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Profiling Creative Types, by Iona Miller

By Iona Miller, 2-2004


“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” –Anais Nin



Everyone is unique and displays a variety of characteristics and qualities.  But within that range certain patterns emerge.  Type-theory is like a tool or convenient shorthand for gaining insight on self and others to improve relations, especially with those we find difficult.  You can’t really know another person unless you know yourself.  Ultimately, we should remember typology is merely a model of reality, not reality itself.  There are no pure types.

Once you learn to recognize styles of being, it becomes second nature, rather than a conscious process, and you respond in ways that create greater rapport automatically.  This skill can be used in personal and business life, especially if you work closely with or serve people in the helping professions. 

Maintaining integrity of the personality implies being true to one’s type as well as one’s cultural ethics. Our type conditions our psychology, as well as our spiritual beliefs, emotional values, and overt behavior.  Our type acts as either a clarifying or distorting lens for perceiving and reacting to the environment.  We most readily see the factors that correspond with our own peculiarities.

The value of a classification system lies in its application.  Through it we gain an understanding of the drives, thought processes, desires, motivations, methods, and values of ourselves and others whose primary modes differ from our own.  We can learn to make more effective choices and develop our strengths and personality potential as well as tolerance for different styles.  When we can accept that we embody the habit patterns of a “type” we gain a more objective view of ourselves.

A holistic approach means developing all sides of ourselves.  Most people are mixtures of types, and some dynamic balance is considered ideal.  Then we have the option of using whatever mode, function or attitude is appropriate to the situation.  Moving toward wholeness we experience a wider range of experiences as we integrate all potential facets of personality.  It is a form of self-realization.

No one really wants his or her essence reduced to a category.  It doesn’t sound attractive, at first view.  Nevertheless, a form of typing is often the practice of spiritual teachers when taking on a new aspirant.  We all want to be considered special, but the seer can correctly ascertain the inner function of an individual.  It is more reliable and more fundamental than astrology.

This revelation and its acceptance prevents run-away inflation of the ego, its narcissism.  It mirrors the observer Self’s impartial view of the ego personality, with its typical qualities.  What spiritual teacher isn’t besieged by interminable intellectual questions, emotional and adjustment problems, and illusory perceptions, visions and beliefs, or impulsive and compulsive behavior of his followers?  People constantly seek advice on all these points.  Some of the specific directions for rebalancing our particular paths lie in our typology.

The human repertoire is actually fairly limited in scope.  It is conditioned by psychophysical differences such as whether one is primarily visual, auditory or kinesthetic [see endnote], by our temperament and character, and by the constant interplay of archetypal dynamics in every facet of our lives, to name a few.  There is an ongoing debate around the dominance of trait- or state-based patterns.



Jung was the first to point out that we use four main functions for dealing with self, others, and world.  He described them as either Introverted (inner oriented) or Extraverted (outward oriented) with Thinking, Feeling, Sensation and Intuition as primary modes of cognitive and affective perception.  They determine how we take in and process information.

We use cognitive processes – thinking and feeling -- to receive and process information.  The perceptual functions – sensation and intuition – are methods of receiving information.  Sensation is the receiving of information through the senses.  The judging functions – thinking and feeling – are methods of processing information, deriving meaning from what is received.

Independent of our type, we each have tendencies toward inwardly directed introversion (subjective) or outwardly directed extraversion (objective).  The introvert follows his inner dictates, while an extravert is concerned about what others might think.  For the introvert energy flows from the external world into the inner subjective world.  For the extrovert the energy flow is from the individual into the external world, from person to environment. Extroversion and Intraversion are attitudes or orientations to experience.


Inner and Outer Flow of Energy

However, no one is all together an introvert or an extravert, and many tend toward the center of the spectrum.  Often the people-pleasing extravert is valued more highly in society than the reflective introvert, but Jung considered them of equal value.  He also noted that their unconscious expresses the opposite side, creating a personal balance between both tendencies.

June Singer (1973, Boundaries of the Soul) summarizes Jung’s theory of extroversion and introversion: “The introverted nature is Platonic in that it is mystical, spiritualized, and perceives in symbolic forms, while extraverted nature is Aristotelian, in that it is practical, a builder of the solid system from the Platonic ideal.  The introvert is directed primarily toward an understanding of what he perceives, while the extravert naturally seeks means of expression and communication.  In the introvert, the subject, his own being, is the center of every interest and the importance of the object lies in the way in which it affects the subject.”

“In the extravert, the object, the other in and of itself, to a large degree determines the focus of his interest.  The introvert’s interest in self-knowledge prevents him from being overpowered by the influence of his objective surroundings.  The extravert has a tendency to abandon concern for himself to his interest in others.  Hence the concern of the introvert is in the direction of development of his individual potential while that of the extravert is more socially oriented.  The introvert tends to set himself and subjective psychic processes above achievement in the public domain, while the extravert seeks the recognition of others as a predominant value.”

“Biologically considered, the relation between subject and object is a relation of adaptation.  The extravert spends and propagates himself in every way (fertility), while the introvert defends himself against external claims, consolidating his position (security).”


Time Orientation

Time-orientation is another key factor in describing type.  Perception of space and time lie at the bottom of the differing types.  They are different orientations -- ways of being in the world.  Osmond (1971; Doubleday), in The Future of Time, sought to build a theoretical base for Jung’s typology through studying time perception of the types.  Each type differs in relation to the passage of time, seeing it as continuous or discontinuous.

