Volume 1, Number 1                                                                                                                                                           June 1998


"Introduction to Personality Type and Terminology"

Barbara P. Ring, R.N., M.A.


The information on this website is based upon type theory that assumes that the variation in human behavior is not due to chance,  but to basic and observable differences in the ways people prefer to use their minds to gather and to process information.  These preferences can be identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a well-researched self-report instrument developed by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers.  This instrument is used extensively in work and organizational environments and is generally recognized by psychologists to be one of the best personality inventories available today.

The MBTI identifies four pairs of preferences which combine to make sixteen different personality types.  These pairs are as follows:


E Extraversion: direction of energy toward the outer world of people and things.
       "Facing" outward.
I Introversion:  direction of energy toward the inner world of concepts and ideas.
      "Facing" inward.


S Sensation:  becoming aware of and gathering information through the physical senses.
N Intuition:  becoming aware of and gathering information through an intangible, usually
       unconscious sense (“sixth sense”).


TThinking:  making decisions objectively, based on laws, principles, and factual
F   Feeling:  making decisions subjectively, based on values and relationships – one’s
       own and those of others.


P Perceiving:  liking to gather information, keeping things open-ended, and “going with the flow”.
JJudging:  liking to have things decided, coming to conclusions, having a plan; aware of time factors and needing structure for comfort.

We need a well-developed perceiving process to have an accurate perspective of reality.
We need a well-developed judging process to analyze the information gathered and to decide how to use it to act effectively.

Dominant Process:  the process which will govern the other preferences, giving direction to and setting goals for the personality.

Auxiliary Process:  the process which is a helper for and which will work in the interest of the dominant process.  It will also provide balance between the P and the J and the E and the I preferences.

If the perceiving process is the dominant (governing) process, the judging process will be the auxiliary (helping) process.  If the judging process is the dominant (governing) process, the perceiving process will be the auxiliary (helping) process.

We use all of the above preferences and processes at different times, and each is appropriate in certain situations.  However, one’s inborn preferences will (mostly) determine which are most used and which will, therefore, be best developed.  This gives rise to infinite variation, even among people of the same type.