I’d like to preface this article by saying that there is very little science when it comes to personality tests. Personalities are complex and mostly impossible to quantify. However, they’re fun to take and the results can be interesting or perhaps eye-opening, just don’t take them too literally.
The Origins of Personality Tests
Isabel Briggs Myers created the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator with her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs, during World War II as a means to help women find suitable jobs in the war-time economy. They based their tests off the Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, whom did much work with the renowned Sigmund Freud. Jung contributed much knowledge to the science of psychology, including research on dreams and the unconscious, but it was his research into personalities that became the basis for the MBTI.
The MBTI assumes that individuals are born with a natural tendency toward one end of four separate dichotomies, these being:
- Extroversion and introversion – of the four dichotomies, this is perhaps the most important distinction to make. Introverted people prefer internal stimulation (such as ideas and reflection), while extroverted people prefer external stimulation (action and interaction). To learn more about the difference between introversion and extroversion watch this video:
- Sensing and intuition – are functions of information-gathering (perception). Sensitive people are concrete thinkers while intuitive people are more abstract.
- Thinking and feeling – are functions of decision-making (judgement). Thinkers are rational and feelers are emotional.
- Judging and perception – This dimension determines the preference of individuals to use their preferred judging function (thinking and feeling) or their preferred perceiving function (sensing and intuition).
A person’s results are expressed as initialisms whose letters indicate the preferences of the four dichotomies. For example: ENTP (extroversion, intuition, thinking, perception), or ISFJ (introversion, sensing, feeling, judging).
You can take a version of the MBTI here.
That site does an awesome job of providing additional links to learn more about your newly acquired personality type, so I won’t bother rehashing all sixteen personality types here. Do some research, who knows what you might discover about yourself!
Working with Your Personality
I’ll use my personality type as an example:
INTP (introverted, intuition, thinking, perception): Strong reasoning and analytical skills, tend to become lost in thought, weak emotional and empathy skills. I can try to balance out my weaknesses by staying more in the moment and actively trying to understand both others’ and my own emotions.
Don’t be a slave to or use your personality as an excuse to be an asshole – no one is perfect. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses, then working to balance them out is an easy and efficient way to become a better person.
In what ways can you improve yourself?