Origins and comparisons

This model is based on Dr. Carl Jung's theory of personality type.

Dr. Jung described personality as having 4 bipolar descriptors, that is, 4 pairs of characteristics that are opposite one another, such as introvert and extrovert. A person would be more introverted, or more extraverted, or somewhere between these two extremes.

The other bipolars are sensor / intuitive, thinker / feeler, and judger / perceiver.

Myers and Briggs put together a "Type Indicator" test, based on Dr. Jung's theory, in which you respond to a lengthy set of questions, with the result being one of 16 possible combinations, or "types." An example would be INTJ, or Introverted iNtuitive Thinker Judger.

The problem here is that you are pegged as one end or the other of each bipolar, regardless of how near or far you are from the extreme. The MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) does not discriminate between one who might be nearly center on the bipolar, for example, rather reticent around strangers but comfortable and outgoing among friends, from one who might be severely agoraphobic.

A problem for educators is that the MBTI results in 16 different types, far too many to deal with in a day to day classroom situation.

For the classroom, we can make the Jungian model more manageable by eliminating the introvert/extravert, and the judger/perceiver bipolars. These descriptors are real, but not as relevant to how an individual learns as the remaining two.

We take the Sensor - INtuitive bipolar, and set it as the vertical, or y axis, and then the Thinker - Feeler bipolar, and set it as the horizontal, or x axis. This gives us a Cognitive Profile diagram with four quadrants, Sensor Feeler, Sensor Thinker, INtuitive Feeler, and INtuitive Thinker.

The inventory is completed by ranking four words in each of 20 sets of words, giving some weight to each word. The resulting total scores yield some portion in each quadrant, for a profile. An individual will usually have more area in one or two quadrants than in the others, for a dominant and perhaps a sub-dominant or secondary quadrant. But the Profile concept emphasizes that we have some area in each quadrant. We prefer to work and learn in one of the 4 possible ways, but we are able to function, and can build skills in each of the others.

Often the preference in work style will vary with what type of task we are doing. If I were solving a puzzle, I would be working in the NT quadrant, but if I were planning my garden for color and scent, I would be working mostly in my NF quadrant. I would need to use ST skills to memorize a list of grocery store items, or I would probably write the list down since I don't recall lists of things well. And I need to draw on skills from the SF quadrant if I run into a neighbor in the grocery store.