TheCoolist is a mood board for your headspace.

  1. TheCoolist
  2. Personality

Personality and Behaviour: Definition, Difference and Influences

Personality and behavior are aspects of human identity that define who we are and what we do. Personality describes traits that comprise identity, and behaviors define our actions and reactions. Personality and behavior are intermingled because they’re both reflective of our distinct characters–albeit within different logical frameworks.

Comparison of personality and behavior
Personality and behavior describe a person’s characteristics, temperament, and tendencies in adjacent but distinct ways

The primary difference between the two is that personality is a holistic model of our unique thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of the world, whereas behavior is more deterministic. For example, introverted personality traits correlate to reserved behavior in shy individuals. A secondary key distinction between personality and behavior is how we understand their characteristics. The characteristics of personality are broadly defined as consistency, actions, and expressions that psychologists measure to determine a person’s character and how it manifests in various interpersonal situations. On the other hand, the characteristics of behavior focus primarily on the number, category, and complexity of factors that motivate a given behavior, as well as its interpersonal context, purpose, mutability, stability, and integration.

There is no single, universally agreed-upon model of personality typing. Systems such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) provide a popular framework for self-reflection, constructing 16 personality types according to four dimensions of attitudinal dichotomies. However, psychologists accord greater merit to the Big Five system of behavior modeling due to its high scientific validity. This model categorizes personality and behavior into five categories: openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, and neuroticism as measurements of personality. Both systems are assessed according to self-reports or those of third-party individuals, but the methods are more rigorous in the Big Five.

Nevertheless, personality and behavior remain intermingled despite their distinctions. For example, both personality and behavior are predisposed to genetic influences, meaning humans are susceptible to having certain traits and tendencies. Furthermore, both personality and behavior are changeable; our characteristics and inclinations modify and develop over time due to environmental and genetic influences across our life span. Conversely, personality and behaviors are susceptible to becoming fixed (for better or worse), enabling individuals to display stable aspects and actions throughout their lives.

Another facet merging our understanding of personality and behavior is temperament. The term temperament correlates to emotional predispositions and actions. Temperament is not synonymous with personality or behavior, but they are intermingled. For example, a person who is predisposed to a cheerful temperament has an upbeat personality. The temperament in turn affects behavior as someone who is ordinarily cheerful potentially acts optimistically, such as frequently trying new things or is otherwise good-humored in their interactions with others.

The following article explores the concept of personality and behavior in greater depth, including the various types, characteristics, and influences that determine development.

What is personality?

Personality is a combination of distinctive traits, values, interests, and perspectives that define an individual’s identity. The unique qualities of our personalities affect our patterns of thoughts and emotions, as well as dictate our behavior. Personality and its effects are relatively consistent throughout our lives, but it’s not fixed. Genetic and environmental factors all contribute to the development of personality, shaping it over time. Personality is additionally unique to every individual as is the manner personality develops. Consequently, there are debating theories about how personality develops. For example, Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychosexual development describes five stages of personality evolution that occur throughout childhood, particularly emphasizing the influence of our earliest years. Another theory is Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. Erikson outlines the formation of personality from infancy into adulthood, highlighting specific conflicts that affect the development of each stage. That said, popular theories largely agree that there is a developmental process to personality, regardless of when, how, and why it happens.

Adding to the complexity of personality is the manner we express it. An example of a personality trait is extroversion. Someone extroverted is innately social and outgoing. Such qualities affect their behavior, leading extroverts to attend social gatherings or readily engage in conversation. However, an extrovert doesn’t always express their personality the same way. They may be more withdrawn or timid at work due to a desire to be professional and, consequently, present a more introverted persona. A persona is an external identity we present to the world around us, comprising characteristics we adopt to fit social situations that aren’t inherently reflective of our innate qualities. Therefore, personality is best understood as our true identities and what we uniquely think and feel but not always what we express.

What are the characteristics of personality?

The characteristics of personality are defined as the consistency of traits as well as our actions and expressions. The consistency of personality traits in an individual determines whether they’re generally reflective of someone’s true character or situational. Meanwhile, actions and the ways we express ourselves internally or externally are reflective of our true selves. These characteristics help us understand a person’s identity, offering insight into the fundamental attributes that make up who they are.

The list below outlines three main characteristics of personality in more detail.

