What is it like to be a Holistic Problem Solver?

I took the test and got INFP. The P was only 56% (vs. J at 44%); the others were clear wins.

One thing I noticed is that for many of the questions, I would answer VERY differently depending if I was thinking about my day job vs. other parts of life (including writing hobby). It’s like I have two different personalities!

Honestly, for that reason I don’t find the tests all that useful. Myers and Myers-Briggs (mother and daughter) just took Jungian cognitive functions and came up with a labelling system and the questionnaire, but the original work is Jung. The questionnaire requires a lot of self-knowledge and lack of self-delusion. It may point people in the right direction. But they are just starting points. You really have to understanding the cognitive functions and figure out for yourself what your preferences are.

The real way to test it would be some sort of battery of tests taking several days demonstrating the way you think, rather than your opinion on the way you think.

There is a neuroscientist named Dario Nardi who has done brain scans of each personality type and found some interesting things.

I tend to think this shows strong indication that the cognitive functions are real. However they are just ways of thinking, not motivations. The Enneagram personality theory more directly addresses motivations.

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Sorry, I wouldn’t know that. The cognitive functions are about ways of thinking, not what they think. I imagine they have diverse interests.

I’m not very familiar with this Jung stuff, taken a test a couple of times but never got into it. It’s mentioned on here from time to time, though. What do you do with this information? Are you all using it to write characters or something?

And is this stuff what the Scarecrow character in Batman Begins is referring to when he says something to Rachel Dawes I think about Jungian archetypes?

Very superficially. Everyone tends to focus on the symbols and visuals from Jung’s research, but the guts of his work went much deeper and shaped future human development researchers, such as Piaget and Kohlberg.

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Given the following:

  • None of us are entirely Linear or Holistic problem solvers. Though we likely prefer or default to one, we all have some capability to use both methods.
  • Some problems are better suited to one or the other method of problem solving.

then I think the best way to understand the problem-solving style that you are less comfortable with is to pay attention and find the areas in your own life in which you use that style. That way you can examine your own thoughts to get a better understanding.

I’m definitely a more Linear thinker. But I noticed that when I go for a run, I usually choose my route holistically. At the start of my run I sort of picture the whole “world” of my run at once – me, my mood, my current energy levels and physical condition, the weather, all the possible paths I might take and how they balance against everything else. That makes it easy to immediately account for all the factors and the “right” route just presents itself.

You might find similar things in your own life.

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Interesting - I took Myers-Briggs in college and I came out as INTP. Just retook it and came out INFJ. Did I change? Are the tests wrong? Was I not answering properly?

I have this feeling that whatever the personal usefulness of these tests for personal development, it’s probably misleading to try to map them to Dramatica, which is, after all, a model of a single human mind, not a bunch of characters.

Yes - that make sense.

Thanks for posting your results, Mike!

The P/J makes a big difference in the cognitive stack and you are right at the border. So, further testing could help you hone in on it. I experience you as a P because, for the most part, you extravert your process on here. But, you are right that context forces adaptations.

To Mike’s point, one can look up one’s MBTI stack and see in what context one is linear vs holistic and how dominant the function is.

The long professional versions of the test are pretty good. But, the online ones can be troublesome since they are shorter. It will help to get properly tested if things online are confusing.

Dramatica only maps to the MBTI at the Perceptual Function to the PS Style currently. And an N is more holistic according to the test scorings posted.

There is some ambiguity with describing a person as one PS style or the other since the PS style or dominant perceptual cognitive function of the storymind will be different depending on the context.

But, when we call someone Linear, that is a Sensate and holistic is an intuitive for MBTI if and only if we are referring to their more dominant function of the two. When we say someone has a PS Style in the story, we are speaking of the subjective conversation they are having with each other and the perceptual function they are using to attempt to resolve the inequity.

And, Some (IJs and EPs) have a harder time relating to the other perceptual because it is less dominant. (Lower on the cognitive stack)

Here are some examples of the ambiguity:

Batman might be Holistic in some comics, but Nolan’s batman is Linear. —this is an example of how the same character can be given a different personality type to make it easier to tell a story using a storyform that matches their personality.

Fans of a character seem to prefer maintaining the personality type, but allowing the problem solving style to be more focused on a different perceptual function if needed. I think Luke might be an example of this in the Last Jedi vs a New Hope…but, I’m not sure. His Personality is Linear (ISFP). But, as a Jedi Master, he becomes more like the holistic Obi Wan when he messes with everyone’s minds in the Last Jedi—using his 4th cog function of Ni Introverted Intuition to light that spark before he passes. —notice how hard it is for him to do this in the story.

Luke’s MBTI cog stack

Se (ps style in A New Hope)
Ni. (Ps style in Last Jedi)


I started thinking about this a lot after Chris corrected me at User Group meeting for claiming wrongfully that Kyle Reese in T1 is linear. It was quite a blow since I had been working on a similar script where I kept both subjective characters linear based on a misunderstanding of this concept. I now wonder if the current model compels one to be linear and the other holistic or not. But, even more so that it seems there are four and not just two PS Styles when you add in the judging functions from MBTI. Again, all this would do is recapture the hidden storyforms with the “un-American” signpost orders and add to the storyform count.

My understanding is that the MC’s problem-solving style does not force the IC’s style. I don’t think the IC’s style, whether Linear or Holistic, is that important to the structure since we only see the IC from the outside anyway. Perhaps in some way it’s “unknowable”?

