An introductions to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator & Personality Types.
Personality Type or Psychological Type are terms most commonly associated with the model of personality development created by Isabel Briggs Myers. The author of the world's most widely used personality inventory, the MBTI or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, developed their model and inventory around the ideas and theories of psychologist Carl Jung, a contemporary of Sigmund Freud and a leading exponent of Gestalt personality theory.
Beginning in the early 1940's, Myers & Briggs extended Jung's model with the initial development of the MBTI. They put Jung's concepts into language that could be understood and used by the average person. Isabel Myers book "Gifts Differing", published posthumously in 1980, provided a comprehensive introduction to the Jung/Myers theory. Myers book and her philosophy of celebrating human diversity anticipated the workplace diversity movement.
When creating the self report instrument, Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine C. Briggs, had to incorporate what Jung had seen as an integrated whole personality pattern, and figure out how to ask questions to get at that whole.
They agreed to focus on Jung's theory of opposites to force choices between equally valuable psychological opposites, adding a dichotomy to help reveal the type pattern. This resulted in sixteen types, each indicated by a four-letter codes such as ENFP or INTJ.
|The Theory of Jungian Typology|
Carl Jung in his 1921 publication Psychological Types (Volume 6, Collected Works) elaborated a complex and yet profoundly insightful theory of personality. Jung called the study the "fruit of nearly twenty years work in the domain of practical psychology".
Jung's type theory has been developed into a number of tests including the now famous Myers Briggs Type Indicator - MBTI. The "Personality Assessment" questionnaire in this application is a psychometric questionnaire - form measurement instrument and can be used to assist you to identify your "Type" in a similar way to the MBTI result.
In a nutshell, Jung's Psychological Types explains that apparently random behaviour in fact has a distinct pattern and order to it. People are born with fundamental tendencies and preferences of personality - these he called "Psychological Types".
Jung defined four basic mental functions or processes common to all people. Two of these functions are concerned with how people take in information; these he called the Perceiving Functions of Sensation and Intuition. All of us have a preference for one of these two ways of taking in information. The other two functions are related to how people make decisions: these he called the Judging Functions of Thinking and Feeling. We also have a preference for one of these two functions.
In order to develop a strong personality and ego we tend to specialise in two of these functions, one from each pair, and neglect the other two functions. We still have all four functions but there tends to be a pattern in our use of these functions. This is what determines our "Type".
To understand this concept of preference it is helpful to use the analogy of right or left-handedness. If you try writing your name with your less preferred hand it is more awkward, uncomfortable and less natural. To write with your preferred hand comes more naturally, you don't have to think about it and you feel more comfortable. Using your preferred functions in life is like using your preferred hand. Using your less preferred functions is like using your less preferred hand.
Each of us use all our preferences or functions at different times, but not both at once and not, in most cases, with equal confidence and ability. When asked to choose therefore, most people can and do indicate a preference.
Additionally, each of these functions of our psychology can be either Extroverted or Introverted. Again, we are all capable of both Extrovert and introvert behaviour. It is simply that there is a natural tendency in us for one over the other.
|The Basic MBTI Model|
The Type Code for the 16 Personality Types:
The permutations of these four preference dichotomies result in the 16 personality types that form the basis of Myers Briggs model and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - MBTI inventory.
First Letter: E or I
• Which is your most favored Energy Source?
Second Letter: S or N
• Which your most favored Perceiving Mental Process?
Third Letter: T or F
• Which is your most favored Judging Mental Process?
Fourth Letter: J or P
• Which kind of mental process leads your Outside World Orientation?
2 Kinds of Mental Processes | 2 Kinds of Mental Orientations
In studies of people and extensive reading of Jung's theories, Myers concluded there were four primary ways people differed from one another. She labeled these differences "preferences" - drawing a similarity to "hand preferences" to illustrate that although we all use both of our hands, most of us have a preference for one over the other and "it" takes the lead in many of the activities in which we use our hands. Our psychological preferences are revealed after completion of the Personality Questionnaire, a self report instrument, is indicated by a four-letter code such as ENFP or INTJ.
|Second Letter S or N|
2 Kinds of Mental Processes:
The first set of mental preferences relates to perception - how people "Perceive" or take in information.