  • Consistency: Consistency is a characteristic that describes the regularity and predictability of personality. Consistency is defined as either temporal consistency, which is the stable presentation of traits over time, or cross-situational consistency, which is the stability of traits across different situations. Personality isn’t absolute as traits develop and change, but consistency helps psychologists measure the complexity of identity and whether consistent traits reflect a person’s character.
  • Actions: Actions are a characteristic of personality that refers to our identity’s influence over our behavior. Our conscious and unconscious actions are largely determined by our personality, dictating our responses to certain situations. We consequently act according to innate qualities like core traits, values, and perspectives that we’ve developed over time. For example, someone who is highly empathetic and develops philanthropic values accordingly acts charitably toward others. That said, behavior isn’t always reflective of our innate identity as we’re able to adopt traits to suit different situations.
  • Expressions: Expressions are a characteristic of personality that describes our patterns of thoughts, feelings, and socialization. We see our personality in the way we think and feel, as well as how we choose to act on these things. For example, patterns of anxious thought could be indicative of a neurotic personality while a more tempered control of emotions could be a sign of a calmer, stable personality. How we express ourselves and interact with others is additionally a sign of our personality as it verbalizes the internal dimensions of our thoughts and feelings.

What are the most common personality types?

The five most common personality types are ESTJ, ISTJ, ISFJ, ESFJ, and ENFP. These personality types are part of sixteen types defined by the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI’s methodology involves a classification system that organizes personality into archetypes according to an individual’s proclivity for the four attitudes of Extraversion versus Introversion, Sensing versus Intuition, Thinking versus Feeling, and Judging versus Perceiving. The list below describes the most common personality types according to statistical evidence as well as their fundamental traits according to the MBTI.

  • ESTJ: The ESTJ (Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking, and Judging) is the most common personality type, making up 11.2% of the population. ESTJs exhibit a common blend of reliability, honesty, practicality, and logical thinking patterns and traits according to the MBTI classification.
  • ISTJ: The ISTJ (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, and Judging) comprises 10.3% of the population and is the second most common personality type. ISTJs exhibit behavior such as practical thinking skills, a reserved disposition, and inflexible tendencies.
  • ISFJ: The ISFJ (Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging) is the third most common personality type on our list as they make up 9.4% of the population. Altruism, kindness, shyness, and hypersensitivity define ISFJ types’ tendencies and traits.
  • ESFJ: The ESFJ (Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging) represents 9.1% of the population, making it the fourth most common MBTI type. Dependability, sociability, and a strong sense of dedication distinguish ESFJs among the personality types.
  • ENFP: The ENFP (Extraversion, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving) is the fifth most common personality, consisting of 8.2% of the observed population. ENFPs have outgoing personalities and exhibit optimistic attitudes and spontaneous tendencies.

What are the personality traits?

The list describes the five main personality traits according to the Big Five or Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality formation and development in psychology.

  • Openness: The openness trait in personality development and formation defines a person’s proclivity for new ideas and experiences. Someone with high openness is adventurous, imaginative, tolerant, and open to opportunities or change. Meanwhile, someone with low openness prefers routine and convention and is largely unengaged in new experiences or perspectives.
  • Conscientiousness: Conscientiousness is a personality trait that refers to someone’s inclination toward organization and responsibility. Someone with high degrees of conscientiousness exhibits qualities like self-discipline, determination, and diligence. Conversely, a person with low conscientiousness is unorganized and struggles to stay on task or meet goals.
  • Extraversion: Extraversion is a major personality trait describing social proclivities and disposition. People with high degrees of extraversion find socialization energizing and enjoy meeting new people. Meanwhile, those with low levels of extraversion exhibit more reserved tendencies and prefer to spend time alone.
  • Agreeableness: The personality trait of agreeableness defines a person’s compassionate and altruistic tendencies. Those who exhibit a high sense of agreeableness are more empathetic and inclined to cooperate while socializing. People on the other end of the spectrum, meanwhile, are argumentative and exhibit less empathy.
  • Neuroticism: Neuroticism is a personality trait denoting emotional stability or instability. Individuals who lean toward high levels of neuroticism struggle with their feelings and consequently display emotionally unstable and anxious traits. Low neuroticism conversely correlates to greater emotional regulation and resilience in the face of life’s stressors.

How can personality be assessed?

