You may already recognize the four-letter codes we use to describe personality types. These type codes have been made famous by other assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (a registered trademark of the MBTI Trust, Inc.) and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter® (a registered trademark of David Keirsey).  But the TypeFinder is a little different.

The TypeFinder takes the extremely useful system of personality types and improves its validity by incorporating modern personality research. Over the past 60 years, the sixteen-type system has proved itself invaluable in helping people understand themselves and others, choose appropriate careers, and develop as people. However, although  Myers' work on personality types was revolutionary, it is also several decades old. Traditional assessments based on her theories don't benefit from the wealth of information about personality that psychologists have discovered in recent years.

We have modernized the concept of personality types by blending the theories of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers with the findings of contemporary psychologists, specifically, the Big Five model of personality. While we still use types to describe people, incorporating findings in the Big Five field allows us to give you a more accurate and up-to-date assessment.

Briggs and Myers' Theory

The TypeFinder Framework

The Modern Five Factor Model

Extraversion vs. Introversion / Extraversion

Briggs and Myers' Theory

Extraversion vs. Introversion

Your preference for where you get your energy: from other people, or from time alone

The TypeFinder Framework

Extraversion vs. Introversion

Your energy style: Do you engage with the world looking for excitement, or keep to yourself and conserve your energy?

The Modern Five Factor Mode

Extraversion

Describes how much pleasure and reward a person gains from interacting with the world. High scorers are sociable, active, ambitious, and more likely to experience positive emotions.

Sensing vs. Intuition / Openness

Briggs and Myers' Theory

Sensing vs. Intuition

Your preference for how you take in information: through your five senses, or through a "sixth sense" of intuition

The TypeFinder Framework

Sensing vs. Intuition

Your cognitive style: Do you think about things factually and realistically, or symbolically and creatively?

The Modern Five Factor Mode

Openness

Describes a person's tendency to think in abstract, imaginative ways. High scorers are more likely to appreciate art and cultural activities and to adopt unconventional ideas.

Thinking vs. Feeling / Agreeableness

Briggs and Myers' Theory

Thinking vs. Feeling

Your preference for how you make decisions: using logic and objectivity, or moral values and personal concerns

The TypeFinder Framework

Thinking vs. Feeling

Your values style: Do you appreciate cooperation and compassion, or competence and objectivity?

The Modern Five Factor Mode

Agreeableness

Describes how inclined a person is to empathize and cooperate with others. High scorers are compassionate, accommodating, and altruistic.

Judging vs. Perceiving / Conscientiousness

Briggs and Myers' Theory

Judging vs. Perceiving

Your preference for how you organize your life: keeping things planned and organized, or open and spontaneous

The TypeFinder Framework

Judging vs. Perceiving

Your life management style: Do you like structure and order, or freedom and spontaneity?

The Modern Five Factor Mode

Conscientiousness

Describes how goal-oriented and persistent a person is. High scorers are hardworking, resistant to distractions, and responsible.

No equivalent / Neuroticism

Briggs and Myers' Theory

No equivalent

The TypeFinder Framework

No equivalent

The Modern Five Factor Mode

Neuroticism

Describes how prone a person is to experiencing negative emotions like depression, anxiety, and anger. High scorers react easily to stressful stimuli and take longer to recover.

Because Briggs and Myers were so perceptive in their theory, it's possible for us to use the same type codes while still updating our conceptual framework to better reflect modern thinking. The result is information that is better organized, clearer, and more scientific, yet still helpful, versatile, and easy to understand.

It's important to note that personality typing is best thought of as a theory or a system, not a fact. Most personality scientists agree that people cannot be neatly divided into types; it's more accurate to think of us each having an infinite number of traits which may fall anywhere along a spectrum. While this is scientifically correct, it makes personality science difficult and inaccessible to anyone who's not a research psychologist. Real people think about personality in terms of types. Our goal is to help you do this as accurately as possible.

FAQ

Q. Why don't you talk about function pairs or attitudes? Everyone knows this is the foundation of Jungian typology!

A. We don't talk about mental functions or attitudes because, to put it plainly, they don't seem to exist. Yes, we know that's a radical thing to say. We know that Jung's theory of functions and attitudes is the foundation of the typology we use. However, while there's ample evidence to support the idea of four dimensions of personality, there's pretty much zip to support Jung's original theory.

Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers devised their system of personality types based on the work of Jung, who postulated that individuals had various mental functions which they used in either an external or internal orientation. For instance, Thinking was one such mental function, describing the process of evaluating facts and options in an objective manner. According to Jung, Thinking could either be used externally, by analyzing the world and putting it in order; or internally, by reviewing and organizing concepts and facts within the mind.

Jung further theorized that individuals would vary in their inclination to use Thinking (and all the other functions) as well as their preference for using it internally vs. externally. These variations in preference created differences between people's personalities. From the foundations of this theory, Katharine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Myers, developed a comprehensive system of personality types to describe individuals and their preferences for the functions. They came up with four dimensions of personality, each with two possible preferences. A person could thus be any one of sixteen personality types.

In the years since Briggs and Myers did their work, scientific researchers have also been hard at work studying the makeup of the human personality. And an odd thing has happened—particularly odd when you consider that neither Briggs nor Myers had any formal psychology education whatsoever. Amazingly, modern personality science has confirmed that the four dimensions conceived by Briggs and Myers do correspond to four of the major components of human personality. Scientists have also found a fifth dimension, known as Neuroticism, which Briggs and Myers did not include—but they were remarkably close nonetheless. No matter how you analyze the human personality, it essentially breaks down to five major dimensions, four of which were described more than 50 years ago by a pair of laypeople working at their kitchen tables. It's an incredible story.

What modern science has not found, however, is evidence to support Jung's original theory. The mental functions he talked about are surely aspects of the way we think, but there's no reason to believe that they are delineated the way he described. We're awfully glad he came up with the theory, since it was the catalyst for one of the most practically useful systems of understanding personality that we have today. But we have found that modern systems of personality type are clearer and more scientifically accurate when they do not attempt to incorporate his original theory.

For an excellent discussion of the validity of cognitive functions (or lack thereof) we recommend this Oddly Developed Types page.

Truity up to date