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

Differing Mental Patterns of the 16 Personality Types

The Hidden Letters in the Myers-Briggs MBTI ® Type - Part 2

Are Feeling Types deficient in Thinking skills?
Do Thinking Types lack Feeling?
Are Introverts unable to Extravert effectively?

One of the too frequent (and inaccurate) criticisms of the MBTI and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is that it presents people in an either or fashion. You are either Introverted or Extraverted, a Thinker or a Feeler, etc. Your four type letters, type cast you.

But these four letters are only indicating your "preferences" just like we say a right-handed preference person iis a "righty." This doesn't mean the person lacks or even devalues his or her left hand. The four letters only signify a dominance of which end of four important mental process or perspective dichotomies a person favors. In some cases this favoring my be quite close 53/47 for example; in others the reliance may be more clear cut.

I developed a graphic I call Type Faces to help dispell the stereotype that novice users (and criticizers) of type make - that the four letters of your type exclude the other four letters. While the patterns of personality differ, all types possess E, I, S, N, T, F, J and P.

redHidden Letters of Type - part 1

red16 Personality Type Patterns
(this page)

Are you a "newbie" to Personality Type? If so, I suggest going here to get the basics on Myers-Briggs Personality Type.

redHidden Faces of Donald Trump

In the following diagrams of the Patterns of the 16 Myers Briggs Personality Types, the mental function that is opposite in all respects to one's dominant mental function is illustrated in red, in italics, and in the smallest font size. It typically is expressed unconsciously, hidden to one's self and in the case of extraverts hidden to others. In the language of Jungian type theory, this is called the "inferior function." Being hidden, however, doesn't mean it has no influence. In fact it can be the gateway to an entirely opposite personality called the shadow, an evil twin that may come out under situations of extreme stress. Or it can emerge in a more positive way as a person matures and begins employing their hidden functions in a more active manner, adding new dimensions to their nature.

The third mental function is illustrated in red and a smaller font to illustrate a lesser influence and its less conscious nature. It too plays a role in personality operating in a supportive fashion to a person's dominant function. For example, it helps explain why an ENTJ friend holds to the maxim that "the devil is in the details" (outer world face is T and S) and an ESTJ friend considers himself a "big picture guy" (outer world face is T and N).

The type face pattern diagrams illustrate three important points.

  1. All types have all four mental preferences as part of their personality pattern, not just the two represented by the two middle letters of their type code.

  2. All types have both an E (extravert) and I (introvert) nature, and a J (judging) and P (perceiving) nature even though the letters of the MBTI personality type code show only two.

  3. The four MBTI ® type letters are a short-hand code for a much more complex pattern of personality that incorporates E & I, S & N, T & F, and J & P. The diagrams, I hope, make more evident that the 16 Types represent 16 different kinds of minds, each with a unique pattern or mental framework.

Introverted Personality Types


ISFP and INFP - Introverted Feeling Types

ISTP and INTP - Introverted Thinking Types


INFJ and INTJ - Introverted Intuitive Types


ISFJ and ISTJ - Introverted Sensing Types

Extraverted Personality Types


ESFP and ESTP - Extraverted Sensing Types

ENFP and ENTP - Extraverted Intuitive Types


ESTJ and ENTJ - Extraverted Thinking Types


ESFJ and ENFJ - Extraverted Feeling Types

In looking at the above diagrams one can see that some personality patterns show a mental preference as extraverted while others show it as introverted. See ESFJ vs ISFP for example; their patterns are the flip-flop of one another. In fact hidden within every ESFJ personality is an unconscious ISFP and visa-versa. This is true of every type; there is secondary pattern, a twin who is the mirror image of the primary pattern. This mirror image is a type's shadow function, aspects of the self that are buried in the unconscious mind.

Educators and practitioners of Myers-Briggs Personality Type have expanded the original 4 mental preferences (S, N, T, and F) into 8 by considering whether the preferences is used in an extraverted fashion or an introverted fashion. Roger Pearman (2011) considers these as eight resources that are available to every person. Each type typically has a greater degree of comfort in using two to four of these resources, but the remainder can be seen as untapped, waiting to be developed.

You can learn more about these 8 resources or mental functions in an article I've written elsewhere in PersonalityPathways . . . how to recognize them in yourself and perhaps develop them as well as recognizing and understanding them as others may use them. See Descriptions of the Jung-Myers-Briggs Mental Functions.


Pearman, Roger (2011) Personality Type: Adding Value to Learning and Growing for Personal Effectiveness. Bulletin of Psychological Type, 34(1), 21 -22.

Learn more about interpretting the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Code

Learn more about the Type Faces and the Dynamics of Type

arrow Learn more about The Myers-Briggs Personality Test *

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