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16 Personality Types: The Definitive Guide to Know Yourself Better!

16 Personality Types: The Definitive Guide to Know Yourself Better!Updated on February 22, 2021 | Published on January 26, 2020
Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD, Certified Psychiatrist

Have you ever wondered what your personality is? Sure, you can describe yourself as a person but what is your personality? Confusing? Let’s go back to the basics. Your personality defines your characteristic behavior to any given situation in life. These situations can be about how you react to something to how you decide your life goals.

It can be about your focus in life to even how you function in a personal or social environment. Based on characteristic traits, it’s been determined that universally there are 16 personality types. Personality is thus a distinctive behavioral center of attention in human beings. 

What is Personality?

Personality refers to the unique thought patterns, feelings, and behavior that are believed to have aroused from genetic and environmental factors and remains fairly stable throughout life.

The word personality is derived from a Latin word ‘Persona’ that means a mask. It is the combination of those qualities that determines a person’s temperament and overall identity. According to Gordon Allport (1961).

“Personality is the dynamic organization of those psychophysical systems that determine a person’s characteristic behavior and thought.” In the words of Weinberg and Gould (1999), personality is the “The characteristics or blend of characteristics that makes a person unique.”

Myers Briggs 16 Personality Types

There are 16 unique personality types as determined by a simple questionnaire called Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. 

Before we can dwell on the different types, let’s get to the part of who defined these “types” of personalities. Well, back in 1971, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung first conceptualized the theory of psychological types defining characteristics based on general attitude, like are you an extrovert or introvert, etc. He categorized four sets establishing one dominant quality in every individual from the said sets.

These four set categories are –

  • Extraversion (also known as extroversion or extrovert) / Introversion (E/I)
  • Sensing / Intuition (S/N)
  • Thinking / Feeling (T/S)
  • Judging / Perception (J/P)

These categories further laid the foundation of what we call today the 16 personality types.

Carl Jung’s theory was later developed by the mother-daughter duo, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers, who saw its relevance and use in real life to help people know themselves better. Thus the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) became an introspective self-report to find more about one’s personality, and learn more about how you function, react, analyze, judge or simply be in your daily life. 

So, What is this Introspective Self-report?

It’s simply a questionnaire with no right and no wrong answers. What comes out of it is a unique combination of the above categories that represent your individualistic personality and your probable strengths and weaknesses. Like any other psychological test, there are no better or best results, as well as there is no perfect analysis.

It is a probable understanding of your personality. You may even find different outcomes at various attempts in your life to this test. Just like any individual, you keep evolving and so does your mind but this test will give you the most possible study of your personality in the present moment.

16 Personality Types: The Definitive Guide to Know Yourself Better!
16 Personality Types: The Definitive Guide to Know Yourself Better!

Types of personality traits

The ‘Big 5’ major personality traits are openness, agreeableness, neuroticism, extraversion, and conscientiousness.

Several researches and studies done on personality have shown that there are big five factors or basic traits that can be used to define and describe the dimensions of personality. The trait theories have earlier suggested several such qualities. For example: R.B Cattell’s 16 personality factors, Allport’s research shows 4000 traits ; described in three different categories of cardinal traits, central traits, and secondary traits.

However, later on researchers have found that Cattel’s and Allport’s work was too complicated and cumbersome. As a result, the 5-factor model given by D.W Fiske (1949), Norman (1967) and Lewis Goldberg (1984) became a hallmark research of modern times.

The acronym OCEAN was used to describe the big five personality traits and remember them more easily.

  • O – openness
  • C – conscientiousness
  • E – extraversion
  • A – agreeableness
  • N – neuroticism

Another commonly used acronym later developed was CANOE, describing the same five big traits.

The five major personality traits are briefly described below:

1. Openness

People who score high on this trait are insightful and open to new learning. They usually have diverse interests and prefer to do challenging tasks. These individuals are highly creative, and focused in whatever they do. Contrary, people who score low on openness are restricted to new ideas. They do not have to experiment with new changes, often resist and dislike changes. Usually less imaginative and dislikes theoretical concepts that require insightful learning.

2. Conscientiousness

Individuals scoring high on this trait are thoughtful with good impulse control. They are organized, mindful, and emotionally stable. They pay attention to detail learning, prefer a schedule and can meet deadlines easily. Contrary, those who score low on this trait are messy, careless, procrastinate, and fail to complete tasks on time. As they are disorganized, they do not prefer a fixed schedule.

3. Extraversion

This trait is marked by sociability, assertiveness, and emotional expressiveness. They are outspoken, excited, and energized. People scoring low on extraversion are reserved. They prefer solitude and don’t like to be more social than what is needed. They find it difficult to start conversations and dislike being a center of attention.

