What is personality? It is one of those ideas that can’t be proven or exactly measured scientifically, but is agreed upon as being ‘real’ by Psychology’s scientific community, and by people in general, but what do we define it as?
David G. Myers’ Psychology explains personality as “an individual’s pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting.” There are many theories about personality, including Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory, which attributes thoughts and actions to the unconscious mind’s motives and conflicts; Abraham Maslow and Carl Roger’s Humanistic Perspective, which emphasizes human potential and individuality, while stating that the goal of a personality is to help reach self-actualization, or reaching one’s own potential, in the person’s own way; Albert Bandura’s Social-Cognitive Theory, which focuses on the influence of the interaction between people and their social context as being the main influence on the personality’s development; and, finally, the newest and most accepted theory of personality, Gordon Allport’s Trait theory, which describes personality in terms of traits, or characteristic behavior patterns and dispositions, as assessed by personality inventories such as the famous “Myers-Brigg Type Indicator.”
The Myers-Brigg personality test was written by mother and daughter pair, Kathleen and Isabel Briggs, using Carl Jung’s personality types in 1987. It is most commonly used by companies when assessing prospective employees. 89 of the 100 largest U.S. corporations use it.
Most versions include 126 questions where the test taker must judge themselves on how they react to and perceive situations and their opinions. Some of the questions include, “It is in your nature to assume responsibility,” or “It’s essential for you to try things with your own hands.” The test taker answers yes or no to each of the questions, and then receives their four letter personality type. There are 16 different personality types, and those of the same type tend to get along better, while those with opposites tend to not.
The four categories of the test are introverted (I) or extraverted (E), intuitive (N) or sensing (S), thinking (T) or feeling (F), and judging (J), or perceiving (P). The test gives you a letter from each of the categories, putting you in a four letter personality type.
A free online version of the Myers-Brigg test (psychologist approved) can be found at HumanMetrics.com.