Thinking types see time as linear, and relate the past to the present and future for an orienting reference and to plot choices.  They are decisive.  The other three types embody particular dimensions of the time line.  Feeling types dwell on the past, positive or negative.  Sensation types live for the moment with little regard for consequences.  Intuitives invest themselves in potential, in anticipation of future actualization.

Determine your type online at

Jungian Typology Test

Four Functions

Strephon Kaplan Williams has summarized the main traits of the personality types in The Holistic Health Lifebook, as has Michael Malone in Psychetypes:

Sensation Person:  Physical world is the primary basis of personality and main focus is on the details and concreteness of reality, attention to immediate stimuli.  Body oriented.  Aesthetic sensibility and sensuality.  Gives great attention to detail, to getting things just right, ignoring the larger perspective, or the feeling level of a situation.  Strong sense of physical competence, manual dexterity, responsive in crisis.  Wants to act on and concretize intuitions or hunches. 

Engineers, rule followers, lawyers, office workers, accountants, emergency and medical workers, and perfectionists fall generally within this type.  The present – the here and now – is their predominant orientation.  Intense sense of the transitory nature of things.  Loves variety and mobility. 

Motivated by desires more than ideas or plans.  Observant; close to the physical environment.  Insists on self-sufficiency, and control of self and others; manipulative.  Tends toward pessimism.  Values social structure.  Desires peak experiences; thrill seeking; loves mysteries, magic and games.  Magnetic, vital, reactive, superstitious, charming; knows what pleases others.

Intuitives:  The intuitive is the opposite of the sensation person with more imaginative than active energy.  Intuition is subconscious or subliminal information, a mental perception without a physical cause; source of insiration, creativity, nevel ideas and imagery.  Vision or 6th sense is the primary basis of personality; highly imaginative, living in a complex mental world. 

Relatively indifferent to the “real,” utilitarian world.  Unobservant of surroundings.  They can’t be bothered with details, are concerned more with gestalts, with perceiving the whole, with having great insights, and with unlimited creativity.  They often start many projects but finish very few because of lack of ability to deal with details.  Sudden insights, global thinking and creative ideas out of the blue are their forte.  They believe in destiny, spirituality. 

Charismatic, inspirational.  Cannot structure time, get carried away, disregard consequences, excessive, very communicative. Theoretical physicists, innovators, creators, therapists, esoterics, psychics, pathfinders, and the slightly bizarre number in the ranks of intuitives.  Egalitarian, regardless of social roles.  The intuitive is always focused on the future, on potential so is optimistic, fun-loving, excitable, eccentric, changeable.  Charms and moves others.  The present is never good enough, and the past is quickly forgotten. 

Thinking Types:  The organizers of society, with facts, ideas, or people.  Needs structure, routine, and direction.  Intellectually considered motives; deductive; scholarly; highly verbal and witty and dynamic.  Thinking involves making or discovering conscious links between people or things.  Systems thinkers; conceptual, principled, logical, sensible, rational; idea and theory-oriented.  Intolerant of chaos or ambiguity. The head guides the heart with ideas generating feeling, rather than the reverse. 

Seeks the reasons for things; logical consistency is main value.  Just, ethical, and compassionate if judgmental.  Vulnerable to emotional arousal, disillusionment.  Feelings activated by others; cool or cold and self-critical, serious; hard to comfort yet seeks approval.  Competitive; headstrong.  Desires impact; authoritative and freely gives advice.  

Mathematicians, some teachers, executives, lawyers, bridge players, and the somewhat cool and objective are generally among the thinking types.  Thinking bridges time past, present, and future; temporal continuity is important.  They easily structure time, and enjoy following the process of things; somewhat linear.  Writers are often found in this category, if the subject matter is rational.

Feeling Types:  Feeling is the relational function keying on the emotional impact of past events.  It is a kind of judging or evaluation.  Feeling is the expression of positive and negative energy – attraction or repulsion, worthiness for acceptance or rejection.  “I like this and I don’t like that.”  Places the highest value on intimacy.  Steers by feeling values and processes in relationship.  As with thinking, its opposite, feeling organizes reality, including involvement with life’s cycles and nature.  It does not perceive reality, as does intuition, but reacts to it.  They seem to live the relational life at double intensity.  Very aware of cyclic nature of life, yet slow and reluctant to change.

Emotional intelligence.  Feeling types are emotionally aware and versatile; practical, grounded, empathic, compassionate, romantic, personal, sentimental.  Enchanting, warm, responsive, sensitive.  They read and express feelings accurately, perceiving nuance, detecting shades of emotion.  Fanatical and emotional in thought. Highly sensitive to emotional climates and others; diplomatic, naturally therapeutic; strong desire to belong.  Needs affection and can appear dependent, vulnerable.

Interested in growth and engagement of personality. They are the harmonizers and socializers who work well with people, finding the right words, saying the right things and responding to others’ needs.  Sees and rejects manipulation by others.  These are teachers, therapists, novelists, great gossipers and dancers, who love body contact.  High potential for negative emotionalism; experience the greatest ‘freakouts;’ vulnerable to self-pity and vindictiveness.

