16 Type Systems

MindFacets has its roots in what I call ‘16 type systems‘.  Here’s an overview of the various systems and perspectives that led up to what the personality portion of MindFacets is today.

(Note: often I would consider saying MBTI® or Myers-Briggs instead of ’16 type systems,’ since the Myers-Briggs is the most well known 16 type system today, but it is a registered trademark that I don’t want to misrepresent, so to avoid having to worry about trademarks, I often use the term ’16 type systems’ instead.)

Jung’s 8 Psychological Types / Functions

In 1921, Carl G. Jung started it all off with 8 types, based on what he called the 8 psychological functions:

  • Extraverted Sensing (Se)
  • Introverted Sensing (Si)
  • Extraverted iNtuition (Ne)
  • Introverted iNtuition (Ni)
  • Extraverted Thinking (Te)
  • Introverted Thinking (Ti)
  • Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
  • Introverted Feeling (Fi)

Jung wrote about these in his book called Psychological Types.

These 8 functions are one of the core foundations of MindFacets, and therefore it is very important to define these well and have absolute clarity about what they are and are not.

MindFacets uses these 8 functions, but also offers them reshuffled into an alternate perspective.  Having a secondary perspective is incredibly helpful in triangulating and demystifying what exactly these mental processes are.

Here are MindFacets’ set of alternate names for the functions, also known as cognitive processes:

  • Se => Me – Extraverted Mapping
  • Si => Wi – Introverted Webbing
  • Ne => We – Extraverted Webbing
  • Ni => Mi – Introverted Mapping
  • Te => He – Extraverted Harmonizing
  • Ti => Vi – Introverted Vitalizing
  • Fe => Ve – Extraverted Vitalizing
  • Fi => Hi – Introverted Harmonizing
Notice that the N and S groups are split up and rearranged with W and M groups, and same for T and F.  It can be useful to think of personality types and types of thinking in both N/S and M/W depending on the situation, and same with T/F and H/V.  Some people say it is easier to think or say some things in Chinese while other things are easier in English, and it is the same idea here.

Also, MindFacets offers alternate descriptions of introverted and extraverted thought:

  • Extraverted => divergent, objective, impersonal
  • Introverted => convergent, subjective, personal

16 Types: Myers-Briggs

In the 1940’s, Catherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs-Myers picked up where Jung left off and kicked off the movement that 16 type systems known today.  The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI® is a questionnaire to help determine one’s personality type.  They took Jung’s 8 types based on dominant cognitive function and added a secondary function.

How it works

Between the dominant and secondary functions, one must be introverted and the other extraverted, and one must be judging (T or F) and the other perceiving (S or N).

For example, someone who has a dominant function of Si (introverted sensing) may have a auxiliary (secondary) function of Fe (extraverted feeling,) making a function pair of SiFe.  Since the dominant function is i, the person’s type is Introvert (I).  Since the dominant function is S, the person’s type is Sensing (S).  The person prefers F over T, and is therefore a Feeling (F) type.  The person’s judging function is extraverted (they apply judgment to the outer world), and therefore they are a J.  Put those together, and the person’s type is ISFJ.

MindFacets’ Departure on the ‘Function Stack’

Whereas the Myers-Briggs and various authors in this sphere speak of dominant auxiliary tertiary and inferior functions, or “function stacks,” MindFacets emphasizes and formalizes the concept of the ‘function pair’ or ‘dyad.’   The dominant and auxiliary correspond to the Contributor role in MindFacets, and the tertiary and inferior fucntions correspond to the Pacifier role.   To see a longer discussion on this, see “MindFacets and the Function Stack.”

Keirsey’s 4 Temperaments (A Pragmatic Grouping)

The 16 types, using Keirsey‘s groups for temperaments:

  • Artisans – SP types (red)
  • Guardians – SJ types (yellow)
  • Idealists – NF types (green)
  • Rationals NT types (blue)
(Note: If you see a simple personality test with 4 colors, it might be based on these 4 groups.)


