Exploring the MBTI and Myers Briggs Personality Types and applications | Personality Pathways


Tips for being "on the fence" between different types

Page 3 - Understanding the MBTI test * - the Mental Processes of Myers Briggs Personality Types

Tips for being "on the fence" between different types

The descriptions of the Characteristics of the Jung Myers Mental Process (see Page 2) are further detailed by how the four dominant mental functions are experienced in their two orientations, either extraverted or introveted. This results in a total of 8 different leading personality patterns, each of which is shared by two MBTI Personality Types. So how would one distinguish between the two Personality Types that share a common dominant mental function? For example "Am I an ESTJ or an ENTJ?"

One way is to look at the descriptions of what is the Type’s auxiliary or supporting mental function. The auxiliary function is always the “other” middle letter in the MBTI ® Type code and is expressed in the “opposite” attitude (I or E) to the dominant. In this example we need to focus on Introverted Sensinig compared to Introverted Intuition. In examining these two, I expect you'll find some striking differences and if you are one whose "test report" or reading of more general characteristics of the personality types leaves you dithering between the types.

Another Example, ISFJ vs ISTJ. Both are dominant Introverted Sensing types. But in the case of the ISFJ Personality Type its supportive process is Feeling and it is Extraverted (opposite of the dominant, which is Introverted). So to best understand ISFJ read the description for Introverted Sensing bearing in mind it is the “captain” of the ISFJ ship. Then read the description for Extraverted Feeling bearing in mind it is the “first mate” who acts in support of the captain and at times as a collaborator in providing direction. Now read the description for Extraverted Thinking and envison that as the "first mate" or supportive process. Which makes better sense? Which seems to fit better? Introverted Sensing supported by Extraverted Feeling or Extraverted Thinking.

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A Caveat. The above suggestions for better understanding individual Personality Types is by necessity a generalization that ignores the interaction of the mental functions. An INFJ type has some characteristics that can’t be explained by a simple addition of Introverted Intuition supported by Extraverted Feeling. Likewise an INTJ type has characteristics that can’t be explained by a simple addition of Introverted Intuition supported by Extraverted Thinking. In addition to the interaction effects, some characteristics of these two types are also due to the influence of two functions not represented by its MBTI Type letters. In the case of INFJ, it would be how this type uses Extraverted Sensing (Se) and Introverted Thinking (Ti) and with INTJ how this type uses Extraverted Sensing (Se) and Introverted Feeling (Ti). This impact of the more hidden processes was brought home to me when an INFJ therapist of my acquaintance in mid-life left her profession as a therapist and became a sculptor and pottery artist (activities more logically related to an expression of the Se function).

If you are "on the fence" between Personality Types, here's a few more articles that may help.

redSee the patterns of personality for J and P Personality Types

redSee The Personality Pattern Diagrams of the 16 Myers Briggs Personality Types

The 16 Personality TypesThe 16 Personality Types, Descriptions for Self-Discovery.

I like this booklet by Nardi and Berens. About 50 pages, reasonable price, and an easy read for the person wishing to better understand his or her personality type . . . and the overall concepts surrounding Personality Types. [Ordering Info Here]

Gifts Differing: Isabel Myers



Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type
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Recommended References and Sources

Hartzler, Margaret and Hartzler, Gary. (2004) Facets of Type: Activities to Develop the Type Preferences. Telos Publications, Huntington Beach, CA.

Lawrence, Gordon (1993). People Types & Tiger Stripes. Center for Applications of Psychological Type. Gainesville, Florida.

Myers, Isabel and Myers, Peter (1993). Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type. CPP Books. Palo Alto, CA.

Myers, Katharine and Kirby, Linda (1994) Introduction to Type: Dynamics and Development. Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc. Palo Alto, CA.

Nardi, Dario. (2005) 8 Keys to Self Leadership: From Awareness to Action. Unite Business Press. Huntington Beach, CA.

Newman, James (1990) A Cognitive Perspective on Jungian Psychology. Center for Applications of Psychological Type. Gainesville, Florida.

Poirier, Danielle (2006) The Magnificent 16: A DVD. Rebel Eagle Productions. Montreal, Canada.

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Do What You Are - Kindle Version
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Lenore Thomson Personality Type an Owner's Manual
"Personality Type: An Owner's Manual" by Lenore Thomson

A layman's guide to understanding Personality Types and the theory of Psychological Types originally proposed by C. G. Jung. Lenore Thomson was formerly the former editor of the Jungian Journal Quadrant and a lecturer with the C.G. Jung Foundation in New York City. [More Info Here on ordering this and other books on Personality Type]

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