The ‘Inferior’ Function

The ‘superior’ function is the way the ego most typically responds.  The secondary function is different but not antagonistic to the superior function, which it serves as auxilliary.  Most of us are not pure types, but rely on both.  The third function is integrated during midlife.  The fourth function is our constant cross to bear and keeps us humble when we do stupid things.  This psychological weak spot cannot be tamed with pseudo-adaptation. 

When we feel strong we are willing to be broad-minded, flexible and discuss things calmly.  When we feel inferior, we react by getting fanatical, touchy and are easily influenced into acting out as if possessed or beside ourselves.  But to be whole we cannot remain indifferent to the validity, values and means of the third and fourth functions, in ourselves or others.  It increases our ability to respond in a variety of ways.  There must be trust and respect to see opposing points of view.

Jung assumed a rather firm opposition between the functions, but it is not impossible for us to transcend the bipolar opposites under certain conditions.  In fact, Jung’s emphasis on the individuation process requires that our unconscious or less conscious contents and functions of the psyche be raised to greater awareness.  For Jung, a balancing of the four functions expresses individuation, wholeness as the goal of personal development.  Often our dreams express an unconscious opposite point of view, balancing our ego’s one-sidedness.

Hillman (“Image-Sense”, Spring 1979, p.135) complained that “Jung’s model cuts the double sense in two, sensation and intuition, opposing them to each other.  In that system, sensation perceives consciously and intuition unconsciously…the problem that this model causes for sensation is much like what that cross does to thinking and feeling.  They are forced into diametric opposition.  However, common speech, which betrays common experience, employs terms like ‘thoughtfulness’, ‘consideration’, and ‘attentiveness’ equally for thinking and feeling.  Psychological functions are not inherently opposed; we make them so with our conceptual models.”

We can learn to come to terms with functions and attitudes other than our ‘superior’ ones.  For some, even the least-adapted function can be raised to a high degree of differentiation.  All four functions interact dynamically when engaged with an image.  There is no typological opposition.  All work together to inform us, echoing the cycle of the metaphysical axiom: “To know (intuition), to will (thinking), to dare (sensation), to be silent (feeling).”

Jung suggested people are fairly competent in two or three of the functions.  However, most of us are extremely weak in the 4th function, lacking conscious adaptation in this area.  Our natural tendencies are to embrace the patterns of our dominant (‘superior’) function, while the fourth works unconsciously, allowing the irrational, sometimes even the divine, to emerge.

Guided by the unconscious, creative people, in particular, transcend the rigid bipolar model.  They seem to move fluidly along each continuum much more freely than those conforming to the norms of society. 

Creative people holistically use both introversion and extroversion during their process, use both mind and feelings often simultaneously in concert, and are certainly intuitive and artistic, often sensual virtuosos.  They illustrate that the “opposites” do not exclude, but compliment, each other.  For example, they may be introverted in the incubation stage while extraverted in the performance or presentational phase.

All creative people are flexible in their mental processes, paradoxically wielding the opposites, even the ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ function.  This may relate to global thinking (NT), activating both left and right hemispheres of the brain (T-F), perceiving new interrelationships (iN) as well as deploying critical (J-P) and expressive (S) capacity.

We perceive reality and relate to it through these four distinct modes.  They include the logical reality of thought-processes and ideas, the feeling reality rooted in emotions and memories, the concrete phenomenal reality of direct sensation, and the intuitive reality of visionary anticipation.  We are generally most adept at one function, do fairly well with the second and third, and have problems or challenges with the fourth, least integrated function.

Certain traits blend together to form an operational style.  In Jung’s system, thinking and feeling as well as sensation and intuition are polar opposites – or we might say, compliments, like yin and yang.

Often we seek this missing mirror aspect in other people – idols, mentors, lovers, family, and friends.  Others carry it for us in projection until we integrate it.  Its conscious integration in the mature personality is an indication of relative wholeness.  But ultimately, we are all interdependent since no one can or should master all aspects of living.

The inferior function lies apparently opposite the primary conscious function and is riddled with unconscious reactionary patterns, complexes.  It seems for every strength, we have a corresponding weakness. 

For example, a ‘thinking type’ has an inferior feeling function.  An example is a highly competent medical professional with lousy bedside manner, or a genius like Einstein who was emotionally estranged from his family.  Even though one may be extremely competent in the business or academic arena, all sorts of turmoil, failure to connect, and misunderstandings may strain relations with clients, family, and acquaintances.

The least integrated function is where we find our shadow-side, our unadapted or troubled experiences.  Jung called it the inferior function.  It can create suffering, emotional turbulence, trauma and drama, disturbances, chaos, dissociative gaps in awareness, different styles of habits or addictive behavior, denial, projections, miasmas, even delusions. 




The inferior function is often where we act out any pathological tendencies. It has been called “the ever-bleeding wound of the conscious personality.”  Our new attitudes and undiscovered self also emerge from this door, as well as the unexpected.

Compounding this issue of the inferior function is the fact that some people have recognized or unrecognized personality disorders, which characterize their beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior.  Among these are toxic narcissism (NPD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), oppositional or antisocial personality, avoidant and dependant types, obsessive-compulsive (OCD), schizoid, schizotypal, histrionic, paranoid, passive-aggressive and self-defeating types, etc. 

The severity of the disorder amplifies the severity of psychosocial stressors. Even sub-clinical tendencies toward these disorders can color the shadow behavior of an individual.  Issues surrounding dependency, manipulation/control, and competition are magnified.  These disorders run like fault lines, or paths of least resistence, through the psyche forming the underlying matrix of personality, rather than being a part of it. 

