Learning Styles Based on Jung's Theory of Personality

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Have you ever felt like you retain information better when it's presented in a particular way? Some people learn best by hearing new information, for example, while others get more benefit from seeing it in the form of words or images.

While these are examples of VARK learning styles, other theories exist as to how we learn best. Here we explore the learning styles that are based on Jung's theory of personality and the characteristics of each.

Jung's Theory of Personality

Students learning
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Analytical psychologist Carl Jung is well known for his theory of personality. This theory suggests that personality is inherited and part of the collective unconscious—which includes both conscious and unconscious aspects.

According to Jung, personality appears in the form of archetypes, or universal patterns of thought and behavior that affect what we focus on and how we interact with the world. Jungian archetypes categorize people in terms of various personality patterns.

The psychological types identified by Jung are based on factors such as general attitude and psychological functions. The four basic psychological functions or dimensions that are the focus of Jung's theory are:

  1. Extraversion vs. introversion
  2. Sensation vs. intuition
  3. Thinking vs. feeling
  4. Judging vs. perceiving

Jung's theory later led to the development of the famous personality test, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Jungian Learning Styles

The dimensions outlined by Jung can be used to describe various learning styles. While each dimension represents a unique aspect of a learning style, individual learning styles may include a combination of these dimensions.

Your learning style might include elements of extraverted, sensing, feeling, and perceiving learning styles, for example. Here are the different learning styles based on Jungian theory.

Extraverted Learning Style

Extroverted students
Tom Merton / Caiaimage / Getty Images

This Jungian learning style is based on how learners interact with the outside world. Extraverted learners enjoy generating energy and ideas from other people; they prefer socializing and working in groups. Activities that benefit extraverted learners include teaching others how to solve a problem, collaborative work, and problem-based learning.

Characteristics of extravert learners include:

  • Learns best through direct, hands-on experience (learning by doing)
  • Enjoys working in groups, sharing both ideas and tasks
  • Gathers feedback from outside sources
  • Likes using aids, such as objects or PowerPoints, when presenting to others
  • Self-motivated, jumping in without guidance
  • Often thinks out loud

Introverted Learning Style

Smiling student with phone
Dan Schaffer / Caiaimage / Getty Images

While introverted learners can still be sociable, they prefer to solve problems on their own. They enjoy generating energy and ideas from internal sources such as brainstorming, personal reflection, and theoretical exploration. Introverted learners tend to like solitary studying, individual work, and abstract ideas.

Characteristics of introverted learners include:

  • Would rather work alone
  • Enjoys quiet, solitary work
  • Often generates ideas from internal sources
  • Prefer to listen, watch, and reflect
  • Want to observe others before attempting a new skill

Sensing Learning Style

Learning by experience
Matt Lincoln / Cultura Exclusive / Getty Images

Jung described these individuals as being interested in the external world as they are focused on the physical environment. Sensing learners tend to be realistic and practical, preferring to rely on facts and well-established problem-solving methods. While people with a sensing learning style enjoy order and routine, they're also quick to adapt to changing environments and situations.

Characteristics of sensing learners include:

  • Work in a methodical way
  • Pay attention to details
  • Okay with repetitive work
  • Prefer concrete vs. abstract information
  • Generally take more time to solve problems

Intuitive Learning Style

Intuitive student
Tim Robberts / Taxi / Getty Images

Intuitive learners focus more on the world of possibility. Unlike sensing learners who are interested in the here and now, intuitive learners enjoy considering ideas, possibilities, and potential outcomes. These learners like abstract thinking, daydreaming, and imagining the future.

Characteristics of intuitive learners include:

  • Prefer to work in short sessions rather than finishing a task all at once
  • Enjoy new challenges, experiences, and situations
  • More likely to look at the big picture rather than the details
  • Like theories and abstract ideas

Thinking Learning Style

Perceptive student
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Individuals with a thinking learning style place more emphasis on the structure and function of information and objects. Thinking learners use rationality and logic when dealing with problems and decisions. These learners often base decisions on personal ideas of right, wrong, fairness, and justice.

