Nature: Thinking vs. Feeling
The Nature scale determines how we make decisions and cope with emotions. While we all have feelings, there are significant differences in how we react to them and what role those feelings play in our lives. This then influences a number of other areas, mostly related to our interactions with other people.
People with the Thinking (T) trait seek logic and rational arguments, relying on their head rather than their heart. They do their best to safeguard their emotions, shielding them from the outside world and making sure that they are not clearly visible. “Whatever happens, you must always keep a cool head” – this is the motto of Thinking types. However, this does not mean that these types are cold-blooded and indifferent. People with the Thinking trait are often just as emotional as those with the Feeling trait – but they tend to subdue and override their feelings with their rational logic.
A good example here would be these groups’ attitudes toward charitable causes, which we analyzed in several of our studies. Thinking types are significantly less likely to give to charities or be touched by their emotional appeals – however, does this mean that they are unwilling to help? Not necessarily – it turns out that Thinking personalities simply do not believe that giving to charity is the best way to help. They may be just as willing to help other people, but they may look for a different way – such as investing in education for the disadvantaged, for instance.
In contrast, people with the Feeling (F) trait follow their hearts and emotions and care little about hiding them. From their perspective, we should not be afraid to listen to our innermost feelings and share them with the world – these individuals tend to be compassionate, sensitive and highly emotional. They would rather cooperate than compete, although it would be a big mistake to see Feeling types as naïve or easily swayed – quite the contrary, they are likely to fight tooth and nail for what they believe in. For many Feeling types, their principles and ideals are much more important than, say, professional success. Or, to put it another way, this is a different kind of logic, one rooted in assessments of the feelings of others – a decision that makes everyone happier is just as valid as a decision that gets the job done fastest.