All types can be subject to normal neurosis, pathologizing, mood disorders, personality disorders or mental illness, amplifying the problem areas of the type and characterizing the way they are acted out in acute events and enduring circumstances.  They may be acted-in (denial, introjection, somatization, implosion) on the self or acted out (predation, projection, manipulation, power trips, sociopathy) in the personal, marital, social, or professional worlds.

For example, each type can respond to addictive substances, including sex and love in a different manner.  Extraverts like variety and action, while introverts like to plumb their own depths and heights.  Conservative types, like neocon talk show host Rush Limbaugh, are less likely to seek street drugs and tend toward abusing prescription drugs. Rational types can be subverted by their unadapted feelings and sensation natures, seeking respite in strong irrational subjective experiences.

The hedonistic Dionysian types are impulsive and give little thought to consequences.  So they act recklessly on impulse living in the heat of the moment, craving excitement and enjoyment.  They are prone to infidelity, sex addiction and the whole spectrum of recreational drug abuse. 

Craving inspiration, visionary types might prefer psychedelic drugs that create imaginal experience, altered states to explore and reflect in artistic expression.  They are natural psychonauts.  Others seek stimulants for the strong sensations of a body high, or alcohol and narcotics to suppress strong feelings or physical sensations.  Some may choose from the so-called positive addictions such as exercise and/or workaholism, or over-spending.  Any or all of the above can be used for escapist purposes, for avoiding spirituality, thoughts, feelings or sensations.



Certain functions share an inherent harmony.  There are four so-called Irrational types and four Rational types (von Franz, Jung’s Typology).  Thinking and feeling are considered rational.  Sensation and intuition are irrational in that they don’t spring from logical processes.  Thinkers and Feelers experience time as a continuous, orderly flow.  They like continuity and routine.  Sensation types and intuitives are prone to “quantum leaps” in consciousness, prefer open-ended situations, and can be impulsive.

Mix these rationals and irrationals together and sparks may fly!  The intuitives are “spacey”; the sensations live only for the moment.  The thinkers are detached and dogmatic, caring little for the feelings of others, if not downright oblivious.  The feelers never forget the slights of the past and are rarely on time.  These are evaluations or criticisms by other types with different priorities and adaptations, obviously.

The Irrationals include:

Extraverted sensation type with inferior introverted intuition;

Introverted sensation type with inferior extraverted intuition;

Extraverted intuitive type with inferior introverted sensation; and

Introverted intuitive with inferior extraverted sensation. 


The non-rational extraverted sensation type is experienced in the real world, enjoying the fullness of life; his repressed intuitions are weak, and imagination (such as jealousy) can run away with him into phobias and compulsions, sees fantasy as idiotic, suspicious, grotesque; dark premonitions. 

The introverted sensation type struggles to express what his intense senses convey; extraverted intuition is gloomy, ambiguous, suspicious, paranoid, compulsive, even dangerous.  Quick inner but slow outer reactions to stimuli make them look slow; inferior intuition triggered by outer events is weird, eerie, fantastic.

In the extraverted intuitive type, sensation is suppressed so the promise of possibilities and new ideas can be perceived; oversights and painful realities create disappointment and self-destructive tendencies.  Neglects the body’s physical needs.  Introverted sensation carries a mystical quality, carrying a symbolic aspect.

The introverted intuitive type is a mystical dreamer, eccentric or artistic trying to shape a new view; but judgment is impulsive and unrestrained leading to angry demands and self-righteousness.  The seer, shaman, or poet in touch with unconscious processes; unfocused insight.  Difficulty controlling appetites and noticing needs of the body and exteriorizing insight.  Vague about outer facts; intense but sporadic sensations in the field of awareness; sensitive to subliminal stimuli.


The four Rational types include:

Extraverted thinking type with inferior introverted feeling;

Introverted thinking type with inferior extraverted feeling;

Extraverted feeling type with inferior introverted thinking; and

Introverted feeling type with inferior extraverted thinking. 


The extraverted thinker seeks to align his life activities and objectively thought-out conclusions; non-rational spiritual or passionate feelings are largely unconscious.  Takes a definite stand, clarifying order in the outer world.  The subjective element remains in the background while invisible high ideals are introverted.  ETs seem cold but are just hidden feelers and self-contained, but feelings may erupt in sudden conversions, anger, rage, ambition, aggression, greed, or desire.

The introverted thinker is philosophical and daring in the world of ideas, but socially insecure and defensive presenting them to others.  Strong, loyal, genuine and warm feelings flow toward definite objects.  Black and white judgments, showing either very good or very bad taste, especially in friends.

The extraverted feeling type evaluates situations by their pleasantness and acceptability with repressed, infantile or negative thinking.  Good relation to and evaluation of outer objects.  Sacrificial quality that jumps in to get the job done.  Conventional choice of partners and friends.  Negative thoughts (dark or cynical) can have a destructive influence on self and surroundings.

The introverted feeling type is silent, inaccessible, moody, depressed on the inside, even though getting along socially, inwardly they may be superior and critical.  Highly differentiated values are held inwards exerting a secret influence by setting standards.  Inferior thinking creates monomania, racing of a few poor ideas.  Tyrannical, stiff, unyielding.

