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The 16PF® – The 16 Personality Factors: Factor I – Sensitivity


The next 16PF scale for discussion is the Factor "I" scale, which is Sensitivity (Sensitive vs. Utilitarian).  What exactly does this scale measure?

High scorers are generally described as sensitive.  They often make decisions on aesthetic and personal values.  They usually rely on empathy and sensitivity when considering what to do.  Sensitive types tend to have more refined tastes and interests, are likely to be sentimental. 

In some cases, high scorers might focus so much on subjective aspects of a situation that they overlook the practical aspects.  People with high scores report they appreciate the beauty of a poem, get excited about good plays or books, and would rather watch an artist at work than a building being constructed.

Low scorers are described as utilitarian.  They are interested in how things work, and generally lack sentimentality.  Objectivity is important, so they might ignore people's feelings when making decisions.  They report they would rather read action stories instead of imaginative novels.  As children, they often spend more time building and fixing things than reading.  Mechanical things interest them.

This scale is related to gender stereotypes.  There are differences in responses by gender.  Generally, refinement and emotional sensitivity are considered feminine qualities, while objectivity and toughness are related to the masculine stereotype.

High scorers on Factor I tend to score towards Feeling and Intuition on the Myers-Briggs.  On the 16PF, Factor I is the strongest contributor to the Receptive pole of the Tough Mindedness global factor.

As with all the 16PF scales, major insights come from the interactions among the 16 scales, and not from each scale in isolation.


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