Personality Types

When you sit down and think about someone's personality, you might find that some people tend to be boisterous and bold, some tend to be unconventional and reserved, and some may be a combination of both of these or none of these! So how can we really measure these different types of thinking, feeling and behaving? Keep reading to find out!

Personality Types Personality Types

Create learning materials about Personality Types with our free learning app!

  • Instand access to millions of learning materials
  • Flashcards, notes, mock-exams and more
  • Everything you need to ace your exams
Create a free account
Table of contents
    • We will first aim to understand the difference between personality types and personality traits, to understand personality types in psychology and the personality type meaning.
    • Then, we will look at the Myers-Briggs Personality Types Indicator (MBTI), and its four scales, an example of personality type tests.
    • Having understood the scales, we will look at the 16 MBTI personality types.
    • Finally, we will explore the MBTI with respect to the current day and age.

    Personality Types in Psychology

    Within the field of psychology, the existence of personality types is rather controversial. You may question why this is so, so let us explain. A personality type is known as the psychological classification of different types of individuals, whereas a personality trait reflects a person's pattern of thought, feelings and behaviours.

    Personality Type meaning vs Personality Traits Meaning

    A personality type can be classified as Type A, B, C or D, with A being ambitious and competitive, B being charismatic and easygoing, C being focused and logical, and D being existential and insightful.

    On the other hand, a personality trait is something that implies consistency and stability - someone who scores high on a specific trait like agreeableness is expected to be the same way throughout all situations they may encounter.

    Traits are on a continuum, whereas types fit into distinct categories. The two work together in that the characteristics provided by type theory can be seen in trait theory as a continuum, i.e. a scale. Types are limited, whereas traits cover wider aspects of personality.

    Now that we have understood the difference between the two, and how one gives rise to the other, let us look at one of the most popular indicators of personality types used across the world today - the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI).

    Personality Type Test: The Myers-Briggs Personality Types Indicator (MBTI)

    The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) is a self-report measure and aims to not only identify an individual's personality but also their strengths and weaknesses.

    Developed by Isabel Myers and her mother, Katherine Briggs, this indicator was based on Carl Jung's theory of personality types. They wanted to develop a tool to better understand how individual differences can be explained, and formulated a questionnaire based on four different scales, each of which will be explained below. These scales can be combined to describe a personality type.

    You need to remember the different scales, detailed below. Try to remember all 8!

    Extraversion (E) - Introversion (I)

    This dichotomy was first explored by Carl Jung and was a way to describe how individuals responded to and interacted with the world around them.

    Extroverts have a tendency of being action-oriented, enjoying high levels of social interaction while introverts tend to be thought-oriented, enjoying only deep and meaningful social interactions.

    Sensing (S) - Intuition (N)

    The focus of this scale is to observe how people gather information from the world around them, including other people and new experiences.

    Individuals that prefer sensing seem to pay a great deal of attention to reality; they like to focus on facts, and details and enjoy hands-on experiences. Those that are more intuitive, however, pay more attention to things such as patterns and impressions and enjoy thinking about abstract theories and the future.

    Thinking (T) - Feeling (F)

    This scale focuses on how people make decisions, and this is influenced by the previous scale, i.e., their sensing or intuiting functions.

    Those who prefer thinking tend to place greater emphasis on facts and data, being logical and impersonal when making a decision, whereas those who prefer feeling have a greater likelihood of considering people and their emotions when making a decision.

    Judging (J) - Perceiving (P)

    This is the final scale and it focuses on how people deal with the world around them.

    Those who lean toward judging tend to prefer structure and firm decisions, whereas those who lean toward perceiving are flexible and easily adaptable.

    Personality Types, Myers Briggs Personality Types, StudySmarterThe Myers-Briggs personality test uses four scales, Tieger and Tieger¹

    The MBTI Types

    There are certain types that the MBTI established based on the above information. When taking the MBTI, you will receive a 'type' at the end which indicates your personality type.

