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Personality Type and Play

Personality Type and Play

By Donna Dunning

Does your personality type influence how you play?

AnnAmanda suggested, on my Facebook author page, that I write about personality type and play.

Since my work focuses mainly on personality type links in work, learning, and interpersonal interactions, play is not one of my areas of expertise. I can offer some general information and thoughts on the topic to get people thinking about type and play. Rather than research-based ideas, here are a few anecdotes and personal stories about how personality type and play may interact (how Ne of me). Please add your knowledge and insights.

I have seen play as an extension of what we naturally enjoy. For example, my daughter (ENFP), who loves ideas and interactions, has a great time doing improvisational theatre. She thrives on coming up with an idea (Ne) and then adapting and interacting with the other players (ENP). My son (ISTJ) spends considerable time building elaborate, well researched, decks of cards (Si) for a game called Magic and enjoys competing (Te) with his friends.

Play also offers a chance to switch out of our natural approach to give our preferred functions a “time out”. In this perspective, we may enjoy recreation that uses our non-preferred functions, often the tertiary. I remember an INFP client telling me how he loved mountain biking because it got him outside of his head and focused on the trail right in front of him (S). The faster he went the more engaged he was as his attention was forced into the moment.

This use of non-preferred functions in play may also link to development. As well as getting outside of our usual mode of operations, play may be a relatively safe and fun place to try on non-preferred approaches. I (ENFP) am enjoying playing bridge, a game that requires me to remember what was bid and what cards are played (Si). I also need to use logical reasoning to figure out what cards are in which hand and follow my chosen strategy to play the hand (T). I don’t see myself becoming a competitive tournament player, but I enjoy improving my game in a social setting with friends.

How does play link to your personality preferences?

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 26th, 2011 at 9:51 am and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Personality Type and Play”

  1. soma chakraborty says:

    Fabulous! Please carry on Donna. It will help to identify the personality types right from their childhood play and also help in devising the developmental path. Simply wonderful.

    Best Regards

    Soma Chakraborty

  2. Christy says:

    Oh, how fascinating. I wonder what my play says about me.
    I hover between INFJ and INTP. Just about my favorite thing to do is to lie on my bed and read a book. (Is that play? What do we classify as play, precisely?) Second favorite is to lie on my bed and write a book. Third favorite is to sit on my bed and translate the New Testament from Greek to English.
    However, I also love improvisational acting, particularly when it’s more of a game than a performance, and I love to draw a picture in minute, accurate detail from a photograph, and I love riding my bicycle (but only if I’m going somewhere; I don’t like riding just to ride–it feels pointless), and I love going about and observing things closely and taking pictures of them. Those last ones definitely involve my Sensing-ness, which I have noticed I rather neglect in my fiction writing.

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