Modelling Individual Differences - Introducing the Objective Personality System

by Archer10 min read7th Sep 20204 comments


EA PsychologySelf-CareMental HealthPersonal Development
Personal Blog
[Source: OP-dex]

This is a model of my mind. More specifically it is a model of my temperament. At least, that's according to the new Objective Personality System.

There is perhaps nothing more important for us to be able to model than our own minds. Humanity has been grappling with this challenge for thousands of years. Over the centuries a plethora of personality systems have been put forward to assist us in understanding and articulating who we are. In particular, these systems attempt to expose how and why individual minds differ. Common themes appear to be emerging within the assortment of personality theories, just with varying terminology and definitions. Yet, a comprehensive model of personality has yet to be established. Without a core set of accepted ideas, personality psychology struggles to gain recognition as a true science. At the same time, we continue to struggle to understand why we behave the way we do. That could all be set to change with the introduction of the Objective Personality System (OPS).

Edit - The aim of this piece is to leave you with 3 questions:

  1. What if there really are types of brain?
  2. What predictions could be made about an individual based on their temperament?
  3. What if new demographic groups were established based on temperament?

The Objective Personality System has been in development since 2013 and was introduced to the public in early 2018 by its creators Dave Powers and Shannon Rene, who are based in Portland, Oregon.

The pair started out on a mission to prove the existence of Carl Jung’s cognitive functions. This work was inspired by their experience with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a popular personality assessment which was built on Jung’s theory. They had employed the concepts of the MBTI in marketing campaigns for their business and achieved consistent results. Consequently, the pair were convinced that there must be something to Jung’s theory. This was in spite of the fact they were aware that the MBTI’s validity and reliability had been called into question.

Dave & Shannon began by typing celebrities against the 16 MBTI types in double-blind tests and comparing their results. They quickly realised that the critiques of the MBTI had a point as they struggled to get a match rate of over 50%. Subsequently, they dedicated thousands of hours of practise to improve their typing. Along the way they gained a clearer conceptualisation of how Jung’s functions manifested in the behaviour and life outcomes of individuals. They then devised their own definitions of how the functions worked, which they would employ in their typing. Over time their match rate began to improve. They also started to notice more patterns in their observations. Sub-types within the 16 types proposed in the MBTI appeared to be emerging. Dave & Shannon began formulating a new system to define and organise their new findings. Thus, the Objective Personality system was born.

The name ‘Objective Personality’ has been chosen to highlight that the creators are trying to move away from the pseudoscience reputation of the MBTI. Having been in the MBTI community for many years, they had seen how the ideas surrounding the assessment had become confused by loose anecdotes and inconsistent definitions. The couple have made it clear that they aim to stick to “some form of the scientific process” in developing their system. It should be noted however, that Dave & Shannon are not personality psychologists, they are enthusiasts. While they have taken steps to move to a more scientific approach, some have argued that they fall short of a truly scientific methodology. Nevertheless, that does not make their system invalid.

The Objective Personality System provides a model of temperament, that is, innate personality. Specifically, it appears to model individual differences in; judgement, perception, motivation, awareness, extroversion, learning and memory. The model is built on Carl Jung’s theory of cognitive functions, much like the infamous MBTI. Like the MBTI, the system implies the existence of temperament types. However, the OPS expands upon the original 16 types proposed by Myers & Briggs, dividing each into 32 sub-types thus creating a spectrum of 512 types. Additionally, any type can be in 1 of 4 mental states (the so called ‘Animals’) at any given time. Hence, the OPS is an active model that attempts to illustrate how an individual’s personality varies throughout the day.

Function stack of one of the 512 OPS types [Source: OP-dex]

For each of the 512 types the OPS provides a singular interconnected model of temperament. These types are not completely distinct as they are defined by the combination of the same core modules; the function stack, the human needs, the ‘Animal’ cycle and the sexual modalities. The function stack is the core of the model. The stack is made up of 4 functions. [Edit: Each function symbolises a specific mental process. The model shows 2 pairing functions relating to perception and another pair relating to judgement. Each pair has a ‘savior’ function and a ‘demon’ function, with the savior functions (in colour above) being more pronounced.] Each function stack also has a dominant function which is said to significantly influence how one orientates themselves in the world. Innate motivations, and the differences in how each type prioritises them, are modelled through linking these functions to 4 human needs. The ‘Animals’ relate to extroversion. They denote 4 different mental states an individual can be in, defined by how the individual is engaging with their internal and external environment. The model identifies the order in which each type prefers to cycle through these mental states. The sexual modalities make a connection with the colloquial terms, masculine side and feminine side. Each function in a stack has a sexual orientation; masculine or feminine. The masculine functions are associated with stubbornness and assertiveness while flexibility and withdrawal characterise the feminine functions. Differences in learning and memory are also linked to the modalities. Within each type, the form of these core modules is defined by 9 interlinking dichotomies. This gives the system a modular framework. Hence, it can be also be used to divide a population into 2 types, 4 types, 8 types etc.

