Q29: Is SYMLOG a theory of personality? Group dynamics? Society? Ideology?


SYMLOG is a complex theory, and people often
wonder, well, is this a theory of personality, or a classification of personalities, or is
it a theory of group dynamics, or is it a theory of society and ideology, and so on.
The answer is, it’s a little bit of all of those because they are all similar in certain
ways. They are all interactive systems which you can describe in terms of the values involved.
Now, with regard to personality theory, we have quite a lot of data on the way in which
different kinds of psychometric tests will predict where people will be located in the
space. We don’t usually use that, because most of those tests were developed in order
to decide whether this person had this psychosis or that neurosis, and so on, and the language
is psychiatric language and not really acceptable. So, in every case, where I talk about personality
differences, I try to avoid any kind of complicated language of a psychological or psychiatric
type, and talk about it in the most common sense way I can. But I can tell you that it
covers more ground than the whole battery of psychological tests that we have, and I
can tell you what they lack. What they lack, generally, is an articulate measurement of
values. Some of the things they measure are related to some of the values, but they have
very few questions that deal with the full variety of values. And you do not get any
picture of what kind of values a person has in his head, and are very important in the
way he gets along with other people using the existing batteries of personality tests,
like the Thurstone Temperament test, like Cattell’s 16 personality factor tests, like
the MMPI, and the Jackson Personality test. And there are a lot of others. They do measure,
that is, the personality traits which they measure can be located in the space. But if
you use even a good battery of them, there will be some parts of the space that they
cover poorly, and a level in the space, or a level in the interaction, that they almost
leave out. And that is the value level.

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