Saturday, March 23, 2013

Character Personality Test: Short Jungian Personality Test

Character Personalities
sometimes they're all just blockheads

source: VFS Digital Design

Ever wanted to sit your characters down and go "Hey you! What's your problem?"
I find it extremely fun to play psychiatrist with my characters. One way to do that is with things like ...

The Jungian Personality Test

You've probably heard of it. It's the whole ISTP // INTJ // ENFP // ESFJ thingy that your parents or high school teachers talked about. Yes it's an over-simplification, and no it's not ideal for formal psychological diagnosis ... BUT it can be a great introspective process, and pretty fun for exploring your characters in a new way. There are many other personality tests too!

The Components

  • Introvert-Extrovert: 
    • Draw energy from being alone ... or from social situations?
  • Sensor-Intuitor: 
    • Form conclusions from observations & experimentation ...or prefer imagining possibilities & reading between the lines?
  • Thinker-Feeler: 
    • Make decisions based on logic ... or on feelings?
  • Perceiver-Judger: 
    • Prefer spontaneity/open-endedness ... or organization/closure?

Great. So How Do I Take the Personality Test?

There are quite a few versions of the Jungian Personalisty test online, and if you want an actual, realzy-real assessment, you'll need to visit a certified Myers-Briggs practitioner. All these tests have bucket-loads of questions ... and there are definitely legitimate reasons why all those repetitive questions are included, BUT, if you want something just-for-fun or just-for-your-novel, then you don't want to slog through hours of questions.

So. I made up a shorter version of the test.

Yes, it is much pruned and reworded, but as it turns out (in the highly scientific sample of ten of my friends who took it) ... you'll likely get the same personality result with my mini non-scientific (33 questions) as you would with a longer 100+ questions version. So I thought I'd share it with you!

[ Take the (Short) Jungian-Type Personality Test Here ]

Apologies in advance, but you'll have to tabulate your responses to it yourself  (I don't have Survey Monkey Pro) ... but hopefully this wont be too grueling. And eventually I'll try to get it out of my Survey Monkey and on this blog, but for now ... I'm just being lazy =)

Note: One interesting thing to observe is that for some of the traits, you'll find your responses more balanced, for others more blatantly to one side. For example, I am (at the moment) scoring as an ENFJ. I'm very strongly N & F, but nearly balanced on the E-I and P-J spectrum, meaning at other points in my life it's likely I could swing the other way.

What Can Jungian/Myers-Briggs Personality Info do for my Book & Its Characters?

Perhaps the best part is that once you've got a feeling for which of the 16 personality types your characters are, there's a trashheap wealth of information out there that explores the inner psyche of these personalities.

I won't go into this in detail in this post but here are some websites to get you started: Personality Desk // 16 Famous Book Characters & Myers-Briggs // TV Tropes: Myers-Briggs in Stories  //  My Personality  //

With all these analyses in hand, are a few key things that Jungian-Typing can do for your story:
  • Inspire new types of characters (so that they aren't all just like you and/or the opposite of you)
  • Focus your characters (so that their personalities are clearer ... less muddied)
  • Motivate your characters properly (not everyone is driven by the same carrots/sticks!)
  • Understand characters that are different from you. Different personalities can/should react in different ways than you would.
Oh, and yeah, and in case you wanted to predict what you (or your character) will be before you do the test, here's a little sneak preview on the personality types.

The Sixteen Jungian Personality Types:

ISTJ - Inspector
ISFJ - Protector / Defender (the most common personality type)
INFJ - Counselor / Confidant  (the rarest personality type)
INTJ - Mastermind / Strategist

ISTP - Crafter
ISFP - Artist / Composer
INFP - Healer / Dreamer
INTP - Architect / Engineer

ESTP - Promoter / Persuader
ESFP - Performer / Entertainer
ENFP - Champion / Advocate
ENTP - Inventor / Visionary

ESTJ - Supervisor
ESFJ - Provider / Supporter
ENFJ - Teacher / Mentor
ENTJ - Chief / Fieldmarshal

What about you? Do you ever find personality-typing useful when analyzing your characters? Your own relationships? Are personality types a help or a hindrance to you when developing your characters?

What resources have you found useful in exploring character personality? What are some other good testing or analysis resources?

How many of these personality types do you have in your story? How do they interact with one another? Can you see your own personality in the personalities of your characters?


  1. I've put my characters through this test before! I've learned, for my process, I can't really do it until after I've written a first draft. I like to be surprised in my first draft by my characters (even though I have to change a lot later) because it helps my story.

    SUCH a great tool - I'll try your version on my new characters after I finish the draft! Thanks!

  2. I've done this before with some characters for a story I've since abandoned, but it was really fun. Maybe I should consider doing it again with my current characters! :)

  3. I find these tests so interesting. Im all for doing a test that could potentially mean my characters don't all sounds like me! Character growth is something that is so important to me both as a reader and as a writer and it's awesome to find new ways of fueling that growth.

  4. Great post! I used this for a villain once. It was really helpful. I do see a lot of my personality in my main characters.

  5. I've heard of this but never used it before. Definitely going to use it for some characters that I need to work on. Cheers! :-)

  6. I have never actually done this for my characters, but it sounds very helpful. I'm about to start a new novel and I think I will do it this time.

    I left you an award on my blog and also linked to your AWESOME pitch generator :)

  7. Hahaha, my current MCs are an ISTJ and an ENFP. I did try to make them complete opposites. I've never really used personality tests when developing my characters, though I do think the differences between extroverts and introverts in particular is fascinating and there's a lot of good literature on it.

    I do like that thread on AbsoluteWrite called "How well do you know your MC?" It's a fun exercise to read through it and answer the questions, whether you end up replying to the thread or not (


  8. I took this a few years ago (5) and I was:
    INTP - Architect / Engineer

    Today, I've apparently grown into a:
    INTJ - Mastermind / Strategist

    There's always room for growth I say. :D

  9. I'm adding this to my character guide now! It's a swell idea....thanks for making me think of this!



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