One of the most famous studies of personality traits was undertaken by Carl Jung and his theory was published during 1921 in a book entitled, ”Psychologische Typen” in German. The title means “Psychological Types” in English.
Jung theorized that personality types come from four main categories of psychological functions. Jung’s four categories of psychological functions are separated into two functions of perceiving, which are sensation and intuition and two functions of judging, which are thinking and feeling. Jung postulated that the primary psychological function that is dominant creates consciousness and its opposite is unconscious repressed behavior.
There is an impact of two different types of attitudes, which according to Jung are introversion and extroversion, on these four psychological functions. From this, Jung created eight separate psychological personality types, which are:
- Introversion with Intuition
- Extroversion with Intuition
- Introversion with Sensation
- Extroversion with Sensation
- Introversion with Feeling
- Extroversion with Feeling
- Introversion with Thinking
- Extroversion with Thinking
Personality Traits List in Practical Use
During the 1940s, a mother-daughter team of Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers came up with a new way of characterizing personality that compliments the earlier work of Jung. They worked together to develop a test to help women discover personality preferences. They created the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). They felt this test would be very useful for women who were entering the industrial workforce for the first time due to WWII, to help them figure out the jobs most suitable for them.
When looking at a list of personality traits based on the MBTI test, they are expressed using four capital letters as a shorthand way to state the differences. The initials used, stand for combined pairs of personality expressions that are the polarity opposites on the personality spectrum.
The way they coded personality traits was by using these letter codes:
- E = Extraversion, with its polarity being;
- I = Introversion.
- N = Intuition, with its polarity being;
- S = Sensing.
- T = Thinking, with its polarity being;
- F = Feeling.
- J = Judging, with its polarity being;
- P = Perceiving.
From this list of personality traits with these four combinations of two polar opposites, it is possible to construct sixteen distinct personality types.
Can a Person’s Personality Change?
It is important to note that these general personality traits and categorizations indicate tendencies of general personality traits. Experts disagree on whether personality traits can be changed. It is certain, without significant external pressures to do so; personality traits formed during early childhood are difficult to change.
According to research reported in Live Science, a person’s personality is probably set for life around the time a child goes through first grade. Other researchers disagree; they think personality changes over time. They say that personality changes come from biological changes, such as going through puberty, or social changes, such as getting a job or being a parent.
The answer may lie somewhere in between, in that basic personality formation sets up a fairly rigid structure, however, the expressions of the personality are influenced by life changes. It is important to note that these personality assessments are only indicators, nothing are set in stone. In addition, people can act “as if” they had a different personality trait. Actors do this all the time. A person who is introverted can act “as if” they are a gregarious extroverted person and become the life of the party temporarily.
Do Parent’s Personalities Affect Their Children?
The behaviors of parents affect children. Behavior, unless intently changed (as actors do), normally arises from a person’s personality. Parenting behavior is an area where intent may be applied. According to the website 2 KnowMyself, parenting certainly affects a child’s development of their personality.
Other researchers, such as Dr. Cohen who published a book entitled, “Stranger in the Nest,” explore the possibilities that genetic determinants are more influential on how a child turns out. This debate is the “nature versus nurture” controversy. There is no definitive answer.
One way for parents to feel more at ease about this subject is to consider occasionally expressing positive personality traits in front of their children. This is a healthy way to deal with the issue.
This may mean that in the “role” as parent, as in the “acting role” as parent, the parent must act as if they had the personality trait they admire, even when they do not naturally express this trait. Mom may be very shy in public, yet act extroverted in front of her kids, if she feels being extroverted is nice personality trait to have. Additionally, this does not have to be extreme, because sometimes being extroverted is good and other times being introverted is good.
A balanced person who takes times to be alone to rest, be quiet, and reflect, can also be a charismatic public speaker. This is not about limitation; instead, it is about setting a good example. Whether it has the full effect on the children does not matter.
Parents can have fun with this as well, because acting “as if” allows them to expand their personality expressions in ways that they may not normally be able to do so in front of others. A person, who is shy as a mouse in the workplace, came be a superbly authoritative figure at home, all for the good of her kids.
Please note there is only a slight difference from being a determined person and being stubborn. Both are variations of expression of a similar personality characteristic, so try to keep an open mind about all the possible personality traits. The human tapestry is made of many types of people of all personality types and that is why people are so interesting. Extroverts are not better than introverts. There is a time and place for everything.
Let’s examine some different personality types to see how it might be effective to show these traits to children:
- INFJ Personality Traits – These personality traits include introversion, intuition, feeling, and judging. These individuals are extremely rare, 1% of the population or less. The introversion influence makes them soft-spoken, reflective types, and they will be very comfortable being alone. The influence of intuition gives them the ability to see a new way to approach a problem or just seem to know when it is the best time to do something. The feeling influence means they are extremely compassionate and will work non-stop to help serve others in causes they believe in as they see their life’s purpose as being in service to others. They have very strong convictions due to the judging influence and know clearly the difference between right and wrong. While they may appear in the limelight on occasion, they prefer to do their work behind-the-scenes with dedication and effectiveness. They are experts at diplomacy. According to MyPersonality, public figures that are examples of this personality type include Nelson Mandela.
- ENFP Personality Traits – These personality traits include extroversion, intuition, feeling, and perceiving. About 7% of the population expresses these traits. Extroversion makes them love people and getting attention from others. They operate on their own intuition and will do what feels right to them. They are non-judgmental and love nature. They express enormous creativity and enjoy making others laugh, but they need freedom. They look at the world with wonder and prefer wandering around than being stuck in a boring routine job. According to MyPersonality, public figures that are examples of this personality type include, Mark Twain, Dr. Seuss, and Carol Burnett.
- INTP Personality Traits – These personality traits include introversion, intuition, thinking, and perceiving. About 3% of the population expresses these traits. They prefer to be alone, making discoveries through leaps of imagination and creativity. They are extremely intellectual and can see things in ways others fail to notice. They also see more than one side to everything, constantly test, and then re-test their theories. Many that have these personality traits are inventors and scientists. According to MyPersonality, public figures that are examples of this personality type include, Socrates, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein.
- INTJ Personality Traits – These personality traits include introversion, intuition, thinking, and judging. This is another rare type with less than 1% of the population expressing these traits. Introversion makes them prefer a library to a public event. Intuition guides them towards intellectual pursuits that are supported by their deep thinking and their clear judgment. According to MyPersonality, public figures that are examples of this personality type include, Susan B. Anthony, Jane Austin, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- ENFJ Personality Traits – These personality traits include extroversion, intuition, feeling, and judging. About 2% of the population expresses these traits. People with these traits tend to be leaders with lots of charisma and strong personalities that know from their intuition and judging abilities that they are exactly in the right place at exactly the right time. According to MyPersonality, public figures that are examples of this personality type include, King David, Diane Sawyer, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Now the challenge for parents is to see how their kids react when they show some of the positive traits of these personality types. It is not possible to do this all of the time, but fun to try to do this some of the time. Be an expert diplomat like Nelson Mandela to help solve a family crisis. Make everyone laugh like Carol Burnett. Explore new ways to think about things like Albert Einstein. Respect women like Susan B. Anthony and reject prejudice, bigotry, and racism like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.