Understanding the MBTI ® and Personality Types Type Dynamics: Interpreting the code of MBTI Myers Briggs Personality Types
Understanding J and P of the MBTI Assessment
In Personality Type “lingo” the term “Attitude” is used for the fourth letter of the code of Personality Types: J (for judging) or P (for perceiving).
A common misunderstanding interprets these two letters as indicating J people types are typically “judgmental” and that P people types are the opposite – “non-judgmental.”
This article will dive more deeply into these differences.
Myers Created J & P by inference from Carl Jung’s work
Had Myers and Briggs not inferred a second type of Attitude from Jung’s work, there might have only been three letters to the personality type code. We would have seen INT, INF, ITS, EST, ETN, etc. But Isabel and Katherine’s independent study of people and people differences, with Jung’s typology as an important tool, lead them to create the polar preferences of Judging and Perceiving – which became the fourth letter in their Personality Type Code system. This attitude is a person’s Outer World Orientation and is related to the kind of mental function one turns to the outside world.
In the Myers-Briggs ® Personality Type four letter code, J means that our Judging Function (either Thinking or Feeling) is turned to the outside world and P means that our Perceiving Function (either Sensing or Intuition) is oriented to the outside world.
- ISFJ indicates the person’s Judging Function (which is “F” Feeling) is oriented to the outside world
- INTJ indicates the person’s Judging Function (which is “T” Thinking) is oriented to the outside world.
- ENFP indicates this type turns their Perceiving Function (Which is “N” Intuition) to the outside world
- ESTP indicates this type turns their Perceiving Function (Which is “S” Sensing) is oriented externally.
Understanding Extraverted Personality Types
For Extraverted Personality Types, their dominant mental function determines their Outer World Orientation. Personality Types with Extraverted Intuition or Extraverted Sensing have P (for their Perceiving Function) as their last MBTI type code letter. Conversely those with Extraverted Thinking or Feeling have J (for their Judging Function) as their fourth letter.
With Extraverts, what you see is what you get; they extravert their most favored mental process, their Dominant mental function.
In terms of the notion that J folks are judgmental, only 2 of the 8 J personality types are more likely to reflect that trait: ESTJ and ENTJ.
Extraverted Thinking, the ordering and organizing of people and things, is the centerpiece of these two personality types. That decision-making decisiveness typical of these two types can be perceived as being judgmental. But be careful about generalizing that understanding to the other 6 J types.
Understanding Introverted Personality Types
For Introverted Personality Types, their flow of psychic energy is the opposite of Extraverts. They direct their prime energy inward to their most favored mental function or process. Their “super power” so-to-speak is hidden and they more readily show to the outside world their supportive or auxiliary function.
There are four Introverted Types (I_ _ Js), whose dominant preference is a Perceiving function (which is introverted). They orient their Auxiliary preference – which is Judging – to the outside world. At the core of their being they are not Judgers; they are Perceivers.
There are four Introverted Types (I_ _ Ps) whose dominant preference is a Judging function (which is introverted). They orient their Auxiliary preference – which is Perceiving – to the outside world. At the core of their being they are not Perceivers; they are Judgers.
- The 4 “I_ _ J” Introverted Types are in actuality more strongly governed by their “P” (Perceiving Function) which is inside and often hidden.
- The 4 “I_ _P” Introverted Types are more strongly governed by their “J” (Judging Function) which is inside and often hidden.
This inside “hidden” aspect can mask important characteristics of Introverted types. For example IxxP personality type people are often “more closed” or judgmental than they might appear and IxxJ personality type people are often “more open” than they might appear.
Differences in Es and Is. Among J Personality Types in general, the introverted types are more reflective and less judgmental than extraverted Js. This is illustrated below showing the governing power of Introverts is hidden. If you have experience with INFJ and ENFJ types, you may agree that as a rule INFJs are likely to be more cautious in acting out their Feeling (in either a positive or negative fashion) than ENFJs.
More helpful articles to understand your Personality Type
- Personality Patterns of the 16 Types
- Short Profile Descriptions of the 16 Types
- Discover your MBTI – Cognitive Style Inventory
Articles on Social Applications of Personality Type
Book Review: “The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas are Killing Common Sense” – The Civil War between Feeling and Thinking?
In the Personality Journal: