INFP (introversion, intuition, feeling, perception) is an abbreviation used in the publications of the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to refer to one of sixteen personality types. The MBTI was developed from the work of the psychiatrist Carl G. Jung in his book Psychological Types. Jung proposed a psychological typology based on the theories of cognitive functions he developed through his clinical observations. From Jung's work, others developed psychological typologies. Jungian personality assessments include the MBTI assessment, developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs, and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, developed by David Keirsey.
According to theory, what drives INFPs are strong senses of right and wrong and the desire to exercise creativity, even if only behind the scenes. Weaknesses may include sensitivity to criticism, poor organization, and low assertiveness . Keirsey referred to the INFPs as Healers, one of the four types belonging to the temperament called the Idealists. INFPs are estimated to account for about 4% of the population of the United States of America.
- I – Introversion preferred to extraversion: INFPs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).
- N – Intuition preferred to sensing: INFPs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.
- F – Feeling preferred to thinking: INFPs tend to value personal considerations above objective criteria. When making decisions, they often give more weight to social implications than to logic.
- P – Perception preferred to judgment: INFPs tend to withhold judgment and delay important decisions, preferring to "keep their options open" should circumstances change.
Characteristics of INFPs
According to Myers-Briggs, INFPs focus much of their energy on intense feeling and deep ethics that dominate an "inner world." They seek an external life that keeps these values. Loyal to the people and causes important to them, INFPs spot opportunities to implement their ideals. They are curious to understand those around them, and are accepting and flexible unless someone or something threatens their values.
According to Keirsey, based on observations of behavior, notable INFPs may include Diana, Princess of Wales, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Audrey Hepburn, Richard Gere, Albert Schweitzer, and Isabel Briggs Myers (self-reported to the test she invented with her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs). The website 16Personalities.com suggests William Shakespeare, Alicia Keys, J.R.R. Tolkien, Johnny Depp, Stephen Colbert, and Julia Roberts may also fall into the INFP category.
Correlation with enneatype
In his 1990 Ph.D dissertation, C. F. Gibbons of the University of Arkansas found the INFP type were most common among musicians. A 1973 study of university students in the United States found the INFP type was the most common type among students studying the fine arts and art education subjects, with thirty percent of fine arts students and twenty-six percent of art education students being INFPs. A 1973 study of the personality types of teachers in the United States found Intuitive-Perceptive types (ENFP, INFP, ENTP, INTP) were over-represented in teachers of subjects such as English, social studies and art, as opposed to science and mathematics, which featured more Sensing (S) and Judging (J) types. A questionnaire of 27,787 high school students suggested INFP students among them showed a significant preference for art, English and music subjects.
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