Blog of Sara Jakša

How to Find Another Person's MBTI Type: The Big Five

One method, that is a bit of the cheating is to get the MBTI type from the Big Five type of a person. The reason I am saying is that it is a cheat is, that in most cases, the person that you want to type is not going to tell you this results. Or, you might be lucky, and they will send you their Big Five results when asking for their MBTI type, as it happened to my in one case recently.

I have read two articles, Furnham (1996) and McCrae and Costa (1989), that had tried to make a connection between the MBTI and The Big Five. This is done with a group of people, where they all get both of the questionaries, the one for measuring The Big Five and the other one for measuring the MBTI.

The McCrae and Costa (1989) is especially interesting because they also include the tests in order to check how the MBTI questionnaire adheres to the Jung's theory. And their conclusion is that the questionnaire does not really reflect the Jung's theory, and it would be better to interpret it through The Big Five traits.

It is telling that they tested the MBTI questionnaire and not the MBTI theory, so I would not throw it out completely yet, but it is telling that questionnaire might not be the best way to get the Jung's personality type from them.

The both articles found some connections between the traits in The Big Five and MBTI letters types. Each of them had some additional ones, but there were a couple that were repeated through analysis. You can see these connections in the table below.

The Big Five MBTI
Extroversion Extroversion
Openness Intuition
Agreeableness Feeling
Consciencusness Judging

So people that are higher on extroversion have a letter E in their MBTI type, and people lower on extroversion have a letter I. With openness, the higher openness is indicated with an N, and the lower openness is indicated with an S. Higher agreeableness shows itself with the F in the MBTI type, while people with low agreeableness have T in their type. The last, the people with J in their type have more consciences ness, and the people with P in their type have less consciences ness.

I guess some of you noticed that there is no neuroticism. Neuroticism does not correlate well with any of MBTI letters, so it is not there.

If I try to change my usual results in my type, then I get the INTP, with very strong I and T and N, and a very weak P. Sometimes people used the X in their type to indicate that they have no preference or used the lower letters to indicate the weak preference. So my type in that notation would be INTp. But I am pretty sure that I am not using Ni or Te, but I am using Ti and Ne, so it is not like this would make me question my type, but it does indicate the problem that I mentioned a couple of paragraphs back - as one of the problems is that strength of the traits/letters does not translate neatly into the use of different cognitive functions.

But sometimes people are easier to identify with their Big Five traits than with their cognitive functions. Instead of long analysis of the people, this is a short way of how to identify people. And then the MBTI type can be used to quickly say about it. Because ISFP is a lot shorter than saying that a person has low extroversion, low openness, high agreeableness and low conscientiousness. Down here are some really quick ones (do keep in mind that MBTI type here is used as a shorthand for describing the Big Five, and not as an actual MBTI type):

People Series Type
Gregory House House MD ISTP
James Wilson House MD INFJ
Steven Strange Doctor Strange ESTJ
Tony Stark Iron Man ENTP
Steve Rogers Captain America INFJ
Loki Thor INFJ
Sherlock Holmes BBC Sherlock INTP
John Watson BBC Sherlock ISFJ
Lelouch Lamperuge Code Geass ENTP
Yagami Light Death Note ENTJ
L Death Note INTP
Kudou Shinichi Detective Conan ENTP
Mouri Ran Detective Conan ISFJ

I could go on and on, but because the Big Five came from the lexical hypothesis, it means that people that know how to use a language (which most people do), are already amateur typers. In the Jung's method, there is a lot more training involved, as it comes from the psychoanalytical tradition. So the Big Five can be the gateway in quickly typing a person and predicting how the person is going to react.