The list below describes five methods of how personality can be assessed, including what each method involves and how to use it for analysis.

  • Begin with a self-report assessment: Begin with a self-report assessment as they’re freely available. Self-reports are questionnaires, surveys, or rating scales that measure your behaviors, proclivities, thoughts, and feelings. You select a self-report assessment depending on what information you’d like to know about your personality and what framework you’re interested in trying. For example, you might take the Revised NEO Personality Inventory to determine your Big Five personality traits.
  • Sign up for a behavioral observation: The next step involves signing up for a behavioral observation after taking a self-report. Doing so will help determine the correlation between your results and an expert’s evaluation. A behavioral observation involves a third party observing your actions and reactions to different situations. The trained observer records and measures your behavior against an established framework.
  • Attend an interview: Consider attending an interview designed to assess personality as an alternative to behavioral observations. Personality interviews are conducted by third-party experts such as psychologists. Such experts provide a series of questions and weigh your responses against a standardized system (e.g. the Big Five methodology) to assess your personality.
  • Try a projective test: Your fourth option is a projective test. Trying out a projective test is similar to interviews and behavioral observation because they’re administered by a third party. The main difference is that designated administrators present an ambiguous situation, image, or similar and ask you for your observations. The goal of the test is to gain insight into how you react to the world around you, and how that correlates to your personality and behavioral traits.
  • Determine your results: The fifth and final step is to determine your results whether you’ve attempted one or all of the above steps. Each of the listed methods above has its pros and cons as a measurement of personality, so it’s up to you or an expert to infer the representation of your identity. For example, self-reports are highly accessible but prone to personal bias and fluctuating results. Meanwhile, interviews, behavioral observations, and projective tests reduce but do not eliminate bias. Furthermore, responses during either of the assessments potentially paint an incomplete picture of personality if questions are misinterpreted or behaviors are adjusted to best suit social expectations.

What is behavior?

Behavior consists of our actions and reactions to the world around us. Behavior is specific to different situations and although not fixed, it is defined by our personalities as well as various developmental factors. Personality dictates behavior because the distinctive qualities, emotions, and thought patterns that comprise our identities influence how we express ourselves in different circumstances. For example, someone who has a conscientious personality exhibits responsible and diligent behaviors. He or she stays on task in the workplace and rarely deviates from schedule. Genetics additionally affect our behavior, namely its development. Genetics influence our predispositions to certain tendencies (much like how genetics influence personality and the presentation of certain traits). Therefore, shared behaviors seen in parents, such as timidness or impatience, potentially correlate to the same behaviors seen in one’s children. Research particularly supports a pervasive link between behavior and genetics. For example, the results of fifty years of twin studies report a strong correlation between heritability and the shared characteristics twins presented, positively indicating the influence of genetics.

Environmental factors additionally affect behaviors. Our environment, such as cultural norms or parental influences, defines our behavior because we learn from our surroundings. We adapt according to our knowledge, developing and reinforcing attitudes so that we better interpret and respond to new or repeating situations. Therefore, behavior is not consistently reflective of our actual personalities, though it makes up the personas we present. Behavior is consequently best understood as how we act in response to the world and not necessarily an accurate depiction of who we are.

What are the types of behavior?

There are five primary types of behaviors that measure an individual’s actions and reactions to various circumstances. Each type is defined by one of five dichotomies which deconstruct how conscious, salient, voluntary, rational, or ethical a behavior is. The list below summarizes the outcomes of these behavioral dichotomies in detail.