I won’t say much about Socionics except that it has an alternative to MBTI®’s J and P (Judging and Perceiving.)  Whereas the Myers-Briggs J and P has to do with whether a type applies judging or perceiving to the extraverted world, Socionics has a lowercase j and p that have to do whether a type’s primary or dominant process is judging or perceiving.

J’s (capital letter) are known for wanting structure and control and predictable rules in their environment, while little j’s can be known for being opinionated (whether it’s applied to the outer world, or inner world opinions.)  Capital letter P’s are known for being spontaneous and unstructured in their dealings with the world around them, while lowercase p’s are known for being observers, and seeing things around them.

A personality type can be any combination of p or j, and P or J so it’s useful to have both.  Since MindFacets is already providing an alternative naming scheme to the names for the 16 types, MindFacets also uses the less common Socionics lowercase j and p.

I also find Socionics’ approach, (which is in line with Jung’s,) much more meaningful to use because it relates to the primary process and helps people think about the processes, but I do acknowledge that the Myers-Briggs approach may be more practical to some people who may only be interested in easy to understand behavioral traits without understanding details of what is going on in the mind.

It is a unfortunate they are differentiated only by case, but it works.

16 Types: 3rd and 4th functions, Shadows

MindFacets agrees with most 16 Type models on what the types of the 3rd and 4th functions are, given the types of the 1st and 2nd, but I start to diverge with most models and authors regarding what the 3rd 4th functions are and how they work.  A few models try to rank 5 through 8, which I think is not a useful exercise, nor do I think the 4th function is “inferior” as in worse than all the rest, or 8th most useful.

I also have an expanded view of “shadows,” which are often described as type-specific dysfunctional behavior.   I believe they can have a positive role in a person’s life assuming any dysfunction has been corrected.

Beyond 16 types: Miller Cognitive Systems Inventory

This is a little-known model created by Timothy Miller, (and later Laurie Miller,) and discussed in online discussion groups in 1998.  (Note: the Miller Cognitive Systems Inventory was the name until 2001, and it currently has no known official name or representation.)

I had a problem with the 16 type systems.  I was testing more F than T, yet I prefered T overall.  The Myers Briggs people do break T and F down into subcategories in their Step II, but I found the real solution to my quandry in the MCSI, which introduced the notion of subtypes.  Both my subtypes are F, and my main type is T.  It made a lot of sense to me.  I am also very strongly N, since both my subtypes are N as well as my main type, and it helped me understand why I felt so different than other N’s who had 2 S subtypes.

Imagine a personality quiz asking, “are you energized by people in a party, or do you like to spend time alone to rejuvenate,” and being able to answer “yes and yes,” but then go on to describe your personality in detail.  That’s what the MCSI does, with the drawback that there is currently no quiz (it is hard to design a good test for this!)

So the personality according to the MCSI has two subtypes, and one main type.  Fortunately, the main type can be predicted from the subtypes, so there are 256 possible types in total (16 x 16.)  It’s not as scary as it sounds, since there are still only 16 types, and you still have one major type.  What emerges are other kinds of types: I am an INTJ overall, but I am also an FF because my subtypes are INFJ and INFP.  I am also an II (very I), an NN (very N), and a JP (mixed).

The MCSI also accounts for personality type while in one of 3 non-typical moods (for a total of 4 facets per type.)  I am sometimes extraverted but usually not, and when I am outgoing, I’m like an ENFP, but most of the time, I am not extraverted, and I am like an INTJ.  I also have an alternate artsy mode that is ISFP in nature, and a “shadow” or reformer mode that is ESTJ.  No other system besides the MCSI that I found came close to being able to account for this.  The MCSI not only maps out my subtypes (which appear to be a better indicator of skill, whereas the typical 16 type systems only indicate preference,) but also my personality when in alternate moods.

Further explorations: MindFacets

Discussion on MCSI ended around 2001, and since then, I have continued exploring ideas, and been collecting them under the umbrella ‘MindFacets.’  I have been working towards more specific definitions of Jung’s 8 cognitive processes and  MCSI’s 4 roles roles of personality.   As you can see on the pages where I compare MindFacets to other systems, I have also been working on linking everything with emotion and information flow.

® MBTI, Myers-Briggs, Meyers Briggs, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries

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