In Psychetypes (1977; Pocket Books), Michael Malone expanded on Jung’s idea further classifying types as Aetherial, Oceanic, Volcanic, or Territorial.  This harks back to ancient Hermetic systems based on the four elements of nature: air, water, fire, and earth.  Hippocrates called them Phlegmatic, Choleric, Sanguine, and Melancholic, deriving from four body fluids -- phlegm, yellow bile, blood, and black bile.

Malone describes thinking and intuition as aethereal, feeling and intuition as oceanic, sensation plus feeling as volcanic, and thinking and sensation types as territorial.  These metaphors help us capture the “flavor” of each type and the qualities and nuances that color each single function.


Aetherials (Thinking Aetherial; Intuitive Aetherial) are interested in the possible and theoretical, future oriented, attracted to the emergent.  They believe in the power of ideas and imagination.  They can be somewhat detached and intellectual, relatively indifferent to the material or physical world.  Prone to absent-mindedness and ‘spacey’; head in the clouds.

Oceanics (Intuitive Oceanic; Feeling Oceanic) are process-oriented, valuing flow, harmony and social openness.  They are receptive, egalitarian, unstructured, spiritual and good-hearted. Prone to emotional flooding.

 Volcanics (Sensation Volcanic; Feeling Volcanic) are quite existential, highly involved in the actual and immediate, relying on concrete actions.  They are acceptant, enduring and adaptable, believing in honor, competency and personal development.  Prone to explosive outbursts.

Territorials (Thinking Territorial; Sensation Territorial) crave structure, definition, and boundaries.  They are objective but love their freedom and privacy and desire emotional control.  They are well disciplined, grounded, orderly, habitual, and organized.  They are courageous and sexually aggressive.  They respect social structure and rules, and their own and others’ space.  Prone to power trips and control issues.

What's New with My Subject?

MBTI Inventory; Kiersey Temperament Sorter (Self Test)

Myers Briggs (Gifts Differing) refined Jung’s basic scheme further into a typology test widely used in government, business and industry for profiling, team building, and placement.  The full test is protected by copywrite and only offered in professional settings.  You can take a simpler test for yourself online to determine your basic type, at

Kiersey's Temperament Sorter II

The drawback of these tests is that they force choices among opposites, rejecting that not chosen, even though the choice is often a close call.  There is thus no accurate measure of dynamic interplay revealed unless one scores nearly identically on the measured polarities. 

MBTI type tests may indicate preferences, but those preferences can modulate over time.  If you take the test at different ages or times, for example when more emotional, your type may seem to vary.  Forced choice creates testing artifact and may distort the results of your preferred style.

The four main types of temperaments encompass sixteen subtypes, based on four pairs of preferences: Extraversion (E)-Introversion (I), Sensation (S)-Intuition (N),  Thinking (T)-Feeling (F), Perceiving (P)-Judging (J).  Some people have a combination of two types or a balance along one or more continuums, creating an X-factor, which yields an additional 32 mixed types.  Along the J-P dimension, those stronger in judging display convergent thinking, while perceivers use exploratory, divergent thinking.

Keirsey and Bates wrote detailed profiles, including sections on mating, leading, and children, in Please Understand Me (PUM).  They describe the 38% of impulsive, freedom-loving Dionysians or sensuous performers (SP), the dutiful conservative Epimethean style (SJ) which also includes 38% of the population.  These more common types may find it difficult to “read” or understand the special workings and desires of the rarer types.

Only 12% are among the highly competent Promethean intuitive thinkers (NT), or Apollonic intuitive feelers (NF) who value self-realization, meaning and becoming.  This later spiritual 12% of the population exerts a great influence as counselors, healers, therapists, teachers and other people-helpers.  These types respectively express aesthetic (SP), economic (SJ), theoretical (NT), and religious, humanistic or ethical interests (NF).

In Please Understand Me II, David Kiersey simplified the system and found even better keywords (listed above after the / mark, below) for each major character type. He simplified his schema into the concrete types -- utilitarian Artisans (SP) and cooperative Guardians (SJ), and the abstract types, including utilitarian Rationals (NT) and cooperative Idealists (NF). 

The distribution of the 16 basic types is roughly as follows, though some people are even more highly specialized drawing equally from introversion/extraversion, or perceiving and judging, for example.  Numbers are approximate for each type.  Additional titles from the Socionics systems are added after the percentage.

ENFJ (Pedagogue/Teacher) 5%  Actor

INFJ (Author/Counselor) 1%  Empath

ENFP (Journalist/Champion) 5%  Reporter

INFP (Questor/Healer) 1%  Romantic

ENTJ (Field Marshall) 5%  Pioneer

INTJ (Scientist/Mastermind) 1%  Analyst

ENTP (Inventor) 1%  Inventor

INTP (Architect) 1%  Observer


ESTJ (Administrator/Supervisor) 13%  Director

ISTJ (Trustee/Inspector) 6%  Pragmatist

ESFJ (Seller/Provider) 13%  Enthusiast

ISFJ (Conservator/Protector)17%  Guardian

ESTP (Promotor) 13%  Conqueror

ESFP (Entertainer/Performer) 13%  Ambassador

ISTP (Artisan/Crafter, Virtuoso) 1%  Artisan

ISFP (Artist/Composer) 5%  Peacemaker


Thumbnail profiles for each type can be found online at

where the keywords for each type have been modified to even more accurately reflect their nature.  Both the first and second versions of Please Understand Me go much more fully into the patterns and style of each temperament, and are extremely useful over the years as a reference.

