Personal Development

Insights Discovery

Jung and the Psychological Preferences of Personality.

Everyone at Unify LOVES the Insights Discovery model. Not only for its simplicity, memorability and immediate impact, but also for the personally meaningful experience people get from receiving their Discovery profile.

Although we praise the lack of psychobabble, it doesn’t mean that it isn't there in the background! Underpinning the model lies a deeply researched, recognised and tried-and-tested theory of personality that continues to stand the test of time.

Before we get into the detail, let’s learn a little more about the man, the myth and the legend that is Dr. Carl G. Jung.

Carl Jung (1875–1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. He was born in Kesswil, Switzerland, and later studied medicine at the University of Basel. Jung's work has had a profound impact on psychology, psychiatry, and various other areas that are a little more left-field and less published. 

Jung is considered one of the most influential figures in the development of modern psychology alongside other pioneers like Sigmund Freud, Burrhus Skinner, Ivan Pavlov and Albert Bandura.

Here's a quick summary of the seven key areas Jung’s work has influenced.

  • 1. Analytical Psychology: Jung founded his own school of psychology known as analytical psychology. This differed from more popular theories and spoke of a collective unconscious, that all human beings are connected at a much deeper level than the more mainstream theory known at the time. Jung wrote that the collective unconscious contains archetypes and universal symbols and themes that are passed down by genetics, rather than shaped by experience.
  1. 2. Archetypes: Jung spoke of a concept where archetypes are universal and innate. Some examples of these types include the hero, shadow, the anima/animus and the self. These archetypes are relatable within the human experience and influence our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
  1. 3. Individuation: Jung promoted the process of individuation, where an individual recognises, develops towards and becomes their unique true self. To reach the true self an individual needs to integrate unconscious elements into conscious and reach a balance between opposing psychological forces.
  1. 4. Dream analysis: Jung believed that dreams are the window to the unconscious and developed methods to analyse common symbols and scenarios where unconscious issues, challenges, thoughts and feelings needed to be made conscious.
  1. 5. Spirituality and Mysticism: Jung was fascinated by spirituality and mysticism and pushed the boundaries of understanding between the more widely accepted psychological theories and the holistic setting of the whole human experience.
  1. 6. Therapy: Jungian therapy also known as Jungian analysis involves deep work where the individual explores unconscious activity through dream analysis, imagination and examining personal myths and symbols.
  1. 7. Personality Types: A lot of Jung's work was little known or even accepted by the academic minds of his time. However, he was most recognised and celebrated for his work in the field of personality and developed a concept of preferences that is widely used today. This concept became the basis of many assessments and how we understand behaviour in the modern world.

Carl Jung's ideas have left a lasting impact on psychology, philosophy, literature, and the arts. His work continues to be influential in various fields, and his concepts are widely studied and applied today, especially in how we understand personality through Psychological Preferences.

Exploring Jung's Psychological Preferences.

Psychological Preferences refer to how individuals interact and process the world around them.

These preferences are often categorised into different dichotomies or dimensions that help describe variations in personality and behaviour.

Jung's theory consisted of six dimensions on three continuums of preference. This highlights the complexity of personality, people can be any mix of the three pairings and be present anywhere on the continuum within each. We can also move closer to an extreme or towards the balance point based on attitude, comfort, environment and emotion.

Continuums of opposites.

Extravert and Introvert – Jung’s Attitudinal functions (where we focus our attention and get our energy)

Thinking and Feeling – Jung’s Rational Functions (what’s meaningful to us when making decisions)

Sensing and Intuition – Jung’s Irrational Functions (how we take on information and understand the world around us)

Basic principles.

1. We are all 6, but within measure

2. We have a dominant preference on each continuum

3. We can flex between preferences, but revert back

4. The theory is based on opposite, or opposing types – if I am one, I am not being the other at that time.

The 6 preferences explained.


People who prefer extraversion tend to be outgoing, social, and energised by external stimuli. They enjoy interacting with others and maybe seen as expressive and talkative. They get their best ideas and recharge their inner batteries by being around other people.

Extraverts talk to think, they need to hear themselves back before thoughts make sense.


Individuals who prefer introversion are more reserved, reflective, and energised by internal thoughts and ideas. They may seem more respectful by listening and digesting information before throwing ideas around. They like time alone to recharge their inner batteries and look into the past for information that supports a decision.

Introverts think to talk, they process information internally and find noise a distraction.


People who have a preference for thinking make decisions based on logic and objective analysis. They prioritise consistency and fairness and deliver information in a factual way with a direct tone.


Those who have a preference for feeling make decisions based on personal values and the potential impact on other people. They prioritise harmony and empathy and deliver information verbally with a varied tone and softness.


People who have a preference for sensing focus on concrete information and details. They are practical, realistic, and rely on their five senses (see, taste, touch, smell, hear) to accept things into their reality. They tend to be pragmatic and have their feet firmly flat on the floor, dealing with the now. A leader who has a strong preference for Sensing will explain the roadmap to where the organisation is going, rather than painting a picture of what the vision looks like.


Individuals who have a preference for intuition are more focused on possibilities and future outcomes and could be described as having their head in the clouds. They are imaginative, creative, and often trust their instincts and hunches. They are big picture and take information in from a wide range of sources to make sense of the now. A leader who has a strong preference for Intuition will prioritise the ‘I have a dream’ company vision rather than the tactical steps they need to take to get there.

Within Jung's theory there are natural opposites, and it is within these opposing styles that conflict can arise:

What Introverts say about Extraverts under their breath.

‘They’re a constant stream of verbal diarrhoea and don’t seem to listen. They stand too close to me and leave no time for reflection!’

What Extraverts say about Introverts to each other.

‘They never speak up and share their thoughts when we’re talking. They take too much time to make a decision and crush my dreams by always asking "what if??"’

Thinking vs Feeling.

Although the approach to decision making and priorities can get in the way, one of the greatest frustrations that exists between the Thinking and Feeling preference lies in their phraseology and tone.

When a Thinker explains things, they tend to deliver a message in a more factual, monotone and even abrupt or seemingly condescending manner – it’s straight to the point and they don’t dress things up.

When those with a Feeling preference hear this tone, they can’t help but feel like it’s a personal attack and that it could’ve been said in a ‘nicer’, more pleasant or personable way. This can offend those of the Feeling preference and make them feel unappreciated or even hurt.

On the other side of the coin, those with a preference for Feeling explain things with a much softer tone and with a wider range of inflection. They use open questions and more collaborative language, asking for opinions and input to ensure the other person is in agreement.

When those with a Thinking preference hear the Feeling preference talk, their inner voice is screaming ‘just get to the point!’. The collaborative language can leave the Thinking preference unsure if the Feeling preference is fully confident in their direction and can be trusted to execute the task with conviction.

Tips for the Thinking preference.

Soften the tone, ask what others ‘feel’ about something you're explaining.

Tips for the Feeling preference.

Try a more direct tone with assertive language ‘I will…’ and ‘we are going to…’ and use shorter sentences.

Jung's theory of personality preferences is an essential way for us to deepen self-awareness. With this insight we can understand what motivates others and why they might approach things in a very different way to us. Quite frankly their approach can seem just weird – but that goes both ways!!

Parting words.

There is no right or wrong, better or worse, just differences which, if appreciated, can become a key enabler of personal and professional success. When we use a theory like this to truly celebrate ourselves and others, we can fully embrace diversity with all its varying types and in all its glory.

James Hampton (He/Him)

James Hampton (He/Him)


Our areas of specialism.


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