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    SIXTEEN PERSONALITY TYPES

    Type-Temperament Theory divides humanity into sixteen types, based on four pairs of interactive factors.

    We are information processors, all of us, all the time, every day. We live our lives by taking in data, determining what needs to be done, and taking action.

    The input process of becoming aware is called perception. The output process of decision-making and reacting is called judging.

    People vary enormously in terms of how much they enjoy the perceptive process and how they prefer to perceive reality.

    Likewise, people can be classified by how much they like making judgments and how they prefer to do so.

    The Insight Game first distinguishes perceptive types from judging types.

     

    Do You Prefer Perception or Judgment?

    Perceptive types deal with their environment most comfortably when they are observing, absorbing, or otherwise taking notice of the world around them. Judging types deal with reality most easily when they are forming judgments or conclusions about what they perceive.

    The perceptive type is patient with gathering data about people, ideas and day-to-day occurrences. The judging type begins to organize what is observed almost immediately: summarizing, classifying, simplifying or otherwise "pigeon-holing" reality into boxes built by previous experience.

    In their extremes, perceptive people may have a hard time ever "getting to the bottom line" in making even routine decisions, while judging people may "jump the gun" and make up their minds about issues before enough information has been gathered to take an informed stand.

    Perceptive types can be wishy-washy, if their judgment is not developed. Judging types can be stubborn and reactive, if their perception is not developed.

    It is apparent by now that no one could really be all perceptive, or all judging, since perception must precede judgment, and judgment does eventually follow perception, but--with most people--one process does tend to predominate. The tendency to have a clear preference for one attitude over the other is both natural and adaptive. It defines one important aspect of your personality type.

    The ideally balanced person has an adaptive mixture of perception and judgment: perception to give awareness and judgment to form opinions, develop attitudes, and take action at the appropriate time.

     

    Are Your Perceptions Based on Sensory or
    Intuitive Information About the World?

    All of us perceive reality in two stages. First of all, we use our sensing ability, and then we process the sensory data using our intuition. People may be divided processes they prefer to use. Thus, we distinguish sensing from intuitive types by their preferred perceptive process.

    People who rely on sensory information to guide their awareness of the world are often described as realists. They are keen observers and proud of it. They live in the here and now and like the neighborhood. They use their sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch to tell them about life.

    Sensing people tend to rely on familiar tactics and past experience to guide their perception of new situations.

    While the sensing person perceives what is seen, the intuitive person forms perceptions by combining what is seen with ideas and associations from imagination and memory.

    Intuitive people see life more in terms of imaginative possibility than practical reality. They look to the future. They search for meaning. They revel in images, ideas, theory and speculation. They are experimenters. They try out new ways of interpreting things. They prefer indirect routes of perception. Their view of reality is guided and shaped by their unconscious.

    At their personality extremes, sensing-type people may seem rather lack-luster and unimaginative, while intuitive people may seem to have no sense of reality. The former may appear to have feet planted too firmly on the ground, while the latter may seem to fly through the air and never touch down.

    Sensors make good reporters but poor poets. Intuitives may well be mathematical geniuses, but you probably wouldn't knowingly pick one to be your bookkeeper.

    Again, all of us need and use both sensing and intuitive processing to form perceptions. But most of us most of us favor one process more than the other. And that preference is an important part of your personality type.

     

    Do You Make Judgments on the Basis of
    Thinking or Feeling?

    After the perceptions of any life situation have been formed by sensing and intuition, we tabulate the results, draw conclusions, and take action. That's what we mean by judging.

    To form judgments, all people apply two processes in series. First, we think. Then we use feeling. But we don't rely on those processes in equal measure. At least most of us don't, and there's good reason to believe that it's healthy, normal, adaptive to have a clear-cut preference for which function you use. The tendency to choose one process over the other identifies your preferred judging process.

    Those who are most comfortable using their thinking process trust rational analysis and impersonal logic to guide their decision-making. Those who prefer to use their feelings turn to their inner system of values to direct their actions.

