Monday, July 7, 2014

Why You Write Like You Do


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test© , introduced in 1962, is a personality inventory developed by Isabel Briggs-Myers and her mother, Katherine Briggs. Since then, millions of people have taken this test to help them determine what jobs may be the best for them or to learn how to fully develop their strongest personality traits.

This test is based on Swiss psychiatrist and psycho-therapist C. G. Jung's four principle psychological functions by which we experience the world: sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking, called dichotomies. Jung believed that people are born with or develop certain ways of perceiving their world and making decisions.
People are made up of all four dichotomies. Briggs-Myer and Briggs took these four principles and devised a series of questions which put together people's traits into 16 categories which are made up of the four dichotomies (Sensation, iNtuition, Feeling and Thinking. People have percentages of each of them in their make-up but the percentages used will vary depending upon the activity in which the person is engaged.*

Certain traits are defined as follows:
Extroversion E - Introversion I
Sensing S - INtuition N (so as not to confuse with introversion)
Thinking T - Feeling F
Judging J - Perceptions P

Taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator© test will group together how you perceive yourself and how you handle your world. A combination of these four capital letters will place you in a traits category showing your most strongest trait first.

For instance, writers are often in the INFP category meaning they categorized as Introverted (versus extroverted) or as thinking things inside themselves, not exploring outside themselves. They use iNtuition versus sensing things. They use Feelings versus thinking to guide their decisions as well as Perception instead of judgment to help them make decisions. These people are often composed, introverted, self-reliant, reserved and thoughtful. They are intuitive, creative, imaginative, idealistic and innovative. They use feeling to make decisions, are empathetic, ethical, authentic as well as perceptive, accepting, tolerant and open-minded. People who are INFP are Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Rogers, John Lennon, Curt Cobain, William Shakespeare, A.A. Milne and Helen Keller.**

Writers are also often in the INTP category. They are introverted, intuitive,independent, self-reliant, thoughtful; innovative, unconventional, theoretically complex; thinkers who are analytical, objective, rational and unsentimental. They are perceptive, tolerant, open-minded, changeable and unstructured. They are often engaged in their own thoughts and may seem shy or standoffish. They want to know the exact how and why things work before they commit. Some INTP people are Einstein, William Jefferson, Descartes, Darwin, Marie Curie, C.J. Jung, Socrates and Lincoln.**

ENFP  and ENFJ are also categories where we find writers. ENFP are extroverted, intuitive, feeling and perceptive, gregarious, social, expressive,  thinking, adaptable, whimsical. Some famous people in this division are Bill Clinton, Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Edith Wharton, Carol Burnett, Dr. Seuss, Robin Williams. ENFJ  are extroverted, intuitive, feeling (versus thinking) and judging instead of using perception. Oprah Winfrey, Pope John Paul II, Dr. Phil McGraw and Martin Luther King are ENFJ's.**

I took the free on-line test at (scroll down for tests) and found I was ISFJ or introverted [22%], sensing [88%] (versus intuition), feeling 56% (versus thinking) and judging [33%] and not so much perceptive. On another web site, I came up with about the same with the strengths being my ability to sense decisions and realize a solution followed by feeling. I am among 14% of the population and in company with Rosa Parks, Kate Middleton, Mother Teresa, George H.W. Bush, and Laura Bush.**

Another web site to take a free, similar test is at  If you haven't taken this "test," you may wish to do so. It gives you insight into yourself as well as showing you your strongest way of making decisions. Initially I thought writers would fall into fewer categories. I should have sensed that writers come from all personalities. That is why some of us write historical fiction while others prefer to write biographies or young adult stories. Find out what type you are!



fortboise said...

The MBTI is a creative work, interesting, and a possible source of meaningful insights. It does not seem to be based on actual, repeatably measurable personality typology, however. The measurement axes are based on "poles" with an implication of bimodal distributions... but people don't sort out that way. See the "criticism" section of the Wikipedia entry for more specifics.

Jennifer Rova said...

Thank you for your insight. It seems like many tests that have no wrong answers are subject to criticism.

Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

I consistently test as an INFP and find most descriptions of INFP to be pretty accurate in my experience. I'm sure Myers-Briggs has its flaws but it also has been useful in helping me understand why I might see things in a different light than somebody else, and that my way of coping with the world is not objectively "wrong" (as I've sometimes felt labeled) but merely "different."

Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

The MBTI profiles are a great way to flesh out fictional characters. Choose an MBTI profile for your character, and then as the story progresses, refer to it to see how he or she might typically react to various plot developments.

Jennifer Rova said...

Thanks for your comments. I never thought to use it for a fictional characters. I am glad I have smart friends!