Normally, when personality assessments are taken, users take a quick questionnaire before being given a descriptive profile based on their results. These profiles are generally vague and full of loose anecdotes. Assessment takers often aren’t made aware of the underlying theory which underpin the personality assessment. This is one reason why personality tests have a bad reputation. Dave & Shannon have yet to construct any descriptive profiles for the 512 types. But those who have been typed can use the definitions given for each part of the system to try and gain a better conceptualisation of their personality. From there, users can build up their own conceptual model of how the whole system works and how the different parts interact. As personality is an abstract concept to grasp, every student of the Objective Personality System will have a slightly different interpretation of the model. The phrase “speaking OP” is often used by students to reflect how the system provides a new set of vocabulary for communicating about behaviour. Dave & Shannon strongly discourage getting carried away with using loose anecdotes of behaviour and life outcomes that are associated with parts of the personality model.

The current assessment process for mapping an individual onto the 512-type spectrum remains as a double-blind observational test. That is, two assessors try to type a subject independently by studying their behaviour and life outcomes, before comparing results. Naturally, while conducting an assessment the assumption has to be made that the model is valid. Each assessor scores the subject against 9 binary ‘coins’. The 9 binary coins represent 9 dichotomies that exist within the OPS (e.g. Thinking vs Feeling). The first 5 binary coins identify the subject’s function stack. The order of the subject’s ‘Animal’ cycle is determined by another 2 coins. The last 2 coins reveal the subject’s sexual modalities. These binary coins are not independent of one another, instead they overlap in order to build a single interconnected model.

[Side note: Importantly, the overlapping of the coins means that even though certain dichotomies are represented by a binary coin, the overall system suggests these dichotomies would likely manifest on spectra (for example with Sensing vs Intuition).]

OPS checklist of binary coins [Source: OP-dex]

Dave & Shannon have highlighted that the process of typing is challenging and that it is easy for one’s natural biases to lead them astray. Typing is therefore seen to be a skill that requires significant practice. The pair recognise their own assessments as educated guesses rather than fact. Between the two of them, they claim to have a 90%+ match rate down to the 512-type level. Aspiring assessors must pass the OPT-100 to be deemed as being of a good enough standard. The OPT-100 requires 2 assessors to type 100 individuals independently and select the same type out of 512 for at least 90 of the 100. The pair do not currently support the use of self-report questionnaires as their experiences have led them to believe they are often ineffective. Both genetic testing and AI assessors are being considered for future assessments.

The system is in the early stages of development and neither its predictive validity nor construct validity have been formally evaluated. The reliability of the assessment process is also yet to be tested. As Dave & Shannon are the only ones who have passed their own OPT-100 test, their typing results cannot be compared against that of others. However, there are individuals within the OPS following who are working to pass the OPT-100. In addition to their claimed match rate in double-blind testing, Dave & Shannon have presented further anecdotal evidence in support of their model. They have noted that subjects often look the same as others given the same type (even though appearance plays no part in the typing process). Moreover, they report LGBTQ+ subjects tend to cluster around certain types. The pair are aware that this by no means proves their theories but share these findings as suggestions that they might be onto something. For now, in order to assess the system, we will have to rely on our own subjective impressions.

Checking the OPS against other psychological models and theories, particularly different personality models, for any concurrence of ideas may provide some indication of its validity. That said, it is also important for a new model of personality to be clearly distinct from those that already exist. Otherwise, it is unlikely to have any utility above and beyond the models that are already in use. The Five Factor Model (Big 5) is the most evidenced model of personality and hence provides a useful benchmark.

