The Theories and Concepts of Carl Jung


Carl Jung was a brilliant innovator in the field of psychology.  This paper introduces the concepts and theories of Carl Jung.  The primary focus of this paper is to expose the ideas behind Carl Jung’s well-known and withstanding personality theories.  This paper discusses Carl Jung’s personality theories, the background and history of these theories, and furthermore how these theories are applied to psychology and life today.  Additionally this paper looks at Jung’s eight mental processes and how they are applied to the MBTI personality test.  Jung’s personality theories are important and applicable in education and work, relationships, and self-awareness.

The Concepts and Theories of Carl Jung

The field of psychology has unremittingly evolved over the years.  Since the creation of the field of psychology, theories and concepts have been introduced and advanced in order to fit current times and new revelations within the world.  Some theories pass rather quickly while notable ones withstand time, criticism, and new theories.  The concepts and theories of Carl Jung have had a profound impact on the field of psychology.

Early psychologist, Carl Jung is vastly known for his theories and contributions to the subject of personality.   According to Jung’s theory of psychological types, when a person’s mind is lively and the individual is alert, that person alternates from taking in information and building choices in the inner and outer worlds.  He termed eight singular points for how individuals portray these mental activities, which are now called mental processes.  He formed these prototypes through merging opposite couples of attitudes and functions.  “Jung described these eight different patterns in his book entitled Psychological Types through characterizations of people who habitually prefer one pattern over another – his ‘eight types.’  Jung’s eight types are the roots of the well known 16 MBTI types” (Carl Jung and Psychological Types, 2012).

The initial duo of opposites Jung keyed is in relation to how individuals adjust and familiarize themselves to the world.  Extraversion and Introversion are terms that describe this part of his theory.  Extraversion simply depicts that people’s liveliness moves in the direction of other people, places and things in the outer world.  Conversely, introversion is a term meaning that people’s liveliness draws in the direction of the world inside of people, a person’s inner world of thoughts and ideas.  “Jung believed that our orientation to the world was a foundational aspect of our personality.  Our preferred energy attitude is such an elemental part of one’s personality that the two ways of being become obvious, even to the layman, when pointed out. We alternate between these two energy attitudes every day, back and forth, as needs arise and our environment dictates.  Yet, Jung believed that we are at home, or feel most comfortable, in one of these worlds over the other” (Carl Jung and Psychological Types, 2012).

Furthermore, Jung realized that a person’s inclination for outer world or inner world could not be the only reason for the vast behavioral differences he noticed among the human race.  Because of this, he recognized mental functions all individuals use to receive information or perceive.  As humans, people either use what is called sensing perception or intuitive perception.  Sensing perception is the process of gathering solid data by using the five senses.  On the contrary, intuitive perception, or intuition, refers to the course people take to make connections and conclude meanings past sensory data (Carl Jung and Psychological Types, 2012).

Jung also named two different mental functions humans use to assess information or make decisions referred to as the judging functions of thinking and feeling.  Thinking judgment involves assessing information by relating objective and rational criteria.  On the other hand, feeling judgment is the method people use for assessing information by taking into account what is considered important to the self and others directly affected.

Jung determined that people have a natural tendency to prefer one of the four functions over the others.  Individuals prefer putting into action one perceiving function of sensing or intuition over judging functions.  Or people are merely more comfortable using one judging function of thinking or feeling over perceiving functions (Carl Jung and Psychological Types, 2012).  “Jung observed that the attitudes of Extraversion and Introversion were always used in conjunction with either a Perceiving function or a Judging function” (Carl Jung and Psychological Types, 2012).

“The four functions (Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling) with the two attitudes (Extraversion and Introversion) combine to create the eight Jungian mental processes (also known as function-attitudes), which Jung called his ‘eight types.’  These eight mental processes form the core of Jung’s theory of psychological types; these are the processes that we call upon to navigate in and adapt to the world” (Carl Jung and Psychological Types, 2012).

With such fascinating and relevant theories presented by Carl Jung, later psychologists played with ideas and instruments in an effort to put his theories to use in modern and every day society.  Knowledge and understanding of differences in personality prove helpful in areas such as the workplace and career, education, and relationships and marriages.

Developed in 1981, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, also known as the MBTI, is solely based on Jung’s ideas about perception and judgment, and the attitudes of different types of people.  This test is a great example of how Carl Jung’s theories are implemented in the world of psychology today.  The test was created by a mother and daughter team, neither of whom were psychologists, Katharine C. Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers (ZIPKIN, 1999).  The aim of the MBTI is to recognize, by self-report of effortlessly familiar reactions, the fundamental preferences of people in consideration to perception and judgment, so the effects of every preference can be recognized by examination and put into use.

The MBTI test is different from other personality tests:  it was furnished to apply a theory so Jung’s theory must be understood in order to understand the MBTI test.  The theory hypothesizes dichotomies.  Based on Jung’s theory, there are precise and active relationships linking the scales, which formulate the explanation of sixteen different types (About the MBTI Instrument, 2012).

“The MBTI instrument contains four separate indices. Each index reflects one of four basic preferences which, under Jung’s theory, direct the use of perception and judgment. The preferences affect not only what people attend to in any given situation, but also how they draw conclusions about what they perceive” (About the MBTI Instrument, 2012).

When people comprehend and recognize personality differences and preferences, they are more inclined to appreciate variations and diversity between themselves and the people around them such as spousal partners, kids, co-workers, and friends.  Knowledge of personality types allow people to see differences as merely diverse ways of viewing things and circumstances.  “Instead of labeling a person and putting value judgments on his or her behavior, you can learn to see your partner’s behavior as reflecting personality type, not something designed to offend you.  Many couples even learn to see the differences in a humorous light” (Psychological Type and Relationships, 2012).

Psychology has changed and evolved since the day the science was founded.  Psychological theories and concepts have been introduced and advanced over the years in order to fit current understandings and practices.  Some ideas pass rapidly while extraordinary and important theories withstand time, criticism, and the creation of new theories and ideas.  The concepts and theories of Carl Jung have had a profound impact on the field of psychology.  Theories of Carl Jung are used in order to understand personality and today certain professionals use the MBTI to implement Jung’s personality theories and apply them to everyday life.


About the MBTI Instrument. (2012, May 15). Retrieved from Center for Applications of Psychological Type:

Carl Jung and Psychological Types. (2012, May 15). Retrieved from MBTI Type Today:

Personality Test. (2012, May 15). Retrieved from Personality Test:

Psychological Type and Relationships. (2012, May 15). Retrieved from The Myers and Briggs Foundation:


Campbell, J. (1971). Carl Jung The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious. New York:Viking Press.

Carlson, H. (2010). Personality. In Psychology the Science of Behavior (p. 434). New York: Pearson.

ZIPKIN, A. (1999, November 7). In Theory: The Teachings of Carl Jung. The New York Times.