I've moved to another two blogs, one on writing, and one on general stuff like this one. Please come visit! MY NEW BLOGS:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Personality: Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

If you'd like to analyze your own personality, a free and fast site is HERE


There are many personality analysing tools in the world. One of the bigger ones is the MBTI that was developed during World War II by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. While no test can completely pigeonhole a unique personality into a cubbyhole, the MBTI is a respected test used to describe individual preferences and tendencies. I've had a lot of fun playing with it as I analyze self, friends, family, and characters for my stories, and find it reasonably accurate (as far as I can tell). If anyone's interested, I'm strongly I, strongly N, and straddle the T-F and the J-P axes (I test INTJ).

MBTI describes four preference-type dichotomies that each person uses. These preferences are similar to left- or right-handedness; the person uses both aspects of each preference, but one is preferred. These preference dichotomies are:

Extroverted (E) versus Introverted (I)

Sensory (S) versus Intuitive (N)

Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F)

Judging (J) versus Perceiving (P)


The terms are technical, and therefore not quite the same as the colloquial meanings.

Extroverted (E) / Introverted (I)

This axis describes the attitudes to outer world (people, objects) or inner world (ideas, reflection). The extroverted prefer to act, whereas the introverted prefer to reflect and withdraw. This axis doesn't reflect how social someone is, or how well they interact with people; more it's whether they'd prefer to be around action, or prefer a quiet place.

Sensory (S) / Intuitive (N)

This axis describes how information is gathered. Sensory people prefer concrete, tangible facts or data that is accessible through the five senses. In contrast, Intuitives prefer abstract or theoretical information, and easily relate it to other information, patterns, or future pathways.

Thinking (T) / Feeling (F)

This axis describes how a decision is made. The thinkers detach and use rational, reasonable, consistent rules to make a decision, whereas the feelers consider the needs of the people involved, attempt to empathize and balance to achive the best harmonic solution. A question that exemplifies this axis is: Do you prefer justice or mercy?

Judging (J) / Perceiving (P)

This axis describes, roughly, how a person relates to the outer world. Judgers tend to use their judging function (T or F), whereas perceivers tend to use their sensing function (S or N). Judgers tend to want to make a decision and move on, whereas perceivers want to keep options open.


Dominance of these four preferences is not evenly distributed, just as right- or left-handedness is not. Approximate incidence of the characteristics in USA is:

E/I -- approximately three quarters of the population are extroverts

S/N -- approximately 85% of the population are sensors

T/F -- about two-thirds of males are Ts, and about two-thirds of females are Fs

J/P -- about evenly distributed

Tomorrow I'll go over four basic personality types that can be further subdivided. Have a great day everyone!


Billy Coffey said...

Psychology has always amazed me, and I rarely pass on the opportunity to take these sorts of tests. I'm always looking for one of them to completely blow who I am, but I have rarely found one.

Sarah Salter said...

In college, they gave us class credit in our psych and soc classes. But it has always bothered me to think that I can be so easily categorized. I think of myself as being a really complex person who defies stereotypes. But I still find it interesting that in a lot of ways, these tests always seem to figure me out. Including this one. Ah, so much for keeping my mystery. :-)

Andra M. said...

I'm not surprised you're an INTJ.

Using the same test to figure out the personalities of my characters is a great idea!