Jung’s Preference Sorter (EXERCISE)


Purpose

This activity helps participants to determine what their preferences are (according to the work of Carl Jung).  This is a simple and participative way to introduce the preferences and a good foundation for any discussion of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  It can also be used with the Insights Discovery ® assessment.

 

Setup

  • Designate a line in the middle of the room.  You can do it by taping the line on the floor, by drawing it with chalk (if you are outside) or by using an existing line in the carpeting or tile.  (You need to have plenty of space on either side of the line, because the participants will be taking several steps to the right and to the left.)

 

Timing

Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 20-30 minutes

Debrief: 10 minutes

 

Procedure

Use the following script, or modify it to suit your needs:

 

INTROVERSION – EXTROVERSION

  • “I would like for everyone to line up, single-file on the line, facing me.”
  • “I’m going to give you six pairs of words or descriptions, one pair at a time.”
  • “If you feel that you are more like the first word or description I mention, take a step to your left.”
  • “If you feel that you are more like the second word or description I mention, take a step to your right.”
  • “It’s possible that you will move left sometimes and right others.”
  • “If no one has any questions, let’s begin!”
  • “If you think you are more quiet, step left.  If you think to are more talkative, step right.” (Give them a moment to choose and step.)
  • “If you are more observing, step left.  If you are more involved, step right.”
  • “If you prefer to go deep in your relationships (have a few very close friends), step left.  If you prefer to go wide in your relationships (have lots of friends), step right.”
  • “If you prefer to reflect, step left.  If you prefer to take action, step right.”
  • “If you are more thoughtful, step left.  If you are more outspoken, step right.”
  • “If you are more cautious, step left. If you are more bold, step right.”
  • “Take a look where they are standing. “
  • “Those of you on the left side of the line are on the Introversion side.”
  • “Those of you on the right side of the line are on the Extraversion side.”
  • “If you are still on the line or very close to the line, it just means that you aren’t very clear about whether you have a preference for Introversion or Extraversion.”
  • “This might mean that even though you are really one or the other deep inside, you have learned to stretch yourself to do the opposite and have gotten pretty good at it.”
  • “That tends to make knowing your preference a little fuzzy.”
  • “Don’t worry.  If you aren’t clear by the time we are done, come to me at the break, and I’ll help you by giving you some more descriptions.” (Some additional differences: I = focused inward – E = focused outward; I = intimate – E = sociable; I = reserved – E = attracting attention)
  • (Even if the participants are familiar with the terms, it’s best to give Jung’s definitions, since the terms have come to mean something different than what he originally intended.)
  • “Introversion and Extroversion are about where you get your energy.”
  • “Introversion doesn’t mean ‘shy.’  It means that you get your energy from inside yourself – from reflecting and spending time alone.”
  • “Extroversion doesn’t mean ‘popular.’ It means that you get your energy from outside yourself – from being around people and from taking action to influence things around you.”
  • “Introverts can be very good at socializing and interacting with others, but that’s not where they get their energy.”
  • “At the end of a busy party or day of interacting, an Introverts batteries will be drained, and he will want to have time alone to recharge them.”
  • “Extroverts can be quiet every once in awhile as hard as it is to imagine (joke), but they get their energy from interacting with people and tasks.”
  • “At the end of a busy party of day of interacting, an Extrovert might want to know where the ‘after-party’ is!”
  • “Does this match what you thought about yourself?”
  • “Turn to one other person, and share your thoughts about where you are standing.”  (Allow a few minutes for them to share.)
  • “I’m sorry for making you do that, Introverts.  Please forgive me!”
  • “Does anyone have any questions about Introversion or Extraversion?”  (Answer questions.)

 

SENSING – INTUITION

  • “Okay, everyone back on the line!  Let’s do another one!”
  • “This time, I’ll give you five descriptions.”
  • “If you think you are more oriented toward the present, step left.”
  • “If you think you are more oriented toward the future, step right.”
  • “If you think you are more realistic, step left.”
  • “If you think you are more imaginative, step right.”
  • “If you think you are more consistent, step left.”
  • “If you think you are more unpredictable, step right.
  • “If you think you are more practical, step left.”
  • “If you think you are more conceptual, step right.”
  • “Last one…if you think you are more step-by-step, take one of those steps to the left.”
  • “If you think you are more spontaneous, step right.”
  • “Those of you on the left side of the line are on the Sensing side.”
  • “Those of you on the right side of the line are on the Intuition side.”
  • “These terms are less familiar, so let me help.”
  • “These terms are about what Jung calls your ‘Perceiving Function.’”
  • “They describe how you take in information.”
  • “People who are Sensing taking in information through their senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch.”
  • “They like concrete details, things that are ‘real.’”
  • “A Sensing person might say, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it!’”
  • “People who are Intuition take in information through intuition.”
  • “They like big ideas, concepts and theories.”
  • “An Intuition person might say, ‘I just know it in my heart’ or ‘I just know it in my gut.’”
  • “Intuition people on the right side of the line, turn to someone close to you and tell them what you think about which side of the line you are standing on.  Then, use your ESP (Extra-Sensory Perception) to read the mind of the Sensing people to find out what they think.” (joke – allow them a few minutes to discuss where they are with someone close to them.)
  • “What questions do you have about the Sensing-Intuition preferences?”  (Answer questions.  This difference is often harder for people to understand, so you may want to go deeper.  If so, grab an object nearby that everyone is familiar with and ask a few people from each side to describe it with the first words that come to mind.  Sensing people will often focus on the factual details about the object, but Intuition people will often focus on what the object represents.  For example, if you use an apple, Sensing people might point out that the color, the taste, the sound, the texture, the smell…Intuition people might connect it to the Big Apple (New York) or the fruit that Adam and Eve ate.  Some additional descriptions for clarity: S = specific – N (Intuition – I’m using the MBTI abbreviations) = global; S = down-to-earth – N = blue-sky; S = precise – N = general; S = factual – N = abstract)

