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Personality is “A dynamic organisation, inside the person, of psychophysical systems that creates the person’s characteristic patterns of behaviour, thoughts and feelings” (Maltby, Day and Macaskill, 2017, page 5). This essay will explore Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the five-factor model and their contrasts and similarities.
The MBTI is a personality type theory and questionnaire assessing and revealing each individual’s personality type. The MBTI’s composed of four cognitive categories with two choices for each category, resulting in sixteen different personalities. The MBTI reflects Carl Jung’s personality type theory. The four cognitive categories are the individual’s social characteristics, grouping information, processing information, and its application to the external world, and the personality types are extroversion or introversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling and judging or perceiving, (John Towler’s, PowerPoint, Lecture 4, Traits and Types, slide 11, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator table). Extroverts have sociable, positive and outgoing personalities. Introverts keep within their own boundaries and come across as independent, sociably reserved, and quieter. Sensors “focus on the present”, (John Towler’s, PowerPoint, Lecture 4, Traits and Types, slide 11, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator table) moment combined with their senses to see information as it is, in a factual and practical way. They consider the future to a small degree, facts in contemporary moments and often reflect on their past. Intuitors concentrate on the future “with a view of possibilities”, (John Towler’s, PowerPoint, Lecture 4, Traits and Types, slide 11, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator table,), ideas and the big picture. They use emotions and when processing information they think of alternative ways of dealing with that information. Thinkers make decisions according to the information and see this information from one narrow view-point whilst using “logic” (John Towler’s, PowerPoint, Lecture 4, Traits and Types, slide 11, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator table) and personal emotions but to a minimal degree. Feelers focus on current thoughts, feelings and the well-being of others which decisions are based upon combined with personal values and instincts, and decisions are made from multiple view-points as well as considering how their actions affect others, (John Towler’s, PowerPoint, Lecture 4, Traits and Types, slide 11, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator table). Judgers prefer a mapped out and scheduled routine when achieving goals and ambitions, whereas perceivers are open minded and laid-back in their outcomes and futures, (John Towler’s, PowerPoint, Lecture 4, Traits and Types, slide 11, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator table).
Moreover, the MBTI shows each person which one of the sixteen personalities they match. This corresponds with a four-letter code where each letter represents a personality type. For example, ESFP correlates to an Extrovert, Sensor, Feeler and Perceiver. There are sixteen personality types due to many introverts and extroverts in society, for example, one extravert can be a ‘ESTJ’ and another can be a ‘ENFP’. An introvert can be a ‘ISTJ’ and another can be a ‘INFP’.
The five-factor model is a personality trait theory. A trait is an inherited and or acquired personality feature developed over time within an individual. Costa and McCrae carried out factor solutions, then factor analysis took place and the most consistent found traits lead to main five factors (Maltby et.al, 2017, page 180). The “five-factors are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism” (Maltby et.al, 2017, page 180). A high score indicates that factor is a strength of the individual. A low score indicates that factor is a weakness of the individual. Openness is the individuals open mindedness to new experiences and changes, travelling abroad, and meeting new people, so a high score means individuals are enthusiastic, explorers of the world and adaptable, whereas a low score matches individuals as having narrow mindsets, change resistant and prefer following their set ways, (Maltby et.al, 2017, page 181). Conscientiousness individuals obtain “self-discipline and control”, (Maltby et.al, 2017, page 181) of their aims and ambitions. The first category is a coherent and focussed approach, whereas the second is a relaxed and unmotivated approach when achieving targets and goals, meaning the individual is less keen to stick to structured plans, but is flexible in-terms of achieving goals at any point in life, with a high score matching the first category, and a low score matching the second category, (Maltby et.al, 2017, page 181). Extroversion refers to how “sociable, energetic, friendly” (Maltby et.al, 2017, page 181) the individual is. A high score matches an extrovert and a low score matches an introvert with a quitter, “independent” (Maltby et.al, 2017, page 181) and a socially reserved personality. Agreeableness means the certain characteristics and traits possessed by individuals in social situations, with a high score matching kind heartedness, supportiveness, and friendliness, (Maltby et.al, 2017, page 181). Furthermore, these individuals perhaps prefer to be in less issues with peers and family, thus preferring a more gentle and kinder approach and see the positive side but this does vary among individuals in this category.
