The Four Preferences

The Four Preferences are:

  • Extraversion and Introversion
  • Sensing and Intuition
  • Thinking and Feeling
  • Judging and Perceiving


    Extraversion and Introversion

    When we talk about "extraversion" and "introversion", we are distinguishing between the two worlds in which all of us live. There is a world inside ourselves, and a world outside ourselves. When we are dealing with the world outside of ourself, we are "extraverting". When we are inside our own minds, we are "introverting".

    We are extraverting when we:

    We are introverting when we:

    Within the context of personality typing, the important distinction is which world we live in more often. Do we define our life's direction externally or internally? Which world gives us our energy, and which do we perhaps find draining?


    Sensing and Intuition

    The "SN" preference refers to how we gather information. We all need data on which to base our decisions. We gather data through our five senses. Jung contended that there are two distinct ways of perceiving the data that we gather. The "Sensing" preference absorbs data in a literal, concrete fashion. The "Intuitive" preference generates abstract possibilities from information that is gathered. We all use both Sensing and Intuition in our lives, but to different degrees of effectiveness and with different levels of comfort.

    We are Sensing when we:

    We are Intuitive when we:

    Within the context of personality typing, the important distinction is which method of gathering information do we trust the most? Do we rely on our five senses and want concrete, practical data to work with? Or do we trust our intuitions without necessarily building upon a solid foundation of facts?


    Thinking and Feeling

    When Jung studied human behavior, he noticed that people have the capability to make decisions based on two very different sets of criteria: Thinking and Feeling. When someone makes a decision that is based on logic and reason, they are operating in Thinking mode. When someone makes a decision that is based on their value system, or what they believe to be right, they are operating in Feeling mode. We all use both modes for making decisions, but we put more trust into one mode or the other. A "Thinker" makes decisions in a rational, logical, impartial manner, based on what they believe to be fair and correct by pre-defined rules of behavior. A "Feeler" makes decisions on the individual case, in a subjective manner based on what they believe to be right within their own value systems.

    We are making decisions in the Thinking mode when we:

    We are making decisions in the Feeling mode when we:

    Some decisions are made entirely by Thinking or Feelings processes. Most decisions involve some Thinking and some Feeling. Decisions that we find most difficult are those in which we have conflicts between our Thinking and Feeling sides. In these situations, our dominant preference will take over. Decisions which we find easy to make and feel good about are usually a result of being in sync with both our Feeling and Thinking sides.


    Judging and Perceiving

    Judging and Perceiving preferences, within the context of personality types, refers to our attitude towards the external world, and how we live our lives on a day-to-day basis. People with the Judging preference want things to be neat, orderly and established. The Perceiving preference wants things to be flexible and spontaneous. Judgers want things settled, Perceivers want thing open-ended.

    We are using Judging when we:

    We are using Perceiving when we:

    We all use both Judging and Perceiving as we live our day-to-day life. Within the context of personality type, the important distinction is which way of life do we lean towards, and are more comfortable with.

    The differences between Judging and Perceiving are probably the most marked differences of all the four preferences. People with strong Judging preferences might have a hard time accepting people with strong Perceiving preferences, and vice-versa. On the other hand, a "mixed" couple (one Perceiving and one Judging) can complement each other very well, if they have developed themselves enough to be able to accept each other's differences.

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