4. Agreeableness

This personality trait describes altruism, compassion, trust, and proactive behavior. People scoring high on this trait have a higher level of interest in someone else’s life. They are kind and helpful. Somehow, if someone is low on this trait, then they are carefree, easy going and take little interest in others matters. They can even belittle and manipulate others to achieve their priorities.

5. Neuroticism

This trait describes mood, emotional instability, anxiety, and irritability. People who score high on this trait are worrywarts. They get upset easily, and experience mood swings too often. They experience stress because they are always anxious and apprehensive. People who score low on this trait are emotionally stable, less anxious and more relaxed.

16 Personalities

Now, the unique combinations…

There are a total of 16 combinations of the above abbreviations (E/I, S/I, T/S, J/P), thus making up 16 personality types. So, without much ado, let’s find your personality type. 

Personality Type #1 : The Architect – INTJ Personality

The one you would think is weird but actually has a brilliant brain.

Introverts with a curious streak- you are among the rarest personality type and with reason. You prefer spending time in your own company over others. There have also been times when you were called a “bookworm” or “nerd”. You are imaginative, ambitious and focused yet have an odd curiosity to rebel. Your love for ideas and theories make it easy for you to develop plans and strategies as you usually like being assertive in life.

Personality Type #2 : The Logician – INTP Personality

The kind who likes opening up household electronics just for fun.  

Always thinking and always innovating- you are a true intellectual type! You love patterns and puzzle-solving; experimenting and coming up with solutions is your fun time. Mundane tasks bore you and instead prefer procrastinating over getting your work done. A seeker of different perspectives, you’re sometimes considered unreliable because of your changing opinions and suggestions with every new day. 

Personality Type #3 : The Commander – ENTJ Personality

The kind with a relentless attitude to pursue goals in life.

Extroverts with a relentless drive to take charge- you are “born leaders”. A natural entrepreneurial mind, you love challenges whether it’s in situations or with people. Always seen motivating others yet never neglecting your own goals- you can do it all! However, when it comes to expressing your emotions, you’re a little on the shy side but that has never stopped your long-range view to finding success in life. 

Personality Type #4 : The Debater – ENTP Personality

Highly motivated; the kind who only has eyes on the prize in life. 

Knowledge for you is more the merrier- you’re a theorist and love debating on any topic under the sun. Ever so hungry for information, you’re an extrovert who loves long conversations. You like to be mentally stimulated that can often come across as overwhelming and a turnoff for others but given your nature, you rarely care for such trivial problems in life. 

Personality Type #5 : The Advocate – INFJ Personality

Someone you know will make it big in life even though they don’t know that yet.

Creative and focused- you’re an introvert with an innate sense to change the world. You are a natural caretaker of others and usually see that as your purpose in life. High on ideas and even higher regard to your principles in life which you hate if disrespected by anyone. Being relentless in achieving goals and a creative streak are your strongest traits. 

Personality Type #6 : The Mediator – INFP Personality

A free soul lost in his/her thoughts.

Daydreamers yet idealists- you’re a typical introvert who loves their own company. You love analyzing and finding patterns or signs and symbols around you. In your free time, you like to be surrounded by just your thoughts, ideas, and imagination. You don’t do well in social groups, however, are known to hold deeper one-to-one conversations with people. Creatively gifted, you speak the language of poetry rather than logic. 

Personality Type #7 : The Protagonist – ENFJ Personality

The kind that’s always running for a good cause no matter the consequences along the way. 

Leaders that see good in people- you’re an inspiring soul and an easily approachable person in the room. Your charismatic appeal goes beyond just charming others as you believe in social causes and regularly pursue it. Sometimes you can get too involved in other people’s lives just out of concern when the other person might start disliking you but that doesn’t stop you from spreading happiness around. 

Personality Type #8 : The Campaigner – ENFP Personality

The guy from your office known to be “gifted” by consensus but doesn’t really care about it.   

You’re not the one to be put in a box- you are a free spirit and thrive where you’re given space and flexibility to work. You hate menial tasks of administration and do not fancy rules as well. You don’t just chatter away; instead, you speak with logical reasoning which is why people often come to you for opinions. At other times, you don’t really take your skills too seriously and prefer to just chill in life. 

Personality Type #9 : The Inspector – ISTJ Personality

The one who is always punctual with work and in life.

Doers and logically correct- you are a no-nonsense type individual who believes that time is money and deadlines are to be taken seriously. You don’t do guesswork, you like a well-analyzed opinion about everything. Given you’re a well-read person, you don’t entertain people who question your methods which may make you seem short-tempered to others. You love rules and follow the old-school values of hard-work, dedication and honesty to achieve success in life. 

Personality Type #10 : The Defender – ISFJ Personality

The kind that always gets shadowed on stage, not because of lack of talent but of self-worth.   

