MBTI / Myers Briggs Type Indicator descriptions
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Notes about MBTI descriptions

MBTI, or Myers Briggs Type Indicator, descriptions can be found in many publications and on many websites. There are 16 types: ENFP, ENTP, INFP, INTP, ESFP, ESTP, ISTP, ISFP, ENFJ, ENTJ, INFJ, INTJ, ESFJ, ESTJ, ISTJ, ISFJ.

The descriptions in this website are based on those found in the book Influencing People using Myers Briggs. How are they different from other descriptions?

The MBTI was developed by the mother and daughter team of Katherine Briggs and Isabel-Briggs Myers, but is based on the personality theory of Carl Jung. His theory states that there are four functions (or mental muscles as we prefer to call them) that we use in everyday life. Everyone uses these four mental muscles, to greater and lesser extents. The differences between the personality types are to do with how they prefer to use those mental muscles. As a result, different people tend to act and think in different ways.

But our actions and thoughts are not governed solely by our innate personality type. They can be influenced by the demands of the job, training, upbringing, cultural or social expectations, etc.. Therefore, when we observe someone's outward behaviour, we are not observing their personality directly, we are only observing their behaviours in a particular situation.

Of course, if we observe that individual over a number of different situations, we may see a pattern start to emerge. However, it is still impossible to tell whether that pattern is reflecting their underlying personality preferences, or another common theme. For example, if someone has been brought up by their parents to act and behave in a certain way, and this has been reinforced by their training and education, then there will be a theme of behaviour that will emerge in almost every situation they find themselves in.

However, that training or upbringing may be different from their innate or in-born personality preferences. To understand this, we have to go 'behind' the outward behaviours, and begin to understand how the individual is using the mental muscles.

Whereas most type descriptions describe the 'traits' associated with each personality type, the type descriptions at this page focus specifically on the mental muscles, and how behaviours and thoughts emanate from use of those mental muscles. The descriptions are also supported by Mental Muscle Diagrams that show, pictorially, how they are used. For readers interested in understanding more than the simple traits associated with each personality type, and want to know why people do or think as they do, these descriptions help to lift the lid on the theory that underlies the theory.

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