  • Moral and molecular behavior: Molecular and moral behavior refers to the actions you make with or without thinking. Molecular behavior consists of instinctual actions you don’t think about such as closing your eyes or flinching in response to an object thrown near your face. Moral actions relate to conscious choices that prompt thought, such as changing your schedule after thinking about your sleeping habits or being more direct while flirting after considering what your crush likes.
  • Overt and covert behavior: Overt and covert behavior respectively defines actions that are visible and unseen to the people around you. An example of overt behavior is laughing with friends or doing chores. Meanwhile, covert actions or reactions constitute what we can’t see, such as feeling sad or having anxious thoughts but not expressing yourself to others.
  • Voluntary and involuntary behavior: Voluntary and involuntary behavior refers to actions we can and cannot control. You determine voluntary behaviors as they align with your wants and personality such as everyday actions like baking because you’re craving something sweet. On the other hand, you don’t determine involuntary actions or reactions. An example would be screaming after hearing a sudden loud noise or unknowingly losing your temper while stressed.
  • Rational and irrational behavior: Rational and irrational behavior constitutes actions defined by your thought process. Rational behaviors are driven by logical thinking, such as weighing options in your head when faced with a budgeting problem and selecting the most inexpensive choices. Irrational actions or reactions follow your emotions without regard to logic. An example would be emotional outbursts like becoming angry or anxious at the prospect of being late despite objectively knowing you’ll be on time.
  • Ethical and unethical behavior: Ethical and unethical behavior correspond to the personal values that are part of your personality. Ethical actions are any actions that you make that you believe are ethical and righteous. Unethical behavior is in direct defiance of your and often society’s ethics, such as cheating on a test despite believing in academic integrity.

What are the characteristics of behavior?

The characteristics of behavior are variables that offer insight into the nature, motivations, and outcomes of human behavior. These characteristics define behavior in the abstract, rather than focusing on any individual behavioral tendency. Below are nine concepts that define the characteristics of

  • Multifactoriality: All human behaviors (whether voluntary or involuntary) stem from multiple motivational factors that impact and define our actions and reactions. The specific number of factors involved is an intrinsic characteristic of behavioral study. Many behaviors have underpinning in just a few factors, such as autonomous processes like sleeping that are required for survival. However, other behaviors consider a much wider range of factors which may entail both concrete and abstract considerations, such as building a retirement portfolio to hedge against future financial insecurity for you and your family.
  • Complexity: A defining characteristic of behavior is its complexity. Complex behaviors tend to entail a greater number of motivational factors, but this is only a correlative rather than causative relationship. Scratching an itch is a simple behavior motivated by a single factor to alleviate mild discomfort, whereas a polite greeting is a simple behavior that takes form according to myriad social and cultural factors. Tax preparation, on the other hand, is a complex behavior motivated by a wide range of factors such as avoiding penalties, seeking financial advantages and incentives, and contributing to one’s community. Preparing a meal is a fairly complex behavioral example that doesn’t necessarily require extensive motivational factors to explain.
  • Factor categorization: There are two primary categories of factors that govern behavior: individual and environmental. The category of individual factors is subdivided into physiological and psychological elements. Physiological elements denote biological influences that dictate basic behaviors, like eating and sleeping. Psychological aspects define actions spurred by thoughts, values, and emotions. Meanwhile, environmental elements characterize how cultural, social, and familial structures affect behavior.
  • Individual differences: Individual differences are unique elements that define our actions and reactions. Individual differences are broadly defined, ranging from distinctive characteristics (like past experiences or values that separate our personalities) to expansive factors such as culture or socioeconomic influences that separate behaviors across large groups.
  • Individual similarities: The characteristic of individual similarities describes the similar patterns humans exhibit. All humans are unique, but some behaviors are universal or more prevalent than others. For example, molecular behaviors such as flinching in response to a thrown object are universal. On the other hand, cultural, social, or familial factors influence actions that are endemic to a specific group. For example, uniquely cultural greetings like bowing are common in certain parts of the world but uncommon in others.
  • Purpose: Purpose is a behavioral characteristic describing the intent of an action or reaction. All behavior has a purpose, even those that are molecular, involuntary, covert, or irrational. The different types of environmental, psychological, and physiological circumstances determine purpose. For example, environmental factors such as inadequate parenting might influence a child to seek affection from an authority figure while physiological factors unconsciously drive us to eat something sweet we’ve been craving for a long time.
  • Change: Change is a characteristic of behavior that describes the fluidity of behavior and illustrates our response to different influences and resulting adaptations. An example of the changeability of behavior is the adoption of attitudes to suit new social circumstances, such as an introverted personality developing an extroverted persona at work to better fit in with the company culture.
  • Stability: The behavioral characteristic of stability coexists with the above attribute of change. Behavior is equally susceptible to change as it is able to be consistent according to physiological, psychological, and environmental elements. Stable behavior refers to consistent, predictive actions and reactions we exhibit across different situations. An example would be consistently acting irrationally while stressed or maintaining a largely unchanging taste in fashion throughout your life.
  • Integration: The integrative characteristic of behavior describes our actions and reactions. What we say, do, and think is as complex as our personality and is subject to various influences. Even so, behavior is unified; the many factors at play are all part of a whole. This means there is an overarching method to the way we act and react, even if we’re subject to change or influenced by circumstances we can’t control.

