Tag Archives: experiments

My Myers Briggs Test and The Microtrend Diary



A few weeks back I was asked to fill in my own Myers Briggs questionnaire to enable me to find out about what personality type I am likely to be. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is “a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions”. These preferences were extrapolated from the typological theories originated by Carl Gustav Jung, as published in his 1921 book Psychological Types. He stated that there are four main functions of consciousness, two of them being perceiving functions: Sensation and Intuition and two being judging functions Thinking and Feeling that are then modified by two main attitude types: extraversion and introversion. Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers began generating the questionnaire during World War II, believing that knowledge of personality preferences would help women who were entering the industrial workforce for the first time identify the sort of war-time jobs where they would be “most comfortable and effective”.

The idea that a set of questions with certain weighting that ask me about how I deal with certain situations and turns that into a four-letter personality type has been something that has always bemused and slightly annoyed me. Whether self discovery questions in Cosmo magazine or psychometric questionnaires that get you certain jobs depending on the results have remained a constant aggravating mystery to me. Yet I felt this was a challenge for me to overcome my anger and have personal experience to criticise against. As a result of this questionnaire I am an ENFP: an innovator and inspirer…allegedly!

Quantifying the Unquantifiable

The idea of quantifying the unquantifiable; the fluid thoughts and emotions of our everyday lives has in recent times become more and more popular as algorithms in social media focused applications have enabled us all to  invest and share data and act as conceptual self-knowledge mirrors. Originally used in organizational management, social media has enabled a more personal approach to help evaluate ourselves. Indeed the rise in self-help and self-knowledge have become a huge business and created opportunities for organisations and individuals to offer more and more self-reflective tools that allow them to record, quantify, reflect and evaluate on their everyday lives; their thoughts, feelings, mental and physical health. 

My original fascination came when I stumbled across Jonathan Harris & Sep Kamvar’s “We Feel Fine” project: An algorithm that collects around 20,000 feelings per day as expressed by the blogging community and splices up the feelings according to demographic information about the author of each feeling (age, gender, geographical location, and local weather conditions). It then presents these findings in a series of playful interfaces, each of which paints a different picture of human emotion.  Other applications/products/questionnaires have crunched this kind of qualitative, touchy feely soft data to allow you to see how good you are in bed, a rolling history of your sex life, your daily mundane activities calculated into graphical visualizations, psychological phenomena translated into quantifiable scales or your daily tweeted interests simply autoplotted into a diary format. The artist and designer Lucy Kimbell has also been investigating the evaluation cultures in management, technology and the arts; her performance/service: Free Evaluation Service is one example. And more recently Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly set up the Quantified Self program to enable self-quantifiers to meet and compare and analyse their own methods and processes of evaluation.

The Microtrend Diary: a Personal Futures Thought Experiment

The Microtrend Diary is kept in its own monthly slipcase

This initial interest in quantifying the absurdity of our feelings inspired me to consider how we might use these psychometric approaches to create personal futures services. What if you could create a self-reflective  diary that made use of our everyday thoughts to provoke us in such a way that you are able to change your future actions. As a thought experiment I devised ‘The Microtrend Diary’ during my final year on the MA Design  Interactions course in 2007 and have made a recent 2nd prototype. I am currently looking to develop this further with some initial user testing and then publish a small batch for distribution.

Daily self-fulfilling prophecy questions.

Inspired by the abundance of self-help books, self-discovery personality tests and psychometric questionnaires, the Microtrend Diary is a mirror of your daily actions and emotions that reveal provocative ways to alter your future actions. This personalised diary, is printed to order based on a set of preliminary personality questions. As the owner makes a daily record of their actions, a unique set of provocative aide memoirs are revealed under a perforated flap that suggest changing your behaviour in certain ways for the following day.

A perforated seal is torn open to reveal the daily self-fulfilling prophecy questions.

My Happiness Scale

Other pages in the diary include the hourly ‘happiness’ chart, ‘what will this day be?’ join the dots exercise, ‘crowdsourcing you future’ postcards to send to friends and a weekly ‘hopes & fears for the future’ scatter graph. After each week the diary owner is asked to plot their hopes and fear for the coming week and after each month these thoughts are plotted against a time series analysis graph identifying historical trends and pointers for the future. The self-fulfilling prophecy diary is printed weekly and each week is stored in it’s own dedicated monthly box.

Crowdsourcing Your Future: Two postcards sent to friends to plot their ideas of your own future against a timeline and a future history.

A self-addressed Futures History postcard sent to a friend and with the obligation to be returned a year later.

Futures Timeline Postcard sent to a friend with a blank timeline in order to be filled in and returned to sender.

The old FATE machines at Carters Steam Fair




My original institute experiments

Before Christmas I had a go at designing a forecasting organisation and how it might work but in particular the kind of meta service tools that the organisation might create. These were four sketch models that I mocked up for my crit.

Age-when-you-find-out-when-you-will-live-forever clock

age-u-will-live-forever-clock_opt.jpg age-u-will-live-forever-clock2_opt.jpg

Choose-your-own-future storybook


What-might-this-be? dot to dot diary


Your-future-family scenario tube




Instruments of Self-Knowledge

The caption alongside my exhibit of sourced artifacts in the Design Interactions interim show. . Some of the instruments inside the cabinet of self knowledge are listed below with a small explanation as to how they are used and for what purpose.


New Years Resolutions? pt 2


Self-improvement by autosuggestion is what a the New Year’s resolution actually encourages, especially if it is followed up by systematic attention to the resolution.

New Years resolutions raised by participants of NYE2006 experiment: (see previous post)

materialistic : car, buying house independently, furniture,
physical: get fit, stay healthy,
creative pursuits: write letters, learn floristry, build greenhouse, build herb garden
career prospects: new job, suitable internship, skill development, career advancement, financial independence & security, recognition & fame
experential & cultural : travel more, learn french, promotion in sport teams, learn to make people laugh, developing sport skills
relational: find a girl/boy friend, be there for friends & family, have more fun with boy/girlfriend, host family meals/dinner parties

New Years Resolutions?

An insight into our New Year resolutions (see this cool website)

One example of a little experiment I carried out on some New Years Eve Revellers:

List five things that went well for you in 2006 & list five things that you hope for in 2007:


“Good things that happened in 2006 :

  • Bought a lovely flat
  • Moved in with lovely man
  • Got a new job
  • Got a lovely cat called Mary
  • Went to Malaysia and spent lovely time with good friends

Hopes & aspirations for 2007:

  • Get fit
  • Spend more time with people i love
  • Be truthful
  • Dream
  • Write letters”

The Turkey Wishbone

As it is Christmas time i felt it was very appropriate to make use of the turkey wishbone from my christmas dinner and hope for the best of my future!


Two people should each grasp one end of a chicken or turkey wishbone. Each person pulls on the wishbone while making a wish. The one who gets the larger piece of bone will get his or her wish. The wish must not be told to anyone. It is a good social christmas event and creates positive thoughts for the day. It may be utter nonsense but it may also urge you to complete your wish. I felt happy to have won the fight!

wishbone1.jpg wishbone2.jpg
Other prediction manifestations and wishing symbols can be found at this Predictions website

Fortune Teller fish

A little experiment with a fortune teller fish. A thin piece of acetate in the shape of a fish that rests on the palm of your hand. It reacts to the heat of your hand and if the tail or head moves in different ways it means various things like jealousy, passion, fickleness etc. More like a Mood Ring designed by Joshua Reynolds during the seventies than a true fortune teller.

fish.jpg fishhand.jpg

Thanks for the hand Tim! According to the Fortune Teller fish you are in love:)