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Type Talk

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Type Talk:

The 16 Personality Types That Determine How

We Live, Love, and Work

by Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen

Dell Publishing, October, 1989

Type Talk is a primer on personality preference typing centered on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ("MBTI"). The MBTI is a widely-used "test" that helps a person begin to understand why people perceive situations differently, communicate different from others, and opt for different activities.

The book's authors, Otto Kroeger and Janet Thuesen, husband and wife, have long been in the forefront of adapting the MBTI for use in everyday life and coined the phrase "Typewatching" as a descriptor for their work.

Kroeger and Thuesen open the book with a chapter on "name-calling". They use this phrase, not in the derogatory sense as is often the case, but to show that name-calling is used by everyone as a means of "cataloging people" based on their unique, identifying characteristics. If we're to do this inevitable "name-calling" the authors believe it should be done in an objective and constructive manner and when elevated to this higher level it becomes "Typewatching"

In the early 1920's the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung developed a theory of personality types where he said behavioral differences were "a result of preferences related to the basic functions our personalities perform throughout life" (p. 8). Jung's theory was published in his book titled Personality Types in 1923.

Meanwhile, earlier in the century, Katherine Briggs was researching human behavior and through her observations had developed a way to describe it - that due to different life styles, people approach life differently. When Briggs read Jung's work she found it to be very similar to her own work and set hers aside to focus on Jung's. Shortly thereafter, Briggs' daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers became involved and the mother-daughter team sought to assimilate their work with that of Jung. In the 1940's Myers created an inventory based on her mother's observations and Jung's theory. The two women theorized that, with the offensive of the Second World War so near, if people were more aware of their psychological type they could be assigned to wartime roles that best fit their preferences.

The MBTI was slow to gain acceptance by the psychological community. Few psychologists signed on to Jung's obscure theories and even Jung himself felt his theories couldn't be quantified. Combining the resistance to Jung's theories with a testing tool developed by two women - in a predominantly male professional environment - neither of which was a psychologist meant the MBTI might never get off the ground. In 1956, the MBTI was published by Educational Testing Service of Princeton, NJ, publishers of the venerable Scholastic Aptitude Test. Word of the instrument began to spread, but only for use as a research tool.

In 1969, Isabel Myers teamed up with Mary McCauley at the University of Florida and the two began a typology laboratory at the school that emerged as the center for all MBTI-related activity. Three years later, the laboratory became the Center for the Application of Psychological Type and remains the principal facility for Typewatching. According to the CAPT web site, approximately 2,000,000 people per year take the MBTI instrument (

Type Talk begins its presentation of preference alternatives by introducing them in pairs: Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. These are immediately followed by a detailed examination of the basics of Typewatching from Jungian theory. These basic functions are described as "information-gathering" and "decision-making". If we gather information in an exact, sequential manner our preference is toward "S"ensing or if we gather in a figurative, intuitive manner our preference is to be iNtuitive. (pp. 23-25). Our decision making is either detached, analytical and objective, marking us as a "T"hinker or if done on an interpersonal, subjective level, our preference is to be a "F"eeler. (pp. 28-29). Extraversion and introversion are presented next as the two energy sources that fuel our information gathering and decision making and lastly, the judging/perceiving preference illustrates how we relate to the outer world - either as a decision-maker ("J") or as an information-gatherer ("P") (pp. 32-38).

After completing the introductory and explanatory material the authors take us to practical applications of Typewatching - in the workplace, and in interpersonal relationships such as friendship, dating and commitment, and family



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