What is temperament?

Temperament describes consistent emotional patterns and predispositions for certain kinds of reactions. Temperament is distinct from personality and behavior in psychology. Personality describes the innate qualities that comprise who we are, while behavior broadly refers to what we do. Meanwhile, temperament is indicative of consistent patterns of emotions and moods that define our responses to our environment. That said, temperament correlates with our personality and vice versa. For example, someone who is predisposed to an introverted mood likely has a more reserved or timid personality. Temperament by extension relates to behavior. For instance, the same introverted individual in the first example potentially has an intense negative reaction to socializing and therefore demonstrates antisocial tendencies.

Our tempers are additionally affected by genetic factors, just as behavior and personality are. Over 700 genes have a direct correlation to temperament according to a 2019 study published in Translational Psychiatry. Such research suggests that we are predisposed to certain kinds of mood patterns. Psychologists additionally group temperament into types to better understand and categorize predispositions. One example stems from proto-psychology in which Greek physician Hippocrates describes the four melancholic, phlegmatic, sanguine, and choleric tempers. Melancholic refers to emotionally unstable, depressive moods whereas phlegmatic is calm and reserved. Meanwhile, sanguine consists of optimism and sociability, while choleric tempers are assertive but impatient.

How does temperament affect behavior?

Temperament affects behavior by influencing our emotional predisposition to certain actions and reactions. Temperament generally refers to mood patterns, meaning we’re inclined to present certain attitudes and emotional tendencies. Such tendencies influence our response to stimuli, such as while socializing or acclimating to new situations. For example, someone with a tumultuous temper is likely highly emotional. They’re consequently inclined to respond to the world around them with a high degree of emotional reactivity, such as lashing out at minor inconveniences or growing agitated while running late for work. The individual’s behaviors are indicative of their emotional predispositions, the intensity of these predispositions, as well as how effectively they regulate them. Behavior is not always influenced by temper, however. There are many different types of behavior, some of which don’t correlate to our mood patterns. That said, all humans are affected by their emotions which, in turn, dictate predispositions for specific behaviors across different situations.

Can temperament be changed or modified?

Yes, temperament can be changed or modified. Theories about temperament are similar to personality and behavior in the sense that temperament is influenced by genetic factors according to a 2019 study correlating genes to temperament. Tempers are therefore innate, though not necessarily static. Seeking a mental health professional such as a therapist or psychologist enables temperamental changes depending on your emotional predispositions and how they correlate to your behavior or personality. For instance, a person with a tumultuous temper exhibits a neurotic personality and consistently has emotionally unstable and highly reactive behaviors. Speaking with an expert provides tools and skills to better understand tumultuous emotional patterns and why a person is predisposed to react the way they do. Patients additionally develop coping skills to modify or adjust their emotional proclivities and control their behavior.

How does personality and behavior change throughout your life span?

Personality and behavior changes change throughout your life span according to genetic and environmental factors. Personality and behavior are intertwined in the sense that our DNA and surroundings make us predisposed to certain qualities and tendencies from a young age. Five decades of twin studies published in Nature Genetics support a correlation between the heritability of our identities and the genes that our parents pass down to us. Therefore, genes set an innate baseline that determines the development of personality and behavior. Another facet of influence is our environment. Influences such as cultural, social, and familial dynamics affect our traits and behaviors through the qualities we absorb, develop, and reaffirm throughout our life span. For example, negative familial circumstances set a precedent for neurotic personality traits that we later unlearn or modify through behavioral changes, developing coping skills as adults for greater emotional stability.

Research additionally indicates that personality changes in adulthood and continues as we get older. Personality Trait Change in Adulthood by Brent W. Roberts and Daniel Mroczek reports that personality primarily changes between the ages of 20 to 40. The study cites changes in the five main personality traits of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (labeled “emotional stability”) with associated modifications in behavior. For example, young adults in their 20s exhibited changes in extraversion, becoming more socially assertive. Meanwhile, those between the ages of 50 and 60 were significantly more agreeable than younger samples, becoming more compassionate and altruistic. Therefore, contemporary research positively suggests that our personality and behaviors change throughout our life span, particularly in the main five personality traits.

