The Johari Personality Experiment

The other day a good friend of mine posted her Johari Window on Facebook. This model, created in the 1950s, was designed to map personality awareness. The subject set up the experiment by selecting 6 words out of a preset grouping of 55 total words. From there, the subject saved those traits and sent the same set of words out to friends and colleagues to help complete the Window.

The results of the experiment break down into 4 categories: Arena (the traits the subject believes of herself and her friends agree about), Façade (traits the subject believes about herself yet are not known to her friends), Blind Spot (traits others believe about the subject, yet the subject does not see), and Unknown (traits no one associates with the subject.)

First off, I want to say that I think there are words missing in this test. There really aren’t any negative traits here, and while I see why there aren’t negative traits, I don’t believe everything about my personality is honey and roses. For the purposes of an internet test, however, I’m thankful that “aggressive” or “overbearing” aren’t on there, but I probably would have selected one of them for myself had it been an option.

To begin, I selected my traits: Confident, Independent, Intelligent, Logical, Proud, and Trustworthy. If I were to describe myself without constraints of these terms, I would say that I am a smart, headstrong woman who is focused, driven, and fiercely loyal. (You should read the underlying negatives into this statement along with the compliments I pay to myself. I know them as you likely do, depending on how well you know me.)

I then took my Johari Window to Facebook: my friends list there mainly consists of people I know in real life with a smattering of folks who know me only through my work. I received 8 replies from this inquiry: Friends agreed I was intelligent and trustworthy, plus they believed me to be adaptable, complex, energetic, and witty. (No one saw me as proud which made me laugh – pride was the word I selected to try and compensate for the lack of negatives in the list. Perhaps my friends were also self-editing?)

After my known acquaintances had a go at this Window, I took it to Twitter and got 9 more replies. Overall, the results were the same: Intelligent, adaptable, complex, extroverted, friendly, and helpful were the words that popped with a larger sampling. Proud also finally made the list, but only with one person. I found this second sampling interesting: lots of folks who follow me on Twitter know me only through my online or professional persona which is, understandably, not the whole me (and hopefully shows a lot less of my negative traits!) I think that’s why extroverted, friendly, helpful popped here: as someone who leads a community department and frequents live streams, these are all words that you would think of when you think of me in the scope of my work. I’m also quite proud that 52% of people regard me as Intelligent.

There is one word in my Blind Spot that impressed and flattered me the most: Adaptable. Four people chose this as one of my defining traits. As someone who describes herself as headstrong, I don’t often think of myself as adaptable. I have strong beliefs and can be quite bullheaded. In fact, I am very conscious of improving my ability to listen and compromise or adjust – both professionally and in my personal life (and I’ve improved quite a bit, I think. Maybe this confirms that!) That being said, I do know that I’ve had to switch into many different situations and thrive throughout my childhood and life. No one but my husband knows all the ins and outs of my history, so I don’t anticipate my biography precipitated this belief that I am adaptable, but nonetheless it was a trait that I’m honored people chose for me.

There was also one word in my Blind Spot that I don’t agree with (but I understand how people see this of me, particularly those who know me online or through work): Spontaneous. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, spontaneous. I like to plan and have order to a ridiculous degree. I appreciate, however, that I don’t let this particular neurosis shine through. Continue to think I’m spontaneous! It’s perhaps better for everyone that way.

Now let’s move on to my Unknown category: Accepting, Calm, Giving, Happy, Idealistic, Introverted, Kind, Loving, Nervous, Patient, Powerful, Quiet, Reflective, Relaxed, Religious, Searching, Sentimental, Shy. I would like to say that I am Giving, Happy, Kind, Loving, and Powerful (but I wouldn’t choose them as Top Six traits – maybe Giving or Kind would have been sweet but that’s okay.) For the rest of these Unknown traits I’m bemused by the fact that everyone agrees I am not very Accepting, Introverted, Patient, Relaxed, Quiet, or Shy. At least we’re all on the same page about that.

The Johari Window is by no means a scientific look at personality. The test lacks a holistic set of words, but if you want to know how people see you (especially how different groups of people see you) it’s an interesting experiment. If you’d like to try it for yourself, head over to http://kevan.org/johari. (If you want to add to mine, go here: http://kevan.org/johari?name=dahanese.)

1 Comment on "The Johari Personality Experiment "

Aug 13, 2013 at 10:12am

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