Either an ENTJ or an INFP....

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Either an ENTJ or an INFP....

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Mar 6, 2008, 11:08 am

So I took the MBTI and came out as a strong ENTJ....then during the self-validation of results, I scored most like an INFP....But had weak preferences for everything except the N.

What the heck does this mean? My administrator told me that in order to figure out what type I was, I should just read the type descriptions and pick one that most sounded like me. This to me seems suspiciously like the "horoscope effect" (i.e., when given a description of something and told it describes them, people will find it accurate, even if it is a description of someone else). Is this whole thing really just based on me deciding that I am one type or another?

Also, how is it that I can score almost completely opposite on each of the components? How dependent is this test on things like mood, testing environment, etc?

The thing is that I find both the ENTJ and the INFP to be pretty good descriptions of me, in different ways.

Mar 6, 2008, 11:49 am

generally I've noticed, it has to do with how you answer the questions. Are you being truly honest or are you answering how you think you should or want to believe about your self?

Mar 6, 2008, 12:18 pm

I tend to overthink those tests and it doesn't come out accurate. It's better to really understand each of the letter pairs (I/E, S/N etc.) and just decide which one fits you better. Once you think you've nailed down a few of the pairs then you can look at the descriptions, otherwise it's too overwhelming. So, to sum up, I don't find the tests very useful.

Mar 6, 2008, 3:06 pm


You need to see how your scores come out on each point. Being extrovert vs. introvert isn't entirely an either or thing. You may be on the cusp. I am that way being an ENTP for my E/I thing. I probably scored something like 10 points for E and 9 points for I. If I had changed the answer to one question, I would have been typed as an introvert.

Also, you can change over time. You can score your old self one time and then score your current self another time.

There is also the shadow effect. I sometimes have a shadwow personality, when I'm the opposite of my usual self. This arrives under stress in the office when I need to get work done (J comes in), I don't need to consult everyone (I comes in), I'm dealing with statistics and numbers (S comes in), and I begin to feel sympathy for the people who have to be subject to my output (F comes in).

Mar 8, 2008, 12:33 pm

Yeah, honestly, I think that people have different modes that they function in and none of those modes is really a "true" or "false" self, necessarily. My testing administrator is now obsessed with putting me in a box, which suggests to me that perhaps he is a little too strict about these types. He also insists that you are one type and one type only, ever, forever, and in all situations. (eyeroll....)

Editado: Mar 8, 2008, 12:58 pm

Well, that's the theory. It's like being right-handed. Sometimes you use your left hand but it will never be as easy as using your right. The theory also says that as we get older using some of the unfavored skills gets easier.

ETA: And if you think about it, isn't it his job to put you in one of the boxes? If the boxes had no validity then he'd be out of a job.

Mar 8, 2008, 5:44 pm

We share commonalities and are unique at the same time. If you take characters out Harry Potter or the Bible, can you sew them up tightly with Myers-Briggs typology? I think not. The MBTI is useful as a pointer and can be fun too, but never the last word.

Mar 8, 2008, 6:09 pm

Most people I have introduced to Myers-briggs are on the cusp of one or two letters. I personally test out very strongly in every category and the description is spot on. I mentally typed a friend of mine as ISTP but she tested out a ENTJ. She found that she was closer to an ISTP when reading the descriptions, but had strong objections to some of what it said in various areas. Personality typing is a subjective activity and no simple system can perfectly analyze humans.
I second the idea that under stress you often use different coping mechanisms than usual. When under abnormal stress I actively seek others attention and act on impulses I would usually completely ignore. (I'm INTJ)

Mar 30, 2008, 8:41 pm

Meh. I prefer looking at the functions, because they're the true basis of MBTI types - not the letters, which are oversimplifications of simplifications. Of course, non-MBTI results may obtain, but hey...

Editado: Abr 16, 2008, 12:14 am

One has to do a lot of reading about this stuff if one wants to truly understand it. A lot of people approach it a little too casually and can dismiss it or misunderstand it all. If you read the current texts/experts in the field like Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey and People Patterns: A Modern Guide to the Four Temperaments by Stephen Montgomery, they address what they know are the common misgivings people have. Their approach is a little more holistic than Myers-Briggs, and it's based on tons of current research and refining (since Myers & Briggs)... and besides this, it is a fact that temperament theory, in one form or another, goes back thousands of years!!

Temperament... NF, NT, SJ, & SP is something we are born with. Having said that, it is merely our strongest preference. It's not something we're forced to be for all time anymore than we are forced to be right or left handed. In times of stress, we may find ourselves going against these preferences, and maybe that's part of the reason why we are stressed (in these situations), because we are forced to act in a way other than what we'd (even sub-consciously) prefer.

Another analogy is the four fingers of your hand; the middle (longest) finger being your preferred way of being and the others being your less preferred. We still have and use all four fingers (in principle), but there's one that is certainly a stand-out for us... especially if you need to really express yourself ;-)

Don't forget too that when you read a temperament profile, you are getting a relatively sterile snapshot of a pattern of behavior that can't fully illustrate what that temperament would do in the context of individual life experiences, sex, age, culture, etc.. Both Gandhi and Hitler were NF (Idealists)... WOW!... but if you stop and think about it, you can see some similarities between them.