Online type inventories or profiles can also be found at:




Express Yourself: Creativity and Type

All types have the capacity for creativity but tend to express it differently.  Some use the mediums and forms recognized socially as “art.”  Others are more subtle in their creative expression.  It is part of the fabric of life, of living.  For some the interpersonal, social or economic arenas are their medium.  In this sense, “art” is not defined by the medium but by the artfulness of expression.  There is a harmony of artforms, mediums, and styles of presentation with the primary types:  Dionysian, Epimethean, Promethean and Apollonic.

Keirsey desribes these temperament styles in PUM which can be amplified in terms of creative styles and artistic preferences. A quick overview of the spectrum reveals a harmony between certain types and modes of expression: Epimethian artificers (SJ), the sensual Dionysian artisans and virtuosos (SP), singers, performers and composers (SF), Promethean inventors and conceptualizers (NT) and writers (NT or NF authors depending on subject and genre, non-fiction or fiction), and Apollonic NFs whose medium is people, acting, or people-helping such as healing.

The impulsive, action-oriented, thrill-seeking, freedom-loving Dionysian is rooted in the immediacy of the sensual world of the here and now (SPs, including ISTP, ESTP, ISFP, ESFP).  They are dramatic and spontaneous, likely to follow intuitive impulses, and have long attention spans and endurance when engaged, and become virtuosos through a sort of compulsion to play rather than practice.  Their playful ethic is Epicurean; they can abandon themselves to a task.  Keirsey lists performers, painters, instrumentalists, vocalists, dancers, sculptors, and photographers among their numbers.  Learns as a warrior or explorer, active experimentation. Action learners.

The Epimethian temperament (SJ) is far more utilitarian, pragmatic, considered and deliberate.  They are concrete experiencers; doers: skilled workers or craftspeople, capable shapers and builders and organizers.  This artificer and caretaker of the spectrum includes ISFJ, ESFJ, ISTJ, ESTJ, who serve social goals.  They dutifully make things work, and things that work usefully – effective, utilitarian artifacts, including fabricated industrial items.  Tools are an extension of capability.  Their work ethic is Stoical and they do well in institutional teamwork.  Artistic taste tends to be parochial, conservative, toward heritage and even religious art.  These traditionalists are likely to reject genres outside the social pale, such as outsider or low-brow art. They are capable shapers, builders and organizers.  Conventional and Artificer learners.

Promethean temperament (NT) is innovative, inventive, theoretical yet with good spatial visualization ability.  Individualistic, they are capable of quick and accurate analysis and respond with quick rational solutions.  The extroverts (ENTP, ENTJ) tend to respond to abstract, or modern art and science-art that expresses theories and future possibilities; the introverts (INTP, INTJ) may prefer experimental, symbolic or visionary art that reflects their inner life.  Fascinated with the intricate, technical and technological, such as sci-fi, CGI, digital, or unemotional computer-generated or fractal art. They are also workaholic, perfectionistic, competent performers, self-critically improving themselves or their product.  They enjoy developing models, exploring ideas, and building systems and theoretical frameworks.  Design is an expression of artistry.  Architects, mathematicians and engineers are among their number.  As writers they favor technical and scientific writing, non-fiction with verbal intricacy and clarity.  Philosophers create whole worlds of thought.  Learns as a thinker/reflector, vision, intention, design.  Abstract conceptualizers; conceptual and imaginal learners.

Apollonic temperament (NF), the intuitive-feelers (INFJ, ENFJ, INFP, ENFP) are strongly process- and people or relationship oriented.  Thus, their creative process is likely to include others, and their medium may be others, such as healing their bodies or minds like their namesake healer-god. These interactive idealists enjoy bringing out the best in people; born collaborators. These relators are interested in the unique, extraordinary, even the ineffable – the circular search for Self, self-actualizing.  The pathfinders’ most meaningful medium may be their own lives, self-reflective becoming, their transformative journey to wholeness.  To them, self realization means having authenticity, significance, integrity, unity. They have a mission, a sense of the sacred.  Intentionality is the medium of the dreamers.  This purposeful quest may be expressed enthusiastically in a variety of written, performed, or mixed media.  Keirsey lists most writers among this type: novelists, dramatists, television writers, playwrites, journalists, poets, biographers.   Also method actors, musicians, and those in communications media, midwifery, psychiatry, clinical counseling, psychotherapy, ministry, and teaching.  Apollonic values drive toward service, empathy, intensity, and intimacy; values people over product. Process-oriented Reflective observers; experiential learners.

Arguably, even art appreciation can be linked to type.  It influences what images appeal to us, from traditional, scenic or representational art to visionary or more avante guarde forms.  Type conditions what types of music (and dance) we are likely to prefer, which subcultures we might gravitate toward.  Even food can be a medium of artistic expression for the gourmet.  One might be a less-lauded type of artist, such as make-up artist.

Art can be experienced through purely sensual delight, technological invention, a dynamic medium such as film or TV, or an exploration of the realm of archetype, myth and dream.  Creative genius is not something one is, but a gift which can be tapped or awakened like Plato’s daemon, or creative genius.  It can express a momentary or sustained connection with the unconscious fount of creativity that is then manifested in some form, dynamic or concrete.

