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the Social Priority Question Set Guidelines

Creating Valid Emergence Personality Test Question Sets

In this article, we explore some starting points for creating effective social priority "questions sets," sets of four questions which reveal peoples' social priorities. We also discuss some of the difficulties with interpreting these questions, as well as ways to better gauge peoples' answers.

Social Priority Question Sets

What we are about to explore are the ins and outs of creating social priority "Question Sets." Let's begin by discussing the basics.

Valid social priority Question Sets must meet five criteria: They must ...

  • be in sets of four, each question aimed at a different social priority
  • be equal in time duration
  • be equal in monetary or material value
  • be a normal life situation for the person being tested (must not provoke a BLock)
  • have only one and only one root priority

Now let's explore these five criteria in more depth.

Criteria 1: Must be in Sets of Four, Each Question Aimed at a Different Social Priority

Let's start with Question Set Criteria 1.

Criteria 1: Must be in sets of four, each question aimed at a different social priority

This one is easy.

There are four social priorities: [1] comfort / sensation, [2] neatness / things, [3] understanding / ideas, and [4] freedom / no rules. Simply make one answer for each of the four priorities, a comfort question, a neatness question, an understanding question, and a freedom question.

Criteria 2: Must be Equal in Time Duration

This one is also easy. As you set the stage for four questions, make sure each possible answer lasts for the same amount of time.

Thus let's say you've set the stage in a mall. Now let's say you tell the person he or she has two free hours. Now let's say, you then ask the person, what would you most want to do with these two free hours?

Do these three things and you've met criteria 2. And 1.

What kinds of questions might you ask?

Well, say your situation was exactly the one I've just posited; that you have two free hours in the mall. You might now ask, "Which would you prefer?

[1] To relax at the Oriental Foot and Back Massage? (comfort)
[2] To explore the sales at the California Closets Store and the Bed, Bath, and Beyond? (neatness)
[3] To browse the book stores for something of interest? (understanding)
[4] To make no plans a simply wander where ever your heart took you, knowing you could buy something if you liked? (freedom)

Here we have it. Four ordinary life questions, each representing a different life priority. And each lasting for about the same amount of time: two hours.

Criteria 3: Must be Equal in Monetary or Material Value

Here again, this criteria should be easy, although admittedly, it is easy to overlook.

If you have people get free gas and free hair styling, make sure the dollar value is roughly the same.

Likewise with time off from work and a free vacation. Again, try to keep the dollar value as close as possible, adjusting the questions to the person's personal norms.

So what about the four questions I've just posited above. Doesn't the first answer cost more than the browsing in the other three questions?

Yes. Maybe. And Maybe not.

Could the test person spend a similar amount of money on books, organizers, or on an impulse buy?

I think yes.

Still, the final validity will come from how accurately you match the question set to the person's norms.

Just do your best.

Criteria 4: Must Be a Normal Life Situation for the Person Being Tested

(must not provoke a BLock)

Must be a normal life situation for the person being tested (must not be a BLock for this person)

So what is normal? Let's take a situation which centers on a kitchen.

Normal kitchen scenes for most people would be: [1] eating a tasty snack in your cozy kitchen, [2] cleaning up in your very organized kitchen after having a great meal, [3] using your favorite cookbook to learn to cook something entirely new in your kitchen, and [4] having a whole day to prepare your favorite meal in your kitchen.

And what would not be normal?

Abnormal kitchen scenes would be: [1] [1] eating a tasty snack in your kitchen and realizing the food was spoiled, [2] breaking a dish while cleaning up your kitchen after having a great meal, [3] using your favorite cookbook to try to learn to cook something entirely new in your kitchen and having it burn, and [4] having a whole day to prepare your favorite meal in your kitchen and having your kitchen sink spring a leak all over the floor.

Yes, these last four questions do happen. Many times to some people. Still, they are not normal, everyday life situations. Thus, there is a higher probability that if you ask a person these four questions, that the person will get keyed.

Criteria 5: Must Have One and Only One Root Priority Question

This last priority can take some time to understand. Criteria 5: Must have one and only one root priority question.

What is a root priority question?

In Social Priority Question Sets, a "Root Priority Question" is the one question in four whose priority can not be reduced to any other priority.

For example, a comfort root priority question set would be:

Which of these four things would you most like to get in a new mattress?

[1] the most comfortable?
[2] free delivery and set-up of your mattress?
[3] the most healthy and scientifically designed mattress?
[4] the best sale price in a long time?

Root Relationship:
[1] (comfortable - the root priority)
[2] (comfortable delivery)
[3] (comfortable design)
[4] (comfortable price)

Here, the root priority question is obviously the first question, "the most comfortable" mattress.

Now, a neatness root priority question set.

You are redoing your bedroom closets. Which would you most want to make sure you get?

[1] the most well lit and easily accessed (easy reach)?
[2] the most well organized (a place for everything and everything in its place)?
[3] the most innovative layout and feng shui approved?
[4] the quickest to build and most changeable afterwards?

