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Most of the information for this post is from David Keirsey's book Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence. Reading the title, I question if intelligence and character go along with personality type, but that's just me. It's an interesting book albeit a little dense.
Keirsey (and others as well) propose four basic personality types based on the MBTI:
The Artisans (SPs) assess the immediate environment for options and advantages, and tend to act on them quickly. They are extremely practical and like to live in the moment. They are often thought of as easy-going, impetuous, tolerant, adaptable, and artistic.
The Guardians (SJs) are serious, believing that everyone and all things should behave in a well-ordered manner. They are careful, thorough planners, very practical, and insist that things are done the *right* way.
The Idealists (NFs) are like Deanna Troy in Star Trek -- empathetic and caring, focusing on how to complete and nurture the dear ones in their circle. Conflict is deeply personal and upsetting.
The Rationals (NTs) need to find a reason for everything. They think abstractly, and are the ones who come up with stunning breakthroughs of inventions or systems as they are able to find patterns in seemingly unrelated data and ideas.
It's interesting to calculate the relative incidence of these four personality types within the population. Assume that the following proportions exist:
E:I is approximately 75% to 25%
S:N is approximately 85% to 15%
T:F for males is approximately 67% to 33%
for females is approximately 33% to 67%
J:P is approximately 50% to 50%
Then the SPs are (0.85)(0.50) = 42.5% of the general population
The SJs are (0.85)(0.50) = 42.5% of the general population
The NFs are (0.15)(0.50*) = 7.5% of the general population (approximately 2/3 of these will be women)
The NTs are (0.15)(0.50*) = 7.5% of the general population (approximately 2/3 of these will be men)
* since we're not calculating for male versus female, I'm using an even proportion of T to F that is true over the whole population
So, as you look around your roomful of friends, you've got a much better chance of bumping into an SP artisan (about 2 in 5) or SJ guardian (about 2 in 5) than an NF idealist (less than one in ten) or NT rational (less than one in ten). As someone who measures extremely intuitive, I can emphatically say that it's hard for me to understand how other people think -- I'm able to observe and predict what they will do, but it seems like I'm constantly missing things. My thoughts fly onto tangents all the time, and I often find a solution to a problem by observing something completely different that has an interesting mechanism I can apply. I think in images and ideas, and need to translate to words. However, I don't see things right in front of me; I constantly miss the obvious real-world stuff.
Personality tests try to pigeonhole unique individuals into categories, and there are always inaccuracies and approximations. Still, after some study I've decided (for whatever my opinion is worth) that the MBTI works pretty well. So, what is it like to live in your head?
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