If you’re interested in personality or personality types, you might have encountered the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Though this personality scaling rubric may at first seem a bit confusing or overwhelming, this article will explain what each letter means, thus enabling an intuitive understanding of each of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types. It is important to note that, as if the case with all other personality tests, there is no correct or “right” result for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, only 16 equally valid types which a person may be. Furthermore, if one takes an official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, their results will show the percentage representing someone’s tendency to be one way or the other. For example, it is unlikely that someone will always be introverted, thus, while their personality type may begin with an “I”, they may be 70% introverted and 30% extroverted.
Extroverted vs Introverted
The first letter in any of the Myers-Briggs types is either an “E”, referring to “extroverted”, or an “I,” referring to “introverted”. Whether someone scores an E or an I will depend not on their people skills necessarily (it’s possible for someone to be very extroverted without knowing what they are doing or for someone with refined people skills to prefer keeping to themselves) but how out-going they are. For example, someone who is gregarious, loquacious, and bold will have a Myers-Briggs personality type beginning with an E, and someone who is more withdrawn or independent will have a Myers-Briggs personality type beginning with an I.
Sensing vs Intuitive
The second letter in any of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types is either an “S” or “N”, where the “S” stands for “sensing” and the “N” for “intuitive” (because “I” has already been claimed for “introverted”). Those who are sensing tend to trust given information; they form decisions and opinions based upon established data, either offered by peer groups or society. This differs from those individuals with an “N” in their Myers-Briggs type; people who are intuitive tend to think more abstractly and theoretically. Intuitive individuals are more likely to come to a conclusion based upon their own logic or reasoning. That is not to suggest intuitive individuals are more intelligent than sensing individuals, or that sensing individuals are more trusting than intuitive individuals. Each of the Myers-Briggs variables merely refer to a different predisposition for forming thoughts.
Thinking vs Feeling
The third letter in a Myers-Briggs personality type will either be a “T” for thinking or an “F” for feelings. People who are of a thinking type will analyze information from a more detached or analytical perspective while someone who tends to use their feelings may take into consideration how people involved in a situation feel or will be effected. In this way, those with a “T” in their Myers-Briggs personality type will be more calculating while someone with an “F” in their Myers-Briggs personality type will be more compassionate.
Judgment vs Perception
The final letter in any Myers-Briggs personality type is either “J” for “judging” or “P” for “perception”. Generally, someone who favors judging believes in absolutes, order, or truth. They feel all circumstances can lead to a solid conclusion and that all things may be resolved. This is totally counter to someone who is perceptive; individuals with a “P” in their Myers-Briggs personality type believe in fluid reality, that circumstances may be kept open to interpretation or reason.
So Who is Who?
Some personality types are more common than others, although, in America no type will include a percentage greater than around 20%. Both men and women might be any of the 16 types, however, ISTJ is considered the most male and ISFP and ESFP are more common for females.