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The Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator measures and typifies how people perceive the world and make decisions.
The categories originated from Carl Jung's theory about two pairs of cognitive functions:
- The rational, judging functions: Thinking and Feeling
- The irrational, perceiving functions: Sensing and Intuition
Mother and daughter team Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers expanded Jung's typing into the personality indicators used today. Corporations have used it to figure out what their employees are best suited for. Whether or not that is a good idea doesn't matter to us. What it is and how it is used in storytelling goes like this:
People are scored on four different scales:
- Introverted vs. Extraverted: Extraverted people focus mostly on the external world around them. Introverted people find more interest in dealing with mental constructs; ideas and imagination.
- Sensing vs iNtuition: This scale measures how someone bases their learning from. Sensing people go for concrete facts. Intuitives focus more on abstraction. Sensing people look at the immediate picture and Intuitives see the forest for the trees.
- Thinking vs Feeling: Thinkers prefer to make decisions on the basis of impersonal inputs and effects, and Feelers make decisions based on how events affect people personally.
- Judging vs Perceiving: MBTI classifies Thinking and Feeling as judging attitudes, while Sensing and Intuition as perceiving attitudes. Whether you get a J or a P depends on whether you use a judging or perceiving attribute to interact with the world around you. When your judging is extroverted, you show left-brain dominant characteristics: you prefer more order in your worldly dealings. When you have an extroverted perceiving attribute, you show right-brain dominant characteristics; you don't make as many plans and prefer to leave your external dealings more spontaneous where possible.
Notice that the S/N scale and the T/F scale are linked: S/N determines how you get information, and T/F determines how you process it.
Now, the complicated part is where we combine all four scales together into one of sixteen types. Since a person can score anywhere on all four scales, all of the results have to be combinatorial, and they are. The following are short descriptions of all 16 types.
David M. Keirsey took Myers's work, and, inspired by one of her observations, made his own adaptation, in which the 16 types are organized into four main groups: (≖S≖J), (≖S≖P), (≖NT≖), and (≖NF≖).
- SJ Guardians are "social people" who hunger after stability; these desire to be buttresses of society. Their top skill set is in organization or "logistics" as the writer calls it. Their relational lives to anyone close to them tend to be of a governing or protective nature. Typical Guardians might be The Patriarch, Apron Matron, etc. Many Badass Bureaucrats are Guardians, though it is also a profession fit for Artisans, especially when they combine it with being the Scrounger. Most violently protective and jealous lovers (and their Up-to-Eleven cousin Yandere) tend to fall within this category.
- SP Artisans are "utilitarian people" who prefer to live one day at a time. They may spontaneously pursue activities that offer fun or pleasure. Artisan characters might be a Blood Knight (ESTP), Boisterous Bruiser (ESFP), Cold Sniper or Gadgeteer Genius (ISTP), Glory Seeker or Passionate Sports Girl (ESTP/ESFP), and express themselves with their prowess. Or they might express themselves with their looks and be The Fashionista or a Manic Pixie Dream Girl (ISFP/ESFP) or a Chivalrous Pervert (ESTP/ESFP). Their top skill is "tactics" or handling themselves for the moment. They focus on "short-term" while Rationals focus on "long-term."
- NT Rationals are "mental people" and hunger after knowledge and for skills as something to possess (like a Technician) rather than as something to play with (like a Performer) as in the Artisan's case. A rational is likely to be a Badass Bookworm (INTP/ENTP), the Chessmaster (INTJ/ENTJ), the Spock (INTJ/INTP) or a Guile Hero (ENTJ/ENTP). Their top skill is "strategy" or planning. While an Artisan knows how to do things, a Rational knows why do them.
- NF Idealists are "spirtitual people" who hunger after "something higher", even those who are not sure themselves what their "something higher" is. In any case, almost always guaranteed to be the Fettered and prefer Honor Before Reason. Idealist characters might be a Knight in Shining Armor, a Good Shepherd, the Heart or Messianic Archetype. If an Idealist is not the Chosen One, he or she will act like it anyway. Idealist skill set is "diplomatic"; they are good at inspiring people.
For fun, check out the info provided by the Other Wiki, open the links on these temperament names above or below, and learn more information and take a test to determine your temperament here and here.
Many evil things there are that your strong walls and bright swords do not stay. You know little of the lands beyond your bounds. Peace and freedom, do you say? The North would have known them little but for us.
- ISTJs (Inspectors) are orderly, dependable, practical and dutiful above all. They prefer working with data and can be conservative in their loyalty to traditions. Tend to resemble The Stoic in fiction, and can become Knight Templar at their worst. Some become obsessed with rules and will demean anyone who breaks them.
- ESTJs (Supervisors) are very practical and make good administrators, with a good eye for detail and a flair for setting up logical systems. They sometimes overlook feelings and mood, though. Tend to resemble Tsundere in their portrayals. Many (if not most) are quick to anger and due to their insensitivity, may throw their allies and friends under the bus if they get in the way.
- ISFJs (Protectors) are loyal, orderly and sensitive. They can be very shy around people they don't know, but are the sort of person who will always remember your birthday, and are never accidentally offensive. Tend to closer from The Caretaker and The Stoic in their portrayals. Generally more feminine in terms of behavior, which could make them either a Proper Lady or a rare Bishonen depending on gender.