Sensing and intuition are the information-gathering (perceiving) functions. They describe how new information is understood and interpreted. Individuals who prefer sensing are more likely to trust information that is in the present, tangible, and concrete: that is, information that can be understood by the five senses. They tend to distrust hunches, which seem to come "out of nowhere". They prefer to look for details and facts. For them, the meaning is in the data. On the other hand, those who prefer intuition tend to trust information that is more abstract or theoretical, that can be associated with other information (either remembered or discovered by seeking a wider context or pattern). They may be more interested in future possibilities. They tend to trust those flashes of insight that seem to bubble up from the unconscious mind. The meaning is in how the data relates to the pattern or theory.
• S - Sensing
Those who prefer Sensing Perception favor clear, tangible data and information that fits in well with their direct here-and-now experience.
• N - iNtuition
In contrast, those who prefer Intuition Perception are drawn to information that is more abstract, conceptual, big-picture, and represents imaginative possibilities for the future.
|Third Letter T or F|
2 Kinds of Mental Processes:
The second set of mental preferences identifies how people form "Judgments"or make decisions
Thinking and feeling are the decision-making (judging) functions. The thinking and feeling functions are both used to make rational decisions, based on the data received from their information-gathering functions (sensing or intuition). Those who prefer thinking tend to decide things from a more detached standpoint, measuring the decision by what seems reasonable, logical, causal, consistent, and matching a given set of rules. Those who prefer feeling tend to come to decisions by associating or empathizing with the situation, looking at it 'from the inside' and weighing the situation to achieve, on balance, the greatest harmony, consensus and fit, considering the needs of the people involved. Thinkers usually have trouble interacting with people that are inconsistent or illogical, and tend to give very direct feedback to others. They are concerned with the truth and view it as more important than being tactful.
• T - Thinking
Those who prefer Thinking Judgment have a natural preference for making decisions in an objective, logical, and analytical manner with an emphasis on tasks and results to be accomplished
• F - Feeling
Those whose preference is for Feeling Judgment make their decisions in a somewhat global, visceral, harmony and value-oriented way, paying particular attention to the impact of decisions and actions on other people.
As noted already, people who prefer thinking do not necessarily, in the everyday sense, "think better" than their feeling counterparts; the opposite preference is considered an equally rational way of coming to decisions (and, in any case, the MBTI assessment is a measure of preference, not ability). Similarly, those who prefer feeling do not necessarily have "better" emotional reactions than their thinking counterparts.
|First Letter E or I|
2 Kinds of mental orientations
The first set of Mental Orientations - Energy Orientation pertains to the two forms of Energy Consciousness each of us experiences on a daily basis. We occupy two mental worlds: one is inwardly turned, the other is outward. One of these worlds is our elemental source of energy; the other secondaryConsciousness.
• I - Introversion
Those who prefer Introversion draw their primary energy from the inner world of information, thoughts, ideas, and other reflections. When circumstances require an excessive amount of attention spent in the "outside" world, those preferring Introversion find the need to retreat to a more private setting as if to recharge their drained batteries.
• E - Extraversion
In contrast, those who prefer Extraversion are drawn to the outside world as their elemental source of energy. Rarely, if ever, do extraverted preference people feel their energy batteries are "drained" by excessive amounts of interaction with the outside world. They must engage the things, people, places and activities going on in the outside world for their life force.
While the E - I dimension was Jung's gift to general psychology, unfortunately it has been widely distorted into a well-unwell scale with characteristics of Introversion being cast in a negative light and conversely characteristics of Extraversion cast in a positive light. This cultural bias frequently leads natural introverted types to mis-identify their primary preference as Extraversion.
• Extraverts are action oriented, while introverts are thought oriented.
