Can 16 Personalities Change? (A complete overview)

In this post, we will attempt to answer the question – ‘Can 16 personalities change?’ We will discuss the different types that fall under 16 personalities briefly and look at the ways they change over time.

Can 16 Personalities Change?

Myers-Briggs theory of personality which posits the personality is of 16 different types also states that one’s personality is inborn and the type does not change. However, the way the personality is exhibited and is perceived changes over time.

 The 16 personalities, also known as the Myers-Briggs theory of personality, is a theory drawn from the theory of psychological types proposed by humanitarian psychologist Carl Yung. These personality types are structured around as reference points to understand unique personalities. These types fall into four key dimensions that can be used to categorize people.

Dimensions of 16 personalities

Introversion vs. Extraversion (I/E)

This function indicates the source and energy of a person’s energy expression. An extravert derives their energy mainly from the external world, while the introverts mainly from their own internal world.

Sensing vs. Intuition (S/N)

This function indicates the way through which an individual perceives and processes information. A person with sensing dominance is more likely to rely on information they receive from the outside world that is tangible and concrete. A person with a dominant intuitive function tends to rely on information from their own internal and abstract world which holds meaning of the underlying theory and principles.

Thinking vs. Feeling (T/F)

This function represents the process of decision-making of individuals. Thinking function indicates that an individual makes decisions based on logic and rationale while Feeling function indicates that an individual bases their decision on emotions.

Judging vs. Perceiving (J/P)

This function represents the way in which an individual implements or relates to the information processed in the context of the outside world. The Judging function indicates how organized one keeps their life while the perception function indicates how explorative and improvising an individual can be in life.

These dimensions are a dichotomy giving rise to preferences or a style that an individual chooses. These combined four dimensions create a 16-broad spectrum of predictable pattern consisting of thoughts and behaviours. The 16 different types of personalities are discussed below.

Defining 16 types of personalities

ISTJ – Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging

Commonly known as Inspectors, they have a keen sense of right and wrong, especially in their area of interest and/or responsibility. They seem to perform at highest efficiency when employing a step-by-step approach.

ESTJ – Extraverted Sensing Thinking Judging

Often known as supervisors, ESTJs thrive on order and continuity. Their focus involves organization of people and they are content to enforce “the rules,” often dictated by tradition or handed down from a higher authority. They seek out like-minded companions and there is a high need for belonging.  Power, position and prestige should be worked for and earned.

ISTP – Introverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving

Widely known as the crafter, ISTPs need to live on the edge; they are at their best in a crisis, where their natural disregard for rules and authority structures allows them to focus on and tackle the emergency at hand in the most effective way.

ESTP – Extraverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving

Commonly known as the promoter, ESTPs are spontaneous, daring and active folks. Sportsmanship is the calling card of the ESTP. Persons of this type have a natural drive to best the competition. 

ISFJ – Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging

Often known as protectors, ISFJs are methodical and accurate workers, often with very good memories and unexpected analytic abilities; they are also good with people in small-group or one-on-one situations because of their patient and genuinely sympathetic approach to dealing with others.

ESFJ – Extroverted Sensing Feeling Judging

Widely known as providers, ESFJs see problems clearly and delegate easily, work hard and play with zest. When a decision must be made, especially one involving the risk of conflict they pressurize themselves with contradictions in their mind.

ISFP – Introverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving

Commonly recognized as composers, ISFPs live in the here and now. ISFJs are driven by impulse and grand experiences, often setting trends in whatever they engage in.

ESFP – Extraverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving

Often known as performers, the spontaneous, impulsive nature of this type is almost always entertaining. They love to be at the centre of the stage and perform. ESFPs are attracted to new ideas, new fashions and new gadgets continually.

INFJ – Introverted iNtuition Feeling Judging

Widely known as the counsellors, INFJs have the clearest insights of all the types into the motivations of others, for good and for evil. INFJs tend to have strong writing skills and tend to be idealists.

ENFJ – Extroverted iNtuition Feeling Judging

Commonly known as teachers, ENFJs have tremendous power to manipulate others with their phenomenal interpersonal skills and unique salesmanship. ENFJs are global learners. They see the big picture. The ENFJs focus is expansive.

INFP – Introverted iNtuition Feeling Perceiving

Often known as healers, INFPs have the ability to see good in almost anyone or anything. INFPs struggle with the issue of their own ethical perfection. INFPs also never seem to lose their sense of wonder. 

ENFP – Extraverted iNtuition Feeling Perceiving

Widely known as champions, ENFPs are both “idea”-people and “people”-people. ENFPs often have strong values and viewpoints. They tend to try to use their social skills and contacts to persuade others gently.

INTJ – Introverted iNtuition Thinking Judging

Commonly known as masterminds, people of this type are perfectionists. INTJs tend to lack patience and less understanding of such things as small talk and flirtation. They see the question: “Does it work?” to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn, produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing them from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.

