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The 16 Personality Factors: Factor M – Abstractedness


The next 16PF scale for discussion is the Factor "M" scale, which is Abstractedness (Grounded vs. Abstracted).  What exactly does this scale measure?

It shows what people pay attention to, think about, or notice in life.  Those who score on the high end of this scale tend to be oriented towards internal ideas and mental functions.  They say it's easy to generate new ideas, so this scale is related to creativity. 

However, some of their ideas have no practical basis, and can overlook people, processes, or situations that would be necessary for the ideas to work.  High scorers often say they get lost in their thoughts and forget time, or lose things, and that they overlook the details because they are so interested in thinking about their ideas. 

The film stereotype of the absent-minded professor would be a high scorer on this scale. They can have accidents because they are so preoccupied with their thoughts. Fantasy and imagination are common traits for high scorers. 

In contrast, low scorers are practical, down-to-earth types.  They focus on their senses and observable data.  They do what needs to be done instead of daydreaming.  Their ideas are realistic and practical.  Some may focus so much on what's practical that they have trouble generating new ideas or solutions to problems.  They can be too literal or concrete.

As with all the 16PF scales, major insights come from the interactions among the 16 scales, and not from each scale in isolation.

Factor M is correlated with the Myers-Briggs Sensing vs. Intuition and Judging vs. Perceiving scales.  High scorers on Factor M tend to score on the Intuitive and Perceiving side of the Myers-Briggs scales.  Low scorers tend to show up on the Sensing and Judging side.


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