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Can Type A and Type B Personalities be Equated with MBTI Types?

November 24, 2011| By

I’ve wondered for a long time since I got involved with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®), whether the results of the MBTI ®(a personality type questionnaire) would reveal those people who would be considered either Type A or Type B personality types.

First, if you’re not familiar with the MBTI, let me suggest that you take the free personality quiz so you know a little bit more about yourself from the MBTI perspective.


What Is the MBTI All About?

Briefly, the MBTI reveals various aspects of your type – how you orient yourself to he world; what type of information is important to you; how you make decisions; and how you handle yourself in the world.

First, the MBTI helps identify whether you’re an Extravert (E) or Introvert (I).  Those letters tell you about your orientation to the world.  As an Extravert you look for stimulation outside of yourself – you’re energized by the crowd. You’ll look to activities involving people or things. Your interests are many, though you tend not to explore them in depth. Your best thinking is done while talking.  As an Introvert your stimulation comes from within where you explore ideas, impressions and emotions. An Introvert prefers to keep all of these to themselves until they are well thought out. Then maybe they’ll share them. You could say you’re a deep thinker.

Next, you’re either a Senser (S) or Intuitive (N), giving you an idea of what type of information is most important to you.  As a Sensor you tend to pay attention to the information you receive through your five senses. Facts and details are what you are interested in. The information must be practical and useful. The world of the Sensor is the here-and-now or the “what is”.  As an iNtuitive you tend to pay attention to your instincts or “gut feel”. Compared to the Sensor, you could say you listen to your “sixth sense”. The world of the iNtuitive is the future or the “what might be”. Change is paramount for the iNtuitive.

The third category would be how you make a decision, either as a Thinker (T) or a Feeler (F).  As a Thinker you take an analytical and logical approach to making decisions. With that, you can see the consequences of taking certain actions, which helps you in the decision-making process. It’s easier when there are accepted rules on which to base the decision.  As a Feeler your decisions are made based on personal values and convictions. You either “like” or “don’t like” something. Decisions are made based on the effect they will have on yourself or others.

The last category of the MBTI is Judger (J) or Perceiver (P).  Being a Judger doesn’t mean you’re judgmental. It means you like your life planned and structured. When making a decision, it is done quickly so you can move on with your life. To you, it is better to start and finish a project, then start and see it sit on a shelf too long. Your life seems to be governed by “should” and “ought”.  As a Perceiver you like your life to be flexible and open, so you can be spontaneous if the occasion arises. That means that you don’t like to make decisions too quickly because you believe there is more information you should find first. Your life seems to be governed by “could be” and “maybe”.

When you combine one preference from each of the four categories you end up with 16 different personality types.  Again, as I mentioned earlier, take the personality quiz and find out what your type is.


A Little Bit About Type A and Type B Personalities

Let’s briefly talk about Type A and Type B personalities.  According to Wikipedia, the original theory was proposed by Jacob Goldsmith, describing Type A personality people has being high-strung while those with a Type B personality were more easy going.  It was until Meyer Friedman in the 1980s tied that type of behavior to possibly increasing one’s risk of coronary heart disease.  While this hasn’t scientifically been proven, it brings me back to my original question “Can Type A or Type B Personality be Equated with MBTI Types?”

The theory describes a Type A individual as ambitious, sometimes aggressive, very business-like, controlling, highly-competitive, often impatient, can be preoccupied with status, and very time-conscious.  Many people will refer to Type A personalities as high-achieving “workaholics” who always have a deadline to make.

In contrast, Type B individuals are seen as generally patient, relaxed, easy-going, and at times lacking an overriding sense of urgency.


Does the MBTI Tell Us About Type A and Type B Personalities?

There is nothing scientifically proven that says there is a correlation between Type A and Type B personalities and the MBTI types, so I admit up front that I’m just speculating.  But when you look at the characteristics of Type A and Type B personalities, I can draw some similarities to MBTI types.

Taking Type A characteristics, one of them stands out as a dead ringer for those MBTI types with Judging (J) in their type name – that of being time-conscious and being almost obsessed with timelines.  That is in sharp contrast to Perceivers (P) who really would prefer to continue processing whatever they’re doing rather than see it come to an end.  It’s not that Perceivers don’t finish projects, but they often have to really push themselves at the end to get it done.  The Judger, on the other hand, would like to get the project done so he or she can move on to the next project.

Another facet of Type A and B personalities is the concept of being “relaxed and easy-going”.  That definitely rings true for Perceivers.  Whereas Judgers feel they need to get work done first and then, if there’s time, play, Perceivers would rather play first and do whatever work that’s need doing at the last minute.

This isn’t to throw any aspersions to either Judgers or Perceivers because each in their own right have much to contribute to a project, a relationship, or any endeavor.  It’s how they attack it that makes them appear either as a Type A or Type B personality.

Another way to look at the comparison is to think in terms of Extraversion and Introversion.  Extraverts like to be involved in a lot of things while Introverts tend to favor delving into just a few things deeply.  Consider that in terms of Type A and B personalities.  Type A behavior is a continuous struggle to accomplish and achieve as much as time will allow or do it anyway, figuring whatever it is can be fit into the 24-hour day.  That sounds like some Extraverts I know.  Because we can see an Extravert at work, we do notice them hurrying about trying to get it all done.  The problem we have is that we can’t see all that’s going on with Introverts.  Much of what they’re doing is happening inside their minds and not visible to the outside world.  Maybe they’re as driven but we just can’t observe it.

