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16 MBTI Personality Types

The 16 MBTI personality types are those identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This self-report personality questionnaire suggests that personality comprises four dimensions, corresponding to 16 distinct personality types.

What Is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)?

The MBTI stands for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The test was developed by writer Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers during the 1930s and 1940s. Neither Briggs nor Myers had a formal background in psychology. Briggs had become interested in personality and initially developed a typology that categorized personality into four temperaments: meditative, spontaneous, executive, and social. 

Later, she was influenced by Carl Jung’s theory described in his book Psychological Types. Briggs and Myers became interested in using such theories of personality types for practical applications, including identifying who would be suited for particular careers.

“The understanding of type can make your perceptions clearer, your judgments sounder, and your life closer to your heart’s desire,” Myers suggested.

They published the Briggs Myers Type Indicator Handbook in 1944. A manual was later published by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). 

The Four Dimensions of the MBTI

The MBTI is made up of four dimensions reflecting different aspects of personality. 

Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)

This personality dimension relates to how a person receives and directs their energy. 

Extraverts feel charged up when they spend time with other people. They are gregarious and outgoing. Socializing gives them a sense of motivation, inspiration, and excitement.

Introverts gain their energy by spending time on their own or in small groups of familiar people. They are quiet and reserved. Spending time with others is draining, while alone time helps them recharge.

Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)

This dimension of the MBTI involves how people take in information about the world around them.

Sensing involves taking in information directly based on things people can experience in the here and now with their five senses. People high in this dimension tend to be practical and like doing things hands-on to learn more.

Intuition involves taking a more abstract, theoretical approach. People high in this characteristic tend to be creative and forward-thinking. They enjoy thinking about theoretical ideas. 

Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)

The Thinking vs. Feeling dimension of the MBTI focuses on how people come to conclusions and make decisions.

Thinking involves making choices based on reason and logic. People who are high in this characteristic want to make decisions based on facts and data.

Feeling involves deciding based on gut reactions and emotions. People who are high in this characteristic are interested in knowing whether a decision reflects their beliefs and how it will affect others.

Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)

This dimension of the MBTI focuses on how people approach the world around them.

Judging involves taking an orderly, structured approach. People high in this quality enjoy planning and don’t like spontaneous changes.

Perceiving involves being more adaptable and open to change. People who are high in this quality prefer not to have a strict schedule and want the freedom to change their plans if needed.

The 16 Personality Types

The four dimensions of the MBTI are combined to make up 16 distinct personality combinations. For example, a person might be high in extraversion, sensing, thinking, and perceiving. In that case, they would have an ESTP personality type. 


A person with an ISTJ personality type tends to be organized and driven. As introverts, they are quiet and reserved. Their sensing function causes them to focus on practicality. They place a lot of value on tradition and value loyalty.


ISFJs are practical and loyal, but their feeling function also causes them to have a great deal of empathy and concern for others. They strive to create harmony in different areas of their life. They are often described as considerate and committed.


People with an INFJ personality want to understand what motivates others and make connections to find meaning. They have a clear sense of values and are committed to taking steps to make the world a better place. Because they are organized and efficient, they are skilled at bringing their vision for the world to fruition.


INTJs look at problems analytically and come up with innovative solutions. They are good at spotting patterns and looking for long-term solutions. They expect much of themselves and hold others to the same standards.


The ISTP personality type feels energized by spending time alone and prefers to focus on logical facts. They tend to be pragmatic, observant, and analytical. People with this personality type are spontaneous and good at adapting to change. They thrive in situations that require being calm under pressure.


People with an ISFP personality type tend to be perceptive and compassionate. They are deeply connected to their emotions, often expressed through creative pursuits. They are drawn to aesthetics, harmony, and beauty and enjoy having the freedom and autonomy to bring their visions to life.


INFPs are highly empathetic and compassionate. They tend to be quite introspective and idealistic. People with this personality type strive to achieve personal growth, value creativity, and appreciate authenticity. They are quiet and reserved but value deep, meaningful relationships.


The INTP personality type tends to be highly curious, logical, and analytical. People with this personality type are good at understanding patterns and solving problems innovatively. Like other introverts, they are reserved and quiet in social situations. They have a strong need for freedom and enjoy exploring new ideas.


ESTPs are action-oriented and are often described as bold, energetic, and confident. They are assertive and thrive in fast-paced environments that require rapid decision-making. While they are sometimes seen as impulsive, they are pragmatic and resourceful in how they approach problems and goals. As extroverts, they have a natural charisma that others find compelling.


People with an ESFP personality are passionate, sociable, and energetic. They have a zest for life and thrive when they are the center of attention. New experiences bring them joy, so they often seek out novel situations. They are also great at connecting with others on an emotional level, and other people often find them warm, charming, and humorous.


ENFPs are enthusiastic, warm, and imaginative. They have excellent communication skills and are great at motivating others. They naturally adapt to change and are skilled at giving others the support and guidance they need to thrive.


ENTPs are curious, inventive, and outspoken. They have a keen sense of observation, allowing them to spot patterns and come up with logical, innovative solutions. They aren’t afraid to take risks or challenge the status quo. They tend to get bored with routines, so they are always looking for new experiences or ideas to grab their interest.


ESTJs are realistic, practical, and decisive. They are natural leaders with a strong sense of responsibility. They enjoy structure, have a strong work ethic, and are focused on upholding rules and traditions. They can sometimes be seen as inflexible, but they are good at making sure that things run efficiently in order to improve productivity and achieve goals.