There will always be those for whom this type of analysis is useless, or those that are very suspicious/skeptical of it. That's fine. In fact, according to the literature, that is partly an indicator of particular temperament styles! But, there are good reasons for knowing about this stuff, and it doesn't have to do with putting people into boxes or limiting people... it has to do with understanding, appreciating, and working with people; seeing the strengths, value, and potential in everyone. Knowledge of these matters can go a long way toward alleviating frustration and problems in parent/child, couple, and office dynamics. After all... the main text that illustrates all of this is entitled "Please Understand Me".

Sorry, for the rant! I just love this stuff... I guess my NF (Idealist) preference is kicking in!

Editado: Abr 15, 2008, 11:29 pm

Welcome to the thread on MBTI.
I believe there are some off-shoot groups on the introverted types (INFJ, INTJ, INTP, INFP, ISTJ). I don't know how well they have done, because I am ENTP, although only mildly E. Living in the New York area, which is more extraverted than the two previous cities I lived in, Detroit and Indianapolis, I feel I might have become more introverted.

Abr 15, 2008, 11:40 pm

Thanks, vpfluke! I was just editing/tweaking my last message when I noticed your response. My style/preference is actually INFJ (Idealist Counselor). I just discovered these groups, but it doesn't seem that the INFJ group is too active.

I'll be around... I certainly might "throw my 2 cents" again in other threads if it can shed any light on misgivings or misinterpretations concerning temperament theory. I'm still learning myself. I'm actually taking an online certification course in it. I'm looking to apply it in leadership and education.

Abr 16, 2008, 10:11 am


My wife and I were given an MBTI test by a certified person (as a gift) before we were married in 1986. So, we've been thinking about this and also the Enneagram since then.

Our experience with both personality type systems is that we worked with the concepts with other people before we sat down and read about them.

Abr 16, 2008, 12:06 pm


Harry Potter in an NF, Hermione is an NT, Ron is an SJ, and Hagrid is an SP! Gryffindor embodies the NF style, Hufflepuff the SJ, Ravenclaw the NT, and Slytherin the SP.... all according to Stephen Montgomery. He explains why in his book.

In order for characters to resound truthfully and with differentiation, good writers always use their keen eye for the inner workings, styles, and motivations of real people, and often use an intuitive sense, if not explicit knowledge, of temperament.

Abr 16, 2008, 3:19 pm

I looked at your People Patterns: a modern guide to the four temperaments and it might be worth buying. Is it pretty much all Jungian, or does make reference to the medieval system of choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic?

I guess the Sorting Hat may have considered me for Ravenclaw.

Editado: Abr 16, 2008, 4:31 pm

lol... Montgomery is actually Keirsey's editor and research assitant. I think he's the guy with the knack for making the ideas a little more tangible. People Patterns: A Modern Guide to the Four Temperaments is based on the ideas and research in Please Understand Me II, but Montgomery makes it all that much more immediate and accessible. He uses a lot pop culture references to illustrate the temperaments. It's a short read... 132 pages, I think.

As far as the medieval system goes, he does mention it in the chapter on the history of temperament theory. He draws the parallels all the way back to the Old Testament and Socrates.
It makes for an entertaining and indispensible reference book!

The temperament profiles are still a little sterile (the lines need to be drawn with a certain degree of simplicity to be digestible), but the real exercise, in my opinion, is to try to see the four temperaments living and breathing in the real world of people we know or can obsevre ourselves. Each can mainfest in so many different ways but, as mentioned ealier with Gandhi and Hitler, there are commonalities... remarkably, even with two people at either ends of the moral spectrum!

Editado: Abr 25, 2008, 10:43 am

Re: Message 6 from jjwilson 61 on pigeon holing.

I tend to think of my type as a home base that i go exploring from. I'm not always behaving like the standard type description. As vpfluke suggests, when under stress I might behave a bit like my shadow type. In some contexts, like home, I'll behave differently than in another context, say work. People who know me in one context may be surprised to know how I behave in another context.

In terms of my type development over time, and that's what its all about, as an over 50 who prefers extraversion, I'm preferring a lot of introversion these days. This is not unexpected in terms of the model. there's one of those "Introduction to...." books on type development that explains the possibilities better than I can. and there's a lot of development possibilities for all types.

I think pigeon holing only happens in my own mind. Once I started exploring the other functions beyond my 1st and 2nd functions, I began seeing my home base type as just that. I think of the 16 types like monkey bars rather than pigeon holes. Do you have them in the US? Its a type of cubic climbing frame in a playground that you can go inside and outside of and around and on top of. I've got a favourite spot on the frame, but love climbing around to other spots on the frame too.

I don't stand still. I like to think I'm developing as a human being all the time, which includes developing in my type, too. If you feel like someone is putting you in a type box, it might be worth getting another viewpoint and exploring more yourself. You can leave them to their boxes and move on. 16types.com is a good place to start if you're looking for somewhere to start.

Good luck.

Abr 25, 2008, 11:23 am

That's a good way to look at it. Thanks.