FBI Personnel File: Agents Mulder and Scully

We believe it's important for every page on the web to supply something no other page does. So, below you will find psychological profiles for your favorite Feds, and "Dana and Fox's Bookmarks," a little something we (mostly Damon) cooked up for your websurfing enjoyment. You think we're joking, but the links that aren't cool are useful, and vice versa.

-- Peni

Psychological Profile: Special Agent Fox Mulder

by Damon

Based on Keirsey's "labels" for the sixteen personality types used in the Myers-Briggs method of personality typing, Agent Mulder is pretty clearly an INFP (Questor); 1% of the total population falls into this category. However, a more detailed examination of the four preference scales that determine the type yields the perhaps surprising result that Mulder is actually an INTJ (Scientist)!

I can see I'm going to have to justify that finding to many of you. Here is the description of the INTJ personality type, as written by Marina Margaret Heiss (who is herself an INTJ):

Particularly to the outside world, the INTJ's most apparent personality trait is their self-confidence. This self-confidence is rooted in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building up at an early age; they know what they know -- and, just as importantly, what they don't know. Within their own fields of expertise -- and INTJs can have several -- they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how.

Mulder is secure in his basic beliefs: that there are Things Out There conventional science cannot [yet] explain, and that conspiracies exist which seek to hide many facets of The Truth from the public. He may be open to discussion on some of the fine details of these two points, but will not seriously entertain debate on either basic premise. His fields of expertise are wide and varied enough to take in many aspects of his two main areas of interest, but if a question arises he can't answer, he'll immediately seek out an expert, rather than waste time trying to acquire a new field of expertise for himself on the spot.

INTJs are also the most pragmatic of all types, applying (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work ?" to everything from social norms to their own research efforts. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ of the constraints of authority, convention, and sentiment for its own sake. INTJs are not, however "open" people with respect to their personal physical and psychological space; they usually dislike being in close proximity to anyone who isn't an intimate, and dislike still more having their private lives invaded in any way.

"Pragmatic" may not be a word that immediately leaps to mind when talking about Mulder, but let's fully define the word:

pragmatic (adj.) - 1. Dealing with facts or actual occurances; 2. Active rather than comtemplative; 3. Pertaining to the study of facts and historical phenomena with emphasis on their practical outcome
"I've encountered dozens of cases..."

Down in the FBI basement, Mulder does little but study facts and case histories; in the field, he's quick to run off and do something with little apparent forethought (and less explanation), having seen a likely outcome based on those case histories. I don't think the above phrases "unusual independence of mind", or "free...from the constraints of authority" require much justification, do they? Finally, though Fox is capable of being charming when he wants to be, for him it's just a tool. He's not an especially warm and intimate person, and his native stand-offishness is likely to have been a big contributing factor in the acquisition of his nickname "Spooky". Even the few times he's opened up to Dana, personal revelations have often been shrouded in levity, as with his telling Dana he always wanted a peg leg.

INTJs are "Systems Builders," and, be it based on technology, personnel, or information, whatever system an INTJ is working on becomes their equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ. As a result, they tend to be nearly as unsparing of others on the project as they are of themselves; anyone considered to be "slacking" (including superiors) loses their respect -- and generally is made aware of this. On the other hand, INTJs usually take the time to point out positive contributions, and are scrupulous about giving others credit for their ideas. If, however, an INTJ feels that the goals and progress of the system are being stifled or corrupted by the powers-that-be, they may become embittered, and have radically uncharacteristic obstructive reactions (e.g., walking out at 5:00 sharp the night before a major deadline). Or, if they don't trust their co-workers' competence or dedication, they may take it upon themselves to make and implement critical decisions without consulting anyone.

