The mystery of the four-letter abbreviations
By Carlos Bilan, Staff Writer
Have you ever encountered four letter abbreviations on someone’s online dating profile, or in their bio attached to their social media accounts, like INFJ, ENTP, ISTP, ENFP and wondered “What the heck does that mean?” Well, those are Myers-Brigg personality types. That answer probably doesn’t make things clearer, but it’s actually pretty simple.
The Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI) is a kind of assessment created by Katharine Cook Briggs with her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. This indicator was developed from the typological theory of Carl Jung, the father of analytical psychology, who conceptualized the two core human personality traits: introversion and extroversion. He also proposed the idea of cognitive functions, which are the different ways individuals perceive and judge their daily surroundings.
In addition, Jung theorized that there are two sub-categories of cognitive function associated with the two main functions, perception and judging. For perception, it’s “intuition” or “sensing,” and for judging, it’s “thinking” or “feeling.” According to him, each individual prefers one of each from the two main functions. It then follows that the MBTI personality type was created so that it can put the Jungian preferences in a convenient order. Hence, the four pairs of personality traits are: Introversion (I) or Extroversion (E), Intuition (N) or Sensing (S), Thinking (T) or Feeling (F), Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). Finally, those four-letter abbreviations are no longer a mystery!
I’m guessing you probably would like to know what your MBTI personality trait is? Luckily, you can find out for yourself in less than 12 minutes by taking a test, and it is pretty fun! There are many websites out there that you can use, but the one I think seems to be the most reliable and has a better approach to the test is from 16Personalities. According to its “Our Theory” page, their model combines the best of both worlds, the MBTI and Jungian models. They retain the MBTI acronym format due to its convenience and simplicity, but they redefined many of the traits in the Jungian model, which leads to a more simplified model. In this way, they claim that their model “achieves high test accuracy while also retaining the ability to define and describe distinct personality types.”
From the homepage’s statistics counter, more than 61 million people have taken the test so far, and you can also see the comments of people being mind-blown by how freakishly accurate their results are. Once you take the test, the results from the website evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, romantic relationships, friendships, parenthood, career paths, and workplace habits. They even mention celebrities and popular figures in literature and media as examples that possibly share the personality type you are, which is pretty cool to know. As the website mentions, the theory simply says how people belonging to those different personality types are likely to behave, and is not a definite answer to how these individuals will behave. Therefore it should not be used as a criterion when hiring employees.
The beauty about taking this personality test is that you get to know more about yourself, since it assigns you to one of the 16 personality models that could potentially describe you. In this way, you can use it as a self-help guide, or for personal reflection.
I’m an ESTP, by the way—I wonder what yours is?