Personality Theories: Developing Complex Characters

Hello, readers and writers!

This week’s post is about the Myers-Briggs Personality Test and how it can be used as inspiration for different characters. Some writers might find it silly to search the internet for personality types to apply to their characters. But this could be a great tool for others who have been actively searching for a way to add depth and understanding to their characters.


What is the Myers–Briggs personality test?

Technically, the test is called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator which is an “introspective self-report questionnaire with the purpose of indicating differing psychological preferences in how people perceive the world around them and make decisions.”

Sounds fancy, right?

The truth is, for your doubters out there, the personality test is actually as close to accurate as any other test out there might be. It’s backed by psychologists and has 16 different types rather than the old-fashioned Type A and Type B we used to follow.

The link above takes you to an in-depth description of the theory behind the personality test. Each personality is formed from a four-digit code based on different personality aspects:

  • Mind
    • Introverted or Extraverted
  • Energy
    • Observant or Intuitive
  • Nature
    • Thinking or Feeling
  • Tactics
    • Judging or Prospecting

For me, my personality is INFJ which means I’m introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging. I need alone time because too much social interaction can exhaust me. I am imaginative, open-minded, and curious which causes me to focus on hidden meanings and future possibilities. I can be empathetic and less competitive than others around me. And I value having the ability to organize, create goals, and work towards meeting them.

If you’re interested in taking the test, click here to figure out what your personality is. Leave a comment if you want to share your results and how much you believe they actually apply to you.

How can they help with developing your character?

So how does this relate to developing your characters? What’s the point?

The point is that each of our characters should have their own, distinct personality. According to 16 Personalities, written fiction allows us to escape into other worlds and share in the actions and feelings of characters as they progress through a story. That’s why we all love reading, right?

The way for us to apply the type indicator to our different characters would be to take the test with that particular character in mind. How would they react in these situations? What do they think and feel? Answering each question from your character’s perspective will give you an answer as to what type of person they truly are.

The website mentioned above is my favorite for the MBTI because they have given names to all the different types. Mine is the Advocate which makes sense when I spend a lot of my time defending others and trying to understand their stories. It helps a lot in my writing and in my close relationships. I empathize with those who are different from me, and I attempt to understand them.

You could get in-depth understandings of your characters by reading the different personality bios. And honestly, the whole thing is interesting in itself. If you’re attempting to find depth to your characters, give this test a try. Studying the mind of your character will make a significant difference, and don’t forget to take notes!

Thank you for reading! I encourage you to share your results from the test if you’ve never taken it before!

Leave a comment to let me know what you think. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram. Like my Facebook page or join my group. Check out my blog if you want more content from me.

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