Sometimes shy, sometimes too forward- you come across as a confusing introvert but definitely loved by people nonetheless. You usually like being alone, but are always up and ready to help people and society at large. You’re generous, warm and kind-hearted which makes it easy for you to make meaningful relations. Your modesty is your biggest drawback where people take undue advantage and may also steal your credit at times, but you’ll still be fine with it. 

Personality Type #11 : The Executive – ESTJ Personality

Every uncle and aunty’s favourite.

Mediators of bringing communities together- you’re every party’s favorite organizer and host. You love the tradition of celebrating with family and friends. Sometimes, you take on a righteous leader-like personality which is why you’re also considered to be great at giving advice and guidance. You hate lazy attitude and that’s where your problems with other personality types may start to arise who rather prefer taking it easy.

Personality Type #12 : The Consul – ESFJ Personality

The popular one in every group who is also the most sensitive one.

Life of the party and loved by all- you’re a social butterfly, which means you love the spotlight and frequently like partying. Social interactions is your thing and you’re a great listener, hence adored by many. While sensitivity towards others is one of your strengths, it is also a major weakness since you would usually get hurt if people don’t like your ideas or opinions. 

Personality Type #13 : The Virtuoso – ISTP Personality

The kind who always has a hack to make things better. 

More of a doer, less talker- you’re the kind who loves to just dive into things rather than think about it. You’re always experimenting and trying to make things better. Customizing gadgets, electronics and what not is your hobby. Although in good intentions, your meddling with things and projects bother people around you as they may think that you just want to overpower them.

Personality Type #14 : The Adventurer – ISFP Personality

Gem of an artist who doesn’t know the art of selling. 

Risk takers and unpredictable artists- you can wow people easily. You are an artist and always seen experimenting with thoughts and ideas. Although an introvert, you actually enjoy interacting with new people. But t’s when you start feeling burned out that you tend take a long hiatus of silence from the outside world. Your ever-so-exploring mind is where you fall short with planning ahead because you are never sure about anything in life. 

Personality Type #15 : The Entrepreneur – ESTP Personality

The funny guy at every party who’s always under the spotlight.  

Energetic and loves the spotlight- you’re spirited, self-motivated and love every opportunity to shine. You have a witty sense of humor and don’t take life too seriously. Your seemingly reckless attitude is also why you tend to get a bad reputation, and if not mindful, can get into trouble quite often than not.

Personality Type #16 : The Entertainer – ESFP Personality

The kind that has a social reputation to maintain and so, has a habit of careless spending. 

Born performers- the spotlight was made for you. You’re a true people’s person, charismatic and have a sportsmanship spirit. Highly spontaneous and living life on the edge, you sometimes tend to overlook the financial brunt of leading an extravagant lifestyle. You always fall short in planning since you believe in living in the “now”, which is why managing expenses and responsibilities often seem difficult for you.

So, did you figure out your type from the above 16 personality types?

16 Personality Test

Though several free personality tests are found on the internet these days to determine one’s personality but not all are authentic and reliable. So, use it with discretion. The 16 personality quiz is a self report inventory that aims to find out a person’s strengths, vulnerabilities, and preferences.

The questionnaire was developed by Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs based on their research on Carl Jung’s Analytical theory of personality. This test is known as MBTI, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It is a popular scale published in 1962.

You can take one such test here.

16 Personality Types FAQs

What is type theory of personality?

Type theory of personality lists down “types” that you fit in. Whether you’re wanting to know which Harry Potter or GOT character you are or ever wondered why you always behave in a certain way- importance of knowing personality types can be both insightful and fun.

Why is knowing your personality type important?

The importance of knowing personality type helps you understand yourself better, as well as people around you. Imagine a puzzle where you have all the clues but you’re still unsure of the answer- that’s knowing your personality. And if you know your personality better, it may also help you in ways to improve your personality for future productivity, success and overall, as an individual.

How does knowing my personality type help me?

Learning about personality types helps in understanding how personality traits are formed and gives you tips to improve personality. Your personality is as unique as you are, but as per MBTI, there are 16 personality types that can help you recognize, understand and work on your strengths and weaknesses to your advantage.

How is personality formed?

Personality is a dynamic entity of a human being, formed by our environment and the people around, or it can be as unpredictable as one’s imagination. Nobody can still definitively tell how our personality is formed, some may say it comes from our parents or even going further back to our ancestral lineage. What we can although infer is distinguishing between personality types through careful study and analysis.

How can we improve our personality?

The importance of personality types goes beyond just understanding yourself. When you know yourself better, you have a chance to improve on skills, your weaknesses as well as enhance your strengths. It can be as simple as, if you’re an introvert personality type, you can learn to socialize, or new skills to boost your confidence, to even just practice self-love to perform better in the future.