As children grow and develop, their personalities take shape and the typological preferences that influence their actions and attitudes begin to reveal themselves through observable behaviors.
Ages 2 to 6
For children between the ages of 2 to 6, the “attitudes” of energy flow and outer-world orientation begin to show themselves allowing us to identify 2 out of 4 of the preferences, the first and the last letters of the four letter Type. From observing their behaviors, we can recognize:
Extraverted Perceivers (EP)
Introverted Perceivers (IP)
Extraverted Judgers (EJ)
Introverted Judgers (IJ)
Ages 7 to 12
Between the ages of 7 and 12, the child's auxiliary function is often not exercised enough to be recognized through observed behaviors. The dominant function, determined by their outer-world orientation, is much more obvious. Accordingly, we can identify 3 out of 4 of the personality preferences for children aged 7-12. They are as follows:
Extraverted Sensing (ESP)
Introverted Sensing (ISJ)
Extraverted Intuition (ENP)
Introverted Intuition (INJ)
Extraverted Feelers (EFJ)
Introverted Feelers (IFP)
Extraverted Thinkers (ETJ)
Introverted Thinkers (ITP)
To narrow in on all four preferences for the 7 -12 group, there is an MBTI based assessment called the Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children®. The MMTIC is designed for Type assessment up to the age of 18, but since the MBTI is written on a 7th grade level, children 13 and up can typically take the traditional MBTI for assessment.
Ages 13 and Up
By the age 13, a child's baseline personality is fairly set, and we can usually identify which of the sixteen "adult" personality types a teenager fits into through observable behaviors as well.
Adult Type Development
Type development is the life-long process of gaining greater command over the functions of perception and judgment. This implies a greater sense of quality in their use.
Type theory asserts that we each have and use all four of the “functions” (S, N, T and F) but, as driven by our preferences, we use them in a specific and strict order – Dominant, Auxiliary, Tertiary and Inferior. In layman’s terms, we develop our preferred functions first, then our non-preferred functions.
The stages of adult Type Development are:
1. Development of excellence in the favorite, dominant process.
2. Adequate but not equal development of the auxiliary for balance.
3. Use of each of the four functions for tasks for which they are best fitted.
In theory, full type development occurs by the time a person reaches the age of 50 and, although Type is hard-wired and doesn’t change, someone with fully developed preferences and non-preferences can demonstrate behaviors as both S & N and both T & F as needed in any given circumstance.
For more information about Type and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, visit the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Resource Central.