Sunday, July 7, 2013

The NGD Theory of Personality Typing

Recently, the following Venn diagram has been circulated on popular web sites, and claims to elucidate the distinction between Nerds, Geeks, and Dorks. Not only does this diagram illuminate nothing and obscure much, but it is blatantly false when compared with common usage of these terms.  As one simple example of the absurdity of this diagram, the set of all Geeks is  described as the intersection of I (Intelligence) and O (Obsession) at the exclusion of A (Social Awkwardness), implying that all Geeks are socially skilled. The problem is that the types (N, G, D) have been defined by the intersections of the three aspects  (I, O, A) rather than (more appropriately) by simply equating them:
N = I,  G = O, D = A
I will ignore the word "Dweeb" which appears to have been stuck in there because there was an extra intersection region that they felt obligated to label.  These aspects should rightly be treated, not as regions on a Venn Diagram, but as contiuous variables, defining a space with 3 axes.  If we wish to be more binary in our thinking, we can take the origin of this 3D space to represent a dividing point between N and NOT N, G and NOT G, and D and NOT D.  An individual's type then corresponds with a point in this space, and we can categorize them by which of the 8 regions they lie in.  This is not particularly revolutionary, and similar treatments have been proposed previously.  The 8 resultant typings are shown in the following diagram, along with extreme examples for clarification.  The up arrows indicate high (positive) values and the negative arrows indicate low (negative) values, and over-bars indicate negation (i.e. boolean NOT).

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