ENTJ – Extraverted iNtuition Thinking Judging

Often known as field marshals, ENTJs have a natural tendency to direct and strategize. ENTJs are decisive and hence make good administrators. They see what needs to be done, and frequently assign roles to their fellows.

INTP – Introverted iNtuition Thinking Perceiving

Widely known as architects, INTPs are quite the analytical folks. They show great precision and are pragmatic in nature. They prioritize distinctions, sense and consistency even in casual conversations. INTPs are relatively easy-going and amenable.

ENTP – Extraverted iNtuition Thinking Perceiving

Commonly known as inventors, ENTPs are usually verbally as well as cerebrally quick. They generally love to argue.  ENTPs are as innovative and ingenious at problem-solving. They are optimists, yet reluctant in execution as they are obsessed to do things in a new way. They are easy-going folks and engaging in nature.

Changes in Personalities – Is it a myth or a fact?

Personality is a characteristic set of mannerisms, behaviours and emotional patterns that are consistent over a period of time. Various scholars take different takes on what personality could mean but most scholars agree on one thing: the basic foundation and aspects of personality are unlikely to change, however the way the personality is exhibited and is perceived changes over time. 16 personalities theory agrees to the same.

While we are looking at the development of personality, we have to take into account the interaction and contribution of nature and the external environment. Personality is mostly innate in nature. Any human is born with a certain set of characteristics, temperaments, moods, general attitudes and emotions. But these characteristics are nurtured, elicited and conditioned in the external environment.

The display of personalities, characteristics and the behaviours that emerge out of them ten to have consequences. The consequences are imbibed into one’s personality that may make changes to it. On the other hand, there are aspects of personality such as mannerisms and behaviours that can be observed and learnt from the external environment.

Given the facts of how personalities can be impacted, the impact of the external environment outweighs the effects of innate personality. This merely means that certain aspects of personality are exhibited in a different way than when one was younger. For instance, a common shift we find in large populations of people is that they tend to get more introverted from extraverted as they age through life.

Many reasons such as personal experiences and trauma, belief systems, parenting styles, new circumstances, relationships, adversities and cultural contexts can have effects of various degrees on one’s personality. Hence, drastic shifts in personality are unusual, however, the aspects of personality can change over time. In fact, in some cases the change in personality can indicate maturity, wisdom and breaking out of toxic patterns in behaviour.

In terms of the 16 personalities, yet again, there will not be a shift from type to type but, certain changes within the determined type are expected as the person ages.

 

Summary

In summary, Myers-Briggs theory of personality which posits the personality is of 16 different types also states that one’s personality is inborn and the type does not change. However, the way the personality is exhibited and is perceived changes over time. Taking into account the interaction and contribution of nature and the external environment, many reasons such as personal experiences and trauma, belief systems, parenting styles, new circumstances, relationships, adversities and cultural contexts can have effects of various degrees on one’s personality. Hence, drastic shifts in personality are unusual, however, the aspects of personality can change over time. In fact, in some cases the change in personality can indicate maturity, wisdom and breaking out of toxic patterns in behaviour.

FAQs: Can 16 Personalities Change?

Can personality types change over time?

Myers-Briggs theory of personality states that one’s personality is inborn and the type does not change. However, the way the personality is exhibited and is perceived changes over time. Taking into account the interaction and contribution of nature and the external environment, many reasons such as personal experiences and trauma, belief systems, parenting styles, new circumstances, relationships, adversities and cultural contexts can have effects of various degrees on one’s personality. Hence, drastic shifts in personality are unusual, however, the aspects of personality can change over time. In fact, in some cases the change in personality can indicate maturity, wisdom and breaking out of toxic patterns in behaviour.

What is the most common personality type in 16 personalities?

According to the MBTI manual published by CPP, the most common personality type in 16 personalities is the ISFJ at 13.8%, followed by ESFJ and ISTJ at 12.3% and 11.6% respectively.

ISFJ – Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging

Often known as protectors, ISFJs are methodical and accurate workers, often with very good memories and unexpected analytic abilities; they are also good with people in small-group or one-on-one situations because of their patient and genuinely sympathetic approach to dealing with others.

ESFJ – Extroverted Sensing Feeling Judging

Widely known as providers, ESFJs see problems clearly and delegate easily, work hard and play with zest. When a decision must be made, especially one involving the risk of conflict they pressurize themselves with contradictions in their mind.

ISTJ – Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging

Commonly known as Inspectors, they have a keen sense of right and wrong, especially in their area of interest and/or responsibility. They seem to perform at highest efficiency when employing a step-by-step approach.

Can one person have two personality types?

People with more than one personality come under the purview of the mental condition called the Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) as classified in the DSM and ICD.

References

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