There are 16 distinct personality types based on the Myers-Briggs personality assessment. Based on the psychology work of Carl Jung, mother-daughter duo Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs determined that individuals can be categorized into one of 16 personality types based on preferences.
It’s been shown that while everyone is unique to a certain extent, those with the same personality type appear to think and act in fairly predictable patterns.
Determining your personality type can help you to understand yourself better and those around you. Once you know your personality better, you can choose a job or career that will be well-suited to your strengths and weaknesses as well as to your likes and dislikes.
Additionally, when you learn more about your own personality type and the types of those around you, you’ll be better able to understand why people may act the way that they do, allowing you to have more compassion for human differences.
When you identify your preferences, these four choices go together to determine your personality type. The 16 personality types are listed along with the percentage of the population believed to have each type according to the Myers Briggs Institute:
- ESTP – 4.3 percent
- ESTJ – 8.7 percent
- ENTP – 3.2 percent
- ENTJ – 1.8 percent
- ESFP – 8.5 percent
- ESFJ – 12 percent
- ENFP – 8.1 percent
- ENFJ – 2.5 percent
- ISTP – 5.4 percent
- ISTJ – 11.6 percent
- INTP – 3.3 percent
- INTJ – 2.1 percent
- ISFP – 8.8 percent
- ISFJ – 13.8 percent
- INFP – 4.4 percent
- INFJ – 1.5 percent
A dichotomy is an either-or contrast. In the case of personality types, there are four dichotomies or preferences:
- Introversion versus Extroversion, represented by the letters “I” and “E”
- Intuition versus Sensing, represented by “N” and “S”
- Feeling versus Thinking, using the letters “F” and “T”
- Perception versus Judging, noted with “P” and “T”
Extraversion versus Introversion
The first letter of your personality type is used to describe how you find your energy. If you prefer extraversion, you gain energy by being around people in an active environment while those who prefer introversion are more energized by spending time alone or with just a few people in a more relaxed environment.
Extroverts focus on the outside world, and introverts focus on the world that exists within.
Sensing versus Intuition
The second letter, S or N, shows how you take in and process information. Sensing shows that you prefer to use your five senses, and intuition means that you’re more likely to use a more abstract method of seeing patterns and possibilities.
Sensers are more focused on the here and now while intuitives look more toward the future.
Feeling versus Thinking
The decision-making process is shown by the third letter of your personality type. If you prefer to rely on logic and reasoning, this is a thinking choice. However, if you find that you make decisions based on your values or how the outcome may affect others, your preference is likely feeling.
Basically, feelers use their hearts while thinkers use their heads.
Perceiving versus Judging
The final function determines the structure of your outer world. If you’re the perceiving type, you prefer to leave your options open and appreciate flexibility and spontaneity. If you’re the judging type, you prefer order and organization with set schedules.
Perceivers need to be able to change their minds at any point while judgers prefer to have everything planned out.
Although there are only four dichotomies, it’s the combination of these preferences that matters. Once you have the four-letter combination for your personality type, you’ll find that certain functions are more or less dominant in your everyday life.
There are eight possible cognitive functions, but each personality type is comprised of four of these dichotomies. Thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuition can be introverted or extraverted based on your personality type.
The eight cognitive functions are as follows:
- Extraverted thinking, which is noted with the letters “Te”
- Introverted thinking – Ti
- Extraverted feeling – Fe
- Introverted feeling – Fi
- Extraverted intuition – Ne
- Introverted intuition – Ni
- Extraverted sensing – Se
- Introverted sensing – Si
It’s important to note that if you have a function that’s introverted, it doesn’t mean that you never express it outwardly. All this means is that much of an introverted trait is focused inward while extraverted traits are mostly expressed outwardly.
Extraverted thinkers use objectivity to look at facts using a broad scope that doesn’t really dig too deeply into matters. They are rational, organized, and efficient. These thinkers want to make things more efficient.
When thinking is directed inward, it focuses more on personal logic and effectiveness. Introverted thinkers are those who think deeply about topics though they may not readily express these ideas outwardly.
Extraverted feelers place a focus on feelings and people. They’re concerned with peace and harmony among others, and their feelings are influenced by objects and events in the outer world.
Introverted feelers place more emphasis on their own feelings and inner harmony. Although they aren’t so much affected by the feelings of those around them, they can have intense emotional responses when their values or ideals are put into question.
Extraverted sensers prefer what they can identify in the outer world with their five senses. They are highly impacted by their physical environment. They tend to seek out new experiences and may be seen as thrill seekers.
Introverted sensers are more receptive to what’s going on inside their own bodies. They’re less likely to seek out new physical experiences and tend to stick with what they know they enjoy.
Extraverted intuitives can see patterns and possibilities in the outer world. They’re able to use existing ideas and find unique solutions that others may not see. However, they may wish to explore all options, making it difficult to decide.
Introverted intuitives are more focused on possibilities and patterns that they find within themselves. They often develop new ideas, and their perspective may change as they engage in self discovery.
The four functions that comprise your personality follow a hierarchy, which is what makes each personality type different. This ordering of traits is known as the functional stack.
The order of dominance of each function is determined by your personality type.
The dominant function is the main personality trait that you exhibit. This function is highly conscious and is what identifies the main characteristics and strengths of each type. This trait is used without you even thinking about it.
Although not as prominent as the dominant function, the auxiliary function is also highly developed. Often referred to as the sidekick or copilot to the dominant function, this trait is also conscious and emphasizes your dominant function.
