John L. Krehbiel is sixty-seven years old. He is six feet tall with blonde hair and an athletic body. It is possible to conclude that he puts some effort into working out so as to remain physically fit, something he denies. He suspects that her body type may be a product of genes. He discloses to me that his mother is equally athletic. He is single, works for Ford in the Bay Area where he has worked for thirty-five years; longer than I’ve been alive. To describe him I would have to say he’s a hard worker who is introverted, energetic, analytical, decisive, insightful, and intelligent and gains far more personal satisfaction from pleasing other people over his own basic needs. One of his intrinsic motivations is to be the guardian of someone he deeply cares about. A large percentage of his driving principles are achieved by knowing that the person to whom he has dedicated himself is safe, comfortable and happy.
John comes from a middle-class American family. They have five cars and a well-furnished house. The stability of the family is currently at its best and John cannot wish to be somewhere else. John has dated only once in his life. The lucky lady was an international student from Australia whose magnetic personality left John running after her. She was witty and landed on the Honor Roll the same Fall Quarter she reported for classes. This was back when John was a student. According to John, the lady seemed to get it without even trying. He also tells me that he liked her because she was not a fan of things he considers stupid. She never talked loudly; he was uniquely eloquent and wanted to become the best in whatever she would become in life someday. Their relationship experienced some difficulties but he hopes that she is successful in whatever she is doing. Besides the above, John tells me that he easily connects with open-minded people who are not inclined to make judgments. He believes that everyone has his or her own potential and in most cases, the things we dismiss as meaningless simply because they are done by people we do not value so much does not make the people as valueless as we may think. It is even possible that given a chance, we cannot do these things we consider trivial. He sees the world as a puzzle that needs every part so as to be complete and meaningful. The pieces cannot solve the puzzle if they are the same. Dimensions and shapes have to be different so as to close the gaps and produce the complete piece.
Paying attention to John as he speaks makes me conclude that he has an exceptionally good memory. He is able to give me detailed narrations of experiences he had close to fifty years ago. For example, he clearly remembers how he nearly beat up a boy who had described abused his best friend as the flamingo girl, something that had to do with his friend’s long slender legs. He knew that he would be tough right from the time he turned five. His mother kept on pointing out to him that he had taken the traits of his grandmother who used to be tough and protective of her children. All these details and more seem to be vivid to him in a way that makes you think that they took place in his life a few days or months ago. It is at this point that I set out to explore John’s other memory and information retention abilities. Human beings have different cognitive abilities and people learn in different ways. Conditions are important as they work for others and fail to work for some. R.Gagne’s theory on conditions as a determinant of learning is relevant here (Lawrence 1989, p.106).
“When do you remember information about events or occurrences? Is it when you participate or observe the events or when you read about the processes of carrying out tasks?” I ask John. He takes some seconds and then gives me the answer. I am not surprised since he is a very practical person. He tells me that he remembers things better when he observes them being done. He further tells me that if given a chance, he would prefer to participate in carrying out tasks since this makes him remember almost every detail in the entire process. He gives me the example of his car engine function lessons were spending time in class listening to his instructor did not help at all. He would not be able to visualize the car parts on paper (Gosling 2008, p.81). This changed when he attended engine function sessions with an instructor who was good at car engine functional analysis. He picked up the movements at a very high speed. I discover that he learned the engine in two months. This is a short period considering the complexity of the parts that make up the engine of a car.
Apart from the above, I set out to find out where John likes doing his studies if he does any. Since he is not in college due to his age; 67 years, the choices within the college that include the library and the dorm are not part of his options. He only has the option of studying at home or at the local public library. The library is very quiet. In contrast, the home is full of background noises. I wait for his response as he looks around. I soon learn that he prefers reading in places where there is at least a sign of life. The library is not the best for him (Lawrence 1989, p.46-47). He does not also like places with too much noise. He tells me that he can read while listening to music in his room. Too much silence is ominous to him and he tries as much as possible to be with the company of some manageable sound. He however tells me that he takes moments of quiescence and reflects on life. During these moments; he does not prefer any noise at all.
Besides the above, John has taken the Myers-Briggs test (Jung1921, p.6-7). He took it online and her results are as follows: Her type is ISTJ. These alphabetical letters cover the percentage of extroversion or extraversion, the degree of intuition, the percentage of feelings in her personality and the level of judgment. John is thirty-three percent (44%) introverted, he has one percent (1%) sensing personality, seventy-five percent (75%) thinking in his personality composition and seventy-eight percent (78%) judging value in his personality. The qualitative analysis of these quantities is that he is a moderately expressed introvert; he has a slightly expressed sensing personality, a distinctly expressed thinking personality and a very expressed judging personality.