Root Relationship:
[1] (neat access )
[2] (neat - the root priority)
[3] (neat design)
[4] (neat construction)

Here, the root priority question is obviously the second question, "the most well organized" closet.

How about an understanding root priority question set?

You are taking a class required for work. Which would you most like to get from this class?

[1] what you learn will make your job easier and save you effort?
[2] what you learn will help you to better prioritize your tasks and help you do get more done?
[3] what you learn will enhance your skills and inspire you to do new things?
[4] what you learn will save you time and get you out of work earlier?

Root Relationship:
[1] (learning will make your job easier)
[2] (learning will prioritize your tasks)
[3] (learning - the root priority)
[4] (learning will save you time)

Here, the root priority question is the third question, the "enhance your skills and inspire you" learning.

Finally, a freedom root priority question set might be:

Which of the following would you most like to get?

[1] two free massages?
[2] five free tanks of gas?
[3] a free all-day seminar?
[4] a paid day off?

Root Relationship:
[1] (free massages)
[2] (free gas)
[3] (free seminar)
[4] (freedom - the root priority)

Here, the root priority question is the fourth question, the "free" freedom answer.

So now, are these question sets perfect? Not even close. Still, they represent a starting point, a beginning from which to blamelessly access personality. This is a goal worth pursuing.

One more thing. The most important quality a questions set can have is, does it provoke a visceral response in the person being questioned? In other words, does the person literally experience a physical reaction when being asked these questions?

So if this is the most important quality of a Social Priority Question Set, why then haven't I included this as one of the required criteria?

Answer. Because much of this quality comes from how blamelessly the question asker can ask the questions. Thus, while the questions are important, in the end, the most important quality of all is not what is being asked but rather what reactions do these questions provoke in the listener?

As you might imagine, this quality is not an easy one to quantify. Thus, as you make up your questions, simply try to keep this idea in mind.

A Quick Review of the Four Social Priorities

Before closing, allow me to review once more the four social priorities?

[1] comfort / sensation, [2] neatness / things, [3] understanding / ideas, and [4] freedom / no rules.

And what do these four words represent?

First, they represent the essence of the four ways babies learn to sense their world, and from this perspective, we could say, we are seeing these four experiences as our "sensations" of human nature.

This first view is the "sensual person's priority": comfort.

Second, they represent the essence of the four things which distract babies most during each of these four times, those times wherein babies have yet to master these four experiences. Here, we are seeing these experiences as "things" about human nature.

This second view is the "organizer's priority": neatness.

Third, they represent the four concepts babies focus most on mastering during each of their four basic developmental times. From this view, we are seeing these four experiences as our "ideas" about human nature.

This third view is the "conceptual person's priority"; understanding.

Fourth, they represent the four developmental "need experiences" babies go through between birth and about age four.

This time we are seeing these experiences as the "rules" of human nature.

This fourth view is the "willful person's priority": freedom.

Closing Thoughts: What About Making Pairs of Questions?

For those who have done Social Priority Questions with me, you may have one pressing question. This whole article talks about set of questions, four at a time. What about the times wherein I ask pairs of questions?

The simple answer is, pairs of questions are not sets and this article is only about sets. Please know however that using pairs of questions is just as valid a test of social priorities as using question sets.

What's the difference? There are two main differences.

[1] Pairs of questions come two questions at a time. Questions sets come four questions at a time.

[2] Pairs of questions must have two root priorities. Questions sets must have only one root priority.

As for the other three criteria, they hold true equally for both. Thus, [3] normal life situation, [4] equal time, and [5] equal value apply to both kinds of questions.

Now the obvious question. How do you know when to use sets and when to use pairs?

The answer is simple.

Use pairs of questions with people who don't normally self examine deeply, or when you want to do a quick and dirty first look. Use question sets with people who do self examine deeply and have been self examining like this for some time now.

Why the difference?

Pairs of questions are easier to answer and can be quicker and lighter and less painful to choose. Simpler for the mind to give an off the cuff answer as well.

Question sets, on the other hand, at least well designed questions sets, can force people to face much more difficult choices and in doing so, provoke much inner discussion. And pain.

Know however, the pain these questions sets can provoke has resulted in more emergences in people than anything else I've yet devised, this from a talk therapy which in now way focuses on wounds, BLocks, pain, or suffering. No past. No analyzing. No blame. No B. S.

My point is, these questions can do a lot of good. Even so, in order for a person to gain this much from a question set, the person must first have learned to see past their rationalizations and to set aside any and all logical defenses. Or at least to see that they are doing these things.

This, of course, is easier said than done. Even for the best of us.

Even so, know this. If you keep trying, you can do it. And from a person who has had to do this trying part for years at a time, I can tell you, it's well worth it, especially if you hang in there.

Also, I've probably had more emerge in me during the brief time I've known about Social Priorities than what has emerged in me during the decade or so I regularly practiced vapasana meditation. Not a bad recommendation from a man who has spent much of his adult lifetime self examining in one way or another.

So what about giving you some examples of pairs of questions?

I'm afraid this is a long topic and will have to wait for another article. It's coming. I promise.

As usual, write if you have questions.


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