Judging and Perceiving - Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Psychological Preferences

Judging and Perceiving Myers Briggs

Information according to the Meyers-Briggs Foundation Website


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is based upon the premise that personality types arise from psychological preferences. The MBTI assesses for four pairs of psychological preferences, including “judging and perceiving”. This preference pair refers to the behaviors the external world tends to observe. Very broadly, “judging” refers to an individual’s tendency to make decisions quickly and structure an orderly, organized life, while “perceiving” refers to a preference for absorbing lots of information and creating a more spontaneous lifestyle. In reality, nearly everyone uses both of these functions, but knowing which one you instinctively gravitate towards may help you understand your preferred environments and settings. This knowledge may help you make more informed educational and career decisions.

While understanding your personality type can be helpful as you explore your educational and career goals, these suggestions are meant only as a guide. You are the only one who knows whether you’d thrive or wilt in a particular setting.

What is Judging?

“Judging” individuals are not necessarily judgmental, or obsessed with control.  Rather, they feel most comfortable when life is as planned as possible. They tend to put work before play, indulging in recreation once they feel they’ve “earned” it. They’re task-oriented list-makers who rarely procrastinate, and thrive on creating and adhering to schedules. They’re the ones who have their holiday gifts purchased in November (or earlier) and know their summer plans by March. While this trait can be extremely helpful, particularly in our fast-paced and goal-focused society, judging individuals may be so goal-oriented they miss out on the full experience of the process, or overlook important information in their haste to complete a project.

Judging individuals require settings allowing them to have some degree of control. Because of this, and their highly developed organizational skills and proclivity for strategizing, they often take on management positions. They may also find great satisfaction in administrative positions. They’re often most comfortable in settings in which their day is clearly defined, so a career involving dealing with “whatever comes up, as it comes up” may not be a fit for them.

What is Perceiving?

Perceiving individuals tend to come across as relaxed, spontaneous and “go-with-the-flow”. They sometimes hold off on making decisions because they’re not sure what they’ll want to do that day, and they’d like to wait and explore all their options before making a commitment. They like to alternate work and play, or sometimes, put play before work. In contrast to the Judging individual’s methodical approach to work, Perceiving individuals work in stops and starts. They may get a burst of energy and work for a two (or ten) hour stretch, followed by a long break. While their approach to life can be more laid-back and “in the moment”, they sometimes put off making decisions.

Perceiving individuals have the potential to thrive in work environments in which there is a good deal of spontaneity. They may have an adventurous streak and enjoy jobs involving travel writing or photography, or they may have a drive to help others and explore careers as EMTs or ER staff. Highly structured environments, requiring them to perform the same group of tasks each day, might not provide enough stimulation for them, although this can depend upon what these tasks are. For example, a Perceiving individual might find a 9-5 job of data entry extremely boring, while a 9-5 job of working as a business coach to various kinds of entrepreneurs immensely interesting.

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