Yet, one of the trademarks of a Type A personality is to multi-task, hoping that doing more than one thing at a time means more can get accomplished in the measly 24 hours in a day (measly because 24 hours isn’t even enough time for a Type A to get it all done).  That is somewhat the antithesis of an Introvert who likes to work on something in depth, concentrating on one thing at a time to fully experience it.

So far, if my theory were right, Extraverts and Judgers would have Type A personalities while Introverts and Perceivers would lean more toward being Type B personalities.  Of course, one can’t blanketly say that all Extraverts and Judgers have Type A personalities nor all Introverts and Perceivers have Type B personalities.  I’d love to hear from you.  Share what your MBTI type is and whether you think you have a Type A or a Type B personality.  Might make for an interesting discussion.

5 thoughts on “Can Type A and Type B Personalities be Equated with MBTI Types?

  1. I wrote this in response to a thread on a forum:

    I don’t think it’s quite possible to say that each MBTI type has either a type A or type B personality, but I do think there are correlations between something from each function measured by the MBTI and either the type A or B personality.

    I and E:

    I think there is some correlation between ‘A and E’ and ‘B and I.’ Extroverts and type As like to get out and do as much as they can, while Introverts and type Bs tend to take things as they come.

    N and S:

    This may be my most unsure category.. I feel like maybe one can relate S to A and N to B, because Ss are more ‘structured’ and ‘concrete’ and probably tend to have more drive to get stuff done..? This one I am still thinking on..

    F and T:

    This is perhaps one of the most determining factors, in my opinion. I feel Feelers are more inclined to be laid back and relaxed, like a type B, and Thinkers have the tendency to be more “get up and go!” like an A type.

    P and J:

    This, I think, is basically what type A and type B are, J and P, respectively. An A is like a J in that both are time conscious and ‘rigid,’ always sticking to their schedules. The P and type B person, though, are described as ‘laid back’ and ‘easy going.’

    Overall, I think T and J are the dominant A types and F and P are more B type. I also think introversion may be slightly B while extroversion is more inclined to be A. I am still unsure on the S and N part of MBTI, however.

  2. I do agree with the J and P analysis you did. I do think that Js with their more organized and structured approach may tend toward being Type As, getting frustrated when things don’t work out. Ps, being more flexible can bend a little more and probably be more easy-going.

    Another way to look at Type A and B is through temperament. The combination of NT (perfectionism) and NF (idealism) can be quite stressful when not realized. So I can see Type A aligning with the NT and NF temperaments.

    Whereas, the SP temperament is into instant gratification, something which I think is more Type B.

    My husband is an INTJ and Type A. So, I don’t know if I can agree that the I is Type A. But I think he is a Type A from the NT combination and also being a J.

    I’m an ENFJ and Type A. Is my E driving my Type A or is it the NF and J driving it?

    You didn’t mention what your MBTI type is or whether you’re a Type A or B. Does your analysis work for you?

    It would be great if someone did a study of type and Type A and B to see if there is some correlation there.

  3. Hi.

    I have more broadened views on it now, over a year later. Oh and I am a well-defined INFP and type B.

    INFPs are basically looked at as the weakest type (which is true) and ESTJs are the most dominant type. So I suppose I agree with my analysis of before in that if someone is INFP, they are going to be type B (usually).

    I now know about temperament and cognitive functions, too, so that plays in.

    I suppose more or less I’d say A and B are almost the same as J and P. Although I might know some INFJs who are Bs and some ESTPs who are As…. I don’t really know what to think anymore, haha.

    1. Back in the early 1970s, Meyer Friedman, M.D. recognize Type A behavior and wrote a book about it. He describes it as “behavior [that] is above all a continuous struggle, an unremitting attempt to accomplish or achieve more and more things or participate in more and more events in less and less time, frequently in the face of opposition – real or imagined – from other persons.”

      Realize that Friedman, along with Dr. Ray Rosenman were trying to determine if here was a connection between heart disease and one’s personality type. Did the elements of Type A behavior produce the raised serum cholesterol, triglyceride, and low-density lipoprotein levels, along with high blood pressure associated with cardiovascular disease? Was it really the “primary” cause? When studies found that more Type A people than Type B people with these health parameters also had high levels of norepinephrine (also known as the “struggle hormone”), they thought they were onto something.

      Friedman found that the person with Type A personality is dominated by “covert insecurity of status and/or hyperagressiveness”. From this then comes a sense of time urgency to prove oneself. Self-esteem became a measure of just how many achievements could be accomplished divided by the level of one’s expectations of accomplishment. Only when the result of that ratio was greater than one does a Type A person feel good about him- or herself.

      All of this makes the Type A personality sound horribly negative. I think the negative part is what the personality type inflicts on the individuals. Do they have time to stop and smell the roses or is that such an unproductive task as to easily be ignored?

      We probably wouldn’t have the technology we have today without Type A personalities. You can’t possibly think that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook or Travis Kalernick of Uber are Type B personalities. It’s not to say that people with Type B personalities aren’t successful. They may, though, delve into areas that have a longer end-point. That don’t seem to feel the job needed to get done yesterday.

      Your being an INTJ means you’re a problem-solver. Do you think that is true of yourself? Do you view yourself as a Type A or Type B? When all is said and done, it’s how we perceive ourselves – not how a test records us.

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