Intro to Typology: What Do These Letters Mean? Part I

Intro to Typology: What Do These Letters Mean? Part I

Most people throughout some point in their lives have taken the Myers-Briggs personality test. This particular psychometric test is given in order to determine our proclivity towards particular ways of functioning in the world. Before we start the breakdown of each specific domain, let’s take a look at how this personality theory came to be. The Myers-Briggs test was actually developed much later than the release of the initial publication of the theory which was created by Carl Jung in the early 20th century. Jung, amongst developing his own psychological orientation, was also a psychotherapist for years and his work with patients in the clinical setting is what allowed him to develop such an elaborate theory. Initially, Jung’s theory of personality wasn’t actually meant for public consumption, but rather to be used as a tool within the therapeutic realm. Because of the demand for this specific type of categorization, Myers and Briggs monetized the theory and it is still used widely today in universities and corporations in order to help place students and employees into fields and departments where their specific personality type could flourish best. Before we begin to unpack the meaning from these tests, they can be very helpful in order to help us not only better understand ourselves as a means to highlight our strengths and avoid our weaknesses, but also as a means for gaining a deeper understanding of others in the process.

The Attitudes

In total, there are 4 domains in Typology (Jung’s personality theory) which include dichotomies for all 4 categories. As an example, we can begin by looking at the most well-known of the domains which is extroversion and introversion. Because we still use these terms that Jung created specifically for his theory in common parlance today, we have a vague understanding of what they mean. The extrovert is the loud individual who enjoys being the center of attention at the party, and the introvert is the quiet individual who, if they make it to the party at all, will inevitably be hiding in the corner. While there is a grain of truth to this understanding it is largely incorrect. The “attitudes” of extroversion and introversion, more specifically, denote where the individual tends to direct their focus, energy, and attention. Extroverts tend to engage more in the external world and react to stimuli and interactions as they happen with little forethought. Introverts, on the other hand, direct their energy inward which requires a more introspective investigation before they react in the external world. (discussion continued in Pt. II)


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