The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

A well-known personality typing system on the market today is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®). It was developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, who were inspired by Carl Jung's theory of psychological types. They worked on the instrument for almost 40 years before publishing the MBTI in 1962. Since Four Lenses shares some of the same research base as the MBTI, there are some similarities between the two systems, as well as some significant differences.

The MBTI contains four scales that reflect how people perceive the world, gather information, make decisions, and structure their external lives. As a result of taking the test, you're given a score that plots your preferences between two opposite functions. The closer you are to either pole on that continuum, the stronger your preferences. As a result of taking the MBTI, you will be categorized into one of 16 personality types, each defined and represented by a four letter code.

Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)

This scale measures where people draw their energy from and how they prefer to interact with the world. Earlier you completed an assessment to measure how much extraversion you possess, and you received a score based on the continuum between low and high amounts of extraversion. The MBTI, however, classifies you as either an Extravert or an Introvert.

  • Extraversion (E). Extraverts are outward-focused and gain energy from interacting with others and the external world. They tend to be sociable, enjoy group activities, and often think out loud.
  • Introversion (I). Introverts, on the other hand, are inward-focused. They draw energy from their inner world of thoughts, feelings, and reflections. Introverts often prefer solitude or small group interactions and usually think before they speak.

Regardless of someone's primary color, some individuals naturally gravitate towards social settings, thriving when learning and working amidst companions and friends. These individuals are labeled as Extraverts. On the other hand, some relish solitude, often preferring to learn and work in more individualized settings. These individuals are known as Introverts. This scale essentially captures the spectrum of social interaction preferences. The core distinction lies in how people recharge or where they derive their energy. Introverts find rejuvenation in solitude or smaller settings, while Extraverts are energized by social interactions.

After prolonged social interactions, Introverts will often seek moments of solitude to "recharge" their batteries. Conversely, Extraverts, after extended periods of isolation, will typically seek out social interactions to regain their vitality. It's worth noting that Extraverts may find it challenging to fully comprehend the needs of Introverts and vice versa. For instance, an extraverted parent might be concerned about their introverted child who enjoys solitude in their room, rather than engaging with peers outside.

Understanding an individual's interaction preference provides deeper insights into their behavioral tendencies and motivations. Often, our initial perceptions of others are influenced by their extraverted or introverted behaviors. While there are general tendencies—like Greens often being introverted, Oranges and Blues leaning towards extraversion, and Golds showing a mix—these are not strict classifications. Every color group has its share of both Introverts and Extraverts. When an individual's interaction style diverges from the common trend associated with their color, their outward personality may appear different. For example, an extraverted Green might exhibit behaviors commonly associated with an Orange, whereas an introverted Blue or Orange might resonate with typical Green behaviors.

Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)

This scale pertains to how individuals prefer to gather information. Gathering is the first process that a person goes through before they can learn anything new.

  • Sensing (S). Sensors are detail-oriented and rely on their five senses to gather information. They focus on the present and are often pragmatic, valuing practical applications and concrete data.
  • Intuition (N). Intuitive types look at the big picture and are more focused on future possibilities. They rely on patterns, impressions, and abstract theories, often valuing innovation and imagination.

Sensory Gatherers

Golds and Oranges both possess the Sensing preference. They often rely on concrete, tangible information and experiences to understand the world around them. They trust direct evidence they can access through their senses: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. Practicality is key for them. They're drawn to real-world applications, concrete details, and present realities. They appreciate clear, step-by-step instructions and often learn best through direct experience.

When it comes to tasks, sensing types, especially Golds, have a tendency to seek completion and closure. They often focus on one task, aiming to finish it before progressing. For Oranges, "completion" can mean they've engaged sufficiently with a task to feel ready for a new challenge, especially if the current task becomes repetitive or boring. Golds usually find satisfaction in methodically completing tasks, often deriving satisfaction from marking them off a list.

Intuitive Gatherers

Blues and Greens align with the Intuitive preference. They tend to look beyond the immediate, focusing on patterns, possibilities, and underlying meanings. Intuitives are more abstract in their perceptions. They're intrigued by the "big picture," theories, and future implications. They often embrace ambiguity and are open to exploring ideas that expand beyond their current understanding. They're energized by new concepts, ideas, and potential future scenarios.

Greens often approach problems analytically, exploring systems, theories, and consistent patterns. Blues, in contrast, are more oriented towards personal connections, emotional understanding, and the intricacies of human behavior.

Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)

This scale is concerned with how people process information and make decisions. While both are valid and rational in their own right, they represent different focuses and criteria for judgment.

  • Thinking (T). Thinkers make decisions based on objective analysis and logic. They value truth and fairness, often focusing on tasks and principles rather than personal considerations.
  • Feeling (F). Feelers, in contrast, base their decisions on personal values and how their choices will affect others. They are empathetic, often striving for harmony and considering the emotional implications of their actions.

Thinking Processors

Greens typically align with the Thinking preference. They tend to make decisions based on objective principles and impersonal facts. Logic, consistency, and objective analysis are paramount. While they value information and data, it's the logical framework and principles they apply to this information that guide their decisions. Their primary concern is often what's most efficient or what will work best in a given situation.

Feeling Processors

Blues, on the other hand, resonate more with the Feeling preference. Decisions are often based on personal values, considering harmony and the impact on people. While they do consider facts, Blues place significant emphasis on understanding the emotional and humanistic implications of a decision. They value empathy, striving to create harmony and considering the needs and feelings of others.

To distinguish between the two, it's not that Greens are devoid of feelings or that Blues disregard logic. Instead, it's about the primary criteria they lean on when making decisions. Greens might ask, "What's the most logical course of action?" while Blues might ponder, "What will be the best outcome for the people involved?" While Greens often prioritize objective analysis, Blues see the importance of emotional considerations, especially when understanding how decisions affect individuals and relationships.

