Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator

August 25, 2005

Lay my head on a surgeons table
take my fingerprints if you are able
pick my brains, pick my pockets
steal my eyeballs and come back for the sockets
run every kind of test from a to z
but you still know nothing ’bout me

– Sting

A decade ago I took a college class on personality. As a part of the class I had to take several personality tests. One of these was the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). For those who don’t know the test, it purports to measure one’s personality on four axes: Introverted-Extroverted, Sensing-iNtuiting, Thinking-Feeling and Judging-Perceiving. Back in the spring of 1995 my results were INTJ: introverted, intuitive, thinking, judging. Here is the introduction to a paper I wrote on the experience:

According to the Meyers-Briggs I am an introverted, intuitive, thinking, judging type (INTJ). Before a discussion of what this type is like and whether or not it fits me well, it should be noted that only two of the scales measured a significant preference tendency. On the I/E scale I scored as an introvert but only with five points. Similarly I scored as a thinker on the Judgement dimension but only by nine points. These low scores represent a weak tendency towards the I and the T and are less relevant than the other two scales.

The remaining scales have higher scores which represent a clearer preference for the type indicated. On the perception dimension I scored as an intuitive type with forty-five points. On the J/P scale I scored as a judger with a score of forty-seven. These preference scores will be much more indicative of my personality.

I recently took one of those web-based MBTI knock-offs and got rated as an INFJ. I guess that can be forgiven as my T-F score was hovering around the middle back in 95 anyway.

So what is an INTJ like? (Presuming that the full MBTI I took ten years ago was a more valid than the web one I took the other day.) Here’s a brief description I got in a class handout:

Usually have original minds and a great drive for their own ideas and purposes. In fields that appeal to them, they have a fine power to organize a job and carry it through with or without help. Skeptical, critical, independent, determined, sometimes stubborn. Must learn to yield less important points in order to win the most important.

What do you think? A good fit for me? Maybe you’ve taken the MBTI or a similar test. What were your results?


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  1. Scott,
    I’m a certified INFJ according to the MBTI instrument that I took in 1993. It’s the rarest of the MBTI types making up 1.3% of U.S. males and 1.6% of U.S. females.

    Here’s an INFJ description I found online:

    People like you are typically global thinkers with great passion for your unique vision. You are highly creative, original, and independent. Your idea of torture is to be stuck in a rut, and you get impatient with people who doubt your insights or want to stick to traditional methods for tradition’s sake. Your best friends share their feelings and opinions easily without forcing them down your throat. You are greatly offended when others show disrespect for your beliefs and values. You dislike disorder in your personal space.

    As you are quiet in your “natural” state, people can easily misjudge the depth of your devotion. You are inspired, not impulsive. You’re even cautious, deliberate and eager to make plans. You’re polite and somewhat reserved, especially as others have made you feel awkward for your beliefs in the past. You’re quite organized and, when properly motivated, highly productive.

  2. No surprises here: It says I am a distinctive introvert. 67%.
    Your Type is ISTJ
    Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging
    Strength of the preferences %
    67 1 12 1

    A cabin in the woods, my family and me, cup of Caribou coffee, lightly falling snow and roaring fire and MAYBE a book. Just a window to look out is ok with me. It’s the simple, yet beautiful things in life, that keep me happy. But good grief, 67%?!!

  3. Mykl, I knew you were a big MBTI guy. I’d forgotten that our profiles were so similar though!

    Jennifer, that sounds wonderful…but 67 is a pretty strong introvert preference! I wonder if it wouldn’t be a more moderate score if you took the real MBTI.

  4. Most of the time I test, I’m an ENTP:

    “Clever” is the word that perhaps describes ENTPs best. The professor who juggles half a dozen ideas for research papers and grant proposals in his mind while giving a highly entertaining lecture on an abstruse subject is a classic example of the type. So is the stand-up comedian whose lampoons are not only funny, but incisively accurate.

