you share our enthusiasm for JRJR! The personality profile delineation of introversion/extroversion is whether you get energy from being around people or from time spent alone. So an introvert is not necessarily shy, quiet, or withholding of their opinions. We think Emma (as re-imagined in Morrison's New X-Men run, and further clarified in Whedon's Astonish X-Men run) embodies the description we've written for INTP.

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  9. It is so nice to see Hero NT's!!! As an INTJ,and a girl INTJ at that, when I look at these types of charts my type is usually the villain of the story and that is just so depressing.

    Its nice to see "variety" too. Good job and thank you.

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