    These types are:

    • ISTJ: The Inspector - Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging: ISTJs tend to be reserved, quiet and practical. They value organisation in all aspects of life, be it family, relationships or work. They are loyal and like following traditions. Individuals with an ISTJ personality type are inclined towards careful planning and when things are disorganised, they may become restless.
    • ISTP: The Crafter - Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving: ISTPs are individualistic and prefer having time by themselves to think. They enjoy new experiences, hands-on activities and the liberty to work in their own time, and at their own pace. These individuals are result-oriented; their main focus is to look at a problem and identify the underlying cause, which helps them come up with an efficient and reasonable solution.
    • ISFJ: The Protector - Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging: Individuals with this personality type are observant and focused on other people. They are perceptive and are able to remember small details about others. ISFJ personality types are empathetic and attuned to the emotions and feelings of others, knowing when to provide a helping hand. They prefer facts over abstract theories, and learn best by doing.
    • ISFP: The Artist Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving: ISFP personality types are easy-going and peaceful. Since they like to keep their options open, they delay decision-making up until the very last minute to ensure they are able to account for any potential changes. They are kind and sensitive, but also friendly and quiet - they are able to spend time with others but prefer doing so in smaller groups of people. They are caring, considerate, calm and tend to accept others as they are, making them individuals that are easy to get along with.
    • INFJ: The Advocate - Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging: INFJs are logical and emotional yet creative and analytical. They have a strong sense of intuition and are able to understand emotional needs well. Even though they have an introverted nature, when interacting with others they are able to form meaningful connections and enjoy lending a helping hand. Decision-making for them, however, can sometimes be difficult.
    • INFP: The Mediator - Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving: The INFP personality type is described as being idealistic, having an introverted and creative nature, and being driven by high values. Their main interest lies in findings ways to make the world around them a better place. Not only do they want to understand themselves and how they fit into the world, but they also want to understand how they can help others.
    • INTJ: The Architect - Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging: INTJs use introverted intuition in order to identify meanings, patterns and possibilities. When told a fact, they look beyond it, hoping to find out what it really means. By organising their thoughts in a manner which allows them to see the cause and effect relationships of different actions/reactions. They have a high level of introversion which is why they prefer working on their own as opposed to within a team.
    • INTP: The Thinker - Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving: Individuals having an INTP personality type tend to enjoy spending time alone, thinking about how things work and then coming up with solutions to any problems they may encounter. They prefer to focus on their inner thoughts and their inner world, rather than the external, making them quiet and analytical.

    Personality Types, 8 MBTI Types, StudySmarterThe first 8 MBTI types, Beech²

    • ESTP: The Persuader - Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving: ESTP personality types are outgoing, dramatic and action-oriented; they enjoy spending time with a wide variety of people and are interested in the here and now as opposed to having a broad outlook on life. They do not like a routine and excessive planning, instead they thrive on being able to improvise and adapt. They prefer practicality rather than abstract theories; this allows them to engage with straightforward information, think about it rationally and come up with an immediate solution.
    • ESTJ: The Director - Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging: ESTJs are described as logical and assertive, ensuring that deadlines are met and rules are adhered to. They are traditional and have strong beliefs, and expect the same from those around them. By placing a high value on standards, rules and security, it is important for these individuals to maintain the status quo. They are able to take charge of situations easier than others, which is why they may often find themselves in leadership roles. In social situations, they are extremely honest which some people might consider as overly-critical.
    • ESFP: The Performer - Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving: ESFPs are often described as spontaneous, outgoing and resourceful. They enjoy being the centre of attention and have extremely entertaining personalities. Theoretical learning does not come naturally to them and this is why they often tend to struggle in traditional classroom settings; interacting with others and the environment around them is what they enjoy best.
    • ESFJ: The Caregiver - Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging: ESFJ personality types are kind-hearted, tender, loyal and outgoing. Gaining their energy from other people, such individuals are able to successfully encourage others to be the best version of themselves and have a hard time hearing any negative comments about people they are close with. They like being in control of their surroundings, so they thrive in an environment where they can take the lead, organise and schedule.
    • ENFP: The Champion - Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving: ENFP personality types are considered enthusiastic, charming and creative and do their best in situations where they are given the freedom to explore different ideas. They have great people skills and tend to have a genuine consideration for others' feelings. They are constantly thinking of new and creative ideas to implement but this can also act as a disadvantage as it may cause them to put important tasks on the back burner.
    • ENFJ: The Giver/Protagonist - Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging: ENFJs are warm individuals, with an outgoing and sensitive nature; so outgoing that they are able to form friendships with any personality type, even if they may be highly introverted! They have the ability to not only sense how others are feeling, but also have the ability to influence (and sometimes manipulate) others. Having said that, they have a strong value system which balances these characteristics out and helps them help others be the best version of themselves.
    • ENTP: The Debater - Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving: ENTPs are described as being innovative and clever; they enjoy coming up with different ideas and theories, but often do so before following through with their previous ones. They like to think of the future and the bigger picture, and this results in them not finishing projects as they are less focused on present needs and immediate details. They enjoy interacting with a wide range of people and like debates; one common myth is that individuals with this personality type like to have an argument just for the sake of it.
    • ENTJ: The Commander - Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging: Being highly extroverted, ENTJs enjoy spending time with other people and thrive off of their energy. They have strong verbal skills which help them have meaningful conversations. When they have a strong opinion about a situation, they look forward to sharing it with others. However, even though they are good conversationalists, they struggle to understand the emotions of others, as well as express their own.