John thinks the results are a true picture of his personality. He attributes this to the way he reacts to situations in his life. On the moderately expressed introversion score, he agrees and tells me that his willingness to reach out to people and engage is average to slightly below average. He sometimes finds his own company comfortable and reassuring. Concerning his distinctly thinking personality, he tells me that that is truly him. He tells me that he even expected his thinking to be higher. He considers himself insightful and he has a penchant for finding out why things work the way they do. The other part of his personality that represents his feelings has a score of seventy-eight percent and he agrees with it too. He tells me that throughout his life he has never felt the need to avoid forming an opinion about what other people do. The remaining part of the results is the sensing part which is one percent. He is not sensing and wonders why he scored anything in this category in the first place. But he proceeds to tell me that given the low nature of the score compared to the other areas, it is a close representation of him as a person. In a general sense, he agrees with the results.
In addition to the Myers-Briggs test, John goes further to tell me the factors that have influenced his personality development. He mentions his biological father whom he thinks is a versatile person with the ability to live anywhere. He tells me that he began copying his manners as soon as he turned five. He still thinks that most of his traits are traceable to his father. For example, he plays the violin just like his father does. He loves music too, something that his father loves a great deal. Apart from this emulating of his father, John thinks it is a genetic predisposition. He says that he may have gained some of his traits through picking up genes from his parents (Eysenck 1987, p.13). Other significant influences on his personality include his teachers in middle school, his professors and his fellow students. He makes an interesting distinction in personality development that I feel obliged to report in this essay. He tells me that sometimes personality does not develop through picking up the good habits of other people, but through observing them, disliking them and then deciding to do the opposite (Ryckman 204, p.79). Doing the opposite means doing what we think is right since disliking what that other person is doing means it is wrong. An example he gives me is seeing someone who hates gays beat up a person who is gay. Depending on the level of our exposure, we will perceive the behavior as despicable and go-ahead to do the opposite, which is, to embrace diversity and the freedom to make our personal choices without outside intervention.
Also, John thinks he is able to monitor himself in terms of attitudes. He makes it clear that based on the surroundings, we can get tempted to do things in a way that society thinks is acceptable or the way someone we know does. In most cases these influences are wrong and therefore he monitors how he forms his attitudes so as to avoid negatives in some areas. He tells me that life is about deliberate attempts to moderate our reactions on a daily basis. The strongest influence on his attitude has come from his hometown. He hails from Bay Area; a town that he says is full of open-minded people who are highly exposed and accommodative. He also tells me that people in Bay Area admire the talent and the ability to speak out their minds. There is also a strong sense of social justice in the town whereby the life of an individual is the concern of the whole community.
Race, gender and ethnicity issues are really according to John and they play a role in his attitude formation. He tells me how he grew up understanding that there were early prejudices against other people that gave one group the false notion of superiority, a myth that has been burst by the overwhelming reality of immense ability in these groups that were once discriminated against. He cites the example of Jews whose unique noses were used as a reason for discrimination only for the Jews to emerge as unrivaled inventors and entrepreneurs. He mentions the unique sports prowess and educational abilities of African Americans and the engineering strength of the Japanese. Thus his race and that of the people around him have assisted in forming the balanced attitudes he has. Gender has also made him form some attitudes given that we live in a patriarchal society. He however credits his all-inclusive hometown of the Bay Area for assisting him to have an open attitude towards gender issues. When I ask her about motivation, he tells me that the best motivation that works for him is when it is from within (Sharma 1980, p.139-140). He says when it is from within or intrinsic, it can take you far and you are in control; unlike extrinsic motivation that can be withdrawn any time, and this means that nothing more gets done (Morris & Maisto 2005, pp. 331-332).
When I compare John’s results to mine, I see little difference. I had similar qualitative scores for my Myers Briggs test with a slight quantitative difference whereby I had 40% extraversion, 2% sense, 75 % thinking and 78% judging. My parents, genetic factors, my classmates and professors have assisted shape my personality, I believe I can control my attitudes, the greatest influence on my attitude formation is my environment and I believe race, gender and ethnicity affect my attitudes. I am also better off with intrinsic motivation.
In conclusion, it is clear that John is a moderate extrovert who is distinctly thoughtful, less prone to emotional outbursts and very judgmental. Just like me, he credits his parents, his colleagues and genetic factors for his personality. He has been influenced by race, gender and ethnicity in his attitudes and he believes that he has control over these attitudes. Motivation is good for him when it is intrinsic. This is true for me too.
- Eysenck, H. J. (1967). The Biological Basis of Personality. Springfield: Thomas Publishing.
- Gosling, S. (2008). Snoop. New York: Basic Books.
- Jung, C.J. (1921). Psychologischen Typen. (H.G.Baynes.Trans.). Zurich: Rascher Verlag.
- Lawrence, G. (1989). People Types and Tiger Stripes: A Practical Guide to Learning Styles, (2nd Ed). Gainsesville: Center for Application of Psychological Type Inc.
- Morris,G & Maisto,A.(2005).Psychology: An Introduction,(12th ed.).New York: Prentice-Hall.
- Ryckman, R. (2004). Theories of Personality. Belmont: Thomson & Wadsworth.
- Sharma, R. S. (1980). Clothing Behavior, Personality, and Values: A Correlational Study. Psychological Studies, 25, 137–142.