The Proper Way To Look At Jungian Personality Theory
Many people today have either taken a personality test or know about personality tests. A lot of people I meet have strong opinions about such tests, and usually those with the strong opinions are critical of it.
Some hypothetical criticisms:
“Personality tests are trash- there are way too many personalities out there for a system to be able to type you.”
“I took the Meyers Briggs personality test on some website and read through the description when I was finished. It did sound a lot like me, but then again it could just be using super vague language like astrology to make me feel special.”
“Trying to generalize a personality type is such a superficial exercise and degrades individuality.”
The MBTI is not the end all be all of your personality, but a general code for the kind of person you are in the world.
There are 4 different pyschological spectrums, each of which are symbolized by 4 different letters.
The first spectrum is that of Introversion & Extroversion. This spectrum is commonly though of as being either someone who hates talking to people (Introvert) or loves talking to people (Extrovert). This is a very common misconception of the Introversion/Extroversion (I/E) spectrum. In fact, Jung coined the terms to mean either gaining pychological energy from alone time and spending it when with others (Introvert) or gaining pyschological energy from being with others and spending it when alone (Extrovert).
Recognize that I use the word “spectrum” and not “dichotomy.”
Everybody is both an Introvert and an Extrovert at certain points in their lives, in some sense.
The MBTI is calculating the average amount of your I/E and based off the questions that you answered when you took the test.
The most important thing for you to realize about MBTI is that in theory you could be 50/50 on all the spectrums and then have a neutral personality type, although you would have to rig your own test to get that, most likely.
However, it is possible to be practially neutral at something like 60/40 for Introversion/Extroversion. This would mean that, in theory you overall pickup energy from being alone but not as much as most introverts would.
This same spectrum theory is applied among the other typings.
The next spectrum is Intuition vs. Sensing.
Basically, some people pickup on patterns in reality and are better at generalizing (Intuition) than others who prefer to stick with the data that they observe in specific intances with their senses (Sensing).
No matter what though, all of us use our senses and pick up on patterns in reality. The tests merely point you in the preferred direction of your information gathering. Even if you’re an ‘S’ type you may find times where you take in information from an intuitive hunch that you have.
The third spectrum on the MBTI is Thinking vs. Feeling.
We can think of a pure Thinker as a robot and a pure Feeler as a person who makes decisions based off intangible, non-systematic criteria.
Again, no humans are robots, and the human brain is wired to make systematic decisions. We are all Thinkers and Feelers, each with our own nuanced preferences.
The last spectrum is Judging vs. Perceiving, and this one is about how our personality is oriented towards the world. Do we plan, prepare, and structure our life- or do we adapt, live spontaneously, and accept change willingly? The planner is a ‘Judger’ and the pressure-prompted adapter is a ‘Perceiver’.
I’m guessing each and every one of us has both planned something and adpated to change before. The last spectrum is no different than any of the others in this manner- no one can predict the future or live without attempting to predict and prepare for parts of it.
So, all in all, we can leverage personality theory to understand our preferences in how we pick up energy, take in information, make decisions, and orient ourselves towards reality.
We can accept that each of us is still our own personality, and in fact the most objective way at looking at personality theory is to view our personality as our self and our personality type (our specific code).
In this sense, we are being purely objective by allowing the subtle nuances to be recognized while still typing our personality into a general category.
I am James Biller/INTP.
Who are you?
Take the test here: https://www.16personalities.com
Learn about the geeky psychological theory that the test is based off of here: http://www.cognitiveprocesses.com/Cognitive-Functions/