A low score classifies as “unhelpful” (Maltby et.al, 2017, page 181), hard hearted and stern. Neuroticism is the individual’s ability to handle emotional situations and emotionally adapt. A high mark classifies as emotionally unstable, frequent mood swings, alternations and overreactions to situations, whereas a low score matches those who are less emotional, overreactive and adaptive, (Maltby et.al, 2017, page 181). Other factors contribute to Neuroticism scores, for example, those with a high score may have abnormally inherited conditions such as bi-polar or depression, hence are genetically more vulnerable to mood changes and swings. This means personality is not the only reason why certain individuals often go through mood changes and swings. Those who score lower are emotionally more stable due to their upbringing and life experiences, not just due to personality.
It can be debated that both personality theories have different approaches. Firstly, the MBTI is a personality type theory, whereas the five-factor model is a personality trait theory. The MBTI categorises people into specific categories, where the individual is either placed into one category or the other, for example the individual is either classed as an introvert or extrovert. The five-factor model uses descriptive traits to determine personality on a much larger scale, for example when considering an extrovert or an introvert the model would take into consideration that some individuals will fall in between the two, known as an ambivert. An ambivert would not occur in the MBTI, due to it being a much smaller scale of personality measures and only takes types into account, not necessarily traits.
Furthermore, it can be said the MBTI is rigid and inflexible, due to containing specific categories and not having a middle-grounded approach, so an individual is either placed on one end of the category or on the other end. However, the five- factor model contains a flexible approach due to its array of traits which can thus be used to reveal a more individualistic specific and detailed personality analysis.
Secondly, the five-factor model includes neuroticism, unlike the MBTI. Neuroticism is how well an individual can handle their emotions in social situations and how emotionally adaptable they are. Neuroticism plays an essential role in personality psychology. Those with mental disorders and illnesses who take the MBTI test will not get an accurate enough score on their personality type, due to it not accounting for neuroticism .
This may mean the MBTI tests and results for those individuals are invalid and unreliable to an extent.
Thirdly, there are measurement disparities of the five-factor model and the MBTI. The five-factor model uses a wide scale of personality traits within each factor located at every point. The MBTI is narrowly measured with only two personality types at either end of a scale, so when measuring conscientiousness, the five-factor model can determine the extent to which individuals possess this trait on a large scale. This correlates with the judging or perceiving category in the MBTI, where individuals are either strong judgers so are highly conscientious, or are strong perceivers so have weaker conscientious skills. The issue is there is a limited scope in the MBTI due to no range within each category. Furthermore, some individuals may be in-between the level of judgers or perceivers, and so are conscientiousness to a smaller degree, but the MBTI does not account for this. It can be said the MBTI is a biased scale and limited in scope far more than the five-factor model.
However, there are similarities, for example both theories have almost identical personality measurements, as both measure extraversion and introversion. This is essential as it is seen by personality theorists as core personality characteristics regardless of both theories having different approaches. Openness correlates with the category of sensing or intuition as they combine in terms of how open individuals are when using information and making decisions. Agreeableness matches the category of thinking or feeling, as some use their personal emotions to make decisions whereas others use pure logic. Conscientiousness correlates with the judging or perceiving category, as both involve the individual’s organisation and plan of life when achieving life goals.
- Maltby John, Day Liz & Macaskill Ann, Personality, Individual Differences and Intelligence, Fourth Edition, 2017, Pages 5, 180 & 181
- Towler John, Traits and Types of Personality, 2018, Lecture 4, Slide 11
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