Introduction to MBTI

MBTI Cognitive Functions

MBTI Cognitive Functions Diagrams by Jake Beech. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Now, after a lame introduction about myself that God knows who will read it, the first thing I want to talk about is…. *drum-roll*… MBTI. 

In Indonesia, MBTI or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, is not so much widely spread or even known to High School students, or, well scholars. Only those Psychology Faculty students, maybe, know about it. And some geeks. Like me. The MBTI itself is still being debated on its, err…. empirical nature. Last time I checked here, it was a theory proposed by Jung and later developed further by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. Hence the name, Myers-Briggs.

A friend of mine once argued that typing personality cannot be fixed and that people may change for the better and therefore, personality type change, too. A person who is typed a certain group may shift later into other groups. He argued further that the development of MBTI was to help employers in sorting out what is the best role assigned to a specific person without having to dig further into personal background, trauma, and so on. On the other hand, MBTI is about making or choosing preferences in well, living your life, making judgment, making decision, or even what food your should order tonight. It is either by Sensing, Intuition, Thinking or Feeling.

This, however, is just a preference. It does not say that people who choose Thinking over Feeling are incapable of feeling anything. Jezzz.. Or that people who choose Sensing over intuition have like zero understanding of big concept. No!

Now these theory of preferences by Jung later developed by Myers-Briggs into four big dichotomies. I’ll make the table for you..

Extraversion Introversion
Sensing Intuition
Feeling Thinking
Judging Perceiving


Extraversion – Introversion basically is all about do you get your energy from social activity or social activity drains you? No man is an island, yes, I know. But do you prefer being with 10 people and it doesn’t drain your energy at all like the more the merrier! Bring it on!! Or you prefer to interact with 1 or 2 close friends?

 Sensing – Intuition basically is all about using your senses, all your senses than well, imagination of a very very big picture that even the high orders of angels don’t know they exist on cloud seven. If you know what I mean. Sensing is what makes you experience and live in the now concrete moment. Intuition is what makes you live and breathe and imagine a perfect future world ahead. None is wrong, mind you. It’s all about preferences.

Feeling – Thinking basically is all about making judgement based on what you feel about certain things as oppose to what you think. Oh yes, there is the slight difference. People who prefer feeling over thinking might do certain things they know is irrational but they still do it because of great empathy, great sorrow, great depression. People who prefer thinking over feeling might do certain things they feel heartless but they still do it because it needs to be done, it’s the only way out, it’s the most logical solution ever. Once again, it’s just preferences. We might switch from Feeling to Thinking any day of the week, but usually our preferences is clear. Let me put it like my geek friend put it, “Do you prefer Justice or Mercy?”.


Judging – Perceiving is a little bit intricate. It’s how you live from day-to-day. Are you making plans and contingency plans or are you open up to any developments with let’s see what’s on the field attitude? Easy. But mind you, it does not mean a perceiver cannot make plans. It’s just a general preferences.


Now, according to MBTI, a person has actually four functions: Sensing, Intuition, Thinking and Feeling according to their preferences along with Extraversion – Introversion personality and Judging – Perceiving attitude. All ingredients mixed into the mortar and pestle and your get : FOUR LETTERS TO DEFINE YOUR PERSONALITY, I mean COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS.

It is something like this . . . .

Myer-Briggs Charts by Jake Beech. Source: Wikimedia Commons


Well, from my MBTI online tests results I always varied from two types from time to time. Yes, I got introversion type once but I took that test when I was in quite a suicidal-just-leave-me-alone-in-my-cave kind of mood, which I was not surprised because MBTI analyzes your preferences for Heaven’s sake, and I was pretty much introverted at that time. But these two types haunted me for quite some time. I mean, really. Not knowing your own type. Ha! Until recently. But that will be for other posts.

 If you want to know more about MBTI, you can learn more about them 

here: Myers – Briggs website

here: basically Keirsey’s development of MBTI

here: a thorough report once you got your ‘type’ sort out

and take the test here: free online test. I do not guarantee its accuracy although all I can say with personality cognitive function tests are: never cheat and never lie.



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