ESFJs are dedicated, warm, and nurturing. They possess strong emotional understanding and enjoy caring for others. Harmony is important, so they strive to maintain cooperative, healthy relationships. People often describe them as loyal, supportive, and dependable. While they find fulfillment in giving, they have to be careful not to ignore their own needs.


ESFJs are empathetic, dedicated, and charismatic. They are strong leaders who understand how others feel and are able to use that knowledge to motivate and inspire people to fulfill their potential. They have excellent social skills and are passionate about making a positive difference in the world.


The ENTJ personality type is driven, logical, and decisive. They are achievement-driven and make confident, determined leaders. People with this personality type are good at focusing on their long-term goals and taking steps to make them happen. They are assertive, which can sometimes be seen as demanding or controlling by others.

How Are the 16 MBTI Personality Types Used?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was developed to help people learn more about themselves so they could put that knowledge into practical use. By learning more about needs, preferences, traits, and tendencies, people can align their lives toward their strengths while finding ways to accommodate their weaknesses.

Common uses for the MBTI include:

  • Personal development: Knowing more about your own personality can build greater self-awareness, allowing you to maximize your strengths and manage your weaknesses.
  • Career counseling: Career counselors often use the MBTI to help people find careers that match their personality preferences and strengths.
  • Leadership development: Managers and leaders can use what they learn about their dominant personality traits to cultivate stronger leadership.
  • Communication: Knowing your MBTI personality type may help you better understand how you tend to communicate with others. This can help you spot your strengths and give you ideas for overcoming the challenges you might face.
  • Relationships: Knowing more about other people’s personality types may help you better understand them and navigate your relationships more effectively.

Pros and Cons of the MBTI Personality Types

While the MBTI is popular and widely used, it’s important to recognize that the questionnaire has pros and cons. In psychology, it has been criticized because it lacks evidence for its accuracy, validity, reliability, and utility.

Despite these problems, however, many people are interested in knowing more about their personality type, making it one of the most widely used personality assessments in the world.


On the plus side, learning more about the MBTI personality types can help you start thinking more about some of your dominant personality traits and how they impact different areas of your life. Knowing whether you are more of an extrovert or introvert, for example, can help you recognize when you might need to socialize more (if you are an extrovert) or when you might need to take a break to recharge (if you are an introvert).

Recognizing these traits can also help you work toward personal and professional development. Understanding your strengths and preferences might help you choose a rewarding career or go after an opportunity at work that will lead to growth. It might also help you avoid jobs and situations where you aren’t likely to thrive.


The MBTI is regarded by many as a pseudoscientific assessment. The 16 types rely on confirmation biases and the Barnum effects to cause test-takers to identify with the results. They do this by providing a list of vague and often desirable characteristics, which some critics suggest makes them more akin to horoscopes.

Critics also suggest that the MBTI has poor reliability and validity as a psychological assessment. Reliability refers to how dependable a test is, while validity refers to whether it measures what it purports to measure.

One study found that the MBTI has reasonable construct validity and that each of the subscales has satisfactory reliability. However, the researchers noted that much of the available research has been done on college-age participants. Further research is needed to determine how such findings might apply to other populations.

There is also a lack of evidence for the predictive use of the MBTI. For example, one study found that while the test measured personality and leadership, those qualities were weakly linked. This means that your MBTI personality type is likely not a great predictor of how effective a leader you might be.

Critics also question whether the types accurately predict career preferences, satisfaction, or success. One 2016 study examined the association between MBTI personality types and choosing a psychiatry specialty in medical school. The results indicated that none of the four subscales were linked to the likelihood of choosing a psychiatry residency.

Other Personality Type Theories

Of course, it’s important to recognize that while the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is popular, it isn’t the only way of thinking about personality types. Some other theories that might help you gain a greater understanding and appreciation of your own personality include:

  • ABCD Personality Types: This personality approach identifies four main personality types based on traits, behaviors, and how people manage stress.
  • Big 5 Personality Types: This model suggests that personality is made up of five key dimensions: extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.
  • Keirsey Temperament Sorter: This assessment utilizes the MBTI system, and each of the types described by Keirsey correlates with one of the 16 types. 
  • Enneagram Personality Types: This personality typology identifies nine interconnected types. People are often described as having a core type, along with one or two “wings” that also influence their personality.
  • The 16PF Questionnaire: A self-report measure based on the 16 personality factors identified by psychologist Raymond Cattell.

Key Points to Remember

  • The MBTI classifies individuals into 16 personality types based on their preferences in four dichotomies: extraversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving.
  • Each MBTI type describes a set of preferences rather than fixed traits, offering insights into how individuals perceive the world, make decisions, and interact with others.
  • Understanding MBTI types can help people build self-awareness and inform career choices.
  • While the MBTI can be a helpful tool for personal and professional development, important to recognize its limitations and use it more as a framework for building greater self-awareness than as a predictive assessment of personality.  


Myers & Briggs Foundation. Insights.

Randall, K., Isaacson, M., & Ciro, C. (2017). Validity and rof the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity, 10(1), 1–27.

Woods, R. A., & Hill, P. B. (2024). Myers brigg. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.

Yang, C., Richard, G., & Durkin, M. (2016). The association between Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Psychiatry as the specialty choice. International journal of medical education, 7, 48–51.

Zárate-Torres, R., & Correa, J. C. (2023). How good is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for predicting leadership-related behaviors? Frontiers in Psychology, 14, 940961.