Mulder? Implement a critical decision without consulting anyone? Gosh, what are the odds? Come on, he does this almost weekly! And the description of the INTJ's attitude toward slackers perfectly describes his view of Assistant Director Skinner, on those occasions when he felt Skinner was doing less than he might for The Cause (Mulder's cause, of course, not necessarily that of the Bureau). As far as giving credit to others goes, this is not something that Mulder is obviously good at, but we don't get to read any of his reports. He does acknowledge the expertise of others, not least his partner, in many areas, simply by deferring to them at appropriate parts of a discussion, or by consulting them when he knows his own knowledge to be lacking.

Obvious INTJ careers are in science and engineering; they rise to management level positions in these fields if they can use their pragmatism to regard the existing management and bureaucracy as tools rather than obstacles to be circumvented. INTJs can also be found wherever a combination of intellect and incisiveness are required (law, some areas of academia, etc.).

Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, tend to be the INTJ's Achilles heel. They are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship, but the knowledge and instincts that make them so successful in the academic/work environment often seem to abandon or mislead them in interpersonal situations. For example, INTJs have little patience with and less understanding of small talk, flirtation, and other social/courtship rituals that most types consider half the fun of a relationship. Also, many INTJs will enter a romantic involvement with a naiveté' paralleled by that of many Fs -- only instead of inexhaustible kindness and empathy, they expect inexhaustible reasonability and communication from their SOs. Their most stable relationships, both platonic and romantic, tend to start in an academic/work environment, where the INTJ is in their element and usually has a significant amount of time to get to know the other person.

Peni's $0.02: Although it is not fair to blame Mulder's miserable track record with relationships on his personality profile when his father worked so hard to screw him up, it's true that all the relationships we know about were developed through his work except for Phoebe, whom he met at Oxford -- the quintessential academic setting. And "inexhaustible reasonability and communication" is a good description of what he expects from Scully at all hours of the day and night.

Famous INTJ people: Fictional:

Psychological Profile: Special Agent Dana Scully

by Damon

Based on Keirsey's "labels" for the sixteen personality types used in the Myers-Briggs method of personality typing, Agent Scully would seem to be an INTJ (Scientist); 1% of the total population falls into this category. However, we've already demonstrated that, after a more detailed examination of the four preference scales that determine the personality type, Mulder is an INTJ (Scientist). Obviously, Mulder and Scully don't have the same personality type, so what does that make her? I'm glad you asked. It makes her an ISTJ -- not far off -- the type Kiersey calls a "Trustee".

Here is the description of the ISTJ personality type, as written by Joe Butt (who is himself an INTP):

ISTJ's are often called inspectors. They have a keen sense of right and wrong, especially in their area of interest and/or responsibility. They are noted for devotion to duty. Punctuality is often a watchword of the ISTJ. The secretary, clerk, business(wo)man, etc. by whom others set their clocks is likely to be an ISTJ.

I don't think most X-Philes would question Scully's sense of right and wrong, nor her devotion to duty. Punctuality is something we can only guess at, though she has demonstrated repeatedly an ability to get to where she needs to be quickly, even without much notice from her partner; she also tends to apologise for being late, when it happens, even if the tardiness was beyond her control. Her precision in report-writing is an indicator of this thinking, however.

As do other Introverted Thinkers, ISTJ's often give the initial impression of being aloof and perhaps somewhat cold. Expression of emotional warmth is not something that ISTJ's do without considerable energy loss.

Scully has less of a problem with this, perhaps, than her late father, but indications are that they were a lot alike. She also tends to be very businesslike in her approach to all aspects of casework and fieldwork, but there are a couple of likely reasons for that which do not suggest a cold, heartless bitch. One, as a pathologist, she's exposed to a certain amount of unpleasant stuff which requires a degree of professional detachment. Two, as a woman, she may have run into the situation many female professionals do: the need to be more professional than her male colleagues in order to be taken almost as seriously. Also, note that the description above doesn't say that ISTJ's are necessarily cold, just that they give that initial impression.

ISTJ's are most at home with "just the facts, Ma'am." They learn best in a step-by-step fashion. Once a new procedure is mastered, the ISTJ can be counted on to carry it through (often at the expense of their own health).

