The Four Temperaments of Personality

I first became involved in the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) when I worked for a man that I had little respect for, but had to act as if I did, very stressful to say the least!  A friend of mine was an MBTI tester and councillor at a local Jung Center, so through her, I took the test, and she interpreted it for me.  I discovered that my boss and I were so different because we shared only one characteristic on the MBTI scale.  It didn't mean that I was better or smarter than he was; it just meant that we had different approaches to just about everything.  Once I understood that, I was able to understand better why he thought as he did, and my respect for him and my comfort level with him grew into a better working relationship.


The MBTI can help you too.

In the previous article, I described the basic building blocks of the sixteen personality types described by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) that is used world-wide in testing people to discover their strengths and potential weaknesses.  There are four ranges in which each of us falls somewhere along its continuum.  For example, some of us may be extreme Extroverts while others of us may be extreme Introverts while most of us fall somewhere in between.

Extrovert ranging to Introvert
Intuitive ranging to Sensing
Thinking ranging to Feeling
 ranging to Judging

From the above mentioned eight extremes, we can identify four crucial pairings that tell us a great deal about how a personality works.  Again, where one falls on the continuum is important only in how strongly these characteristics show up.  Let's take a look at these pairs.

Sensing/Perceiving (SP)

SPs see immediate tasks to be done, and tend to act on the spur of the moment. They want their actions to be practical and effective, and they depend on first-hand experience in making their decisions.   Abstract theories are of no interest.  They may be easy-going, generally not prejudiced, and willing to compromise.  They will probe each opportunity that presents itself for whatever advantage it may hold before moving on to examine another opportunity.  Enjoying life is a priority.

Sensing/Judging (SJ)

SJs like routine.  They are dependable, hard-working, persistent, and thorough in what they know they are supposed to do.  They make lists and schedules so that everything can be in its proper place and will be done promptly.  SJs are generally conservative, sensible, factual, and not at all impulsive.  They plan.

Intuitive/Feeling (NF)

NFs need to get along with other people and avoid conflict as it is painful to them, and they will view it personally.  They care about keeping morale high both in the family and in the workplace and in any other group in which they are a part.  They need to feel good about themselves.  They are generally sympathetic to others and somewhat insightful, but always from a subjective point-of-view.

Intuitive/Thinking (NT)

NTs  are consistently rational and feel the need to logically make sense of what goes on around them.  They tend to be intellectual, theoretical, and exacting.  They are independent, curious, and will choose reason over feeling.  Nevertheless, NTs, when they understand a need, will seek to fulfill it when it makes sense to do so.

It may seem as if these are arbitrary pairs, but they are not.  They have been carefully worked out to show a person's dominant characteristic that is extroverted and shows its face to the outside world, and the characteristic that is introverted and held inside.  Both are important.

If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to take the MBTI test at where it will be automatically scored at no cost.

Next time, I'll give a summary of the sixteen personality types delineated by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and you may be able to see how you and perhaps how others around you fit into it.  I will also list some resources where you can learn more about the MBTI if you wish.


Filed under: Tests

Tags: Isabel Myers, MBTI, Personality

Leave a comment