top of page

Whats happens if you score in the middle of your Myers-Briggs score?


"Hmm," said a small voice in his ear. "Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There's talent, my goodness, yes - and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that's interesting.... So where shall I put you?"

Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, not Slytherin, not Slytherin.

"Not Slytherin, eh?" said the small voice. "Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it's all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that - no? Well, if you're sure - better be GRYFFINDOR!"

I doubt JK Rowling had Isabel Briggs Myers in mind when she imagined the sorting hat. Yet, unwittingly, she created a perfect symbol for personality testing. Like the sorting hat, the questions of a personality quiz are designed to probe your mind, behaviors and preferences and sort you into one of 16 houses based on your answers. But just as Harry Potter realized, it's a self-reported test. If you really, really don't want to be an ISFP, ENTJ or Slytherin, you can always tweak your answers and get sorted into a different house.

Even if you answer the questions honestly, the fact is that some of your personality traits – your "courage," for example, or your "nice thirst to prove yourself" – can place you into well over half the houses. The 16 types involve a complex constellation of characteristics that layer and interact, and are actually quite tricky to separate out from each other. This explains why the fandom really can't agree whether Harry is an ISTP, INFP, ISFJ, ISFP, INFJ, as his observed behaviors make a strong case for each of these types and more.

So don't be surprised if you're also drawn to several "best fit" profiles, all of which describe you to a T – or if you type in the middle with no firm profile at all.

Fifty Shades of Myers and Briggs

Everyone of us is an Extravert and an Introvert, an Intuitive and a Sensor, a Thinker and a Feeler, a Judger and a Perceiver. Whenever we take a test, all we are measuring is our preference on each of the four spectrums. For each scale, there's a numerical value for how strong your dominant trait is compared to its opposite number, ranging from 51 percent (very weak) to 100 percent (totally dominant). So, you could be an ESTJ scoring Extravert (98 percent), Sensing (75 percent), Thinking (88 percent) and Judging (100 percent), or you could be an ESTJ scoring 51/ 58/ 53/ 52.

Superficially, both ESTJs have the same label but psychologically, there are going to be massive variations in how these people express themselves. We just conveniently dump all these different personalities into the house of ESTJ because that code is the best fit compared to the other houses (and a system with hundreds of codes would be impossible to manage). "Best fit" does not mean "perfect fit" – that's important. Most people will agree with some aspects of their personality profile and barely recognize themselves in others. Which is a rambling way of saying – an ESTJ is not an ESTJ is not an ESTJ.

In terms of the numbers, most people type somewhere in the middle for each scale. The graph looks like a bell curve, with most of us clustered around the 50 to 65 percent mark. So, if you score 48 percent Introverted/ 52 percent Extraverted, for example, that's normal. It's actually pretty unusual to find someone who tests in the outer reaches of the scale; say 95 percent or even 100 percent for a certain letter. Only a tiny percentage of outliers will score large percentages, showing a massively dominant preference, on any of the four scales.

Why? Because humans are diverse and adaptable creatures. None of us lives in a silo, and we adapt our behavior according to the circumstances. We learn and we grow. This sometimes means that a parent, for instance, will observe in a test that she "makes sure everyone is taken care of" – a behavior that's associated with a Feeling preference –because that's what she does every day. It comes with the territory of parenthood. In other situations, her Thinking preference might give the opposite answer.

What If I Type in the Middle?

It's really unusual to get an exact 50/50 split for every letter unless you've put the middle (neutral) option for every single question. If you're truly coming up with nothing, try re-taking the test and ask if you're being really honest with yourself. There should be some lean to one side or the other, no matter how small.

That said, personalities tend to be inconsistent and not all of us will color precisely within the designated type lines. It's very likely that you'll test "in the middle" for one or two letters, or that one or more of your traits come up very weak, say 55 percent or less. If that's the case, you may be left wondering what the heck is your personality type?

Here are some techniques for figuring it all out.

1. Miss out the weak letter

Try replacing the weak trait with an "X" and then read up on all the profiles that could potentially fit. For instance, you could get ENTX, which would imply that you type as ENTJ or ENTP. These two profiles are actually quite distinct, so you should get some clues about the right one very quickly.

Obviously, this method is not foolproof. Often, you'll get a result that sounds like you – and then get another result that also sounds like you, but is for a completely different type. Now you need to.....

2. Look at the cognitive stacks

</