INFP: “a food log for the mind…”

imageMBTI stands for “Myers-Briggs Type Indicator”.  Based on Carl Jung’s work “Psychological Types”, published in 1921, it was first developed by Isabel Myers (1897-1980) and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs (1875-1968) in 1943.   Utilizing Jung’s insights as a jumping off point, Myers & Briggs wanted to design an instrument that would allow individuals to develop an understanding of critical aspects of their temperament.   I’ve taken this test several times in my life, and find the results quite fascinating.  It has been quite useful for me in my academic pursuits, career aspirations, and personal relationships. As I understand it, the MBTI much like a mental food log.  It describes how we interact with our world, recharge our batteries after a long day, how we intake information, and what we do with it.  I’ve taken these results two times in my life, once in college and a second time when seeing a therapist.  I am an INFP, my sister is ISFJ, my father is INTP, my mother is ESTJ and my hubby is ESTP. When reading my own description I find it does function in describing well how I feed my mind and what I do with that information.  Additionally, studying temperament-based differences within my family has been helpful in understanding our relationship more fully.  In this post I provide an overview of the INFP personality type, based on my own personal experiences….

Temperament-Based Dichotomies

Introversion or Extroversion??? (recharging my batteries)

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In the MBTI Typology system,extraverts are naturally drawn of people and things whereas introverts are naturally drawn to their own inner world of thoughts and ideas (Myers, 1962).  In other words, as an Introvert, I recharge my batteries after a long day, by reading, blogging, or drawing.  At the same time, I can become quickly drained after an extended holiday visit with the extended family (where I have little time to myself).  Its important to note that this doesn’t mean I’m shy, antisocial, or unfriendly.  It just means that I need time to myself after a long day.   My mother in contrast, is an extravert.  She draws energy from the world around her and participates in an array of social groups and activities.  In her art, my mother analyzes the outer world in acute detail and tries to represent this as accurately as possible  I, on the other hand, utilize it is a form of self-expression.  My goal isn’t to strictly adhere to my senses.  Instead I hope to depict my unique way of viewing the world.

  1. Extraverts appear outgoing. Introverts appear quiet and reserved.
  2. Extraverts are comfortable working in groups, introverts work well alone.
  3. Extroverts have a wide range of friendships and know lots of people.  Introverts prefer to take time to know people well.
  4. Extroverts can jump into an activity with little reflection on underlying motives.  Introverts can spend too much time reflecting on motives and are delayed in moving to action.

Intuition or Sensing??? (perceiving the world)

ddThe MBTI Typology system, describes perceiving as a “process of becoming aware of things or people or occurrences or ideas” (Myers, 1962, p. 51) in our world.  We have unique preferences regarding how we prefer to take in information from the world around us.  This determines how we gather information from the world around us, and what tends first grabs our attention.  Sensors prefer to intake information through the five senses.  For example my hubby is an ESTP personality type.  As an ESTP, his primary function (more on this later) use extraverted sensing.   This means he lives fully in the present and is acutely aware of the physical reality of the world around him.  When talking with him, you get are acutely aware of how the world looks through his eyes.  He is concerned with what is actual, present, and readily discernible from the world, with the use if his senses.  At his best, this makes him grounded in reality and fully present in the “now”.  This is makes him the idea partner-in-crime as a key stabilizing force in my life.  At its worst, this function can tend to be short-sighted.  Only seeing readily observable factors from the senses, the less tangible aspects of experience do not exist until it smacks them in the face.  This has been a key source of frustration in the relationship with my sister and mother.

In contrast, I prefer intuition which Isabel Briggs Myers (1962), describes as an “indirect perception by way of the unconscious, accompanied by ideas or associations which [can be discerned from] the perceptions from the outside” (p. 51).  My father and I use our intuition, a perceiving function that is interested in attending to the underlying meanings and patterns that can be observed. As a future-oriented perceiving function, it is focused on possibilities.  In this respect, rather than observing sensory details from one’s immediate environment, it is big-picture oriented.