Constantly challenging Mulder to prove some idea he's had, or at least provide some evidence for it, Scully is not comfortable with more than minimum speculation. She is slow to offer ideas of her own, not because she is less intelligent, less imaginative or slower on the uptake than Mulder; but because advancing a notion with nothing to back it up goes against the grain. There is ample evidence of her quick wit in the situations where she beats Mulder to the punch in making a specious observation, or has a quick comeback for a suggestion he's made. One example, from the episode "Pusher"...

"Explain to me the scientific nature of the whammy."

ISTJ's are easily frustrated by the inconsistencies of others. But they usually keep their feelings to themselves unless they are asked. And when asked, they don't mince words. "If it walks like a duck, and it acts like a duck, it's a duck." The grim determination of the ISTJ is a real strength in jobs such as officiating sports, judiciary functions, or any other situation which requires making tough calls and sticking to them.

Hmmm...well, Mulder is at least consistently frustrating, so perhaps that's a point in his favor. Barring compelling evidence to the contrary, Scully will always seek the rational, simple answer to any situation. She refers to this as "looking through the lens of science". Scully stated early on that she didn't believe in things that couldn't be explained by science, and of course this is a very rational attitude. However, by now she's been exposed to many things she can't explain based on the science she knows, and she's been forced to expand her parameters slightly. Science is perhaps not quite as advanced as she'd once believed.

His SJ orientation draws the ISTJ into the service of established institutions. Home, social clubs, government, schools, the military churches -- these are the bastions of the SJ. "We've always done it this way" is often reason enough for an ISTJ. Threats to time-honored traditions or established organizations (e.g., a "run" on the bank) are the undoing of SJ's, and are to be fought at all cost.

Military dependant, doctor, government agent. Yep, sounds like Scully is drawn to several conventional establishments. There is evidence of some religious tradition, family holiday traditions and military influence in her upbringing. The realization that government conspiracies do exist, that the agency she chose to work for -- or at least high-ranking people within that agency -- is involved in covert, criminal activity on a monstrous scale, came as a tremendous psychological blow to Scully. Never truly naive, perhaps, she was a great deal more trusting of the intelligence community than she is now, and with good reason. Still, she didn't accept Mulder's conspiracy claims easily, and hasn't been as happy a person since being forced to admit to the truth of them.

Peni muddies the waters: When we were putting this together, I held out for Scully's being an Extrovert. Though independent-minded, one of her first statements about her goals involved "proving herself," which implies a need to impress somebody else with her competence. This turned out to be Dad, but she hasn't stopped proving since he died. Also, unlike Mulder, she is interested in people as people rather than as witnesses, villains, or phenomena. When asked whose side she was on she declared: "The victim's," and it sometimes takes the sight of a victim to get her interested in a case. She looks at situations from points of view other than her own and anticipates other people's reactions so that she can word her statements and questions to best effect. A couple of her most noticeable traits -- loyalty and selflessness -- center on her dealings with other people. However, the ESTJ description, though not wildly inaccurate for her, did not click apart from a paragraph on an ESTJ emphasis on service careers. Possibly she would score 50/50 on the Introvert/Extrovert scale.

Famous ISTJ's include: Fictional:

Comparison and Contrast of Mulder and Scully's Personality Types

Note that Fox and Dana have the same traits on three of the four scales. This may surprise some X-Philes, who might have expected greater differences. Keep in mind that Myers-Briggs typing only allows for 16 different personality groupings, and that almost 6 billion people have to fit into them. Each of the 16 types permits a range of specific manifestations of personality traits.

Both agents are (I)ntroverted. This doesn't have the same meaning in a Myers-Briggs typing as in normal usage; it doesn't indicate shyness or antisocial behavior. It merely means that a person draws energy from one's own ideas, emotions or impressions, rather than activities, things or other people. This trait is less pronounced in Dana than in Fox, but it's there.