    Personality Types, 8 MBTI Types, StudySmarterThe second 8 MBTI types, Beech²

    The MBTI Today

    Having understood the characteristics of each of the 16 personality types offered by the MBTI, we should note that each type is equal and has value, and there is no one type that is better than the other. This test exists to help you understand your own personality type and that of others better, as opposed to being a tool for abnormal diagnoses. Doing so can aid in teamwork in all aspects of life, be it school, relationships or the workplace.

    Personality Types - Key takeaways

    • A personality type is known as the psychological classification of different types of individuals, whereas a personality trait reflects a person's pattern of thought, feelings and behaviours. Traits work on a continuum.
    • The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator is a self-report measure and aims to not only identify an individual's personality but also their strengths and weaknesses.
    • The questionnaire formulated by Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs is based on four different scales, namely, extraversion-introversion, sensing-intuition, thinking-feeling and judging-perceiving, developed from Carl Jung's ideas.
    • There are 16 MBTI personality types and each of these has its own characteristics.
    • Even though there are multiple versions of the MBTI that are available online, these are only different variations of the real thing; in order to get an accurate answer, one must spend time with a trained professional who will then conduct the test and discuss the results in detail to help you understand yourself in the most comprehensive way possible.


    1. Tieger, P.D.; Barron-Tieger, B. Do what you are: Discover the perfect career for you through the secrets of personality type, 4th ed.; Sphere: London, UK, 2007.
    2. Beech, J. (2014, January 28). A chart with descriptions of each Myers–Briggs personality type and the four dichotomies central to thetheory [Chart].
    Frequently Asked Questions about Personality Types

    What is a Type A personality?

    Type A personalities are characterised by an individual's competitiveness, their perfectionism, and their sense for high achievement. Individuals with this personality type are highly driven, motivated and ambitious, and are always working against time in order to achieve their goals.

    What is the rarest personality type?

    The INFJ personality type - introverted, intuitive, feeling and judging - is the rarest personality type and is found in just 2% of the population. 

    What are the 16 personality types?

    According to the MBTI, the 16 personality types are - 

    1. ISTJ
    2. ISTP
    3. ISFJ
    4. ISFP
    5. INFJ
    6. INFP
    7. INTJ
    8. INTP
    9. ESTP
    10. ESTJ
    11. ESFP
    12. ESFJ
    13. ENFP
    14. ENFJ
    15. ENTP
    16. ENTJ

    What is the most common personality type?

    The most common personality type that occurs in about 14% of the population, is ISFJ.

    How many personality types are there?

    Based on the inventory that we have discussed, the MBTI, there are 16 personality types and everyone falls into one of these categories.

    About StudySmarter

    StudySmarter is a globally recognized educational technology company, offering a holistic learning platform designed for students of all ages and educational levels. Our platform provides learning support for a wide range of subjects, including STEM, Social Sciences, and Languages and also helps students to successfully master various tests and exams worldwide, such as GCSE, A Level, SAT, ACT, Abitur, and more. We offer an extensive library of learning materials, including interactive flashcards, comprehensive textbook solutions, and detailed explanations. The cutting-edge technology and tools we provide help students create their own learning materials. StudySmarter’s content is not only expert-verified but also regularly updated to ensure accuracy and relevance.

    Learn more
    StudySmarter Editorial Team

    Team Personality Types Teachers

    • 13 minutes reading time
    • Checked by StudySmarter Editorial Team
    Save Explanation

    Study anywhere. Anytime.Across all devices.

    Sign-up for free

    Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.

    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

    The first learning app that truly has everything you need to ace your exams in one place

    • Flashcards & Quizzes
    • AI Study Assistant
    • Study Planner
    • Mock-Exams
    • Smart Note-Taking
    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App