    ENTPs are usually verbally as well as cerebrally quick, and generally love to argue–both for its own sake, and to show off their often-impressive skills. They tend to have a perverse sense of humor as well, and enjoy playing devil’s advocate. They sometimes confuse, even inadvertently hurt, those who don’t understand or accept the concept of argument as a sport.

    ENTPs are as innovative and ingenious at problem-solving as they are at verbal gymnastics; on occasion, however, they manage to outsmart themselves. This can take the form of getting found out at “sharp practice”–ENTPs have been known to cut corners without regard to the rules if it’s expedient — or simply in the collapse of an over-ambitious juggling act. Both at work and at home, ENTPs are very fond of “toys”–physical or intellectual, the more sophisticated the better. They tend to tire of these quickly, however, and move on to new ones.

    ENTPs are basically optimists, but in spite of this (perhaps because of it?), they tend to become extremely petulant about small setbacks and inconveniences. (Major setbacks they tend to regard as challenges, and tackle with determin- ation.) ENTPs have little patience with those they consider wrongheaded or unintelligent, and show little restraint in demonstrating this. However, they do tend to be extremely genial, if not charming, when not being harassed by life in general.

    In terms of their relationships with others, ENTPs are capable of bonding very closely and, initially, suddenly, with their loved ones. Some appear to be deceptively offhand with their nearest and dearest; others are so demonstrative that they succeed in shocking co-workers who’ve only seen their professional side. ENTPs are also good at acquiring friends who are as clever and entertaining as they are. Aside from those two areas, ENTPs tend to be oblivious of the rest of humanity, except as an audience — good, bad, or potential.

  5. Just took the online quick test you linked too. It ranked me ISFL – 44 1 25 22 so the S is nominal, but he rest are ranked heavily.
    The descriptions I read are dead on for me.
    Excerpt :
    ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their “need to be needed.” In extreme cases, this need is so strong that standard give-and-take relationships are deeply unsatisfying to them; however, most ISFJs find more than enough with which to occupy themselves within the framework of a normal life. (Since ISFJs, like all SJs, are very much bound by the prevailing social conventions, their form of “service” is likely to exclude any elements of moral or political controversy; they specialize in the local, the personal, and the practical.)

  6. That test put me at ISTJ, which is what I was when I first took it in college. I’ve taken it other times within the past few years though and come out INFJ… weird…

  7. I’m a consistent INTJ. One of the sites referred to it as “The Mastermind” (you know – what are we going to do tonight brain? same thing we do every night pinky, try and take over the world”).

    more INTJ info… http://www.typelogic.com/intj.html

  8. Surprise, surprise…INTJ (89/88/1/33)…the 1 surprises me.

  9. INFP, as always.
    Healer Idealists are abstract in thought and speech, cooperative in striving for their ends, and informative and introverted in their interpersonal relations. Healer present a seemingly tranquil, and noticiably pleasant face to the world, and though to all appearances they might seem reserved, and even shy, on the inside they are anything but reserved, having a capacity for caring not always found in other types. They care deeply-indeed, passionately-about a few special persons or a favorite cause, and their fervent aim is to bring peace and integrity to their loved ones and the world.

    Healers have a profound sense of idealism derived from a strong personal morality, and they conceive of the world as an ethical, honorable place. Indeed, to understand Healers, we must understand their idealism as almost boundless and selfless, inspiring them to make extraordinary sacrifices for someone or something they believe in. The Healer is the Prince or Princess of fairytale, the King’s Champion or Defender of the Faith, like Sir Galahad or Joan of Arc. Healers are found in only 1 percent of the general population, although, at times, their idealism leaves them feeling even more isolated from the rest of humanity.

  10. 10 years ago I was an ENTP…now I’m an ESFP. They’re both pretty “on the mark”.

    Extraverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving

    “Where’s the party?” ESFPs love people, excitement, telling stories and having fun. The spontaneous, impulsive nature of this type is almost always entertaining. And ESFPs love to entertain — on stage, at work, and/or at home. Social gatherings are an energy boost to these “people” people.

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