A self-perceived lack of talent need not prevent us from expressing ourselves.  We can also discover our unconscious through art therapy which usually employs the inferior function to reveal the unconscious.  A simple form of this is merely drawing or using your less-favored hand to draw, write or express yourself.  Another form, available to all is collage.

There isn’t room in this article to go into detailed analysis of the correspondences of forms and types, and to some degree they are flexible since types aren’t completely rigid distinctions.  Reflection will provide more examples of connections between modes of expression and one’s typology.


Singer-Loomis Type Test

Many people don’t seem to fit the MBTI at all in their functional lives.  The next generation of psychological type instruments is not so static, polarized or linear as those described above. 

It is a presumption that functions conflict; operationally they may or may not conflict, or may lead to unique combinations of personality and situational context.  With such an assumption, certain types would be virtually blind to other modes. 

Sensation and Intuition could not both be simultaneous dominants.  But they can be, reconciling intuition and sensation as, for example, a visionary artist does. Some tasks evoke this paradoxical behavior.  Type functions need a means of outlet or expression to be realized.  Studies show that as many as half of us will fail to show bipolarity as described in Jung’s psychological compass.  There are far more permutations of the discrete factors.

The Singer-Loomis Type Deployment Inventory (S-L TDI) seeks to overcome problems and ambiguities of other instruments by posing a non-linear alternative for Jung’s compass.  Their system suggests 48 more well-defned combinations of function and attitude.  They refined the SLIP, Singer Loomis Inventory of Personality (32 types with options not available in MBTI) to identify them in individuals, with a rank-ordered profile.

One of their main objectives was to minimize the forced-choice oppositions of the MBTI and other instruments.  They introduce scaled responses to create an individualized profile with relative strengths and weakness of each cognitive mode, and reveal inborn instinctual traits. 

The S-L test measures interactions and funtional mode deployment in 20 different situations.  Angelo Spoto in Jung’s Typology: A New Perspective, describes non-linear dimensions of perception and expression, such as functional pairs of sensing and intuiting, or thinking and feeling.

Instead of two polar choices, each question has eight possible responses scaled along a continuum from ‘never’ to ‘always’.  It measures behavior.  This dynamic method found a change in the least developed function in over a third of test subjects.  Eight Type Modes are ranked in order (Type Mode Profile) of not only preference for the result, but what the person actually does.

This psychological profile shows that functions can act independently, not just as polarized pairs in conflict.  It reflects both inner traits and outer states, ranking competencies, skills, and capacities, disclosing their relative influence.  It focuses on strengths, validation, legitimization of specialties, instead of dysfunctionality.

Henry Thompson (A Systems Model of Psychological Type) argues for a complex systems approach to typology, based on the language of chaos theory with its strange attractors, bifurcations, sensitivity to initial conditions, iteration, and dissipative structures.  This author would add emergence.

[End Note]


NLP Representational Systems

NLP classifies people by their three primary representational systems: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic.  You can tell which one a person is “hard-wired” for by watching their eye movements.  By mirroring their representational style back to them, you can create instant rapport. 

Visual types tend to look upward to the right or left when accessing information or memories, “visual-construct or visual-remembered.  Auditory types eyes dart straight to the sides, either left or right.  Kinesthetic types have deep feelings that are revealed in process when they cast their eyes downward, again right or left.



Jungian Typology Test


Kiersey's Temperament Sorter II


Temperament vs. Type discussion

Fundamentals of Jungian types; charts

New Non-linear Jungian Paradigm; Singer-Loomis type test

Psychosynthesis Typology; 7 types

Psychological types; composite of systems

Five Levels of Development of Four Functions

16 Personality Types

Personality types; Type-watching; Temperament & Character Development
The Matrix:





Please Understand Me, An Essay on Temperament Styles, by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates. Prometheus Nemesis Book Company, P.O. Box 2748, Del Mar, CA 92014 (619-632-1575). One of the more widely known books describing the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It includes a self-test (many do not consider it to be as good as the "real" MBTI test).


Portraits of Temperament, David Keirsey. Prometheus Nemesis Book Company, P.O. Box 2748, Del Mar, CA 92014 (619-632-1575), 1987.


Gifts Differing, Isabel Briggs-Myers (with Peter Myers). Consulting Psychologists Press, 1980 ISBN 0-89106-011-1 (pb) 0-89106-015-4 (hb). The real Please Understand Me, from the horse's mouth (i.e., the daughter in the original mother/daughter pair). A good bridge between Jung and PUM, but no self-test included.


Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, by Isabel Briggs-Myers and Mary H. McCaulley. Consulting Psychologists Press, 1985.


LifeTypes, by Sandra Hirsh and Jean Kummerow, ISBN 0-446-38823-8 USA and ISBN 0-446-38824-6 Canada. Warner Books, Inc., 1989.


Facing Your Type, George J. Schemel and James A. Borbely. Published by Typofile Press, Church Road, Box 223, Wernersville, PA 19565.


Type Talk. Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. (Tilden Press also mentioned.) ISBN 0-385-29828-59. An easy-to-read book that gives profiles for all sixteen personality types.


Type Talk at Work. Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen. ISBN 0-385-30174-X.


Type Watch. Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen.


The Leadership Equation. Lee Barr and Norma Barr. Eaking Press, Austin, Texas. 1989.


Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in Organizations . Sandra Krebs Hirsh. Consulting Psychological Press, Inc., Palo Alto, CA. 1985.