One important distinction between the Objective Personality System and the Five Factor Model (FFM) is the different approaches used in their formulation. The OPS takes a ‘model first’ approach whereas the FFM takes an ‘assessment first’ approach. Meaning that the FFM was constructed based on the responses from a population sample to an assessment. The assessment was a questionnaire designed using the lexical hypothesis. The respondent data was put through a statistical analysis to identify trends and correlations in the answers given. The model was then created based on the patterns identified in the data. Therefore, the model assumes that the questionnaire is able to accurately capture an individual’s personality traits. That is, the model is defined by the assessment. The OPS approach differs in that, the model was constructed first (based on essentially guesswork). Having spent thousands of hours observing people’s behaviour, Dave & Shannon built up the model by adding new theories which matched the behavioural patterns they consistently observed. The assessment process was then updated with the model, with each assessment starting with the assumption that the new model is correct. In this case then, the assessment is defined by the model.

The depth of the OPS makes it quite different from certain personality systems. It is common for personality systems to only focus on one or two aspects of personality such as motivation or learning. The OPS however attempts model at least seven facets of personality. Moreover, the system provides a single interconnected model of personality which indicates how these different facets interact with one another. Personality can be modelled on the behavioural level or on the mental level (cognition and emotional patterns) — or both. Many personality models focus purely on behaviour. The Objective Personality System attempts to dig deeper by presenting a mental model. The model provides an illustration of the mind and the states in which it can be in. Dave & Shannon have not yet theorised which functions relate to which brain regions.

The Objective Personality System is also different from many personality systems as it offers an active model of personality. That is, it attempts to model how a person’s mental state can fluctuate throughout the day. Many personality assessments return a fixed score or type to users. This suggests they are only modelling the consistencies in behaviour over longer time periods. But we know that individuals engage in different kinds of behaviours over the course of a day. For example, a person who is more introverted will still engage in activities that are associated with extroversion, just less frequently. This raises some key questions; what is happening in the mind of an individual as they transition from engaging in introverted behaviour to extroverted behaviour (and vice versa)? And, are there any consistent patterns in the way individuals make these transitions? Dave & Shannon attempt to answer these questions with the incorporation of the animal cycle in their system.

Dave & Shannon recognise that developing the Objective Personality System is likely to be a long-term project, spanning decades. They have expressed that their goal is to write evidence-based profiles for each of the 512 types within their lifetimes. They estimate this will require typing 100,000+ individuals, 100 males and 100 females for each type. Since 2014, the pair have built up a database of ~3,000 typed individuals, many of whom are online celebrities. The pair continue to concentrate a lot of their efforts on building up this database. Currently, their main focus is to try and build a strong and dedicated team. They are looking to hire ‘operators’ who will be trained to type using the OPS. Recruiting and training these individuals is estimated to take roughly 5 years. From there the new team will work out the best way forward for the OPS.

In order to avoid bottle-necking the development and application of the OPS, Dave & Shannon have stated that their system is open source. Any interested parties are encouraged to start their own businesses and research projects around the system. Dave & Shannon have been sharing their theories through an online class since early 2018. This is complimented with a YouTube channel, currently boasting ~35k subscribers. While the pair have noted that they see the wider potential for the Objective Personality system, the videos in their class generally explore the model in the context of personal growth. The classes have led to the emergence of a growing community of OPS students. Many of these students are highly engaged and dedicated to improving their own typing practice. Some have even started their own projects to support the development of the system, such as the OP-dex.

What if there really are types of brain? 

[Edit: What if new demographic groups were established based on temperament?]

If the Objective Personality System is proven valid, it could have massive implications for society. So far, the validity of the Objective Personality System is yet be tested. But there is a growing community of people who are working to make this happen. The first hurdle will be building population samples of typed individuals. This presents a serious challenge as the current typing process, the double-blind test, lacks scalability. It seems for now, Dave & Shannon are focused on building an effective team with whom they can navigate these challenges. Dave & Shannon have demonstrated that they are keen to avoid the OPS from suffering the same fate that has befallen similar personality systems. By having objective standards for typing, being strict with definitions for the model and by reiterating to students the dangers of using loose anecdotes, they hope to prevent this.

Stay tuned.

[Note: At the start of this piece I presented an image which I claimed to be a model of my type according to the Objective Personality System. I would like to clarify that this is based off of my own self-typing - I have not been typed by Dave & Shannon]

Why is this relevant to EA? If the model were proven to have predictive validity, I believe it could have numerous use cases within the EA community. However, at this stage, it is looking like it might take many years for the necessary research to be done. Acquiring the necessary population samples will be no small feat. Currently, there is only one small team (Dave & Shannon's) working to develop and test the model.  Also, they have not explicitly said that they are focusing on testing the predictive validity of the model. Rather they seem to be focusing on writing profiles for each of the types. Dave & Shannon are not trained scientists, they're entrepreneurs. They appear hindered by a lack of research skills and expertise as well as a lack of connections within in the field.

