What are the different types of personalities and how can they be measured?
What are personality types?
Why do individuals and organisations use personality tests, and is there any merit in exploring a person's individual traits? There have been numerous attempts to categorise individuals into different styles of personality, but the validity of labelling personality types has been called into question.
There are many personality tests available online. Some are free, others cost $20-$100. The most popular ones include Myers Briggs (MBTI), Keirsey Temperament Sorter (KTS), Enneagram, and Big Five Personality Questionnaire.
Each test measures five main personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness. Each trait is measured on a scale of 1-7, where 7 is the highest score.
Some tests measure these traits based on your answers to questions, while others use a questionnaire format. Regardless of the type of personality test used, each provides valuable information about your personality.
People often wonder why they view the world in such a different manner from other individuals having different personality types. Much of this has to do with their cognitive functions. Every individual lives and views life in an entirely different way. A cognitive function possesses the greatest priority in one's mind. The individual “lives” this specific function, and all the stimuli are filtered through it. This is sometimes referred to as the dominant function of the person.
One of the better-known personality questionnaires is the Myers-Brigg Indicator.
Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test developed by Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers. The MBTI measures four different types of personalities based on preferences in thinking, feeling, sensing, and judging.
Each type represents a unique perspective on life and work. Understanding these differences helps us understand ourselves better and makes working together more effective.
Tests to determine personality types
Keirsey Temperament Sorters (KTS) - Developed by David Keirsey in 1976, KTS is based on his theory that there are nine basic temperaments. He identified three primary temperaments: artistic, practical, and enterprising.
Enneagram - The enneagram is a system of psychological typology used to describe human behavior. It was created by Dr. Oscar Ichazo in 1980. There are nine distinct personality types within the enneagram: 1) the egoist; 2) the intellectual; 3) the mystic; 4) the socializer; 5) the achiever; 6) the guardian; 7) the artist; 8) the follower; 9) the idealist.
Big Five Questionnaire - The Big Five Questionnaire was developed by psychologists Richard E. Mayer and Peter Salovey in 1990. It measures five dimensions of personality: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBT): This questionnaire was developed by Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs. It measures 16 personality traits, including introversion/extroversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, judging/perceiving, and perceiving/judging.
Exploring personality types with Myers-Briggs
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) is grounded on the theory of psychological type by Carl Jung. The following list are the dominant functions of all the Myers-Briggs® personality types and used by individuals to receive more precise knowledge about themselves and other persons whom they come in contact with. It specifies a person's four dimensions of personality preference:
- Where they focus their attention – Introversion (I) or Extraversion (E)
- How they absorb information – Intuition (N) or Sensing (S)
- How they make decisions – Feeling (F) or Thinking (T)
- How they handle the world – Perceiving (P) or Judging (J).
The colour of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator squares shows the dominant function of each type. Red represents feeling function; blue shows thinking; yellow indicates intuition, and green represents Intuition - sensing.
The 4 letters that constitute psychological types may help people understand themselves and their dealing with others. One must fill out a questionnaire and attend a feedback session conducted by a qualified Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator practitioner to assess their MBTI personality type.
The Myers-Briggs Company offers training to nearly 2,000 people every year to become qualified practitioners. They belong to a wide range of backgrounds, from personal coaches to HR consultants.
The Dominant Function of ENTPs and ENFPs – Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
Those with Extraverted Intuitive types pay more attention to identifying a range of possibilities and connections they may find in the exterior world. People with Extraverted sensing types are the most spirited when they can imagine future solutions, innovations and potentialities.
As Extraverted Intuition is a thinking function, people of Extraverted Intuitive types come at life from a place of exploration, curiosity and openness. People of Extraverted Intuition pay more attention to observing and understanding than making judgments.
People of Extraverted Intuitive types are often popular who see life from different angles and enjoy discovering unusual solutions to complex situations. While other Psychological Types might avoid the chaos, those with extraverted intuition feel messy circumstances are thrilling that demand innovative strategies.
The Dominant Function of INTJs and INFJs– Introverted Intuition (Ni)
The dominant function of those with Introverted Intuition remains concentrated on noticing a situation at work. People of Introverted Intuition types would frequently ask questions like “What else is happening here?” which keeps them focused on examining underlying patterns, themes, and inspirations.
People of introverted Intuitive types are forward-thinkers and love putting together broad-range visions and plans to accomplish. For those of Introverted Intuition psychological type, it is easy to foresee how things will happen and sense evolving patterns and their impact on the upcoming time. While paying more attention to what might happen in future, they can skillfully see the inner of themselves and others. People with Introverted Intuition are not happy to leave things how they are.
Rather, those of introverted Intuitive types would focus on seeing things in a new direction and offer a deeper layer of meaning to everything.
