October 11, 2019

What's Your Personality Type?

If you google "What's your personality type?" more than likely a Myers-Briggs personality test will show up in the search results.

In developing the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Briggs adapted the insights of Carl Jung's theory of psychological types into an accessible form.

Carl Jung's Theory of Personality

Jung identified two different attitude types: introverts and extraverts. Then he further classified those types by the functions that controlled the way introverts and extraverts viewed the world through thinking, feeling, intuition or sensing. This resulted in eight possible personality types.

There are a lot of resources to be found on this subject, and I'm not a psychologist, so I'll focus on the Myers Briggs adaption.

Myers Briggs

Expanding on Jung's theory, sixteen distinct personal types were identified based on how one views their world, takes in information, makes decisions, and deals with the outer world.

1. How do you view your world? Introvert (I) or Extrovert (E)
2. How do you take in information? Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)
3. How do you make decisions? Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
4. How do you deal with the outer world? Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

Based on your selections, you will identify with a particular personality type. If you are an outgoing person (E) who absorbs information through your senses (S), makes decisions that feel right (F), and approaches the outer world with an open mind (P), your personality type is ESFP.

How does a personality test relate to writing?

A writer can use the Myers Briggs personality types in developing characters. In creating a character, a writer already answers many of the questions that arise in a personality type test.

For #preptober challenge questions, I recently analyzed one of the characters in my work-in-progress. The questions for October 2 and 3 related to identifying the character's dominant (1st) and inferior (4th) functions; and presenting possibilities for the middle functions (auxiliary and tertiary). I was familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality test, but I had no idea that each preference (noted by two letters) was classified as a specific function (dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior) and assigned according to the level of its development. For instance, your dominant function is the mental function (thinking, feeling, intuition or sensing) that is the most developed within yourself, coupled with whether you are Introverted or Extroverted.

If your head is spinning right now, then maybe the following tables will help. As I mentioned earlier, these function concepts were new to me so I organized the information in the way most logical to me.

The Functions:

Extraverted sensing (Se)
Introverted sensing (Si)
Extraverted thinking (Te)
Introverted thinking (Ti)
Extraverted intuition (Ne)
Introverted intuition (Ni)
Extraverted feeling (Fe)
Introverted feeling (Fi)

T or FF or TN
S or NN or SF
T or FF or TS
S or NN or ST

Inferior is opposite of the Dominant.
Tertiary is opposite of the Auxiliary.

Plus Introverted or Extraverted.

If Dominant
or Auxiliary is
Then thetype is

See the The Myers & Briggs Foundation website at https://www.myersbriggs.org for more information.

A Practical Application

Last week, I described my character Alina Lehrer. I identified her dominant function, based on her psychic abilities, as Introverted intuition (Ni) and her inferior function (opposite to the dominant) as Extraverted sensory (Se). As a Ni, the auxiliary function could be either thinking or feeling. I identified her as requiring Extraverted feeling (Fe) to balance her decision making. Her tertiary function, opposite of the auxiliary, would be Introverted thinking (Ti).

Since her dominant function is Ni, then her type is NJ. Since her auxiliary function is Fe, then her type is FJ. I concluded Alina's personality type is INFJ.

Stay tuned... More on Alina's personality type INFJ next week.

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