Why do people like what they like? Why are some people drawn to the same interests? What gives each individual their own unique outlook and values on life? Since the beginning of human civilization, people have been searching for ways to categorize and define human behavior. In an attempt to define these complex characteristics of human existence, many theories have been developed and refined through analytical psychology. People are defined by their own unique experiences and environment, all of which add up to create a unique personality. While there’s no definite answer to the question of personality type, the Meyer Briggs Type indicator, otherwise referred to as the MBTI test, shows how personalities can be defined by four key characteristics.
The MBTI test is one of the most prevalent personality indicator tools used today. The first version of the MBTI test was released in 1962 by Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabella Meyer Briggs. However, the concepts presented in the MBTI test date back to a Swiss analytical psychologist named Carl Gustav Jung.
Jung is credited with the identification of a myriad of personality characterizations. Jung coined the terms “introverts” and “extroverts” which are widely used today, however, these make up just one of the four developed categories by Jung that are used in the MBTI test. The four concepts make these psychological theories more accessible to the public to help others better understand themselves as well as their friends, family, and peers.
The test results of the MBTI test are made up of four letters conveying the key character traits coined by Carl Gustav Jung, with a total of sixteen possible results.
The first letter of the results represents how one interacts with their surroundings. One is either an introvert or an extrovert. Introverts gain energy through spending time by themselves to recharge, and can find too much social interaction to be draining. Introverts tend to be more introspective, with 80% of introverts saying they find time by themselves more interesting and rewarding than time spent with others. The downsides of being an introvert, however, include their sensitivity to changing and unpredictable external environments. Extroverts are the exact opposite; extroverts feel energized by spending time with others and can feel restless or drained when by themselves for too long. Extraverts are generally admired for their bold initiative and impressive leadership skills. However, extraverts’ need for constant stimulation from their external environment leaves them prone to boredom. Whichever category one falls in determines the first letter of their MBTI result (I) for introverts or (E) for extraverts.
The second letter of the MBTI result represents how one sees the world and processes information. One is either sensing (S) or intuitive (N). Those who are sensing are practical and observant, they tend to take things at face value and prefer to live in the moment. Sensing individuals thrive while focussing on specific tasks and acting on their plans right away. However, their straightforward perspective of the world can make them closed off to new or more complex solutions or ideas. Those who are intuitive on the other hand, prefer to utilize their imaginative side to brainstorm new solutions and possibilities and look for deeper hidden meanings in their surroundings. Intuitive people tend to view things within a bigger picture, always pondering the “What if?” questions. This intense analysis can sometimes be a detriment to these personalities, as they can overlook the more obvious in their search for deeper meaning and end up jumping to conclusions.
The third letter describes how one makes decisions and processes their emotions. One is either thinking (T) or feeling (F). Those who are thinking lead with their head, thoroughly thinking out all possibilities before making a decision, prioritizing logic over their emotions. Thinking personalities value fairness and efficiency and are great friends to recieve clear and objective advice. However, individuals with this personality can struggle in confronting and processing their emotions and comforting others in emotional situations. Those who are feeling by contrast lead with their hearts, are in touch with their emotions, and are extremely empathetic. They care deeply about those they’re close with and often take on a nurturing role in relationships. However, feeling personalities can often let their emotions and passion to take care of others overshadow reality, clouding their ability to make rational decisions.
The last letter of the MBTI result describes one’s approach to work and planning. One is either judging (J) or prospecting (P). Those who are judging like to be organized and enjoy having set routines they can rely upon. The positive side to this personality trait is that these individuals are always reliable and focused on specific tasks; however, they usually do not respond well to change in their routines and don’t enjoy spontaneity. Prospecting personalities conversely thrive on spontaneity and are flexible when it comes to overcoming unexpected challenges.
While no test is capable of defining the complexities of a person’s personality, the MBTI test is a useful tool to better understand ourselves and the people around us. Further research has been compiled on the traits of each personality type providing more detail on which personalities are most compatible, what careers are best suited for each personality, and more. For those interested in learning more about themselves and different personalities consider taking and looking into the Meyer Briggs test.