Crash course in Myer's Briggs
I love to know the personality types of my clients because it helps me attune better to their needs.
The Myer’s Briggs personality test is based on Carl Jung’s theories and findings on personality. The info I’ll share with you in this entry is based on the book The Neuroscience of Personality by Dario Nardi , which is a great book to order and study if you are interested in learning how you, your clients, and or your loved ones work cognitively.
Myer’s Briggs can be complex to understand, so I’ll do my best here to break it down in digestible portions that you’ll be able to grasp and fully integrate after reading this post. This is meant to be a taste of how to begin to understand Myer’s Briggs. If you want to take the test online and free, I recommend taking it HERE. Hit me up in my instagram DM’s to let me know what your type is. I LOVE to know! And better yet, I love to guess!! So tease me a little bit first. ;)
So we’ll start with the 4 different cognitive functionings. That’s the first thing you need to know - there are 4 different cognitive functionings.
4 cognitive functions:
In any situation, we can focus our attention and access information using either of the TWO following functions:
1) Sensing - focus on tangible data, what is known (the past and the present), and practical means. This is tangible, experiential awareness.
That being said, if someone is a sensor, they access information by checking with what is actually happening around them and what has already happened to access information.
2) Intuiting - Focus on concepts, patterns, potential and “what if”. This is symbolic, conceptual awareness.
In other words, if someone is an intuitive, they access information by checking with what could be based on what has been, or what could change if something was different than before.
We can make decisions and get organized using either of the TWO following functions:
3) Thinking - decide and organize based on objective criteria, logic or model-based reasoning, and impersonal principles.
People who are thinkers will make calls based on what is most logically productive.
4) Feeling - Decide and organize based on social appropriateness, values, and importance or others to self and others.
People who are feelers will make decisions based on what they hold as their values, whether that be internal or societal.
Now that you know the 4 different cognitive functionings that we have, you need to know that there are a total of eight cognitive processes based on these 4 different cognitive functionings.
Total of eight cognitive processes
All 4 cognitive processes are lived differently based on if we express the functioning in an introverted or extraverted way.
So you can have extraverted sensing or introverted sensing. Typically in the Myer’s Briggs world, the main function is expressed with a capital letter. In this case S, and then the way it is cognitively processed is expressed with a lower case “e” or “i”.
Se = extraverted sensing
Si = introverted sensing and so on.
Each personality type has the 8 cognitive functionings in the way they approach the world, but in order based on their personality type. Usually there are 4 main processes that dominate the person’s personality and they’ll have a harder time accessing the 4 others.
There is such thing as a LEAD PROCESS - which is the first cognitive process a person uses to navigate the world.
The SUPPORT PROCESS is the one that immediately follows. There are typically 3 readily available support processes in one’s cognitive functioning that makes up their personality type.
So let’s do a brief summary of each cognitive process, with questions that the processes prompt in the individual when faced with a problem, shall we? :) Again, for a deeper look into this, check out the book I mentioned by Dario at the beginning of this post.
Se = extraverted sensing.
People with have Se as their lead process are often in touch with their body sensations and are in touch with the environment to gather information about what’s going on.
When faced with a decision, Se people will ask themselves, what does your gut instinct tell you? If you’re unsure consider how your body feels as you consider different options. They’ll go with the one that feels more comfortable and right for them.
Si = introverted sensing
People with Si as their lead function compare situations they are faced with currently vs past situations. They’ll look for ways to solve the problems in ways that have already worked. They look for stability in the situation and invest for future security. This functioning would be the type to work hard the way they know works to get something done to enjoy later.
They will often ask themselves:
What has typically stabilized the situation in the past; or consider, what might stabilize it now?
Ne = extraverted intuition
When there is Ne as a main function, the individual will wonder about patterns and interactions across various situations. They will make up and check out hypotheses of the root of the problem and see which one fits best with what they are facing. They will shift the dynamics of the situation (like add or remove a certain element) and trust what emerges as a solution.
They’ll ask questions such as:
What if you could change just one small thing about the situation, what might that be? Or is this happening in more than one area of your life?
Ni = introverted intuition
Ni people will need to take some time to clear their brain, perhaps sleep on something and they’ll need to spend some time wondering how they want the future to look like from their inner landscape.
They will ask themselves when facing a problem:
Who is someone who could handle this situation? And then imagine themselves as that person to gain strength and perseverance to move forward.
Fe = extraverted feeling
People who are Fe dominant care about harmony of the whole. They’ll adjust their behavior for social harmony and are attune to how others perceive them and judge them. They may be easily embarrassed or coerced.