I believe there is an opportunity for the EA community to significantly accelerate the evaluation of the model. Of course, this begs the question; is there sufficient evidence to suggest that the model will have some predictive utility, that existing models do not have, that would make it worth the investment needed to evaluate the model? I have been studying and thinking about the model for over a year and I believe there is. However, I believe this to be a matter of opinion and I am keen to hear what others think.

I write this piece in the hope that it will encourage a few people to take a good look at the model and share their thoughts.

Here are some quick notes on the use cases I think the Objective Personality System could have in the EA community.

  1. For individual use in the community
    • Mental health
    • Personal and Professional Development
    • Decision making (e.g. career planning)
    • Relationship building
    • Understanding & tolerance (e.g. the reasons for the differences in cause area preferences)
  2. For organisational use in the community 
    • Coaching and peer support
    • Recruitment and organisational strategy
    • Diversity
    • Improving collaboration (e.g. group decision making)
  3. Research in certain cause areas 
    • Mental health
    • Institutional decision making
    • Community building (non-EA)
    • Education and IAG (Information, advice and guidance)
    • Social Science & Humanities Research
  4. Future Earn to Give pathways.
    • Entrepreneurial ventures
    • Consulting opportunities

Here are some relevant resources:

[HEADS UP! The tone and manner in which they present their content may be off-putting to some, but I encourage you to persevere.]

[Edit: OPS Beginner Series]

OPS Basic Overview

OPS Story

OPS State of Affairs

YouTube Playlist - An Introduction

YouTube Playlist - Jung's Functions

An overview of other personality systems


4 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 5:26 PM
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I've only skimmed the post, but I couldn't really understand where it might be related to EA work. You have listed lots of possible uses, but would you mind expanding on one example which you find most promising?

Hi EdoArad, thanks for the question. Apologies for the lengthy response.

I guess there are 2 separate issues that I’m trying to address:

  1. The significance of personality psychology and psychometrics in EA. In particular, the utility in developing and applying a model of temperament (let’s call it model X) which has substantial predictive power, whilst also being practical and adoptable. (Your question highlights that I haven’t properly addressed this – I will try and write something to rectify that and link it here)
  2. Is the OPS model X? And if so, what bottlenecks exist in its development and application that might be worth EAs addressing?

For the OPS the big bottleneck is the fact that its predictive validity has not been formally evaluated. I am, at this stage, suggesting that it may be worth the time of a few EAs to get this bottleneck removed sooner than it otherwise would be. To be clear, I am not suggesting that were the OPS to be proven valid, it would only be useful to the EA community to the extent that EAs and EA organisations would use it. If the model were proven valid it would presumably receive a lot of investment from other individuals and organisations (businesses, research organisations etc.). The potential returns (e.g. research findings) from this investment could provide a big boost for certain EA cause areas.  

Regarding a specific cause area. Let’s take mental health. I do not pretend to be an expert, of any sort, in this area. But here is my basic thinking.

For mental health, many of the serious mental disorders that have been identified, such as those in the DSM-5 and ICD-10, are labelled personality disorders. I believe this is because individual differences in predisposition to these conditions is related to individual differences in temperament. Many of those who end up with a personality disorder seem have lifestyles (or trauma) that accentuate a biological predisposition.  A model like the OPS could help individuals identify which personality disorders they are prone to. Also, by applying the ideas of the model, more effective interventions could be designed to help treat these conditions and to avoid people getting them in the first place.  

This idea extends to other mental disorders as well. It is suggested that the OPS can predict what sort of things an individual is likely to be afraid of and distressed by. In certain cases, it may be able to predict what is causing a person’s depression and/or anxiety. But it is not yet clear the extent to which it might be able to do this. More importantly, it may help identify the right treatment for an individual. Treatment for depression and anxiety is rarely tailored to the individual. But if there are significant differences in how our minds work, then it makes sense that treatments should be 'psychometrically tailored'.  Dave & Shannon suggest they themselves have been using their model to help clients overcome their mental health struggles.

I hope this makes things slightly clearer.