People Types and Tiger Stripes. Gordon Lawrence. Available from Center for Application of Psychological Type, Gainesville, Florida. ISBN 0-935652-08-6.


This book is written primarily to help teachers counsel students, but it applicable for other related uses.


Working Together. Olaf Isachsen and Linda Berens. New World Management Press, Coronado, CA. 1988.


From Image to Likeness -- A Jungian Path in the Gospel Journey , W. Harold Grant, Magdala Thompson and Thomas E. Clarke. Paulist Press, 545 Island Road, Ramsey, NJ 07446. ISBN: 0-8091-2552-8, 1983. This book deals with people's spiritual growth vis a vis personality types.


Prayer and Temperament, by Michael and Norrisey. Other bibliographic information not known at present.


Personality Types and Religious Leadership, by Oswald and Kroeger. Available from the Alban Institute, 4125 Nebraska Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 20016. Phone -- 1-800-457-2674. Other bibliographic information not known at present.


Psychological Types, C.G. Jung, H.G. Baynes (translator). Bollingen Series, Princeton U.P., 1971 ISBN 0-691-01813-8 (pb) 0-691-09770-4 (hb).  This book (originally written in the early 1920's) inspired Briggs & Myers to create the MBTI test. If you've only read Please Understand Me, then you'll have some trouble making the correlation.


An Introduction To Theories of Personality, B.R. Hergenhahn. Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1990.


An Empirical Investigation of the Jungian Typology , by Leon Gorlow, Norman R. Simonson, and Herbert Krauss. In Theories of Personality, Primary Sources and Research, editors: Gardner Lindzey, Calvin S. Hall, Martin Manosevitz, Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company, Florida, 1988.


The Measurement of Learning Style: A Critique of Four Assessment Tools, Timothy J. Sewall, University of Wisconsin, 1986.


Dichotomies of the Mind: A System Science Model of the Mind and Personality, Walter Lowen (with Lawrence Miike). John Wiley, 1982 ISBN 0-471-08331-3. A bizarre, but intriguing attempt to "correct" the MBTI's inherently 'F' focus to a 'hyper-T' perspective.






The Type Reporter. Susan Scanlon, Editor. For Subscription information, mail to: 524 North Paxton Street, Alexandria, VA 22304. (703) 823-3730.


It comes out roughly 8 times a year, and costs $16 for a year's subscription; I've found it worth the money. Recent topics include "Mistakes When Teaching Type", "Spending and Saving", and "Making Love".


Journal of Psychological Type. The official research journal of the Association for Psychological Type, 9140 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64114. One of the few outlets for research on the MBTI as 'real' personality psychologists usually don't publish on it.


Mental Measurements Yearbook (MMY). Has lists of references to articles in peer-reviewed journals in which the MBTI test is used. An excellent review of MBTI is given by Anthony DeVito in the 9th MMY, and two additional reviews in the 10th MMY. The recently published 11th MMY does not include these. The MMY are available in

the reference section of most college and university libraries.

  • INTP: "Architect". Greatest precision in thought and language. Can readily discern contradictions and inconsistencies. The world exists primarily to be understood. 1% of the total population.
  • INTJ: "Scientist". Most self-confident and pragmatic of all the types. Decisions come very easily. A builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models. 1% of the total population.
  • INFP: "Questor". High capacity for caring. Calm and pleasant face to the world. High sense of honor derived from internal values. 1% of the total population.
  • INFJ: "Author". Strong drive and enjoyment to help others. Complex personality. 1% of the total population.
  • ENFJ: "Pedagogue". Outstanding leader of groups. Can be aggressive at helping others to be the best that they can be. 5% of the total population.
  • ENFP: "Journalist". Uncanny sense of the motivations of others. Life is an exciting drama. 5% of the total population.
  • ENTJ: "Field Marshall". The basic driving force and need is to lead. Tend to seek a position of responsibility and enjoys being an executive. 5% of the total population.
  • ENTP: "Inventor". Enthusiastic interest in everything and always sensitive to possibilities. Non-conformist and innovative. 5% of the total population.
  • ISFP: "Artist". Interested in the fine arts. Expression primarily through action or art form. The senses are keener than in other types. 5% of the total population.
  • ISTP: "Artisan". Impulsive action. Life should be of impulse rather than of purpose. Action is an end to itself. Fearless, craves excitement, master of tools. 5% of the total population.
  • ISFJ: "Conservator". Desires to be of service and to minister to individual needs - very loyal. 6% of the total population.
  • ISTJ: "Trustee". Decisiveness in practical affairs. Guardian of time- honored institutions. Dependable. 6% of the total population.
  • ESTJ: "Administrator". Much in touch with the external environment. Very responsible. Pillar of strength. 13% of the total population.
  • ESFJ: "Seller". Most sociable of all types. Nurturer of harmony. Outstanding host or hostesses. 13% of the total population.
  • ESTP: "Promotor". Action! When present, things begin to happen. Fiercely competitive. Entrepreneur. Often uses shock effect to get attention. Negotiator par excellence. 13% of the total population.
  • ESFP: "Entertainer". Radiates attractive warmth and optimism. Smooth, witty, charming, clever. Fun to be with. Very generous. 13% of the total population.

Table 1: Psychological Type Preferences and Political Party Affiliation


This table was adapted from 3 different slides presented in: Peter B. Myers and Katherine D. Myers, Snapshots of the 16 Types. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press. Copyright 2001.