• Extraverts seek breadth of knowledge and influence, while introverts seek depth of knowledge and influence.
• Extraverts often prefer more frequent interaction, while introverts prefer more substantial interaction.
• Extraverts recharge and get their energy from spending time with people, while introverts recharge and get their energy from spending time alone
Extraverted Orientation relates to which mental preference one relys upon in dealing with/relating with the Outside World. It is the mental function that takes the lead in the Extraverted portion of a person's personality. When this leading function is one of the two Judging mental preferences, then this orientation is called Judging. When this leading function is one of the two Perceiving mental preferences, then this orientation is called Perceiving.
|Fourth Letter J or P|
2 Kinds of Mental Orientations
The second set of Mental Orientations - Myers and Briggs added another dimension to Jung's typological model by identifying that people also have a preference for using either the judging function (thinking or feeling) or their perceiving function (sensing or intuition) when relating to the outside world (extraversion)
• J - Judging
Those who prefer Judging rely upon either their T or F preference to manage their outer life. This typically leads to a style oriented towards closure, organization, planning, or in some fashion managing the things and or people found in the external environment. The drive is to order the outside world. While some people employ an assertive manner, others "ordering touch" - with respect to people - may be light.
• P - Perceiving
Those who prefer Perceiving rely upon either their S or N preference to run their outer life. This typically results in an open, adaptable, flexible style of relating to the things and people found in the outside world. The drive is to experience the outside world rather than order it; in general lack of closure is easily tolerated.
For person's whose Energy Orientation preference is E, the Extraverted Orientation (J or P) points to their dominant function, ergo "what you see is what you get." But for those whose Energy Orientation favors I, their Extraverted Orientation (J or P) is opposite their dominant function. Thus the four IxxJ types - whose extraverted style is Judging - are actually Perceiving types on the inside! Thus their extraverted "personality" can mask their primary nature. Likewise the four IxxP types - whose extraverted style is Perceiving and thus tend to have an open style - are actually on the inside Judging oriented!
Myers and Briggs held that types with a Preference for Judging show the world their preferred judging function (thinking or feeling). So TJ types tend to appear to the world as logical, and FJ types as empathetic. According to Myers, judging types like to "have matters settled".
Those types who prefer Perception show the world their preferred perceiving function (sensing or intuition). So SP types tend to appear to the world as concrete and NP types as abstract. According to Myers, perceptive types prefer to "keep decisions open".
For extraverts, the J or P indicates their dominant function; for introverts, the J or P indicates their auxiliary function. Introverts tend to show their dominant function outwardly only in matters "important to their inner worlds". For example:
Because ENTJ types are extroverts, the J indicates that their dominant function is their preferred judging function (extraverted thinking). ENTJ types introvert their auxiliary perceiving function (introverted intuition). The tertiary function is sensing and the inferior function is introverted feeling.
Because INTJ types are introverts, the J indicates that their auxiliary function is their preferred judging function (extraverted thinking). INTJ types introvert their dominant perceiving function (introverted intuition). The tertiary function is feeling, and the inferior function is extraverted sensing.
|Differences from Jung • Judging vs Perceiving|
The most notable addition of Myers and Briggs to Jung's original thought is their concept that a given type's fourth letter (J or P) is determined by how that type interacts with the external world , rather than by the type's dominant function. The difference becomes evident when assessing the cognitive functions of introverts.
To Jung, a type with dominant introverted thinking, for example, would be considered rational (judging) because the decision-making function is dominant. To Myers, however, that same type would be irrational (perceiving) because the individual uses an information-gathering function (either extraverted intuition or extraverted sensing) when interacting with the outer world.
|Orientation of the tertiary function|
|Jung theorized that the dominant function acts alone in its preferred world: exterior for the extraverts, and interior for the introverts. The remaining three functions, he suggested, operate together in the opposite world. If the dominant cognitive function is introverted, the other functions are extraverted, and vice versa. The MBTI Manual summarizes references in Jung's work to the balance in psychological type as follows:
There are several references in Jung's writing to the three remaining functions having an opposite attitudinal character. For example, in writing about introverts with thinking dominant...Jung commented that the counterbalancing functions have an extraverted character.
