I wrote a post a while back explaining introversion and extroversion and how there are two different personality temperaments. If you read that and understood it, congratulations! However, that was an over simplification of the MBTI. It’s not just Extroversion and Introversion; there are 16 different types of personality temperaments: ENTJs, ESFPs, ISTJs, ENFPs, INTPs, ISTJs and INTJs, to name a few. Confused? Right now, I’m assuming you’re worried I’m just repeatedly smacking my head on the keyboard with Caps Lock turned on, typing random letters and desperately hoping that at least some of it makes sense. Fear not; I am not trying to re-write the Twilight books.
Let’s start with the quick simplified story. Once upon a time, there was a man named Carl Jung (pronounced “young”) who proposed typological theories. Then, a little while later, Katherine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, extrapolated some of his theories and made a questionnaire to measure psychological preferences in how people see the world and make decisions. This psychometric questionnaire became known as the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator).
You might say that the MBTI is basically a personality test but it is much more than that. Admittedly, when I first took the test, I was skeptical and thought it was just like any other test where I would end up with some stupidly generic answer but when I did finish it (70 or so multiple choice questions), I was quite intrigued. Not only did it tell me my personality but it explained EVERYTHING. All the answers to questions which had plagued my mind were suddenly right in front of me. (The test can be found here, courtesy of Human Metrics). Of course, just like any other test, it’s not always 100% accurate but in my case, I was completely shocked at how accurate it actually was.
The MBTI basically divides people into 16 different personality types which are determined on specific preferences and how you react to things. There are 4 main categories (all definitions taken from MyPersonality.info) :
- Introversion (I) vs. Extroversion (E): we talked about this in my older post
- Intiution (N) vs. Sensing (S): Sensing refers to how people process data. Sensing people focus on the present, they are “here and now” people, who are factual and process information through the five senses. They see things as they are, they are concrete thinkers. Intuition refers to how people process data. Intuitive people focus on the future and the possibilities. They process information through patterns and impressions. They read between the lines, they are abstract thinkers.
- Feeling (F) vs. Thinking (T): Thinking refers to how people make decisions. Thinking people are objective and make decisions based on facts. They are ruled by their head instead of their heart. Thinking people judge situations and others based on logic. Feeling refers to how people make decisions. Feeling people are subjective and make decisions based on principles and values. They are ruled by their heart instead of their head. Feeling people judge situations and others based on feelings and extenuating circumstances.
- Perceiving (P) vs. Judging (J): Perceiving is the preference outwardly displayed. Perceiving people are flexible, like to keep their options open and think randomly. They like to act spontaneously and are adaptable. Perceivers like to keep things open ended. Judging is the preference outwardly displayed. Judging does not mean “judgmental”. Judging people like order, organization and think sequentially. They like to have things planned and settled. Judging people seek closure.