Characteristics of thinking learners include:

  • Interest in logic and patterns
  • Dislike basing decisions on emotions
  • Make decisions based on reason and logic

Feeling Learning Style

Smiling and studying
Tim Robberts / Taxi / Getty Images

People with a feeling learning style manage information based on the initial emotions it generates. They are interested in personal relationships, feelings, and social harmony. Feeling learners also dislike conflict and make decisions based on what they feel in their hearts.

Characteristics of feeling learners include:

  • Interest in people and their feelings
  • In tune with their own emotions and those of other people
  • Base decisions on immediate feelings
  • Generate excitement and enthusiasm in group settings

Judging Learning Style

Serious student in class
Peopleimages.com / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Judging learners are very decisive, sometimes making decisions too quickly, before learning everything they need to know. These learners prefer order and structure, which is why they often plan out activities and schedules very carefully. They're also highly organized, detail-oriented, and have strong opinions.

Characteristics of judging learners include:

  • Do not like ambiguity or mystery
  • Tend to be firm in their decisions
  • Very organized and structured
  • Have strong opinions
  • Generally follow the rules

Perceiving Learning Style

Student looking at molecular model
Hill Street Studios / Blend Images / Getty Images

Perceiving learners make decisions impulsively in response to new information and changing situations, focusing more on indulging their curiosity than decision-making. These learners prefer to keep their options open. They start many projects at once (often without finishing any of them), avoid strict schedules, and jump into projects without planning.

Characteristics of perceiving learners include:

  • Often make impulsive decisions
  • Change decisions based on new information
  • Dislike structure and organization
  • Are flexible and adaptable
  • Sometimes have trouble making decisions

Prevalence of Jungian Learning Styles

The Paragon Learning Style Inventory is a 52-item self-scored test designed to measure learning style based on Jungian personality types. Data collected from this learning style inventory provides the following insights into the prevalence of each of these learning styles within the general population.

Jungian Learning Style  Percentage of Population 
Extraverted 60%
Introverted 40%
Sensory 65%
Intuitive 35%
Feeling 65% of females; 45% of males
Thinking 35% of females; 55% of males
Judging 45%
Perceiving 55%

Can You Change Your Learning Style?

No matter how you feel you learn best, branching out and trying other learning strategies may help maximize your learning potential. One reason is that learning styles can change over time.

One study found that learning styles change for a variety of reasons. Factors that can contribute to changes in learning style include:

  • Context
  • Environment
  • Teaching method
  • Subject matter

How to Change Your Learning Style

If you want to work on changing your preferred learning style, try changing where you study and experimenting with different learning methods. Intentionally incorporate other tactics and learning formats—such as videos, visuals, lectures, readings, and group discussions—into your studies.

Criticisms of Learning Styles

While the concept of learning styles has become very popular, it is also the subject of considerable criticism. Labeling students with one specific style, critics suggest, can hinder the learning process.

Research has also demonstrated that matching instructional strategies to student learning styles does not improve educational outcomes. So, while you might feel like a certain style matches your learning preferences, drawing on various learning and study strategies is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your educational experience.

Different approaches can also help improve your capacity for learning and challenge your brain. If you know that you prefer to learn by quietly reading on your own, for example, you might augment your solo studies by participating in a study group where you can further cement that knowledge (and pick up other new information) through group discussions or guest lectures. 

Varying your approach to learning can not only help introduce you to new study strategies but can also make learning more fun.

A Word From Verywell

The learning styles based on Jung's theory of personality represent just one way of thinking about how people learn. While the concept of learning styles remains very popular, research has found little evidence to support the idea that offering instruction based on learning preferences leads to improved learning outcomes.

At the same time, learning styles can still be a helpful way to think about some of the ways that you enjoy learning. As you look at each style, think about which strategies appeal the most to you. In all likelihood, you may find that your own unique learning preferences draw upon several learning styles.

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Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Kendra Cherry, MSEd
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."