The Four Dimensions of Personality
The personality model describes four basic aspects of human personality: how we interact with the world and where we direct our energy; the kind of information we naturally notice and remember; how we make decisions; and whether we prefer to live in a more structured way (making decisions) or in a more spontaneous way (taking in information). We call these aspects of human personality dimensions, because each one can be viewed as a continuum between opposite extremes.
Extraversion (E) – Introversion (I)
Is about how we interact with the world and where we direct our energy
- Focus attention outward
- Enjoy a variety of tasks
- Seek out and need other people
- Work at a rapid pace
- Need to talk about their ideas to think them through
- Focus attention inward
- Consider things fully before responding
- Enjoy tasks that require concentration
- Work best on one project at a time
- Work at a careful, steady pace
Sensing (S) – Intuition (N)
Is about what kind of information we naturally focus on and remember
- Focus on “what is”
- Like working with real things
- Apply past experience to solving problems
- Need specific and realistic directions
- Focus on “what could be”
- Enjoy theory and speculation
- Like working with possibilities and implications
- Need to use their imaginations
Thinking (T) – Feeling (F)
Is about whether we make decisions logically and impersonally, or by using personal values.
- Enjoy analyzing problems logically
- Make fair and objective decisions
- Need to weigh the pros and cons to make decisions
- Can be tough negotiators
- Are motivated by achievement
- Need work to be personally meaningful
- Like helping others and being appreciated
- Need decisions to be congruent with their values
- Need to work in a friendly environment
- Are driven to understand others and contribute
Judging (J) – Perceiving (P)
Is about the way we like to live our lives – more structured (making decisions) or more spontaneous (keeping options open).
- Enjoy work that allows them to make decisions
- Prefer a predictable work pattern and environment
- Work towards completing their responsibilities before relaxing
- Like to maintain control of their projects
- Enjoy flexible and changing work situations
- Like to be able to respond to problems as they arise
- Are more satisfied with fewer rules and procedures
- Need to have fun in their work
Everyone’s personality falls onto one side or the other of the midpoint on each of these four scales. The opposite sides of the scales are called preferences. If you fall on the extraverted side, then we say you have a preference for Extraversion. If you fall on the introverted side, we say your preference is for Introversion. It’s important to keep in mind that everyone uses both sides of each dimension – for instance, people are primarily extraverts or introverts, but they are not exclusively one or the other.
All of us use both sides of all four scales in our daily life, but we have an inborn preference for one side over the other. Our preferred way of operating is more comfortable, automatic, trustworthy and competent. Keep in mind that each scale is a continuum and people may fall close to the midpoint, indicating a less clear preference, or at the extreme ends, indicating a very clear preference.
The preferences from the four dimensions are then compiled to come up with a four-letter code, or personality type. A “type” is really more than just a four-letter code that describes different “preferences.” Each type preference tells something important about the individual. But no one is “just” an Introvert. A person is an INTJ, an ISFP, or one of six other introverted types. In other words, while all introverts share certain characteristics, it is the other letters in their type – the COMBINATION of letters – that makes personality so rich and its insights so valuable.
The 16 personality types are listed below.