How do you view the world? What influences your decisions? Are you a logical person or more intuitive? Do you prefer a set routine or are you spontaneous and flexible? People tend to fall into one of two personality types: Judging vs Perceiving, but why is this important?

Knowing the difference between the two can help us achieve a deeper level of understanding of ourselves. It can influence our interactions with the world and affect our relationships.

So, what is Judging vs Perceiving and where does it come from?

Personality Types, According to Carl Jung

Anyone interested in psychology and identity will no doubt have come across the work of renowned psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Jung believed it was possible to categorise people into personality types.

Jung identified three categories:

Extraversion vs Introversion: How we direct our focus.

Extraverts gravitate towards to outside world and as such, focus on people and objects. Introverts orientate themselves to the inner world and focus on ideas and concepts.

Sensing vs Intuition: How we perceive information.

Those who sense use their five senses (what they can see, hear, feel, taste, or smell) in order to understand the world. Those who intuit focus on the meanings, feelings, and relationships.

Thinking vs Feeling: How we process information.

Whether we rely on thinking to logically decide an outcome or whether we use our feelings based on our beliefs and values.

Isabel Briggs-Myers took Jung’s research one step further, adding a fourth category – Judging vs Perceiving.

Judging vs Perceiving: How we use the information in our daily lives.

Judging relates to a person who prefers order and routine. Perceiving prefers flexibility and spontaneity.

Judging vs Perceiving: What Is the Difference?

Before I examine the differences between Judging and Perceiving, I’d just like to clarify a few points.

It is important at this point not to be confused with the terms Judging or Perceiving. Judging does not mean judgmental, and Perceiving does not indicate perception. These are just terms allocated to the way we interact with the world.

Moreover, it is equally important not to stereotype people because they fall into either category. For example, Judging types are not boring, opinionated people who like to do the same thing over and over again. Likewise, Perceivers are not lazy, irresponsible types who cannot be trusted to stick to a project.

The final point is that this isn’t an either-or situation. You don’t have to be all Judging or all Perceiving. You can be a mixture, for instance: 30% Judging and 70% Perceiving. In fact, I took a test to find out my percentage (although I kind of already knew I would be more Judging than Perceiving), and the results were 66% Judging and 34% Perceiving.

Now let’s get onto the personality types of Judging vs Perceiving.

Judging Personality Types

Those who are classed as ‘judgers’ prefer a set routine and schedule. They like to plan in advance and will often make lists so they can organise their life in a structured way. Some may call judgers ‘set in their ways’, but this is just how they feel comfortable dealing with life.

Judgers will have calendars and diaries so they don’t miss important dates or appointments. They like to be able to control their environment. These are the types that won’t forget a birthday or anniversary. They are always prepared for every eventuality.

These aren’t the guys that will call you at 3 in the morning asking for a lift to the gas station because they forgot to top up that day. Judgers will either have a full tank or a spare full petrol can in the back for emergencies.

Judgers avoid stress and anxiety in their lives by being so organised. They operate best in controlled settings with clear goals and expected outcomes. As such, they are happiest at work when they know exactly what is expected of them.

Judgers prefer tasks that can be completed so that they can have a sense of closure and then move onto the next task. They don’t like open-ended plans that change at the last minute. In fact, they prefer deadlines and are strict at adhering to them.

Typical judgers will like to get the work done first and then relax. They are responsible and make great leaders. They are proactive and can be left on their own to finish a task without supervision.

They don’t like surprises or sudden changes to their agenda. They are not good at dealing with unexpected problems that occur out of the blue. They prefer to have several Plan Bs instead, rather than have to think on the fly.

Perceiving Personality Types

On the other hand, we have the Perceivers. These types are impulsive, spontaneous, and flexible. They don’t like working to a schedule, preferring instead to take life as it comes. There are some that call Perceivers blasé and nonchalant, but they simply prefer to be flexible rather than structured.

Perceivers are easy-going and relaxed. These are the types that will go to a supermarket without a list for the weekly shop and return with nothing to eat. But then again, they’ll just suggest a takeout for a weekday treat instead.

This is the Perceivers’ approach to life – being laidback and open to changing situations. In fact, the worst thing you can do is give a Perceiver a list of things to do with a deadline. They like to have a lot of choices and won’t be pressurised into making a decision. They’ll keep their options open until the very last minute.

Perceivers can have a tendency to procrastinate. This is because they don’t like having a clear to-do plan. They also put off making decisions in case there is a better option out there somewhere.

Perceivers are the opposite of Judgers in that they won’t feel anxious if they have fun when there is still work to complete. They know they can always finish it tomorrow, or the next day.

Because Perceivers struggle to make a decision and they procrastinate, they also have trouble finishing a project. Actually, they will usually have more than one project on the go at once. Perceivers are very good at brainstorming and finding new concepts and ideas, but ask them to commit to one idea, and that is a problem.

Judging vs Perceiving: Which One Are You?


Judgers maintain control of their environment by having a set structure.

Judging characteristics

  • Organised
  • Decisive
  • Responsible
  • Structured
  • Task-orientated
  • Controlled
  • Ordered
  • Prefers closure
  • Likes lists
  • Makes plans
  • Dislikes changes


Perceivers maintain control of their environment by having more options.

Perceivers characteristics:

  • Flexible
  • Adaptable
  • Spontaneous
  • Relaxed
  • Indecisive
  • Procrastinates
  • Likes to have options
  • Prefers a variety
  • Dislikes routine
  • Likes starting projects
  • Dislikes deadlines

As I said previously, it is likely that you’ll share characteristics from both categories. But you’ll probably favour one over the other.

Final Thoughts

Remember, no one is saying that either category of Judging vs Perceiving is better than the other. It is simply a way of describing how we feel comfortable interacting with the world around us.

However, by recognising which category we prefer, perhaps we can understand where we need more flexibility or more structure in our lives.



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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Valerie Dunn

    I have always found these concepts helpful in team building.
    I am an ediitor and so, a judger. I know exactly which writers are
    Perceivers and manage not to kill therm.
    By the way have tried 3 times to get permission to reprint n article and got no replay.
    That person n must be a perceiver. Sigh.
    Bit, your articles are still great!

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