The Objective Personality System (OPS) is a typology system devised by Dave and Shannon Powers and presented via their YouTube Channel, ObjectivePersonality (formerly DaveSuperPowers) as well as the class on their website. The system is based on a typing method in which independent operators attempt to categorize individuals in a series of binary (this or that) selections called coins. The independent operators must match on all coin selections to achieve a successful typing. In developing their system and working to achieve consistent results, they expanded on the 16 types tested for by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) into 512 distinct types.
Dave relaunched his YouTube channel in 2018 to begin sharing his findings with the typology community online with the following video. In it, he outlines how he and his typing partner Shannon began to use the MBTI in their online business and eventually started tracking the patterns for themselves and comparing notes to the point where they were able to consistently type individuals on each of the 10 coins with upwards of 90% consistency.
The Objective Personality Checklist
OPS takes the self reporting from the MBTI and tosses it out the window. Instead of determining types by having individuals take a test and making their own selection about where they fall on a given spectrum, OPS leverages the outside perspective of the operators to provide a more objective view of the person across the spectrum of 512 types. Instead of relying on what one person considers their behavior to look like on a given spectrum, they are relying on two people who are forced to agree independently on a single answer. In this way the operators are forced to simultaneously expand and deepen their understanding of these spectrums in order to properly place individuals consistently.
OPS relies on a checklist of coins and crosschecks to dwindle down the list of 512 options to a single type. Each item on the checklist is a binary coin in which they choose one option or the other. Each coin represents a particular side of the spectrum the type is favoring. MBTI is similar in that they too test on four coins or spectrums of personality you are likely familiar with if you have ever taken an MBTI test, or something inspired by it. *cough* 16 personalities *cough*
MBTI has Four coins
Extroversion vs Introversion
Sensing vs Intuition
Thinking vs Feeling
Perceiving vs Judging
These coins or spectrums are what determines your type in the system. If you answer the questions such that you are on the more Extroverted side, MBTI theorizes this implies that you will have an extroverted function as your primary cognitive process. Those with extroverted functions as their primary function have a preferred orientation to the world outside themselves rather than their inside world. The test is built with these preferences in mind, but people are extremely varied and getting an accurate and consistent result from an MBTI test or something inspired by it can be… elusive.
So the MBTI narrows down types based on 4 coins into 16 types, OPS does the same but with 9 coins into 512 types. Operators look for patterns of behavior, speech, and energy spikes (discussed below in Saviors vs Demons) to determine if someone is preferring one end of a spectrum compared to another. This is how they are able to successfully track individuals based on their preference towards processing different types of information. OPS has ten coins listed below, but one of the coins will always overlap with two of the others so it does not factor into the total amount of types.
Objective Personality has Ten coins
Single Decider vs Single Observer
Introverted Decider vs Extroverted Decider
Introverted Observer vs Extroverted Observer
Sensing vs Intuition
Thinking vs Feeling
Consume vs Blast
Play vs Sleep
Information Dominant vs Energy Dominant
Masculine Sensory vs Feminine Sensory
Masculine De vs Feminine De
In their research, Objective Personality developed these coins in an effort to achieve more consistent results between the operators using the system. By introducing each of these coins they were able to encapsulate the variance between types in ways that allowed for the operators of their system to be more consistent. As a result, this system is able to account for and categorize more aspects of human behavior, leading to more insights into our personalities and the ways in which we see the world.
You can watch Dave quickly go over their checklist using Oprah as an example in this video. This is a quick way to get a general understanding of what the coins and process looks like.
Tracking Energy Spikes
When typing individuals, operators are looking for energy spikes which indicate an abundance of comfort on one side of the spectrum and energy spikes which indicate a lack of comfort on the other end of the spectrum. Objective Personality calls this dynamic Saviors vs Demons because when under stress we turn to our saviors to resolve the problems and blame our demons for causing the problems.
But wait… what is an “energy spike” anyway? What Objective Personality has observed is that people express a positive and/or confident energy when discussing information in their saviors and a negative and/or weird energy when discussing information pertaining to their demons. Savior information is what a person is comfortable with since it is the way they are usually looking at the world. Those with Savior Thinking are comfortable processing things in terms of reasons and what works, but they are uncomfortable discussing whether those same things are necessarily valued. We will see a shift in this type when they are asked to provide this sort of information to a more weird and unsure place.
Since this can be a more difficult thing to explain in words, it helps to see an example. Objective Personality provided one for us in the following video where they demo Shannon explaining how a systems works (Savior Thinking) vs how she explains what she likes and values (Demon Feeling).
Type isn’t about Capability
This method of tracking type preference on a spectrum is unique to the Objective Personality System and is essential to understanding how this system differs from prior study of types from the lens of cognitive functions. Many typologists using various systems will argue back and forth about how to properly categorize types within these systems. “This person can’t be an INFP because they are too good at being logical.” OPS throws away these notions of how good you are at a particular behavior and even what you are doing and saying in favor of something they have found more trackable. These patterns of comfort and discomfort towards different types of information seem to be predictable and trackable for identifying a type.