People with introverted sensing types have a dominant Introverted Intuitive nature which makes them in close contact with their unconscious world. People with Introverted sensing types may interpret dreams, find symbolism, and have “gut” feeling dimension for the situations that seem to appear suddenly and unexpectedly.
The Dominant Function of ISFPs and INFPs – Introverted Feeling (Fi)
People with Introverted Feeling type concentrate on assessing their surrounding based on what they feel is right and authentic for people. They keep their focus on issues of values, conscience, beliefs, and identity and believe in staying honest about who they are, and do not change themselves for external influences.
Even if people with the Introverted feeling type try to impose their rules on them, people with the Introverted Feeling type prefer to hear the small voice inside them that leads them to follow their truth, their conscience, and their desires.
People of these psychological types belong to the introverted feeling type are in close contact with the human experience and make effort to make decisions based on what is truly worthy in life. People of the Introverted Feeling type hold a lot of insight and depth due to their ethically-conscious, introspective nature.
Since Introverted Feeling is a process of judgement, they face conviction in life. People of Introverted Feeling type wish to discover their path and pursue it without being impacted by societal pressures.
The Dominant Function of ISTPs and INTPs – Introverted Thinking (Ti)
Their dominant function remains concentrated on detecting the truth of what something is. People with Introverted Thinking Functions sift past community biases and rules and try to reach the basis of a principle, theory or idea.
Those with Introverted Thinking Function organize falsehoods and truths in their mind and sort them out based on their relationships and connections with one another. Accuracy is at the bottom of your mind – they look for the most appropriate solution to any difficulty that comes their way.
Individuals with Introverted Thinking Function enjoy taking ideas or objects apart and assessing how they all match together. A person with an Introverted Thinking type, will follow his curiosity in different ways.
Their main goal is to think with the utmost clarity, with no irrational sentimental judgments or biases coming their way. Individuals with Introverted Thinking Function search for logical consistency in their thinking function and they enjoy increased expertise in specific fields of occupation.
The Dominant Function of ESFJs and ENFJs – Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
Their dominant function remains concentrated on unifying individuals and responding to their feeling dimensions values and needs. People belonging to the Extraverted Feeling type keep on assessing the sentimental “temperature” of the place they are in and can skillfully change the atmosphere of the place with their strong presence.
They keep people together and help unite them to achieve a common goal. Their personality traits include making people feel comfortable and use humor, gesture and words to make everyone at ease.
The Dominant Function of ESTJs and ENTJs – Extraverted Thinking (Te)
The dominant psychological function of people of these Psychological Types is to focus on working out life’s problems logically, efficiently and promptly. They strive to structure and organize their surroundings such that tasks can be done as effectively and rapidly as possible.
They are conscious about resources and time and understand how to utilize these to their utmost capability. Since Extraverted Thinking involves a process of judgement, they concentrate on moving forward, achieving objectives, and making decisions.
When they make judgments, they concentrate on causality, logic and facts. Some may consider them to be brusque, but it also allows them to stay focused on their goals without becoming sidetracked by ever-changing feeling dimensions and moods.
The Dominant Function of ISTJs and ISFJs – Introverted Sensation (Si)
The dominant function of people of these Psychological Types is to compare and contrast past with the present to discover what they may trust. They ground themselves in experience, sense impressions and reflect on recollections to navigate them forward.
They value practicing stuff until gaining expertise in a specific field. People of these psychological types are specialists and frequently learn the subject of studies of their choice. They demonstrate extraordinary attention to detail, and mostly find changes before others. Since they value strength, they are gifted with the art of building positive traditions and routines that bring a sense of comfort and consistency in their life.
They are Introverted Sensor, which gives them more knowledge of inner-body sensations. They may frequently sense thirst, hunger or fatigue and can better sense nuances in flavors than other people.
The Dominant Function of ESFPs and ESTPs – Extraverted Sensation (Se)
The dominant psychological function of people of these Psychological Types is to remain present with the world around them and immerse themselves in it as completely as possible. They are willing to explore, taste and touch, all of the experiences of life.
Drawn to novelty and excitement, you love physical activities, risks and adventures. Since they are extremely immersed in their present, they may notice objects and details more quickly and precisely than others. They are Extraverted Sensors, they possess a restless desire to remain alert and active.
Due to this, they are most energetic, quick-witted, and responsive. Hence, they are mostly quick to answer in the situation of a crisis and are experts in controlling a lot of contradicting external stimuli.
Efficacy of personality instruments
There are dozens of different personality tests available online that claim to tell you whether you're introverted, extroverted, etc. But is it really worth spending money on a personality type test?
There are plenty of other factors that influence our behavior, including our upbringing, culture, environment, and genetics. So while knowing your personality type might be fun, it's probably not going to change much about who you are or how you act.
Plus, personality tests aren't always accurate. Some companies offer personality tests that are based on questionable research methods, and others are just plain inaccurate. And since personality tests are subjective, they can lead to arguments among friends and family members.