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Myers-Briggs
The Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator measures and typifies how people perceive the world and make decisions.

The categories originated from Carl Jung's theory about two pairs of cognitive functions:
  • The rational, judging functions: Thinking and Feeling
  • The irrational, perceiving functions: Sensing and Intuition

Mother and daughter team Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers expanded Jung's typing into the personality indicators used today. Corporations have used it to figure out what their employees are best suited for. Whether or not that is a good idea doesn't matter to us. What it is and how it is used in storytelling goes like this:

People are scored on four different scales:

  • Introverted vs. Extroverted: Extroverted people focus mostly on the external world around them. Introverted people find more interest in dealing with mental constructs; ideas and imagination.
  • Sensing vs iNtuition: This scale measures how someone bases their learning from. Sensing people go for concrete facts. Intuitives focus more on abstraction. Sensing people look at the immediate picture and Intuitives see the forest for the trees.
  • Thinking vs Feeling: Thinkers prefer to make decisions on the basis of impersonal inputs and effects, and Feelers make decisions based on how events affect people personally.
  • Judging vs Perceiving: MBTI classifies Thinking and Feeling as judging attitudes, while Sensing and Intuition as perceiving attitudes. Whether you get a J or a P depends on whether you use a judging or perceiving attribute to interact with the world around you. When your judging is extroverted, you show left-brain dominant characteristics: you prefer more order in your worldly dealings. When you have an extroverted perceiving attribute, you show right-brain dominant characteristics; you don't make as many plans and prefer to leave your external dealings more spontaneous where possible.

Notice that the S/N scale and the T/F scale are linked: S/N determines how you get information, and T/F determines how you process it.

Now, the complicated part is where we combine all four scales together into one of sixteen types. Since a person can score anywhere on all four scales, all of the results have to be combinatorial, and they are. The following are short descriptions of all 16 types.

David M. Keirsey took Myers's work, and, inspired by one of her observations, made his own adaptation, in which the 16 types are organized into four main groups, also known as the "Combos" of the Four-Temperament Ensemble: Guardians, Artisans, Rationals, and Idealists.

For fun, check out the info provided by The Other Wiki, learn more information and take a test to determine your temperament here, and see Examples of Myers-Briggs Personalities in Stories.

Guardians

Many evil things there are that your strong walls and bright swords do not stay. You know little of the lands beyond your bounds. Peace and freedom, do you say? The North would have known them little but for us.

  • ESTJs (Supervisors) are very practical and make good administrators, with a good eye for detail and a flair for setting up logical systems. They sometimes overlook feelings and mood, though. Tend to resemble Tsundere in fiction.
  • ISTJs (Inspectors) are orderly, dependable, practical and dutiful above all. They prefer working with facts and can be conservative in their loyalty to traditions. Tend to resemble The Stoic in fiction, and can become Knight Templar at their worst.
  • ESFJs (Providers) value security and enjoy making others feel well-cared-for. They are loyal to the belief system of their environment (as opposed to an internal one) and can be outspoken when others fall out of line. Tend to fall somewhere between Manic Pixie Dream Girl and The Caretaker in their portrayals.
  • ISFJs (Protectors) are loyal, orderly and sensitive. They can be very shy around people they don't know, but are the sort of person who will always remember your birthday, and are never accidentally offensive. Tend to closer from The Caretaker and The Stoic when in Fictionland.

Artisans

At that sound the bent shape of the king sprang suddenly erect. Tall and proud he seemed again; and rising in his stirrups he cried in a loud voice, more clear than any there had ever heard a mortal man achieve before.

  • ESTPs (Promoters) are very good at convincing others to do things their way. Having said that, they developed this skill because they are the best at improvising towards a desired result, and enjoy sharing the finer experiences in life with friends. Can often be a Competition Freak or a Boisterous Bruiser.
  • ISTPs (Crafters) are structurally oriented and very good at understanding how things work. Quiet, analytical and private, they nonetheless gravitate towards Xtreme Sportz and other high-speed, high-risk hobbies. Typical ISTP characters might be Blood Knight, or Glory Seeker.
  • ESFPs (Performers) live in the moment, learn by doing, and enjoy promoting harmony and fun. This is a team player of the highest degree, but only if they aren't bored. They also enjoy their creature comforts. They can be anywhere between The Casanova and Good Bad Girl in current portrayals.
  • ISFPs (Composers) live in the moment and are easy-going, preferring a "live and let live" approach. They don't like confrontations and sometimes keep their mouths shut for that reason. They can be anything in portrayals, though mostly a Tsundere type B.

Idealists

"Speak no evil of the Lady Galadriel!" said Aragorn sternly. "You know not what you say. There is in her and in this land no evil, unless a man bring it hither himself."

Rationals

Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.


Mommy IssuesPsychology TropesNature Versus Nurture
Master Support CharactersBooks on TropeExamples of Myers-Briggs Personalities in Stories
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alternative title(s): MBTI
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