Dana is (S)ensing, showing a preference for using her senses to examine what is real; Fox uses i(N)tuition and imagination to envision what is possible, looking beyond the five senses. I trust no one wants to argue this point?

Both agents are (T)hinking, rather than (F)eeling, personalities. Perhaps ironically, this is one of the major reasons for contention between them: each of them wants to organize and structure information in a logical way, but since they have different standards and criteria, they can sometimes make reasoned, impersonal analyses that directly contradict each other.

Both agents use their (J)udgement, rather than their (P)erception, as a basis for making decisions, but again, their different assumptions about the world often have them making different plans, and seeking different kinds of closure to a situation.

There is a certain imprecision in the Myers-Briggs method of typing personalities, in that it doesn't make allowances for borderline types. A person is typed "Judging" or "Feeling" with no in-between. Allowing for a "neutral" position between extremes, though, would create 81 personality types rather than 16, so you can appreciate why it was avoided. This does make it hard, sometimes, to decide what your own type is. I myself fall almost exactly on the line between ISTJ and INTJ, which may go a long way toward explaining why I have no preference for one agent over the other: I'm equally like both of them.

Peni appropriates the last word: Because of the lack of a neutral position, I'm inclined to be skeptical of this whole system. None of the descriptions sounds like me, and the test is full of questions that are impossible to answer. Is it better to be fairminded or sympathetic? The fairminded person will always be sympathetic; give me another option! Also, even assuming the personality types work, they leave huge holes. Scully's being ISTJ doesn't cover her perfectionism or her courage; Mulder's amazing capacity to keep going when any sensible person would succumb to massive depression cannot be accounted for by labelling him an INTJ. However, I don't suppose the types were worked out in hopes of providing a shortcut to anybody's whole self. In these two cases, the types are good as far as they go, and it's certainly interesting to see how well they work when applied to people who don't exist.

(And for those of you who give a care -- I'm more like Mulder, in that we're definitely both INs, but I admire Scully more. Mulder and I have too many common faults.)

Internet Bookmarks for Mulder and Scully

The bookmarks below were assembled with each agent's thought processes in mind. I believe that Mulder only tolerates "mundane" FBI work because he's allowed to spend most of his time investigating the types of cases he considers his real work: hence the separation of "The Job" and "My Work" in the sections below. I gave him a section on Religions and Cults purely as a set of job-related references, not because he's demonstrated any personal interest in religion. When serial killers write Bible verses on the walls in blood, or faith healers seem to cause Old Testament plagues, having a searchable database of the KJV can be a handy thing.

Originally, I did not give Scully any links to religion, nor any links of personal interest (Peni has since changed that). In omitting such links, I wasn't trying to suggest that she doesn't have a life outside her job -- she certainly seems to have more of one than Mulder, though we don't get to see much of it -- only that she might be less likely than Mulder to include her personal interest URLs on her "business" computer.

With one exception, the bookmarks listed below are offered as a suggestion of what might actually be found in the bookmarks on Mulder's and Scully's respective PCs; that exception is the final group in Mulder's list marked with a :) The reason for their inclusion should be obvious, and has more to do with the name of each site than what's actually found there. Enjoy!




FedEx Home Page -- for tracking those pesky biohazards, computer chips, etc.
Smalldog: Pomeranian -- for finding out something about her new dog

Federal Government

Research/Information Databases

Science and Medicine


Airline Tickets and Reservations
Expertspace --where to go to ask experts questions
National Locator and Data
Sacred Knights of Cyberspace -- more experts!
Spy Stuff
Subway Map: Washington D.C.
Surplus US Government SALES -- flashlights, cel phones and guns

The Job

My Work

Not Science, but an Incredible Simulation

Federal Government

Local Law Enforcement

Religions, Cults and Fringe Groups


:) - we're just kidding here!

X-Files stuff:

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