What is MBTI?

People are confusing, right?  The mind is a mystery, people unpredictable.  But not so according to Carl Jung.  He argued that what we see as unpredictable in each other is a consequence of our temperament:

Extraversion vs. Introversion

and preferred mental functions:

  • Thinking
  • Feeling
  • Sensing
  • Intuition

These preferences, according to Jung, result in various psychological types.  Although we use all of these functions, some will be more dominant than others

Isabel Briggs Myers and Katherine Briggs took good old Jung’s ideas and carved them nicely into bite-size psychology chunks so that the layman (that’s you and me) could use them for settling arguments over beans and deciding which celebrity is best suited to eventually, yet inevitably, becoming our future concubine/spouse.

They took our functions:

  1. Perceiving Functions: Intuition vs. Sensing
  2. Judging Functions: Thinking vs. Feeling

Identified which function was our extraverted function one (perceiving or judging), and whether we were introverted or extraverted by nature, to come up with a method of defining the varying mental categories by four little letters:

  1. Extraversion vs. Introversion
  2. Intuition vs. Sensing (Perceiving)
  3. Thinking vs. Feeling (Judging)
  4. Perceiving vs. Judging

However, it is important to not restrict yourself to this code of four letters.  It is a code and does not mean anything unless you understand what this code means.  Jung identified four functions, and as stated previously, these are present in each type.  Our two dominant functions are the only ones which make it visibly into our Myers-Briggs code.  For instance, as an INFP, my two dominant functions are Feeling and iNtuition, so my middle two letters (the ones displaying my functions) are -NF-.  However, I too can sense and think!…although, it may not seem like it at times.

The INFP’s functions are ordered as follows (e/i symbolises extroversion/introversion):

  1. Fi
  2. Ne
  3. Si
  4. Te

Your last letter (P/J) shows you which function is your extraverted function.  As I am a P, my perceiving function (sensing/intuition) is the one extraverted i.e. Ne.  As I am an introvert, I, my dominant function is introverted i.e. Fi.  The MBTI code always works on an ABAB pattern, so as an introvert my third function is introverted like my first, and fourth extraverted like my second.  The third function is also from the same category as your second (for INFPs this category is perception – N/S), and your fourth, the same as your first (judging F/T).  It’s tricky, I know, but stick with it.  I’ll go more into functions later!

This all adds up to creates 16 different personality types which are as follows:

  • ESTJ
  • ESTP
  • ENTJ
  • ENTP
  • ESFJ
  • ESFP
  • ENFJ
  • ENFP
  • ISTJ
  • ISTP
  • INTJ
  • INTP
  • ISFJ
  • ISFP
  • INFJ
  • INFP

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