The third, or tertiary, function isn’t easily accessible through the conscious mind. Lt begins to develop in adulthood and continues as you grow older. It affects the first two functions without you even realizing it.
The least developed of all the traits, the inferior function is the hardest to access. While this function may come out during times of stress, it unconsciously affects the other functions at most times.
As you grow and engage in more experiences throughout your lifetime, these functions are likely to develop, allowing you to express various functions more or less prominently.
The 16 Personality Types
The 16 distinct personality types are thus identified based on your preference for the dichotomies, whether these traits are introverted or extraverted, and their dominance in the functional stack.
Those with the ESTP personality type are very present in the moment. Preferring prompt results, they like to use their hands to accomplish goals. Highly spontaneous, ESTPs are flexible and tolerant. They enjoy interacting with and helping others in a pragmatic way.
The functional stack for ESTPs is Se, Ti, Fe, Ni, meaning the dominant function is extraverted sensing.
Highly organized and efficient, ESTJs create a plan and follow it to the letter. Realistic and practical, those with this type are logically decisive and expect others to hold up to their own responsibilities. They’re happy to handle routine tasks.
Te, Si, Ne, Fi makes up the functional stack for ESTJs, making extraverted thinking the dominant function.
Very energetic, ENTPs are always looking for new possibilities. They’re often easily bored, so they’ll jump from one new interest to another. They can read people accurately and enjoy finding solutions to complex problems.
With a functional stack of Ne, Ti, Fe, Si, extraverted intuition is the dominant trait.
Often assuming leadership roles, those with this personality are organized and decisive. They’re able to look at matters from various viewpoints to find the most efficient and effective solution. Honest and direct, ENTJs don’t like to waste time.
Extraverted thinking is dominant with a functional stack of Te, Ni, Se, Fi.
Spontaneous and flexible, ESFPs can readily adapt when facing new environments and meeting new people. Excellent team players, those with this personality like to make work fun. They take pleasure in what’s around them and are highly charming to be around.
Se, Fi, Te, Ni make up the ESFPs functional stack, so extraverted sensing is the dominant function.
ESFJs enjoy people and connections and will do all that they can to maintain harmony in social situations. Those with this personality type don’t mind routine, so they’ll happily tackle even the smallest of tasks, especially if it helps someone else. Very loyal, they like to be appreciated.
With a functional stack order of Fe, Si, Ne, Ti, extraverted feeling dominates.
Those with this type look toward future possibilities. They’re extremely optimistic, flexible, and creative, encouraging others to live authentic lives. Although they have an innate need for validation, they’re willing to provide this same support to others.
The functional stack for ENFPs is Ne, Fi, Te, Si, which makes their dominant function extraverted intuition.
People oriented, ENFJs work well with others and don’t mind stepping into leadership roles. They’re great at communicating because they can readily pick up on social cues. Charismatic and empathetic, they want to help others to grow.
Fe, Ni, Se, Ti make up the functional stack of ENFJs, so extraverted feeling is the dominant trait.
Analytical observers, ISTPs collect information and facts and keep them carefully organized and connected, making them ready to act should problems arise. Practical yet flexible, they prefer fast action to difficulties. ISTPs want to know what makes things and people tick.
The functional stack of ISTPs is Ti, Se, Ni, Fe, making the dominant function introverted thinking.
Enjoying organization in everything that they do, ISTJs are serious and responsible in all aspects of their lives. Preferring logic, they make rational decisions that aren’t based on emotions. Not easily distracted, they can work through a project to the end.
Si, Te, Fi, Ne make up their functional stack with introverted sensing being the dominant trait.
Both curious and skeptical, INTPs like to analyze everything. Those with this type prefer to spend time alone mulling over ideas and possibilities rather than engaging with others. They can easily adapt to new situations.
The functional stack for INTPS is Ti, Ne, Si, Fe, so their dominant trait is introverted thinking.
Those with the INTJ personality type are highly analytical and look for future possibilities. They can see things from many different viewpoints, allowing them to come up with effective solutions to problems. Highly imaginative, they use this trait to bring order out of chaos.
Ni, Te, Fi, Se make up the functional stack of INTJs, with introverted intuition being the dominant function.
Living in the present, ISFPs tend to spend their time alone and work at their own paces. They don’t like conflict, but they’re highly adept at knowing when someone isn’t being completely honest with them. Sensitive beings, ISFPs are very loyal to those close to them.
The functional stack for ISFPs is Fi, Se, Ni, Te, making introverted feeling the dominant trait.
Because they care how others feel, those with this personality enjoy harmony and like to help people in practical ways. Highly conscientious, they do all work to the best of their abilities. ISFJs like to protect and care for those close to them.
With Si, Fe, Ti, Ne making up their functional stack, ISFJs have a dominant function of introverted sensing.
Those with this personality type are tolerant and accepting unless something threatens their values. Highly individual and idealistic, INFPs strive to make their inner and outer lives mesh. They’re flexible and adaptable and want to improve their world and that of others close to them.
The functional stack is Fi, Ne, Si, Te for INFPs, so introverted feeling is the dominant trait.
Personal integrity is paramount to those with the INFJ personality. They seek meaning in everything and love to help others with creative solutions. Committed and organized, INFJs look for meaning and possibilities.
Because the INFJs functional stack is Ni, Fe, Ti, Se, internal intuition is the dominant function.