I think Jim made a comment about that in an article or post somewhere…

I’ve seen and read plenty to back this up, but I’ve also read in some stuff (I think on Dramaticapedia, maybe) that makes it sound like it’s pretty necessary to have both PS styles. Almost like the whole point of the story is to decide between PS styles. I’ll have to look for those again. That said, my understanding is that Melanie has been the one who looks more at theory while Chris and Jim are looking more at practical application, so maybe that causes a difference.

I used to think they were indepebdebt. But After Chris corrected me on T1, I’m starting to wonder if PS Styles do need to be in conflict for the subjective story to be strong.

Okay @crazybrian, I wait eagerly for you to get to the bottom of it!! :slight_smile:

And while you’re looking into that can you also find out whether the MC Problem-Solving Style is like Do-er vs. Be-er in that in only applies to how they deal with their MC Throughline personal issues, and not in the OS? Or does their Linear vs. Holistic apply to their problem solving in the OS as well?

Haha. Yes! Do-er/Be-er is personal problems only. That is actually been debated before. The OS is affected by Action/Decison. So, that sometimes gets confused with it.

I have to run, but love the other question too!

  1. I don’t know where to find an answer to this, but I’m wondering if the math behind the storyform implies that one perspective is linear and the other holistic. The SP order for a linear MC is usually different from a holistic MC. So it seems like it would affect the order in which the IC did things as well. Only problem is, since the IC is seen ‘from the MC perspective’, it may be that a holistic IC’s actions are seen in a linear fashion by a linear MC, if that makes sense.

  2. A. Just speculating here. Do-er ad be-er for the RS and OS seem like they would still be dependent on the throughline they find themselves in. So a character that represents an external MC would be do-er in the MC throughline always. But s/he would be a do-er in the OS if it was also external or a be-er in the OS if it was internal. Does that sound right?
    B. Similarly, it seems like a holistic OS might have a different SP order from a linear OS, if it’s accounted for.

I’m not sure about that. Ignoring the MC throughline for a minute, I don’t think all the OS characters are always Do-ers in external OS Domain stories, and Be-ers in internal ones. I think the theory would’ve stated that if it were true.

And I don’t think the MC player is special in this area – like any OS character, they could be a Do-er or Be-er (or both/neither) in the OS regardless of OS domain.

Yeah, that’s definitely how it’s treated in everything I’ve read. Just taking an explicitly stated rule for the MC and applying it across the board to see if it sticks. The idea there is, of course, that do-er and be-er are connected to whether the quad is internal or external, and not to any specific perspective. So it would seem to me that it should hold true for the OS and RS as well. The reason it isn’t treated as if that’s the case, then, could, I think, be one of three things.

  1. I’m wrong. I’ll admit this is probably the odds-on favorite.
  2. I’m right. The OS and RS ARE meant to be do-ers or be-ers according to which throughline they fall in, but the impact on the story if you don’t stick to it isn’t strong enough to impact the message and thus they are allowed to be the ‘wrong’ one. This is my personal pick.
  3. I would be right if it were about how they and we were singular perspectives in that they are generated by a single Storymind. But I am wrong because instead of being about that, it’s about how they and we encompass more than one character, and several character elements, and it’s that plural nature of the perspectives that allows the characters to be, for instance, do-ers in an internal domain.

I think I like #3! It’s like if you averaged it out over all the OS characters you would find a preference towards Do-ing or Be-ing that matches the OS domain.

But we’re really getting into theory stuff now that doesn’t seem very applicable to actual writing or analysis. I do think my question about Linear vs. Holistic MC and which throughline that’s seen in does apply to writing, and especially to analysis.

Pretty sure it applies to both, but it’s mostly seen in terms of the MC Throughline (because it obviously separates it from the OS roles and things). If you look at a holistic thinker like Amélie, her MC problems concern her mental blocks and daydreaming, but the Users Group examples for her PS-Style were all to do with her actions in the OS where she’s trying to bring happiness to people. Probably because her MC Throughline wasn’t quite as strong, but it does suggest that the PS-Style doesn’t change from one to the other.

That also might be because an audience could get confused if they’re randomly switching from a linear thought process to something decidedly not that. In fact, I wonder if there’s ever been a story where a character did that from scene to scene – just randomly switched from linear to holistic and back. I imagine it’d be really difficult for an audience to empathise with.

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Okay, Holistic thinkers. New question. Can you tell me about Timelocks? What is it about Timelocks that doesn’t connect with HPSers on a personal level? Again, I’m not really sure how to broach the subject. Is there some connection (is that too Linear a word? Should I say relationship?) between balance and options that over rules the connection(relationship) between balance and time? Is it that balance is something that happens in a single moment rather than something that…I don’t know, evolves over time? Am I anywhere in the ballpark?

I’ve wanted to know the answer to this for a long, long time. I have no idea. I don’t subscribe to the idea that Holistic = chick flick and Timelock = Manly film, so that theory is gone. Otherwise, I have no real theory on it. But just browsing the list of Timelocks on the Narrative First app, there’s only a handful that I’ve seen that I can say I truly ‘liked’ (Simpsons pilot; The Philadelphia Story; Nebraska – kind of). But even those are hard for me to get through on a rewatch. To me, timelocks tend to feel kind of long, almost dragging, but I can’t really put my finger on why I feel that way.

In fact, I had thought about this just last year. I hated the original Blade Runner. Could not get into it. It didn’t speak to me whatsoever. I saw Blade Runner 2049, and, despite my apprehensions, absolutely loved it. One of my favourites of the year, couldn’t work out how or why. On the NF app, it’s an Optionlock story. The original is a Timelock. So clearly, there’s some connection there. But I have no idea why. Would love to find out if anyone has answers.

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