However, many MBTI practitioners hold that the tertiary function is oriented in the same direction as the dominant function. Using the INTP type as an example, the orientation would be as follows:
• Dominant introverted thinking
• Auxiliary extraverted intuition
• Tertiary introverted sensing
• Inferior extraverted feeling
From a theoretical perspective, noted psychologist H.J. Eysenck calls the MBTI a moderately successful quantification of Jung's original principles as outlined in Psychological Types . However, both models remain theory, with no controlled scientific studies supporting either Jung's original concept of type or the Myers-Briggs variation.
|Right Handed or Left Handed|
|Personality preferences feel a lot like being right handed or left handed. You know which you are; so think of the things you like to do with your favorite hand and then envision what that would be like always using the other hand to do those favorite things. Personality preferences feel a lot like that. You could say that your self personality profile that the Personality Test identifies is showing you your psychologically favorite and less favorite things to do, ways to think, behaviors to choose, etc.
The preferences for behaviors and mind use concern the way people prefer to perceive things and the way they make judgements. The Personality Test most accurately identifies these behaviors.
Perceiving means how people naturally become informed of what is going on around them. Perceiving means how we like to take in information and become aware of people, places, things, ideas, happenings, by using sensing or intuition behaviors.
Judging involves the process of deciding or concluding upon, making a decision about, what you have just perceived or become aware of. You will reason and make a decision using thinking and feeling behaviors regarding what you just became aware of by using your sensing or intuition!!
Now when Perceiving and Judging are combined you are covering a huge part of how people think and the way people think will govern how we behave. Your perception governs what you see and then you judge or decide about what you just saw. These two realities make up the core of your self personality profile.
|Katharine Cook Briggs began her research into personality in 1917. Upon meeting her future son-in-law, she observed marked differences between his personality and that of other family members. Briggs embarked on a project of reading biographies, and she developed a typology based on patterns she found. She proposed four temperaments: Meditative (or Thoughtful), Spontaneous, Executive, and Social. Then, after the English translation of Psychological Types was published in 1923 (having first been published in German in 1921), she recognized that Jung's theory was similar to, yet went far beyond, her own. Briggs's four types were later identified as corresponding to the Is, EPs, ETJs and EFJs. Her first publications were two articles describing Jung's theory, in the journal New Republic in 1926 ( Meet Yourself Using the Personality Paint Box ) and 1928 ( Up From Barbarism ).
Briggs's daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, added to her mother's typological research, which she would progressively take over entirely. Myers graduated first in her class from Swarthmore College in 1919 and wrote the prize-winning mystery novel Murder Yet to Come in 1929 using typological ideas. However, neither Myers nor Briggs were formally educated in psychology, and thus they lacked scientific credentials in the field of psychometric testing. So Myers apprenticed herself to Edward N. Hay, who was then personnel manager for a large Philadelphia bank and went on to start one of the first successful personnel consulting firms in the U.S. From Hay, Myers learned test construction, scoring, validation, and statistics. In 1942, the "Briggs-Myers Type Indicator" was created, and the Briggs Myers Type Indicator Handbook was published in 1944. The indicator changed its name to the modern form ( Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ) in 1956.
Myers' work attracted the attention of Henry Chauncey, head of theEducational Testing Service, and under these auspices, the first MBTI Manual was published in 1962. The MBTI received further support from Donald T. McKinnon, head of the Institute of Personality Research at the University of California; Harold Grant, professor at Michigan State and Auburn Universities; and Mary H. McCaulley of the University of Florida. The publication of the MBTI was transferred to Consulting Psychologists Press in 1975, and the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT) was founded as a research laboratory. After Myers' death in May 1980, Mary McCaulley updated the MBTI Manual , and the second edition was published in 1985. The third edition appeared in 1998.