* The inner ring: abstract versus concrete
According to Keirsey, everyone can engage in both observation and introspection. When people touch objects, watch a basketball game, taste food, or otherwise perceive the world through their five senses, they are observant. When people reflect and focus on their internal world, they are introspective. However, individuals cannot engage in observation and introspection at the same time. The extent to which people are more observant or introspective directly affects their behavior.
People who are generally observant are more 'down to earth.' They are more concrete in their worldview and tend to focus on practical matters such as food, shelter, and their immediate relationships. Carl Jung used the word sensing when describing concrete people. People who are generally introspective are more 'head in the clouds.' They are more abstract in their world view and tend to focus on global or theoretical issues such as equality or engineering. Carl Jung used the word intuition when describing abstract people.
* The second ring: cooperative versus pragmatic (utilitarian)
Keirsey uses the words cooperative (complying) and pragmatic (adaptive) when comparing the differing temperaments. People who are cooperative pay more attention to other people's opinions and are more concerned with doing the right thing. People who are pragmatic (utilitarian) pay more attention to their own thoughts or feelings and are more concerned with doing what works. There is no comparable idea of Myers or Jung that corresponds to this dichotomy, so this is a significant difference between Keirsey's work and that of Myers and Jung.
This ring, in combination with the inner ring, determines a person's temperament. The pragmatic temperaments are Rationals (pragmatic and abstract) and Artisans (pragmatic and concrete). The cooperative temperaments are Idealists (cooperative and abstract), and Guardians (cooperative and concrete). Neither Myers nor Jung included the concept of temperament in their work.
* The third ring: directive (proactive) versus informative (reactive)
The third ring distinguishes between people who generally communicate by informing others versus people who generally communicate by directing others. Each of the four temperaments is subdivided by this distinction for a result of eight roles.
The directive roles are Operators (directive Artisans), Administrators (directive Guardians), Mentors (directive Idealists), and Coordinators (directive Rationals). The informative roles are Entertainers (informative Artisans), Conservators (informative Guardians), Advocates (informative Idealists), and Engineers (informative Rationals).
* The fourth ring: expressive versus attentive
The fourth ring describes how people interact with their environment. Individuals who tend to act before observing are described as expressive, whereas people who tend to observe before acting are described as attentive.
Each of the eight categories can be subdivided by this distinction, for a total of 16 role variants. These 16 role variants correlate to the 16 Myers-Briggs types.
The expressive role variants are Promoters (expressive Operators), Performers (expressive Entertainers), Supervisors (expressive Administrators), Providers (expressive Conservators), Teachers (expressive Mentors), Champions (expressive Advocates), Fieldmarshals (expressive Coordinators), and Inventors (expressive Engineers).
The attentive role variants are Crafters (attentive Operators), Composers (attentive Entertainers), Inspectors (attentive Administrators), Protectors (attentive Conservators), Counselors (attentive Mentors), Healers (attentive Advocates), Masterminds (attentive Coordinators), and Architects (attentive Engineers).