It's possible that OPS could be useful to EA, but as stated in the post, the validity is not established. It's hard for me to see how OPS has more predictive ability for mental illness (and subsequent treatment) than any other model of personality. The key feature that makes OPS unique seems to be that it tracks changing personality throughout the day - but what is it about that feature that makes you believe that it could be a better model with more predictive power? Just more granularity?

What are the key first steps that an EA could take? Are you looking for funding? Looking to connect with an established researcher in psychology, or an established institution?

"While they [Dave & Shannon] have taken steps to move to a more scientific approach, some have argued that they fall short of a truly scientific methodology. Nevertheless, that does not make their system invalid."

This is probably the biggest bottleneck to convince an EA to get involved here. Have Dave & Shannon published peer-reviewed papers that have results that can be replicated? Have they tried to come into contact with established institutions? What if the best next step is for Dave & Shannon to get into graduate school and go for a PhD doing this as their research?

Hi jkmh, thanks for all your questions, it gives me the opportunity to layout my thinking without having to put it in the structure of an essay. I hope you’ll forgive me for answering in bullet points rather than prose.

Are you looking for funding? Looking to connect with an established researcher in psychology, or an established institution?

  • Awareness: Firstly, I just want to make sure the EA community is aware that the OPS exists (in case I drop dead or something).
  • Feedback: Secondly,  I’m hoping to get some feedback to see if others share my opinion that the OPS shows enough promise to suggest the model may have utility above and beyond existing systems  - particularly the Five Factor Model. (based on their  own subjective impressions – as that’s all we really have to go on at this point)
  • Build a team: If the feedback is positive, a next step could be to set up a research team to conduct the necessary research to test the validity of the model – if I can build that team with non-EA people to avoid wasting EA career hours that would probably be ideal.
  • Funding: Likewise, it would be a last resort to look to the EA community for any funding that would be needed. 
  • Contacts: Contacts would be useful. I lack any connections with any researchers or institutions in the field. I can obviously try to contact these people independently, but if there is mutual contact within the EA community that would probably aid my cause.  But again, at this stage, I am just looking for people’s thoughts on the model.

What are the key first steps that an EA could take? 

  • Learn the system: - Learn how the system works. One might find the system useful in their daily life. Of course, in using the model, one might be making some assumptions about the model’s validity. Fair warning:  it can take some time before it clicks. There is a limited amount of material to learn from. Though, it is something than you can, to some extent, learn passively – once you understand the basic components of the system you can cross-reference them with observations of yourself and others as you go about daily life. If anyone is interested in learning the system, please reach out to me so I can try and speed up the process (by finding the best resources etc.).
  • Share their impressions: It would be better if we could have multiple opinions on how much promise the OPS shows from people who have learned the system – rather than just mine. 
  • Get hired: Anyone based around Portland, Oregon can try and get hired. It seems Dave & Shannon are hiring part-time assistants as a trial run for operators. They are only just starting to build the team, so any new hires could have a significant influence on the direction of the organisation. They would probably benefit from having someone who has formal research training as this is a weak spot. Again, if anyone is interested, please reach out to me first so I can advise on what Dave & Shannon are looking for.
  • Accelerating testing (indirectly): EAs can help accelerate testing the predictive validity of the OPS, indirectly as well as directly, They could, for example, share the model with people who might be interested in exploring the model (e.g. psychology researchers they might know). Offering any relevant expertise would be useful, I don’t currently have any contacts in the field.
  • Accelerating testing (directly): If an EA wants to get a bit more involved, they can express an interest in joining an interest group. If there is sufficient interest, I could set up an EA personality psychology & psychometrics social media group where updates can be shared.

It's possible that OPS could be useful to EA, but as stated in the post, the validity is not established. It's hard for me to see how OPS has more predictive ability for mental illness (and subsequent treatment) than any other model of personality. 

