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07 November 2006 @ 04:40 pm
Supernatural University: Supernatural Typecasting -- Sam and Dean Meet Myers-Briggs  

I now have proof that I am entirely too obsessed with this show, and I’m infecting others. (Bravo on that latter score … here’s hoping no one can be inoculated against the spread of this particular virus!)

 

I spent three hours today in a leadership seminar utilizing the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. For those of you unfamiliar with the MBTI, it’s a tool that uses the psychological types theory of Carl Jung to determine and understand how individuals perceive the world around them and make decisions to act on their perceptions. The tool looks at how people take in data (Sensing or iNtuition); how people make decisions on data (Thinking or Feeling); from which source people draw their energy (Extraversion or Introversion); and what face people present to the public world (Judging or Perceiving). Combining an individual’s natural preferences with regard to all four of these elements puts the individual into one of the sixteen possible type combinations. To me, the fascinating thing about the MBTI is that, if you understand an individual’s psychological type, you can learn how to communicate with them in the ways most suited to avoid or resolve conflict and achieve cooperation, because you can learn to operate within their comfort zones and play to their strengths.

 

Sorry for the long-winded intro, but the fun part comes in that my carpoolmate John (Hi, John! Surprise – you’re guest-starring in my blog!) and I spent our entire commute home in a discussion of Dean, Sam, and their psychological types, and I couldn’t resist sharing the outcome of that discussion with other folk who might be interested. So, without further ado, here is our Myers-Briggs analysis of the brothers Winchester, based on everything we’ve seen of them thus far.

 

Dean Winchester:  ISFP (Introvert, Sensor, Feeler, Perceiver)

Sam Winchester:  ENTP (Extravert, Intuiter, Thinker, Perceiver)

 

Dean is the tricky one, because on the surface, his tendency to make fast, snap decisions would make you think that his public face would be Judger, not Perceiver, while the ease with which he takes on roles and chats up other people could fool you into thinking him an Extravert rather than an Introvert. His “no chick-flick moments” mantra tries to deny that Feeling is his basis for decision-making, but we all know better. Dean is internally focused, motivated by deeply felt values that center around his family, and rarely articulates the things that really matter to him. He needs time on his own to process and sort through the things he experiences. He is very practical, experiences the world on a very immediate and tactile basis, is fun-loving and action-oriented, lives in the now, is bored by policy and procedure, makes decisions on subjective feelings rather than on carefully ordered logic, supports others (especially children and Sam!) with a gentle attention to detail and action in the moment, and finds conflict and argumentativeness stressful things he would rather avoid. If one of his core values is affected, however, his reaction can be fierce and seemingly out of proportion to the trigger. John (my carpoolmate, not Winchester!), who is more experienced at the MBTI stuff than I am, proposed the diagnosis of ISFP, and once I put together all those pieces, I realized he was absolutely right.

 

Sam is less complex and pronounced in type than Dean, but the ENTP category seems to fit him best. His important dynamics are external, observable, and often articulated; he talks out ideas and problems, and prefers sharing and engaging with others to working alone. He prizes conceptual and complex thought, and pushes for self-improvement and clarity. He questions and doubts authority, and will challenge and confront hierarchy, procedures, traditions, and the will of others. He’s competitive and demanding, driving both himself and others to change and improve. He likes theory and ideas, and employing them in logical problem-solving. He’s driven to see and talk about the future, about how things connect, about patterns and possibilities. Isolation and the absence of knowledge and detail prompt stress and self-doubt.

 

One of the fun things is that, given the brothers’ differing types, their communications with each other on the most important things are often at cross-purposes, precisely because each is speaking from within his type and expecting the other to perceive and act the same way. Sam constantly talks through and picks at his problems and pushes Dean to do the same, when Dean’s nature is to process things internally and share them only when he must. At the same time, they complement each other wonderfully when it comes to problem-solving, because Sam has the taste for facts, research, logical structure, and big-picture pattern-linking, while Dean has a gift of observation and a well-honed subjective set of judgment instincts. Given that they both have distinct Perceiver traits, they both remain open to change even after having made an initial decision, which is what enables them to stay together and adapt to each other despite their differences.

 

I’ve nattered on long enough, but I’m guessing that you can figure out how enjoyable today’s commute home was, with this being the topic of discussion. Feel free to weigh in!

 

For more information on Myers-Briggs, just input the name into any search engine. You’ll find a lot of sites, including this one,  http://www.personalitypathways.com/MBTI_intro.html, which includes a lot of food for thought.

 

And hey – two nights from now, we’ll all have another opportunity to observe the boys and figure whether this analysis holds water!

 
 
Current Music: "Remember Me As a Time of Day" by Explosions in the Sky
 
 
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
angharadd: flooderangharadd on August 21st, 2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
(English is not my first language, so please excuse me for all the mistakes I make)

I've read some of your essays over at TVGuide.com, and I'm really glad that you've moved to lj - tracking them is easier that way, and as they are brilliant, missing some would be a pity.

Also, YAY for discussing the boys' MBTI types! I've been harassing my friends on this subject for quite a while.

Great job on Dean! I've been usually picturing him as Thinker, but your essay made me revise it, and Feeler!Dean does indeed make a lot more sense.

I've been trying to pin Sam as one type or another for a long, long time, but nothing quite fits. I'm pretty sure he's Judging, as that usually goes together with rationality (which is pretty much a given, ie Stanford). But then, during the course of the series, he had one personality transplant too many, and this is pretty much the point at which I despair and declare that a TV show character is a type in and of its own, and a *very* flexible one at that, changing as different scripwriters come and go.

