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P E R S O N A L I T Y   I

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I. Introduction

This document is intended to provide a gentle introduction to the Myers-Briggs theory of personality types.

You may be wondering why I don't just launch into a description of the different personality types as described by the Myers-Briggs personality model. Why go into all that "theoretical foundations" stuff?

Well, it's not just because I personally prefer theory to applications (although that is in fact true, and as you will see later is a typical pattern for one particular personality type). I want to talk about the theory that underlies the portraits of the different types and temperaments because it's the scientific basis of an independently testable theoretical model that separates type and temperament theory from "faith-based" systems of personality analysis such as astrology and the enneagram.

In other words, type and temperament theory are based on observation, on fitting the model to the facts. That's different--better, I would say--from other systems which claim to describe the variations in human behavior, in that those other systems take some part of their authority from claims that they are based on "ancient wisdom." "Ancient wisdom" is always a code phrase meaning, "We can't back up with facts and evidence the 'model' we made up, so just shut up and accept whatever we claim."

That's a lousy basis for any field of study. If it yields acceptable practical results, and it's the only thing out there, then I might be persuaded to use it while I look for something better--i.e., something based on science instead of superstition. But that's not the case for personality analysis. In this case, we've got a model based on observational science: Jung/Myers-Briggs/Keirsey type and temperament theory.

I think it's important to defend science over "because I said so." In this specific case, I think it's important to do more than claim that type and temperament theory work to explain differences in personality; I believe I need to offer some reasonably plausible hypothesis as to _why_ these models work. Otherwise I'm just setting myself up as an authority for you to believe in... and that's no better than astrology.

So I hope you'll take the time to look at my explanations of why type and temperament theory work. This isn't a dissertation, so don't expect a lot of footnotes and bibliographic references, but I will try to balance clarity of presentation with solid factual information.

I hope you find this whole series useful.

Usage Note

It should be noted that the discussions which follow are my own interpretations of the ideas behind this branch of personality modeling derived from the works of Carl G. Jung. I stand behind my comments, but I should point out that I am not a medical doctor; nothing I say is intended as medical advice and none of my remarks or suggestions should be taken as medical advice.

Furthermore, nothing herein should be considered to be in any way an "official" interpretation of Myers-Briggs personality analysis, and I disavow any such representation of myself. Only someone who is trained and licensed to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ® test and interpret its results should be considered an "official" source.

Copyright Note

The following materials are copyright (c) 1998 by Bart Stewart, except for the terms "Myers-Briggs Type Indicator" and "MBTI," which are registered trademarks of Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc., Palo Alto, CA, USA.

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I. Introduction

II. Background

III. Myers-Briggs Type Theory

IV. Keirsey Temperament Theory

V. Keirsey Temperament Portraits

VI. Myers-Briggs Type Portraits

VII. The "Opposites" Model

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Freud, S.: The Interpretation of Dreams, Basic Books, 1933.

Hirsh, S. and Kummerow, J.: LIFETypes, Warner Books, 1989.

Jung, C.G.: "The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious," in Collected Works, Vol. 9i, translated by R.F.C. Hull, Princeton University Press, 1959.

Jung, C.G.: "Psychological Types," in Collected Works, Vol. 6, translated by R.F.C. Hull, Princeton University Press, 1976.

Jung, C.G., ed.: Man and His Symbols, Anchor Press, 1988.

Keirsey, D. and Bates, M.: Please Understand Me, Prometheus Nemesis Book Company, 1984.

Keirsey, D.: Please Understand Me II, Prometheus Nemesis Book Company, 1998.

Kroeger, O. and Thuesen, J.: Type Talk, Dell Publishing, 1989.

Myers, I.B.: Gifts Differing, Davies-Black Publishing, 1980.

Quenk, N.L.: Beside Ourselves, Davies-Black Publishing, 1993.


Yahoo Personality sites a general list of sites related to personality assessment.

Keirsey Temperament and Character Web Site the "official" Web site for information concerning Keirsey's version of the Myers-Briggs personality model.

alt.psychology.personality Archives a newsgroup for the discussion of personality typing systems.

Association for Psychological Type one of the best-known personality assessment organizations.

TypeLogic a nice reference page by Joe Butt featuring his descriptions of the 16 Myers-Briggs types.

The Personality Index links to personal sites grouped by Myers-Briggs type.

Myers-Briggs Type Careers suggested careers, grouped by Myers-Briggs type.

The Intergalactic Explorer Type Test a friendly spoof of the Myers-Briggs type test. What kind of intergalactic explorer would you be?

Yahoo personality tests page a Yahoo collection of on-line personality tests.

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