  • Imbalanced: The concept of the savior functions, particularly the dominant function, seems especially important when it comes to mental health. The model suggests that we are all significantly imbalanced, with these savior functions dictating a lot of our inclinations. It is this imbalance that seems to lead to a lot of mental disorders. While it is possible that models like the FFM could still capture this theorised imbalance in a different way, the self-report questionnaires might not pick it up. If this theorised imbalance is true, then we would want to ensure we identify it accurately in an individual before making a prediction about their likelihood of getting certain mental health conditions.
  • Usability: Predictive utility is more than just about predictive ability / power. It is also about how easy it for users to get at these predictions. The OPS is a model which individuals can learn about themselves and integrate into their everyday decision-making. The modular nature of the model means that individuals can gain a conceptualisation of how each component works and apply this understanding in their reasoning. This is not sort of model that can only be applied in a research setting.
  • An illustration of the mind: When one is trying to fix something, often the first thing to do is try to identify what specific part isn’t working properly. For therapists, doctors and others trying to tackle mental health issues, this isn’t so easy. There aren’t that many (as fair I’m aware) mental models which they can use to identify the source of a problem. The OPS could provide such a model, it illustrates parts of the mind which seem to be the source of a lot of mental disorders (particularly personality models). The model is also simple that mental health professionals can use it to communicate their ideas to their patients.
  • Tailoring new interventions: Ideally, new treatments and interventions will be trialled in advance. When conducting these trials, it seems like it would be useful to use personality as a control (to see if the intervention would have a different impact based on personality). This would involve putting each member of the population sample ‘in a box’ based on their personality. As fair as I’m aware (though I don’t claim to have done thorough research) this doesn’t normally happen. The continuous format of the FFM isn’t exactly conducive to this sort of thing. Moreover, new treatments could also be designed to target specific temperament types, which would presumably improve their effectiveness. I might be wrong but It doesn’t seem like current mental interventions are generally designed to be tailored to individuals based on their personality. The typological format of the model would make it easy to be used as a control and for interventions to be targeted at specific groups (based on their temperament).

The key feature that makes OPS unique seems to be that it tracks changing personality throughout the day - but what is it about that feature that makes you believe that it could be a better model with more predictive power? Just more granularity?

  • Mental limits: The concept of the animals, which illustrates the different mental states which one can move in and out of throughout the day, appears to dictate the mental capacity one has for doing different activities. In the same way temperament dictates how much mental capacity an individual has for social interactions (a well-known manifestation of extroversion), temperament, it seems, will also dictate how much mental capacity a person has for a range of activities. Trialling new things and taking in new information, for example. (one reason why some people read a lot more than others). This would be highly relevant to career planning.
  • Strategy: Another way in which the animal cycle appears to manifest, is in the way people approach a goal. It seems, individuals tend to take similar approaches to tackling different problems (even if the problems require different approaches). It is suggested that the approach individuals are inclined to take (E.g. does the individual tend to plan or do lots of research before getting started),  is in large part a reflection of the order in which they cycle through the animals. These could be useful insights, particularly in the context of improving decision making.
  • Uniqueness: I think there are other important points that make the OPS distinct. For example, the interconnected nature of the model which shows how the different facets of personality interact with each other. I think this would probably give it an extra boost in predictive power, relative to models like the FFM which look at traits separately.
  • Practicality and adoptability – Predictive power isn’t the only thing that will dictate the real-world utility of a model. A type-based model is far more practical (and engaging) than a continuous model that looks at separate traits like the FFM. The modular framework (taxonomic structure) would also make it very practical, allowing the model to be used to divide a population at different levels (i.e. 2 types, 4 types, 8 types etc.).

This is probably the biggest bottleneck to convince an EA to get involved here. Have Dave & Shannon published peer-reviewed papers that have results that can be replicated?

  • Still building the samples: Dave & Shannon have not yet tested the model. They still need to build the population samples. The problem with testing a model of personality is that you have to build a population sample to conduct the test– which involves building an assessment. Therefore, you cannot evaluate the model without simultaneously evaluating the assessment. But there is no way of knowing that your assessment is working because you do not yet know whether the model is even valid. Dave & Shannon have therefore stuck with the double-blind observational test, with trained operators, to try to ensure they type people as best they can.
  • Focusing on evaluation: Regarding EAs, at this point I’m focusing on evaluating the model. I mentioned a few cause areas where this model might be of use. But I’m not expecting EAs working in these areas to apply the model until its validity has been tested. So, I’m asking whether there is any EAs who want to help accelerate the evaluation of the model. I realise this is more of a high-risk career move, where direct impact is less guaranteed.

Have they tried to come into contact with established institutions? What if the best next step is for Dave & Shannon to get into graduate school and go for a PhD doing this as their research?

  • Keeping their heads down - No, seem focused on building their own team first before making next move. They seem to want to wait until they have their own evidence base before sharing their findings.
  • PhD unlikely: I’m pretty sure neither of them have undergraduate degrees. So they might have a bit of a hard time getting onto a PhD programme. I think having their own independent research team give them more flexibility (and less time constraints).

If you're still reading, I hope this answers your questions.