Incurable Curiosity

In-cur-able: (adj.) Not likely to be changed. Cu-ri-os-i-ty: (n) A desire to know.

MBTI Primer

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The study of MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) has been a subject that has interested me for a while – well, longer than most theories interest me, anyway. People are never-ending puzzles, and MBTI theories seek to unlock those puzzles; how our personalities affect our worldview, career choice, and how we interact with other people.

I could get extremely technical with the psychology, but here’s the gist: Every person is naturally inclined towards certain general traits. The most familiar is Extrovert/Introvert, but there are 3 other traits to consider: Sensing/Intuitive, Thinking/Feeling, and Perceiving/Judging.

  • Extrovert and Introvert: Basically, this applies to how you interact with the world. Extroverts tend to focus on things outside themselves, while introverts are generally more introspective.
  • Sensing and Intuitive: This is how you take in and process information. These could also be called Concrete and Abstract, respectively.
  • Thinking and Feeling: How you express information and make decisions.
  • Perceiving and Judging: How you act on information. Perceivers tend to leave themselves lots of options, while Judgers prefer a definite plan.
Those are generalities meant to provide a broad description of the MBTI type theory. 
Your combination of general traits is categorized by the letters representing those traits (for example, an Extroverted Intuitive Thinking Judger would be an ENTJ).
Each type falls within one of four sub-types that share common traits: SJ’s, SP’s, NT’s, and NF’s.
  • SJ’s: ESTJ, ESFJ, ISTJ, ISFJ. These are the most common types in the population, and are usually known as Guardians. They share characteristics of being structured, reliable, practical, focused, and traditional. Basically, the world stays on its axis because of their efforts.
  • SP’s: ESTP, ESFP, ISTP, ISFP. These are the Artisans of the world; they live in the present, and they are usually bold, spontaneous, and competitive, brightening life for everyone with their artistic flair.
  • NT’s: ENTJ, ENTP, INTJ, INTP. These are the thinkers, philosophers and inventors of the world: the Rationals. These non-conformists push the limits and are proud of it; no establishment goes unquestioned and no question remains unanswered if they can help it.
  • NF’s: ENFJ, ENFP, INFJ, INFP. This special group comprises the smallest portion of the population; they are the Idealists and dreamers, the visionaries and healers who understand and communicate the weightier matters of life.
This is a very basic overview; there are many more in-depth resources available through a simple search. Below are some resources I’ve found especially useful:
  • This is a website dedicated to MBTI theory, with good descriptions of each type.
  • This is a free type test that I have found to be quite accurate.
  • Another free test, focusing on career paths.
  • Please Understand Me II, by David Keirsey (essentially the Keirsey website in book form).
In those resources, you’ll see mention of cognitive functions. That’s a rather intimidating term, and it’s easy to get things like introverted feeling and extroverted thinking confused. However, a good friend of mine has written an excellent explanation of functions on her blog , which I have re-posted here (thanks, Hattie!).


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3 thoughts on “MBTI Primer

  1. I will always be so grateful to you for introducing me to the MBTI, Ashley. I’m still doomed to be a very strange person, but at least I know I’m not alone ; ) Hooray for introverts!

  2. Pingback: Introverts in Church: We Exist, We Really Do! « Incurable Curiosity

  3. Pingback: MBTI Primer Pt. II: Cognitive Functions (Re-Post) « Incurable Curiosity

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