    The thinking-type person, in the extreme case, may seem hard-hearted and mechanical in day-to-day affairs. Compassion may seem lacking. The feeling-type person may appear to be irrational, ignoring the facts of a situation to decide "with the heart," regardless of the outcome.

     

    Are You an Extravert or an Introvert?

    Each of us has an inner self--quiet, contemplative, introverted. Our extraverted self is the one the world sees. Our introvert is silent, the extravert, vocal.

    Those who prefer their extraverted self see people and things as the real stuff of life, while the introvert deals with ideas as the best reality.

    The extravert yearns for contact with a variety of people, while the introvert yearns for peace and privacy or for association with a small intimate circle of friends.

    When dealing with people on a wholesale basis, the extravert is involved, while the introvert is detached and reserved. The extravert talks, while the introvert contemplates. More often than not, the introvert may think without talking, while the extravert may talk without thinking.

    More so than the introvert, the extravert relies on encouragement, support and acceptance from others. By comparison, the introvert is self-motivated, self-reinforcing.

    The extravert learns by doing, using experience as a laboratory in life. Outgoing, fearless, and almost childlike in naivete, the extravert tends to try the unknown first and ask questions afterwards. The introvert is far more shy, cautious and deliberate. In the extreme case, it appears that some introverts must understand life before living it.

    The extravert's emotions are accessible, frequently vented, obvious to all around. The introvert tends to bottle emotion, cork it tightly into little flasks, deny it, hide it, until--crossing some threshold unannounced to the world--the cork blows, unleashing pent-up emotion in what may become an explosive eruption.

    The extravert's personality is directed outwards. The face the world sees is an accurate reflection of the extravert's "real self." If the extravert is a judging person, then the preferred judging process--either thinking or feeling--will be the hallmark of the outward personality. Likewise, if the extravert is a perceptive person and, thus, relies on sensing or intuition as the preferred perceptive process, every aspect of the extravert's behavior will reflect those personality tendencies.

    But, with the introvert, what you see is not what you get.

    If the introvert is a judging person, the thinking/feeling process will characterize the outward personality, but the inner preferred perceptive process will be the key to understanding the individual's personality--and it will be out of sight. Remember, to the introvert, the world "out there" is not where their best reality lies.

    By the same token, the introverted perceptive will organize his or her outer personality using the sensory or intuitive process, for they must have some extraversion in order to survive in the physical world of people and things, to function in society. Nonetheless, it is their preferred judging process, either thinking or feeling which is the real key to their personality--their dominant process--and it's underground.

    Confusing? You bet it's confusing! But, then, so are introverts. Whether you are an introvert or love an introvert or work with an introvert, it's well worth the time you invest to understand their complexity. After all, they make up one fourth of the population!

     

    A Simplified Approach to Insight

    So the four factors are introversion or extraversion (I/E), sensing or intuition (S/N), thinking or feeling (T/F), and perception or judging (P/J)--and all of them interact, composing sixteen basic personality types.

    A wise psychologist once pointed out that most of us have a hard time remembering any combination of things over the "magic number seven." So, it's not surprising that a personality theory involving sixteen types is a little difficult to understand and use well.

    Dr. David Keirsey, a California psychologist, has made an important contribution to this system: simplicity! Keirsey has suggested that four temperamental "cornerstones" are all you need to understand as a beginning to mastering the sixteen types.

    At the heart of Keirsey's work is the important observation that sensors and intuitives are the most different of all the pairs. So, Keirsey's scheme identifies two key groups of sensors and two of intuitives.

    For sensors, the greatest differences appear between those who are perceptive and those who prefer judging.

    For intuitives, the perceptive-judging difference is less critical than that between feeling and thinking.

    So, in Keirsey's convenient shorthand, we've related personality type differences to his four categories.

    We've called the combination of sensing and perception (SP) the REALIST, sensing and judging (SJ) the LEGALIST, intuition and feeling (NF) the EMPATHIST, and intuition and thinking (NT) the ANALYST.

    The REALIST is physical, spontaneous and game-playing.

    The LEGALIST is conservative, serious and responsible.

    The EMPATHIST is warm, spiritual and communicative.

    The ANALYST is logical, competent and theoretical.

    Jung


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