- ESFJs (Providers) value security and enjoy making others feel well-cared-for. They are loyal to the belief system of their environment (as opposed to an internal one) and can be outspoken when others fall out of line. Tend to fall somewhere between Manic Pixie Dream Girl and The Caretaker in their portrayals. In situations when trouble arrives, some ESFJ's become soo paralyzed and indecisive with fear, that they may forget to react in time to resolve the issue. This could lead them into feeling like a burden for others.
At that sound the bent shape of the king sprang suddenly erect. Tall and proud he seemed again; and rising in his stirrups he cried in a loud voice, more clear than any there had ever heard a mortal man achieve before.
- ISTPs (Crafters) are structurally oriented and very good at understanding how things work. Quiet, analytical and private, they nonetheless gravitate towards Xtreme Sportz and other high-speed, high-risk hobbies. Typical ISTP characters might be Blood Knight, or Glory Seeker.
- ESTPs (Promoters) are very good at convincing others to do things their way. Having said that, they developed this skill because they are the best at improvising towards a desired result, and enjoy sharing the finer experiences in life with friends. However this could also make them seem pretentious and greedily ignoring the feelings of those, who they aren't interested in.
- ISFPs (Composers) live in the moment and are easy-going, preferring a "live and let live" approach. They don't like confrontations and sometimes keep their mouths shut for that reason. They can be anything in portrayals, though mostly a Dandere and a Tsundere type B. Many develop hobbies in music and art, due to how it tends to express their feelings.
- ESFPs (Performers) live in the moment, learn by doing, and enjoy promoting harmony and fun. This is a team player of the highest degree, but only if they aren't bored. They also enjoy their creature comforts. They can be anywhere between The Casanova and Good Bad Girl in current portrayals. At their extreme, they can be wildly unpredictable and distracted by the tiniest occurrences. Most examples, show that they can be highly flirtatious, sometimes to deluded extents. However if their feelings are reciprocated? They'd do anything to protect that bond.
Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
- INTJs (Masterminds) are analytical, pragmatic and logical, and are not scared to tell someone (or themselves) when they're being stupid. They emphasize efficiency, making them simultaneously loners and excellent leaders. Usually the Chessmaster. Many Spocks and Byronic Heroes fall into this category. The Ubermensch as originally conceived is a sort of "perfect" INTJ. Like INTP's, INTJ's find dealing with other people exhausting, but will likely handle them a lot more cold-heartedly.
- ENTJs (Fieldmarshals) enjoy making plans and carrying them out. They make really good leaders, but have trouble not being objective and accounting for emotions. They are fact-driven and good at highlighting inefficiencies. Possibly a Corrupt Corporate Executive or Evil Overlord. Some act rather benevolently, perhaps even being kind to their allies. But will most likely drop this ruse, when said allies have outlived their usefulness.
- INTPs (Architects) are loners with a love of information and a knack for logic and knowledge. This can lead to Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, but also the opposite, as INTPs are best at describing complex ideas simply. Frequently The Spock, The Professor, an Absent-Minded Professor and sometimes Mad Scientist falls into this category. Dealing with other people exhaust INTP's quicker than most introverts. It's either they don't find them challenging enough, or they're surrounded by idiots.
- ENTPs (Inventors) are clever and analytical, often with quick wits and a quicker tongue. They are very good at thinking outside the box, but (like ENFPs) are easily bored. Frequently a Trickster Archetype. A common type among Magnificent Bastards. Some may develop Psychotic Man Child tendencies, but this is only optional. Taking in the previous description, ENTP's could be seen by some as rather untrustworthy. How they juggle between playing and plotting could lead to a Chronic Backstabbing Disorder against others. Of course this doesn't mean they're always evil, just one anomaly after another.
"Speak no evil of the Lady Galadriel!" said Aragorn sternly. "You know not what you say. There is in her and in this land no evil, unless a man bring it hither himself."
- INFJs (Counselors) are private, preferring one-on-one friendships to crowds, and often quiet about their own feelings, which would suggest a shy side to them. They are often creative and artistic, and prefer to operate behind the scenes. Often Waif Prophet, Psychologist Teacher, Spirited Young Lady, The Stoic in their portrayals. Because of their rarity, INFJ's may feel detached from the world around them. As such, they don't get attached to strangers for long. However the few bonds they do make are ironclad.
- ENFJs (Teachers) are good at making a lot of friends and facilitate community-building without even thinking about it; they act as a counter-balance to almost all social situations. See The Ace, and rarely the broken one in fiction. Often The Mentor, The Obi-Wan or Cool Teacher in their portrayals. Some ENFJ's tend to be flamboyant, pompous and overly eccentric, but will always show kindness when it's due.
- INFPs (Healers) are idealists: they have values inside them which they really, really want to live by. This makes them good at encouraging other people's growth, but also raging perfectionists. See Jeanne D Archetype. The Messiah is quite frequently an INFP taken Up to Eleven. Like the title suggests, INFP's can make gentle and endearing supporters. Once they find that special someone who understands them, they would do anything to protect them.
- ENFPs (Champions) like to change things for the better, and have contagious enthusiasm, but no patience for crossing I's and dotting T's. They are good at anticipating others' needs, but crave attention and recognition. Usually a Keet, Genki Girl, Brainless Beauty or The Optimist. Woe betide any who upset these types, as they take a lot of negativity personally.