How does our environment influence personality development?

Our environment influences personality development according to three major factors that shape our external world. Firstly, familial factors affect the development of personality from a young age, shaping aspects like emotional stability and instability of a child according to the stability of home dynamics. For example, a study by Tyas Prevoo and Bas ter Weel found that disruptions in dynamics like divorce have a significant impact on childhood personality development, leading to low self-esteem and a lesser sense of personal control. Secondly, cultural factors define the impact of societal influences. For example, the Christian norms of a geographic region or ethnic ground potentially correspond to the moral attitudes of individuals who never left their native culture. Such norms influence an individual’s pious personality as they grow older, leading to behaviors and attitudes that align with the morals of their culture. Thirdly, social factors such as new environments and peer relationships additionally affect personality development. An example of social factors’ influence is an introverted adult in their 20s entering a new social environment after exhibiting a timid personality as a child. The enticement of new relationships and opportunities affects fundamental parts of the introvert’s personality, inspiring them to be more socially assertive due to newfound independence and fewer familial expectations to accommodate. That said, the full extent of our environments’ influence on our personality is broad as every human has unique experiences and interacts with the world around them differently. How one individual’s personality and behaviors change according to their environment won’t necessarily mirror another individual’s.

How does family influence personality development?

Family influences personality development during childhood and later into parenthood. Childhood is a pivotal time for personality development as the surroundings that define our earliest years influence our behaviors and traits. For example, a Japanese study at the Child Guidance Clinic in Osaka measured extraversion, maturity, and intellect in children around the age of 13 against familial influences. Results indicated a positive correlation between familial factors and personality, highlighting characteristics like greater introversion in kids who had overprotective mothers and greater maturity in children from richer, more economically stable families. Meanwhile, a second study from the Maastricht University in Maastricht, Netherlands explored the link between family disruptions, such as divorce and the death of a parent, and the effect on personality. Researchers found a connection between disruptions and children having negative personality traits, such as low self-esteem and behavioral issues. The two studies confirm the degree of influence that family is able to have on personality, shaping the innate qualities and traits of children depending on the positive or negative circumstances that make up dynamics in the home.

The influence of family on personality development and behavior continues into adulthood through parenthood. A 2023 study by Jolien F. Grolleman, Carolien Gravesteijn & Peter J. Hoffenaar explores the long-term personality changes of having children, analyzing self-esteem and emotion regulation. Both aspects of personality displayed similar patterns of change, decreasing in pregnancy and infancy but increasing as the baby ages. Furthermore, fathers had greater emotional regulation than mothers. The study’s findings suggest that personality and behavior, namely how positively one perceives oneself and how well one handles their emotions, exhibit at least temporary changes during parenthood.

Can personality be changed through therapy or counseling?

Yes, personality can be changed through therapy and counseling according to two academic papers. The first paper, a collaborative effort from the Universities of Minnesota and St. John’s, studied the baseline personality traits patients exhibited at the beginning of therapy as well as the dynamic changes of personality due to mental distress. The latter proved to be vital to predict progress, helping to measure changes in emotional stability, extraversion, and perspectives towards life—positively indicating that personality is changeable through psychotherapy. Meanwhile, the second paper, A Systematic Review of Personality Trait Change Through Intervention, examined the effect of clinical interventions on personality. The study found that interventions led to noticeable changes over 24 weeks that persisted after the intervention was completed. The trait of emotional stability (which correlates to neuroticism) showed the most profound change due to therapy, further reaffirming that psychological care enables personality changes.

Can you change your personality type throughout your life span?

No, you can not change your personality type throughout your life span according to the MBTI. The MBTI maintains the seemingly counterintuitive position that an individual’s personality can change over time, but their personality type does not. The way to understand this apparent contradiction is to recognize that each MBTI trait represents an innate preference towards one side of each character dimension or another. An individual may grow and evolve through life experiences, but their dominant traits remain the core frame of reference for their personality types. An introvert who learns to become more outgoing still remains an introvert according to the MBTI.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the MBTI model is not scientifically rigorous. Moreover, the MBTI’s measurements cannot wholly account for the complexities of personalities or the unique qualities, experiences, and factors that spur change in our behavior.