Useful Notes: Myers-Briggs

A chart version of the Myers-Briggs test. See it at full resolution here.

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: How people regain their energy. Extroverted people mostly recharge from interacting with the external world around them. Introverted people find more interest in dealing with mental constructs, ideas, and imagination, and regain their energy from quiet time alone with their thoughts.
  • Sensing vs iNtuition: This scale measures source from which someone's learning is based. Sensing people go for concrete facts, while Intuitors focus more on abstraction. Sensors look at the immediate picture, and Intuitors 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 combinatoric, 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: Artisans, Guardians, Rationals, and Idealists.note 

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


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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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.

  • ISTPs (Crafters) are drawn toward using tools of any type—artistic (musical instruments), technological (computers), or martial (weapons). Although they are introverts, they tend to be authoritative in their interactions with others and can be forceful. They focus on accomplishing tasks efficiently and skillfully. To master the tool of their interest, Crafters require a certain degree of seclusion in which to practice. The result is often a virtuosity that other types find difficult to match. A typical ISTP character might be a Cold Sniper, a Combat Pragmatist, a Gadgeteer Genius, an Omnidisciplinary Scientist, or a Science Hero.
  • 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 their experiences in life with friends. Can often be a Competition Freak or a Boisterous Bruiser.
  • 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.
  • ESFPs (Performers) live in the moment, learn by doing, and enjoy promoting harmony and fun. This is a team player to the highest degree, but only if this person isn't bored. They also enjoy their creature comforts. They can be anywhere between The Casanova and Good Bad Girl in current portrayals.


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


"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."

  • INFJs (Counselors) are private, preferring one-on-one friendships to crowds, and often quiet about their own feelings. They are often creative and artistic, and prefer to operate behind the scenes. Often Waif Prophet, Psychologist Teacher, Spirited Young Lady.
  • ENFJs (Teachers) are good at making a lot of friends and facilitate community-building without even thinking about it; they act as a counter-balance to almost all social situations. See The Ace, and rarely the broken one in fiction.
  • INFPs (Healers) are absolute idealists: they have values inside them which they really, really want to live by. This makes them good at encouraging other people's growth, but also raging perfectionists. See Jeanne d'Archétype or even Incorruptible Pure Pureness. The All-Loving Hero is quite frequently an INFP taken Up to Eleven.
  • ENFPs (Champions) like to change things for the better, and have contagious enthusiasm, but no patience for crossing I's and dotting T's. They are good at anticipating the needs of others, but they also crave attention and recognition. They (like ENTPs) get bored easily. Often shown as a Ditzy Genius or Drama Queen in light works, although darker works may depict them as the Manipulative Bastard to the ENTP's Magnificent Bastard. May surprise people by becoming the Determinator if given a cause/person to champion that he or she truly feels for or believes in.

Alternative Title(s):

MBTI, Myers Briggs