They will ask themselves the question when faced with a problem: What is something I can share about myself to build trust with someone else in this situation?
Fi = introverted feeling
Fi people really care about staying true to who they are. When faced with a problem, they will ask questions like…
What is really important to me personally? What’s important in this situation and also in general for me?
What is the “right thing” to do in this situation, regardless of what other people’s input?
Te = extraverted thinking
Te wants proof or else it’s no bueno. They will consider a goal and then work backyards to evaluate what needs to occur in order to reach that goal.
When faced with a problem, Te functioning asks:
What factual evidence can you list or show to support what you are saying?
Ti = introverted thinking
Ti can shut out senses to think. They can separate body and mind when arguing or analyzing.
They are interested in knowing deductive reasoning, defining and categorizing, weighing odds and risks.
When faced with a problem, they are typically going to ask questions such as: Could you define or classify this situation in regards to a greater whole? (Example: is this situation a crisis or is it a mild inconvenience in the context?)
So to recap, each personality type has a main process which can be referred to as Lead process (one of the eight cognitive processes) and then 3 support processes that guides them in life. We each all have the 8, but in order. We’ll have 1 lead process and 3 main support processes depending on our personality type.
We’ll also have unique themes with our personality types. But before I explain that, let’s use a real life example to make this make sense. Let’s use mine to be more productive (so ENFJ of me ;))
I’m an ENFJ.
My lead function is extraverted feeling (Fe) and my main support process is introverted intuition (Ni).
My main concern in life is nurturing relationships through trust and I do so by sharing information about myself when necessary to create a connection that builds trust (I mean, DUH, that is what I literally teach people to do to have successful online businesses.)
When I’m faced with a problem, Ni comes out to play for me big time. I literally ask myself, “what do you want the future to look like” when something goes wrong. I picture it and that is how I find my motivation to change something.
My 3rd and fourth support functions are extraverted sensing (Se) and introverted thinking (Ti).
I’ll usually use my gut instinct by considering different options and seeing how it feels in my body to make decisions. I also need my environment to be extremely supportive. The way I do my thinking is very introverted. I want to know the context of everything so I can access the situation better. I need to disconnect from the body to think.
For example, if a client is going through something, I want to know the history so that I can better access the severity of what they are going through now. I’ll take a general idea and apply it specifically to a person, case by case.
I’m through and through an ENFJ. Careers for ENFJ are usually writers, therapists/ coaches, mentors.
So I’m right in line with what is fulfilling to me in terms of career. WIN!
So what are you?
There are 16 personalities. They can be categorized into 4 different groups. They are as followed with a brief description.
The catalysts types:
These are your INFJs, INFPs, ENFJs, and ENFPs
Catalysts value unity, self-actualization and authenticity. People who identify with the catalyst group tend to be gifted at unifying diverse people and helping individuals realize their potential. They build bridges to help people work through difficulties. If they are working on a global, national or even state-wide level, catalyst peeps will champion a cause that is dear to their hearts with ease. If they are working on an individual level, they focus on growth and development of a person.
They are typically your writers, your team managers, your mediators, your social activists, your coaches & therapists and your change maker teachers + mentors.
The theorist types:
These are your INTJs, INTPs, ENTJs, and ENTPs
People who are theorists are interested in learning the operating principles of the universe and to learn or even develop theories for everything. They care about expertise, logical consistency, concepts, ideas and they seek progress toward something they think is beneficial.
They are typically your researchers, your project managers, your scientists, your architects, your construction workers/ mechanics and your engineers.
The stabilizer types:
These are your ISTJs, ISFJs, ESTJs, ESFJs.
Stabilizer types are looking for yep… stability, AND security and also a sense of community. They trust hierarchy and authority and may be surprised when others go against the social norm. They can ‘miraculously’ get all the right things, at the right place and not to the wrong people because they respect time, rules and structure without exception. They are excellent employees.
They are typically your caretakers/nurses, your administrators, your lawyers, your traditional school teachers and or religious preachers.
The improviser types:
ISTPs, ISFPs, ESTPs, ESTPs
Improvisers want freedom to act without being hindered by anything or anyone and they was to see a marked result from their actions. People of this temperament highly value aesthetics, whether in nature or art. They trust their impulses and have a drive to action. Their creativity is revealed by the variety of solutions they can come up with on the spot. They tune into immediate sensory information and vary their moves forward based on the needs of the moment.
They are typically your entertainers (actresses, comedians, etc), your entrepreneurs, your pilots + travel junkies, your public speakers, and your politicians.
I hope this crash course was helpful and that you understand something beyond the four letters of MBTI now.