Personality & Personality Types: Examples & Descriptions

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  • 0:04 Personality
  • 0:31 Definition
  • 1:05 Competing Views
  • 1:38 Myers-Briggs Indicator
  • 2:44 16 Types
  • 5:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sunday Moulton

Sunday recently earned a PhD in Anthropology and has taught college courses in Anthropology, English, and high school ACT/SAT Prep.

In this lesson, we'll learn how psychologists define personality, the different theoretical perspectives on personality, and the different personality types defined by one commonly used scale, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.


Ever heard the phrase ''They've got a big personality''? Usually, that means the person is very outgoing and noticeable, which can be good or bad depending on the opinion.

However, personality is not something measured on a scale of having more or less. It's a part of who we are and our myriad of traits. Let's take a look at the way psychologists describe personality and the different personality types. You might even recognize your own.


As a professional term in psychology, personality is a person's unique patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior. This means that personality is composed of all of an individual's unique characteristics.

When psychologists study personality, they usually conduct two different kinds of research, including:

  1. How and why people differ in a particular characteristic or group of characteristics, like aggression, humor, and outgoing behavior, and

  2. How the different traits in a person's personality work together in terms of how he or she behaves and interacts with the external world

Competing Views

There are a wide variety of competing theories on personality. The ideographic view of personality sees each person as completely unique individuals. People cannot be compared with one another because their psychological makeups are integrated wholes and not a series of comparable characteristics.

This contrasts with the nomothetic view that states that personality traits can be compared between people and where each person places on a scale of that trait. Their unique personalities are thus observed by mapping their positions along these traits.

Myers-Briggs Indicator

One of the most commonly used evaluations for personality typing is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), created by a mother-daughter team of psychologists, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. The Briggs developed a typing system based on the work of Carl Jung, a prominent psychologist from the early days of the field.

The team developed four dimensions to measure personality. Each dimension consists of a continuum between two extremes of a particular trait.

  1. Is the person more extroverted or introverted?

  2. How does the person learn new information? Doe he or she lean toward using the physical senses for empirical observation or intuitively gathering information from observed details and reasoning (whether conscious or unconscious)?

  3. How does the person make decisions, through a logical process or by going on a feeling?

  4. How does the person deal with the world around him or her? Does the individual project his or her beliefs onto the situation or take in observed details to modify or support those beliefs?

16 Types

Given the binary alternatives in each dimension, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator produces 16 different personality types. A trained professional can evaluate the variety of people within each type based on the strength of their responses in each dimension.

The types are as follows, with the letters representing each extreme of the dimensions scale:

  • (I) introversion to (E) extroversion
  • (S) sensing to (N) intuition
  • (T) thinking to (F) feeling
  • (J) judging to (P) perceiving

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