For those who don’t know, MBTI is a personality test. I’m a total sucker for personality tests (those Buzzfeed quizzes are the bane of my existence). When I was first introduced to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), I didn’t know it would change my life. For better or for worse, I now see everything through the lens of personality archetypes.
MBTI categorizes individual personality traits based on Carl Jung’s theories of psychological typology. Isabel Briggs Myers and Katherine Briggs, a mother daughter team, refined Jung’s typologies to focus on the idea that people make decisions from either a thinking or feeling perspective, and that they intake data from a perspective of either intuition or sensation. These cognitive functions are integrated along a scale of introversion or extroversion, the combination of which can be arranged into sixteen unique typologies.
The 16 types are:
INTJ, ENTJ, INFJ, ENFJ, INTP, ENTP, INFP, ENFP, ESFP, ISFP, ISTP, ESTP, ISTJ, ESTJ, ESFJ, ISFJ
Each letter represents a function of cognition. In other words, each letter reflects an aspect of your thinking “style.” From my perspective, knowing how I think helps me to do several important things:
1. It helps me remember to think outside my cognition style when necessary.
2. It helps me to understand how my cognition style shapes my personal choices
3. It helps me to understand the actions of others – especially important for my cognition style.
4. It helps me to take life less seriously.
5. It helps me to appreciate how my cognition style shapes my personal journey.
There are many benefits to understanding cognition style. There are also a number of stereotypes associated with personality archetypes that ignore individuality and life experience. Over-reliance on any standardized model leads to a lack of understanding, which is the opposite of understanding cognition style. One of the reasons that I began this blog was a growing frustration with the stereotypes associated with INTJs and fashion. Far from being uninterested in fashion, I enjoy fashion and find it to be a great way to reveal my INTJ cognition style. Moreover, I don’t see how being an INTJ should exclude me from such an interest.
INTJ females are rare. Moreover, INTJs of either gender are considered the most analytical and independent of all MBTI cognition styles. Still, there’s nothing that says this type of cognition is inherently masculine, thereby limited to inherently masculine interests. Since this blog is focused primarily on INTJ cognition, let’s examine the individual characteristics of the INTJ cognition-style, though I will touch on other Myers-Briggs characteristics.
The “I” in INTJ is for introversion. Introversion simply refers to a need for solitude as a way to recharge, as opposed to my “E” or extroverted friends and family members, who need to spend time with others to recharge.
“N” the second cognition style function, represents how individuals absorb data. For INTJs, that process involves impressions, pattern recognition, and synthesizing symbols and intuition for problem solving. The “S” or sensing function uses facts and experience to problem-solve. Unlike the intuitive cognition style, the sensing cognition style utilizes a more linear style of information coding and retrieval.
The fourth cognition trait for the INTJ, “T”, relates to how decisions are made. The INTJ makes decisions from a thinking, or principles-based perspective; whereas the “F” trait makes decisions from a feelings or values-based perspective.
The final cognition trait, “J” or judgement, expresses a preference for a more structured and planned environment. The counterpart “P” or perceiving trait prefers a more open ended and flexible structure.
Something that I think is unique to MBTI as compared to other personality tests is that you aren’t limited by your MBTI type. MBTI tests for preferences. So just because you test as one type, doesn’t mean you can’t access the other functions. It would be ridiculous to say that someone who has an S (sensing) can never use their N (intuition). In fact, everyone can access all eight expressions of cognitive functioning, Te, Ti, Fe, Fi, Se, Si, Ne, Ni.
The order of your cognitive functions also plays a role in your MBTI type. The order of your individual cognitive functions are: dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior.
This relates to how easily you can use and access these traits. For example, an INTJ’s dominate function is Ni, auxiliary is Te, tertiary is Fi, and inferior is Se. this means that INTJs are best at using their intuition and thinking functions but have a harder time accessing their emotions and sensory inputs.
There is nothing in any cognition function that negates a liking or interest in fashion for INTJs, whether the INTJ is male or female. Cognition style is not about placing someone in a box. Cognition style is about understanding affinities. So, as you read the blogs shared here on INTJs, remember that it’s not a one-size-fits-all INTJ portrait, instead it’s an impressionistic watercolor of the possibilities that exist in the INTJ cognition style. Please view the perspectives here as an exploration of fashion from an INTJ who is also a lover of fashion.
This was a brief introduction to the MBTI. If you don’t know your MBTI type and would like to, you can take the test for free here or here. (If you really want to be sure of your type, I would recommend taking a few different tests, as results may vary).
I’d love to know what your type is, let me know in the comments! Plus, I look forward to hearing about your cognition-style based perspectives on fashion.