Understanding the Thinking vs. Feeling dichotomy provides insights into an individual's decision-making process. Recognizing these preferences and valuing both perspectives can lead to more comprehensive and balanced decisions in various situations.

Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)

The final scale addresses the way in which individuals prefer to organize their world and approach their external environment.

  • Judging (J). Judgers prefer a structured, planned, and organized approach to life. They like making decisions, setting schedules, and sticking to plans.
  • Perceiving (P). Perceivers are more flexible and adaptable. They prefer to keep their options open and are spontaneous, often enjoying the journey rather than the destination.

Judging Processors

Golds typically resonate with the Judging preference. They tend to appreciate structure, order, and planning. They like to have things decided and organized. They often process information by comparing it to established standards or previous experiences. Decision-making for Golds often involves weighing the new against the known, seeking alignment with values, traditions, or established norms. They derive satisfaction from creating organized systems, setting and meeting goals, and bringing tasks to completion.

Perceiving Processors

Oranges, in contrast, align more closely with the Perceiving preference. They are more spontaneous and flexible in their approach, preferring to keep their options open. Oranges live in the present moment, often relying on immediate impressions and gut feelings to guide their decisions. While they can consider past experiences, they prioritize the present situation and how it feels in the moment. They're adaptable and responsive, often thriving in dynamic environments where they can react to real-time information.

To distinguish between the two, it's not that Golds are resistant to new experiences or that Oranges disregard all past knowledge. Instead, it's about their primary approach to organizing their world. Golds value structure and predictability, often planning ahead. Oranges, on the other hand, value flexibility and spontaneity, often ready to adapt to whatever comes their way.

Understanding the Judging vs. Perceiving dichotomy provides insights into how individuals prefer to structure their lives and handle tasks. Whether someone leans towards planning and organization or flexibility and adaptability, recognizing and valuing both perspectives can lead to better collaboration and mutual understanding in various settings.

Comparison Between MBTI and Four Lenses

The MBTI and Four Lenses both have roots in the study of personality and aim to categorize individuals based on their inherent behavioral patterns and preferences. Here's what they have in common:

  • Origins in Jungian Typology. Both the MBTI and Four Lenses are influenced by Carl Jung's theory of psychological types. While the MBTI is directly based on Jung's typological ideas, Four Lenses builds upon those foundations but takes a somewhat different approach in its categorization.
  • Temperament Groupings. Within the 16 MBTI codes, those types can be combined to form four major temperaments. If there is an NF in an MBTI code, then that is the Blue temperament; NT is Green, SJ is Gold, and SP is Orange. However, within the MBTI there is also another temperament grouping, often called a minor grouping because it is more difficult to discriminate: ST, SF, NP, and NJ.
  • Purpose. Both instruments are frequently used in various settings, from personal development and career counseling to relationship guidance and organizational training, to help individuals gain insight into their personalities and understand others.
  • Self-report Questionnaires. Both the MBTI and Four Lenses are self-report instruments, meaning individuals answer questions about their preferences and behaviors, which are then used to determine their type.

However, while there are similarities, it's also important to recognize the differences.

  • Focus. The approach behind the Four Lenses is is more behaviorally focused, emphasizing observable behaviors and their role in personality, whereas the MBTI delves deeper into cognitive functioning and how individuals prefer to gather information and make decisions.
  • Educational Applications. Four Lenses has been particularly influential in educational and training settings. The descriptions of temperaments and types have been used to help instructors understand learner differences and inform teaching strategies.
  • Personality Spectrum. Rather than placing individuals into 16 distinct personality types, Four Lenses allows for the possibility that individuals may have some characteristics from one or more different temperaments. Furthermore, they have different amounts of those characteristics, which allows for an infinite and unique combination of personality types.
  • Flexibility. Since Four Lenses acknowledges that individuals can exhibit traits from multiple colors, it allows for a more dynamic and evolving understanding of personality. This can be more reflective of the real-world complexities of human behavior.
  • Simplicity and AccessibilityFour Lenses, with its four primary colors, offers a more straightforward and easy-to-understand framework compared to the 16 types of the MBTI. This simplicity can make it more approachable for those new to personality theories.
  • Emphasis on Continual Growth. Recognizing that individuals can possess varying degrees of multiple colors means that one's personality is not static. As individuals grow and evolve, they might find that they can brighten some of their more subdued colors and adopt the positive behaviors that make other colors successful.
  • Less Risk of Stereotyping. Fixed typologies, like those in the MBTI, can sometimes lead to pigeonholing or stereotyping individuals based on their type. The fluidity of the color model reduces the risk of this, emphasizing the uniqueness of each individual.
  • Ease of Application in Diverse Settings. The intuitive nature of colors can be easily remembered and applied in various contexts, from the workplace to personal relationships. It's often easier to visualize and remember colors than specific type acronyms.
  • Broader Cultural Relevance. Colors are universally recognized and can transcend linguistic or cultural barriers. While the MBTI terminology might need translation or cultural adaptation, colors are almost universally understood.
  • Immediate Relatability. Colors evoke immediate emotional and psychological responses. People can quickly relate to the idea of feeling "blue" or being "green with envy", making the model more instantly relatable and understandable.
  • Adaptability to Other Frameworks. The flexibility of Four Lenses means it can be more easily integrated or adapted alongside other psychological or organizational tools and frameworks.

While both the MBTI and Four Lenses offer valuable insights into personality and behavior, the choice between them often depends on the specific context and objectives. The simplicity, flexibility, and universal appeal of Four Lenses makes it an attractive option for many applications.

NEXT: On the next screen, you will find a list of all 16 MBTI types and how they correlate with the Four Lenses temperaments.