In this video, Objective Personality explains how we are all addicted to our saviors. We are constantly considering this information as the most important and ignoring or devaluing the information in their demons as unimportant. At the same time though we are in denial that we are addicted to this information. While we devalue and ignore the information in our demons we simultaneously insist we are good at these things and that we do actually care about them. This seems to be because we are naturally addicted to our saviors and thus are seeing these moments where we are consciously moving towards our demons.
Think of something you do everyday naturally without really thinking about it. Maybe you brush your teeth, or shower, or go to work or school. Do you remember each of these events distinctly or do they start to blur together in your mind? The same thing happens with our saviors. We aren’t thinking about them because they are just natural and automatic. The things we think consciously about, the disruptions to our natural order of things are the demons.
So those times when you took a wrong turn or you slipped and fell in the shower. These times stick out in your mind because they were differentiations from that norm. The same is true for Saviors vs Demons. We notice the things that we aren’t doing naturally and think “this must be who I am” but it isn’t consistent with what you are truly doing day in and day out.
What are you avoiding?
OP operators are instead looking for where individuals are consistently leaving voids that will catch up with them over time. The preferences of each type accumulates over time into the voids that they are leaving by not creating a proper balance between the information from both sides of a given coin or spectrum. As an example, when an individual is focused on building up their own sense of self and significance, this comes at the cost of a disconnect from the rest of the tribe. Over time, these patterns create friction between the individual and others and depending on the severity can result in devastating disruptions to their lives. These large disruptions in OP are referred to as Tidal Waves. OP encourages individuals to tend to these demons to avoid their tidal waves in these areas.
Is this really scientific?
Dave and Shannon boast a consistency rating of upwards of 90% when determining where individuals fall on a list of 512 unique types. Certainly this is impressive, but is it actually scientific? If you are interested in Objective Personality from a scientific perspective, you need to understand the difference between Precision vs Accuracy. Below is a video on how their methods stack up in relation to other personality typing methods and how they see this moving towards scientific validity.
In the video they explain that their methods are essentially achieving high precision, but they can’t really prove that their high precision leads to high accuracy. Accuracy requires them to actually be hitting the target in the right spot, while precision simply requires a tight cluster of consistent results. They compare this to the results of some of the other personality typing methods out there.
MBTI – Low Accuracy and Low Precision – The MBTI test seems to work for typing some people, but not for everybody, implying low accuracy. Taking the test multiple times often gives different results, implying a low precision. This is why the MBTI is often not highly regarded in the scientific community.
Big Five – High Accuracy & Low Precision – The results of the Big 5 tend to be more consistent results, but OP argues they are too general. What does this test really say about me as an individual? How do I use this in my life? Some companies have used it to find ideal candidates, but that has been criticized as well at being too limiting. See HBO’s recent documentary, Persona – The Dark Truth Behind Personality Tests.
The Objective Personality Method achieves precision, but the accuracy isn’t really known from their typing method alone. You can begin to derive accuracy through other means such as predictive it is. Do the guesses we can make based off of a type actually produce results? This is where the Subjective element comes into play (hence the name of my site). You need to figure out if this type is actually predictive and useful for you!
This self reporting predictive measurement is messy from a scientific lens. Good advice is just good advice that will really be helping just about anyone. That doesn’t really prove anything. From here, Objective Personality hopes to continue to gather larger datasets where they can make further predictions, but in my personal view, we aren’t really going to be able to prove out that kind of thing until we are able to incorporate some other science into this, such as artificial intelligence or brain scans which could identify patterns consistent in typed individuals that humans would be otherwise incapable of tracking.
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Learn more about Objective Personality
If you are more familiar with the MBTI, it might be helpful to check out our OPS Type to MBTI Type reference which explains one of the first key differences between MBTI type and OPS Types. In the standard MBTI research, types are generally categorized based on their first two functions, one of which is introverted while the other is extroverted. However, one of OP’s first innovations was rejecting this idea and categorizing types with two introverted savior functions and two extroverted functions, making their first leap from 16 types to 32. Types who seem to favor two introverted functions and two extroverted functions are called “jumpers” since they prefer the third function in the typical function stack over the second.
For more information on the Objective Personality System, check out the OPS Starter Kit where we break down each of the coins in depth and help introduce you to this fascinating system. You can also get an overview of the coins from Dave and Shannon’s perspective in 2021.
Objective Personality System
Thinking vs Feeling
Intuition vs Sensing
NF vs ST & SF vs NT
Meghan LeVota interview
For those of you familiar with Jung’s work through the more traditional MBTI/Socionics community lens, Meghan’s interview with Dave Powers might serve as a good entry point to learning more about the system in a broad sense. Dave gives a good overview here as to how their approach is different and some of the lessons they have come to learn as a result.
The Objective Personality Website
Objective Personality has a website of their own where you can sign up for a weekly class to learn more about their system. Their classes focus on typing a single celebrity person based off of a series of interviews. They demonstrate in real time what patterns they are looking for to help illustrate their process. For more information, check their website. You can also view the class archives doc to see some of the people they have typed in their classes.
In the past, the Objective Personality website also contained a basic overview page which covered much of their original process and ideas behind the model. This was taken down in a recent update, but there is still a video on their YouTube channel discussing this version of the website and you can view it here on the Way Back Machine. Don’t expect this to contain the most up to date information, but it could be interesting for those interested in the history of OP.
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