The Four Temperaments

In a recent comment on the post Austen’s Introvert, a reader mentioned having seen a reference to eight types of introversion. I was curious to know more about this, and in the course of my online searching, ran across the Web site for the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. Looking over the site, I realized that the eight types of introversion might refer to the eight Myers-Briggs profiles that include the introvert strand (ISTP, ISTJ, INTJ, INFJ, ISFP, ISFJ, INTP, and INFP).

The Keirsey system does use these profiles, but organizes them into four larger categories or temperaments (which include both introverted and extroverted types): Artisan, Guardian, Rational, Idealist. Looking at how my Myers-Briggs type (INFP) was characterized under this framework (as an Idealist temperament), I found that it very accurately described my own perception of my “type.” And it was thought-provoking to see myself as more akin to certain “E” types (ENFJ and ENFP), than to the other “I” types. I was also pleased to learn that Isabel Myers, the co-creator of the Myers-Briggs test, was a fellow INFP.

I wasn’t previously familiar with the work of Dr. David Keirsey, or with his books Please Understand Me and Please Understand Me II, but my interest has definitely been piqued. It’s a reminder that there are many helpful means out there to increase self-understanding, and that there’s always more to learn.

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