What I find the most bothersome about Sam being ENTP & Dean being ISFP is that that puts tham into the duality relationship, the most harmonious one and stuff, which just does not sound right to me. (I mean, they are not willing to accept each other's choices, they both suck at listening to each other's reasonings, and even when they do listen, they don't understand what they hear half the time.)

Thank you for writing this essay!
bardicvoice: Subtextbardicvoice on August 21st, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks for coming by and chatting, angharadd! I'm happy to meet you!

I think that Sam may well be on the borderline between Judging and Perceiving, because he displays split traits depending on circumstances. I can understand that, because I'm borderline on two stats myself: while I'm a pronounced Intuiter and a pronounced Perceiver, I'm right smack in the middle between Thinker/Feeler and Introvert/Extravert, no more than five points to either side. People generally can't peg me on the T/F scale at all, and usually mistake me for an Extravert.

What makes it fun is that I have an extremely strong logic/rationality bent (I'm a lawyer by training), but my bottom line choice determinant is my internal value system: I'm a Feeler. On the I/E scale, I come across as an Extravert because I approach people without hesitation and I can be a very flashy performer in conversation, but the truth is that the only time I can draw energy from other people is if I'm in performance mode, for example, when I'm teaching or briefing, and thus putting on a show. Otherwise, once I finish interacting with people, I positively need to withdraw into myself in order to recharge my batteries. So, no matter what I look like, I'm an Introvert.

I think the case with Sam might be similar, with his J/P score running close to the middle of the scale. It's a thought, anyway!

I'm really glad you enjoyed the meta, and I hope to hear from you again!
angharaddangharadd on August 22nd, 2007 12:19 pm (UTC)
The thought of Sam being the mixed type had never crossed my mind, which is, clearly, dumb of me. Wow, that is an option. But I'm still a little uncertain about ENTP choice, as both being an ENTP myself & knowing a bunch of ENTPs in RL, I can't fit some of Sam's choices into the general pattern.

Sam the Supernatural Enigma, heh XD
Emily-rose FentonEmily-rose Fenton on January 28th, 2013 03:08 am (UTC)
Hi ENTP here
Actually Sam could be a ENTP I'm good friends with an ISFP and we get along really really well... Until we don't. We have very, very different views of the world and often clash with all the shit Sam and Dean go through the amount they clash isn't so out of the water. Still. I don't think Sam is an ENTP, while ENTP's are generally very smart we are total procrastinators very laid back.. Most of the time, and not prone to the very irrational way of thinking Sam portrays.

Reason one. Ruby. While true to nature Sam like an ENTP wouldn't hold it against her that she's a demon and would be open to change in opinion however I get the real feeling that Sam trusts her far, far to quickly to be an ENTP. Speaking in my own experience I tend to suspicious and constantly second guess myself and the people around so as to view everything as objectively as possible. Sam doesn't do this, he decides he trusts Ruby and rarely second guesses her after that.

Reason two. Father relations. I shouldn't use this one because I would have done exactly what Sam had done. Later this argument will make sense bear with me.

Reason three. The fact he keeps messing with death. An NT probably isn't going to mess with death... Okay they would in a super evil world domination scheme, but most NT's would see the big picture here that he's gonna die anyway and ya it hurts like hell and you miss them and would do anything to have stopped them dying in the first place but that doesn't mean you would play with something you could see the sense of. An NTP particularly is going to reluctant to make the decision seeing so many sides, logically and not having the J firm decision sort of skill.

What I'm trying to build up is I think Sam is an INFJ they are the most extroverted introverts and posses a lot of ENTP qualities, INFJs also have a real balance in logic and feeling so they are very very complex characters who could easily appear as many types since they have such a range of qualities.

Nice essay though I really, really like the Dean being an ISFP idea it fits, he acts exactly like my friend. Another alternative type ISTP for the more classic less thought out reasons. ^^
(Anonymous) on November 19th, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)
Dean and Sam
I believe that Dean Winchester is Enfp, because of his obvious characteristics including his obligation to never give up or holding all of his emotion, so it wont affect the people around him and also the end of season 5 when dean showed at the battle between Michael and Lucifer, that later, bobby and castiel followed him, becuase his natural ability to inspire others of his never ending desire to end the apocalypse. First the Extraverted side, he goes to bars and such seeking people, and also he may seem to be Intraverted but that is because of his job, his jobs illusion shows that he's independant, but it is evident that like all Enfps, they seek revelation or ways to become more independant. The intuition is obvious seriously, his power to just know if somethings good or bad, like sam drinking demon blood, and dont forget everytime sam is up to something, dean almost alway knows. The Feeling is extemely, his obligation to do what ever he wants or how he feels, like his ignorance for his health. Beer, Burger. Totally, healthy :), And that he just does what is least logical, including his stunts to go to see michael and lucifer battle, or crash it, and also making a deal with the crossroads demon for sams sake. The Perceiving side, shows how he is spontaneous and also serious dislike of structure or fate already chosen. Take this into consideration.. Lucifer is definitely a ENFJ
Nick MurrayNick Murray on September 4th, 2013 02:56 am (UTC)
Sam & Dean
Dean is definitely an ISFP. He may act extroverted but consider how much time he spends with just his brother either on the road, or at a motel or just hanging out at Bobby's house. Dean's extroverted behavior could be just spending energy gained from not being in big interactions. I do the same thing. I spend a lot of time either with 1 person or alone & when I do go to a big interaction, I appear like an extrovert.

Sam does seem like a "J" but when Jessica died the night before his plan to get a full scholarship to law school would occur, he changed plans & started hunting with Dean. Plus, his way of exploring possibilities & connections that he sees in the external world (And his way of connecting with others' feelings) all screams ENTP. INTP's are more focused on internal thought rather than observing connections & patterns, which Sam always excels at.

Edited at 2013-09-04 03:30 am (UTC)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )