Measuring Personality types and personality traits

Personality is an important factor that affects various aspects of our lives and our personal satisfaction as well as success.

It has been linked to various things including performance, buying behavior, leadership, and the achievement of our personal and professional goals.


Understanding our personalities helps us recognize and build upon our leading strengths, which can be the key to long lasting happiness and satisfaction in our lives.

Apart from that, by knowing others personalities and personality traits, we can form better relationships and achieve higher success in our lives.

In our daily lives, we come across people with varying personality traits.

Companies are focusing on hiring people with varying personality traits in order to bring higher diversity to their workforce.

They also consider personality types during hiring from a cultural point of view since certain personality types can fit in easily into certain work cultures.

Several types of personality traits have been identified over time and there are many personality tests available online that help you understand your personality type.

However, we are going to discuss two well-known tests that provide a better assessment of personality type and personality traits in comparison to most others.

The first one of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the second is the Big Five.

Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI):

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator was developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katherine Briggs.

Their main purpose behind creating the MBTI inventory was to make Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types understandable and useful in people’s lives.

According to Jung’s theory, the random variation in people’s behavior is actually the outcome of the basic variations in the ay they prefer to use their perception and judgment.

In the words of Isabell Briggs Myers, “The understanding of type can make your perceptions clearer, your judgments sounder, and your life closer to your heart’s desire”.

The instrument identifies 16 different personality types (each one represented by a four lettered acronym), which you can get a detailed description for each type here.

It does not help people identify their flaws but instead offers to help them understand their personalities better and in this way live happier and more satisfied lives.

In the instrument, personality preference is measured along four dichotomies and the combination of these scales produces a four lettered acronym reflecting the dominant score on each factor.

The acronyms represent 16 different personality types and describe people in detail on the basis of the behaviors associated with their personalities.

Myers Briggs is among the most well-known self-test inventories based on the Jungian theory.

Here is a description of the famous four dimensions/dichotomies:

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Favorite world:

The first pair of psychological preferences includes extraversion and introversion. Where does a person apay attention or draw his energy from – is it the outer world of people and things or is it his inner world of ideas and images?

It depends on what excites and energizes you. The psychological meaning of Extraversion and introversion is different from how they are commonly understood. The difference lies in whether people lime engaging with their outer or inner worlds.

Extraversion (E):

A person draws his energy and is excited by active involvement in his outer world. He feels excited among people and energizes others. He likes being active and making things happen.

He feels better with the pouter world and understands problems better after talking about them and considering what others have to say about it.

Generally, the following statements are applicable for such people:

  • He is seen as an outgoing or people’s person.
  • He prefers working with groups and is comfortable working with others.
  • He has a large friend circle and knows lots of people.
  • He jumps into an activity without thinking enough about it.
  • He might start a project without stopping to think what he wants to do and why?

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Introversion (I):

These are the people who are excited about and derive their energy from their inner world or the images and ideas inside their own heads. They often prefer doing things alone or one or two people that they are comfortable with. They take time to reflect about what they are going to do before they decide to act.

In the case of such people, generally it is fit to say that,

  • They are seen as reflective or reserved.
  • They feel comfortable being alone and like doing things on their own.
  • They prefer to keep a small friends circle or like knowing just a few people.
  • They sometimes spend too much time reflecting and would not set into action quickly enough.

Information:

Under this dichotomy, there is the second pair of psychological preferences. It depends on whether a person pays attention to the basic information he receives or does he prefer to interpret it and find meaning.

In this content, sensing means paying more attention to the basis information a person receives through his five senses or to the patterns and possibilities he sees in the information he receives. Every person spends time sensing and sometimes uses his/her intuition. We will discuss both these psychological preferences in the section below:

Sensing:

Sensing means paying attention to physical reality or the information being received through the five senses.

Such people are concerned with the actual, current, real and the present. They notice facts and remember the important details.

They learn through practical experiences and like to know and see the practical use of things.

Experience is more important to them than words.

The following statements mare applicable to such people:

  • They remember events as snapshots of what actually happened.
  • They work through facts to understand and solve the problem.
  • They are pragmatic and look to the bottom line.
  • They start with facts and then form a big picture.
  • They trust experience more than the words and symbols.
  • Sometimes they are so obsessed with facts including present and past that they miss any new possibilities.

Intuition:

Such people pay more attention to the impressions, meaning, and patterns of the information they receive.

They understand a problem by thinking on it rather than through hands on experience.

They are interested in knowing about new possibilities and so are more interested in the future rather than the past.

They like to work with symbols or abstract theories even if I am not familiar with their use.

Rather than the actual facts related to an event, I remember its impression.

The following statements are generally applicable in the case of such people:

  • It is important for them to know the meaning of the events by reading between the lines.
  • They leap between different problems and possibilities to solve problems.
  • They are interested in doing new and different things.
  • Rather than the facts, the bigger picture is important for them.
  • More than their actual experience they trust the impressions, symbols and metaphors.
  • Sometimes new possibilities are just so important to them that they never look at how to make them a reality.

Decision:

The third dichotomy includes the preference pair describing how people make decisions.

In the case of thinking, the first of the preference pair, the focus is higher on objective principles and impersonal facts.

In the case of feeling, the focus is higher on the personal concerns and the people involved in terms of decisions.

Here, feeling must not be confused with emotions and thinking must not be confused with intelligence.

In most cases, while the same person may use thinking for making some decisions, in the other cases, he may employ feeling.

In fact, someone can make a decision based on his own preference and then test the decision on the basis of the other preference.

Thinking:

When deciding, such people like to search for the basic truth or the principle to be applied rather than considering the specific situation involved in the case.

They like to analyze the pros and cons and then be logical and consistent in their decision making.

Since they like to be impersonal, they do not let their own wishes or other’s wishes influence me.

The following statements are generally applicable in the case of such people:

  • They enjoy scientific and technical fields involving the use of logic.
  • They notice inconsistencies.
  • They look for logical explanation or solutions to almost everything.
  • They want to be fair and use their heads to make decisions.
  • Rather than being tactful, they believe in telling the truth.
  • Sometimes, they ignore the people part of the situation.
  • They can be seen as too task oriented, uncaring or indifferent.

Feeling:

They make decisions by considering what people care about and including the point of view of the people involved in a specific situation.

They are concerned with values and what is the best for the people involved in a situation.

They are concerned with maintaining harmony and will do whatever works to preserve harmony.

Such people are caring, warm and tactful in terms of relationships.

The following statements are generally applicable in the case of such people:

  • They are people oriented or communications oriented.
  • They are concerned with harmony and feel nervous to find harmony lacking.
  • They are concerned for what is important for others and express concern for other people.
  • They make their decisions with their hearts and want to be compassionate.
  • Rather than telling the cold truth, they would like to be tactful.
  • Sometimes they miss seeing or communicating the hard truth related to a situation.
  • Others might see them as too idealistic, mushy or indirect.

Structure:

The fourth dichotomy includes a preference pair that describes how one likes to live his outer life.  How people see their behavior?

Does someone prefer a more structured and decided lifestyle (judging)?

Or does someone like a more flexible and adaptable lifestyle (perceiving)?

This preference can also be seen as one’s orientation of the outer world.

Judging:

Such a person uses his decision making (judging) preference (thinking or feeling) in his outer life.

To others they seem to prefer a planned or orderly way of life.

They like to have things settled and organized and feel more comfortable when decisions are made.

They also like to bring life under as much control as possible.

While it describes how one is to his outer world, the same person may inside feel very flexible and open to new information.

The following statements are generally applicable in the case of such people:

  • They like having things decided.
  • They appear to be task oriented.
  • They like to make a list of things to do.
  • They like to get important tasks done before taking a break.
  • They plan their work so that they do not need to rush to meet a deadline.
  • However, sometimes their focus on the goal is just so high that they might miss new information.

Perceiving:

Such people use their perceiving function (sensing or intuition) in their outer life. They appear to prefer a flexible and spontaneous way of life to others.

Rather than organizing their world, they prefer to understand and adapt to it.

Others see them as open to new experiences and information.

However, this preference pair only describes how they prefer to be in their outer world, so the same people can inside feel very planful or decisive.

The following statements are generally applicable in the case of such people:

  • They like to stay open to respond to whatever happens.
  • They are seen as loose and casual and like to keep plans to a minimum.
  • They like to mix work and fun and try to approach their work as play.
  • They work in bursts of energy.
  • An approaching deadline stimulates them.
  • They are sometimes open to new information that they might miss making decisions when they are needed.

The Big Five Personality Traits:

Another popular personality assessment tool is the Big Five.

It is also a psychological assessment that focuses on five important dimensions or categories describing personality.

It is also recognized by the acronym OCEAN, which denotes the five important personality categories.

  • O- Openness
  • C- Conscientiousness
  • E-Extraversion
  • A-Agreeableness
  • N-Neuroticism

All the five categories listed above describe the dominant aspect of a person’s personality.

Openness:

Such people tend to be creative thinkers and tend to love taking on new challenges. They are also great in terms of adapting to change and love change. However, people that score low in this area are believed to be less imaginative and may not be able to cope well with change.

Conscientiousness:

People who score higher in terms of conscientiousness tend to live more planned and organized lives.

They are good at planning ahead, focusing on details and being ready to meet deadlines.

Such people also tend to be mindful of others and know how their actions and decisions can influence people around them.

The people who score low in this area are the people who tend to fail in terms of meeting deadlines and generally procrastinate.

Such people tend to live unorganized lives and stay away from keeping and following schedules.

Extraversion:

These are the people who like being in groups and love meeting new people and being a part of gatherings and conversations.

They are good in terms of making new friends and generally have a large friend circle.

The people who score low in this area are known as introverts and tend to have smaller friend circles and like to live in seclusion.

They do not like to be the center of attraction and do not like having conversations related to trivial or controversial matters.

Agreeableness:

People who score high in this area show a genuine concern for the others. They are empathetic towards others and are known for helping needy people.

It is just the opposite for the people who score low in this area. People who score low in this area, tend to behave rudely and inconsiderate towards others’ need and even manipulate others to fulfil their own needs.

Neuroticism:

Those people who score high in this area tend to act very moody. The generally remained stressed an anxious and tend to get upset too easily.


However, the people who score low in this area tend to behave normally and are generally emotionally more stable. Generally, they do not act stressed and are less affected by stressors.