  1. Intuitives remember events more as an impression of what happened in terms of the underlying meaning that was most significant.  In contrast, sensors remember in excruciating detail a snapshot of the events as they unfolded based on what the senses told them.
  2. Intuitives solve problems by leap between possibilities while utilize underlying meanings and patterns, to determine on the most ideal alternative.  Sensors work through the facts and pragmatic details until they understand the problem
  3. Sensors focus on the present moment trust first hand experience.  Intuitives trust their impressions and underlying systems of meaning as a true reflection of what is going on.
  4. Sensors focus so much on the facts that they fail to understand future possibilities until the reality of their inevitability smack them in the face.  Intuitives focus so much on possibilities that the pragmatics of everyday life escape 

Thinking or Feeling??? (making decisions)

aaaIn MBTI typology, judging refers to a process of “coming-to-conclusions about what has been perceived” (Myers, 1962, p. 51).  Thinkers utilize a logical thought process to come at an impersonal and rational decision.  Feelers utilize values to bestow value on various options in order to produce a decision that is highly personal.   As a result, the decisions thinkers produce are derived on principles that can be thought of universal or basic truths.  They are impersonal, yet consistent and logical.  In contrast, a feeler’s decisions are based on points-of-view involved in the situation at hand.  In this respect, they are much more concerned with values and subjective points of interest.  My parents, for example are thinkers, and can be described as logical, objective, rational, critical, firm, rational, pragmatic, and impersonal in their decision making.  While their decisions have a universal level of understanding that can be understood by all involved, something critical is missing.  There is a failure to understand and respect personal values, or the emotions of those involved.  For all their wisdom as intellectuals with advanced degrees, they are unable to grasp a human intelligence that allows them to relate to others and appreciate perspectives outside their own.

  1. Thinkers enjoy the sciences, where logic prevails.  In contrast, feelers have a people oriented communicative perspective.
  2. Thinkers notice inconsistencies and seek a rational perspective.  In contrast, feelers are concerned with systems of value and are concerned with well-being and harmony.
  3. Thinkers make decisions with the head and believe the truth is more important than tact.  In contrast, feelers believe there is something to be said for how you communicate something and act on the basis of compassion.
  4. Thinkers fail to consider the feelings of others, and are sometimes perceived as indifferent or uncaring. Feelers are perceived as idealistic and struggle with logic.  

Judging or Perceiving??? (interacting w/ the world)

bbbPeople have two basic attitudinal orientations in their daily interactions with the world.  Judgers tend to utilize judgment as the MBTI typology defines it, in their daily lives (Myers, 1962).  As a result, judgers prefer to live in a predictable and logical world and are decided and judgmental in their interactions with the world.  In contrast, perceivers reserve their judgment for themselves and do not hold the world to the same standard.  They are open-minded and tend to take things as they come.  As a result, perceivers tend to be curious and exploratory in their daily interactions with the world.  It is also worth noting here, that according to this personality typology system our preferred judging and/or perceiving preferences guide this attitudinal orientation.  For example, I am an intuitive and perceiver, therefore, I utilize intuition in my interactions with the world, and tend to reserve my feeling function as a deciding function for my own life situation.  In contrast, my mother is an ESTJ.  As a result, she leads with the thinking function and utilizes this in her interactions with the world….

  1. Judgers are task-oriented and have a preference for control and pragmatism.  Perceivers are open-minded and take things as they happen, as a result they keep plans to a minimum. 
  2. Perceivers approach work as a form of play and are creative in their plans when moving forward.  Judgers are slow to make changes in life and create careful lists and detailed plans before taking action.
  3. Perceivers can tend to leave things for the last minute, while judgers opt for slow and steady progress.  

Click here for to learn more about an INFP’S dominant function = introverted feeling (Fi)…

Click here to learn about an INFP’s auxillary function = extroverted intuition (Ne)…

References

Myers, I. B. (1962). Theory on which the indicator is based. The myers-briggs type indicator: Manual (1962). (pp. 51-64) Consulting Psychologists Press. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.bellevue.edu/10.1037/14404-006

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