 

THINKING-FEELING

  • “Ready for another one?  Okay, back to the line!”
  • “If you think you are more formal, step left.”
  • “If you think you are more informal, step right.”
  • “If you think you are more objective (not influenced by personal feelings), step left.”
  • “If you think you are more subjective (influenced by personal feelings), step right.”
  • “If you think you are more strong-minded (i.e., stubborn!!!), step left.”
  • “If you think you are more flexible, step right.”
  • “If you think you are more competitive, step left.”
  • “If you think you are more cooperative, step right.”
  • “Last one….if you think you are more task-focused, step left.”
  • “If you think you are more relationship-focused, step right.”
  • “Those of you on the left side are Thinking types.”
  • “Those of you on the right side are Feeling types.”
  • “Now before you misunderstand, I’m not saying that Thinkers don’t feel anything or that Feelers don’t think.”
  • “That’s not what this is all about.”
  • “This is about how you make decisions.”
  • “Thinkers tend to START their decision making from a factual, objective, good-of-the-organization perspective.”
  • “Feelers tend to START their decision making from an emotional, subjective, good-of-the-individual perspective.”
  • “However, it’s possible for Thinkers to also consider the impact to individuals and possible for Feelers to consider the impact to the organization.  It just takes practice.”
  • “The best decisions that you will make will consider both sides.”
  • “So turn to the person next to you, and tell them either what you THINK or what you FEEL about where you are.”  (Allow a few minutes for discussions.)
  • “What questions do you have about the difference between the Thinking and Feeling functions?”  (Answer questions – if you need more differences for clarity: T = analytical – F = empathetic; T = detached – F = involved; T = meticulous (picky) – F = ambivalent (indifferent); T = neutral – F = personal)

 

JUDGING-PERCEIVING

  • “Last one!*  Back to the line!”
  • “If you think you are more structured, step left.”
  • “If you think you are more flexible, step right.”
  • “If you think you are more scheduled, step left.”
  • “If you think you are more spontaneous, step right.”
  • “If you think you prefer to make short- and long-term plans, step left.”
  • “If you think you prefer to adapt and change course as necessary, step right.”
  • “If you think you prefer to avoid last-minute stresses, step left.”
  • “If you think you are energized by last-minute pressures, step right.”
  • “If you think you are more methodical (like to follow a process), step left.”
  • “If you think you prefer to do things in whatever way seems right at the time, step right.”
  • “Those of you on the left side of the line are Judging types.”
  • “Those of you on the right side of the line are Perceiving types.”
  • “This difference is about how you deal with the outer world.  It’s not about whether you are judgmental or perceptive.”
  • “Judging types like to have thing structured and ordered.  They like to make decisions and move on.  They like plans and schedules and good process.”
  • “Perceiving types feel that these things are limiting.  They want to be spontaneous and see what happens.  They want their time free to do what suits them at the moment, and they prefer to wait to make decisions until all the last-minute options are clear.”
  • “Turn to your neighbor and let them know what you think of where you are related to the line.”  (Allow a few minutes for them to discuss.)
  • “What questions do you have about Judging and Perceiving?” (Answer questions.  If you need more descriptions for clarity: J = like to have things decided – P = like things loose and open to change; J = like control – P = like freedom; J = definite – P = tentative)

 

SUMMARY

  • “These sorting activities are just one way to learn more about your personality type.”
  • “You can also use an assessment tool that will give you more choices so that you can have more clarity.”
  • “This information should help you to understand yourself and others better.”
  • “Now, when you see ‘CRAZY’ behaviors from yourself or others, you’ll understand a little better where they are coming from.” (If you have time, have participants have a seat while they discuss the debrief questions at the end of this lesson.)

 

DEBRIEF

  • How do you feel about what you’ve learned about yourself?
  • What did you learn about personality types that you didn’t know before?
  • What did you learn about your co-workers/friends/fellow participants?
  • How will this knowledge impact how you interact with others in your personal and work environments?


*NOTE: This last division was not part of Jung’s original work but was added later by the daughter-mother team (Isabel Briggs-Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs) in order to help identify a person’s dominant function (the one they use the most) and auxiliary function (the second-most used function).  Judging functions refer to Thinking and Feeling, and Perceiving functions refer to Sensing and Intuition.  A person can be dominant in either their Judging or their Perceiving functions.  If they are dominant in their Judging function, then their preference for either Thinking or Feeling will be the main motivator for their behaviors.  If they are dominant in their Perceiving function, then their preference for either Sensing or Intuition will be the main motivator for their behaviors.  Also for your information, Myers and Briggs are the ones who turned Jung’s work into a test that you can take to determine your personality type.)

 

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