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Myers Briggs Psychological Test

Myers Briggs Psychological Test

Myers Briggs Psychological Test

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test designed to assist a person in identifying some significant personal preferences.

What is MBTI ?

The MBTI is a personality test developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers during World War II.  The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assesses personality traits or types.  It follows criteria follow from Carl Jung's theories.

The Indicator is frequently used in the areas of teaching and academia, group dynamics, employee training, leadership training, marriage counseling, and personal development. However, scientific skeptics and academic psychologists have criticized the indicator in research literature claiming that it lacks convincing validity data.

Wikipedia: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The following has been adapted from the Wikipedia: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator website.

Historical development

C. G. Jung first spoke about typology at the Munich Psychological Congress in 1913. Katharine Cook Briggs began her research into personality in 1917, developing a four-type framework: Social, Thoughtful, Executive, and Spontaneous. In 1923 Jung's Psychological Types was published in English translation (having first been published in German in 1921). Katharine Briggs's first publications are two articles describing Jung's theory, in the journal New Republic in 1926 (Meet Yourself Using the Personality Paint Box) and 1928 (Up From Barbarism). Katharine Briggs' daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, wrote a prize-winning mystery novel Murder Yet to Come in 1929, using typological ideas. She added to her mother's typological research, which she would progressively take over entirely. In 1942, the "Briggs-Myers Type Indicator®" was created, and the Briggs Myers Type Indicator Handbook was published in 1944. The indicator changed its name to the modern form (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®) in 1956.

About the indicator

The indicator differs from standardized tests and others measuring traits, such as intelligence, instead classifying people's preferred types. According to Myers-Briggs Theory, while types and traits are both inborn, traits can be improved like skills, whereas types, if supported by a healthy environment, naturally differentiate over time.  The belief that the features being sorted for are in fact types, and not traits which can be improved with practice, is hotly debated.

However, proponents of the indicator will explain that to learn about one's inborn types/traits is to create the opportunity to improve how one applies them in different contexts. In that sense, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can yield much personal change and growth.

The types the MBTI sorts for, known as dichotomies, are extraversion / introversion, sensing / intuition, thinking / feeling and judging / perceiving. Participants are given one of 16 four-letter abbreviations, such as ESTJ or INFP, indicating what their preferences are. The term best-fit types refers to the ethical code that facilitators are required to follow. It states that the person taking the indicator is always the best judge of what their preferences are and that the indicator alone should never be used to make this decision.

Items and scoring

The MBTI includes about 100 forced-choice questions, which means there are only two options. Participants may skip questions if they feel they are unable to choose.  After taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), participants are given a readout of their score, which will include a bar graph and number of how many points they received on a certain scale. Confusion over the meaning of these numbers often causes them to be related to trait theory, and people mistakenly believe, for example, that their intuition is "more developed" than their sensing, or vice versa.

The preferences: Each dichotomy is a division of two mutually exclusive groups, or in this case, type preferences.

Extraversion Introversion -- The terms Introvert and Extravert (normally spelled 'extrovert' outside of the Myers-Briggs context) are referred to as attitudes and show how a person orients and receives their energy. In the extraverted attitude the energy flow is outward, and the preferred focus is on other people and things, whereas in the introverted attitude the energy flow is inward, and the preferred focus is on one's own thoughts, ideas and impressions.

Sensing Intuition -- Sensing and Intuition are the perceiving functions. These are the non-rational functions, as a person does not necessarily have control over receiving data, but only how to process it once they have it. Sensing people tend to focus on the present and on concrete information gained from their senses. Sensing prefers to receive data primarily from the five senses. Intuition tends to focus on the future, with a view toward patterns and possibilities. These people prefer to receive data from the subconscious, or seeing relationships via insights.

Thinking Feeling -- Thinking and Feeling are the decision making calculus functions. They both strive to make rational choices, using the data received from their perceiving functions, above. Thinking tend to base their decisions on logic "true or false, if-then" connections and on objective analysis of cause and effect. Feeling tend to base their decisions primarily on values and on subjective evaluation of person centered concerns. Feelings use "more or less, better-worse" evaluations. It could be said that thinkers decide with their heads, while feelers decide with their hearts. When Thinking or Feeling is extraverted, decisions tend to rely on external sources and the generally accepted rules and procedures. When introverted, Thinking and Feeling decisions tend to be subjective, relying on internally generated ideas for logical organization and evaluation.

Judging Perceiving -- Judging and Perceiving reveals the specific attitudes of the functions. J or P records which of the strongest of the judging functions or perceiving functions is outwardly displayed. People who prefer judging tend to like a planned and organized approach to life and prefer to have things settled. People who prefer Perceiving tend to like a flexible and spontaneous approach to life and prefer to keep their options open. (The terminology may be misleading for some—the term "Judging" does not imply "judgmental", and "Perceiving" does not imply "perceptive".)
In J-types, the preferred judging function (T or F) is extraverted (displayed in the outer world). J-types tend to prefer a step-by-step (left brain: parts to whole) approach to life, relying on external rules and procedures, and preferring quick closure. The preferred perceiving function (S or N) is introverted.

On the other hand, in P-types the preferred perceiving function is extraverted, and the preferred judging function is introverted. This can result in a "bouncing around" approach to life (right brain: whole to parts), relying on subjective judgments, and a desire to leave all options open.
For introverts, it is the auxiliary function, not the dominant function, that this letter refers to. MBTI INTP, for example, has a dominant Judging function, introverted Thinking (Ti), but it is actually a Perceiving type in Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) because the strongest Perceiving function is extraverted Intuition (Ne). (Socionics, a personality theory similar to MBTI, follows opposite notation for introverts; the J/P designation in this theory refers to the dominant function for all types.)

The Sixteen Types


The interaction of two, three, or four preferences are known as type dynamics, and when dealing with a four-preference combination it is called a type. In total, there are 16 unique types, and many more possible two and three letter combinations, which each have their own descriptive name. Additionally, it is sometimes possible to observe the interactions that each preference combination will have with another combination, although this is more unorthodox. Complete descriptions will contain the unique interactions of all four preferences in that person, and these are typically written by licensed psychologists based on data gathered from thousands of interviews and studies.


Before purchasing the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), practitioners are required to consent to an ethical code, in addition to meeting the educational requirements of class B and C psychological tests and assessments. After consenting to this code the usage of the indicator is largely unmonitored, which sometimes leads to abuse of the instrument. The ethical code contains, but is not limited to, the following points:

Results should be given directly to respondents and are strictly confidential, including from employers.
Respondents should be informed of the nature of the test before taking it, and must choose to take it voluntarily.
Allow respondents to clarify their results. They are always the last word as to which type is truly theirs. They should then be provided a written description of their preferences.
The test must be used in accordance with The Manual.


The scientific basis of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has been questioned. Neither Katharine Cook Briggs nor Isabel Briggs Myers had any scientific qualifications and Carl Jung's theory of psychological type, which the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) attempts to operationalize, is not based on any scientific studies. Jung's methods primarily included introspection and anecdote, methods largely rejected by the modern field of cognitive psychology. The statistical validity of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as a psychometric instrument has also been subject to criticism, in particular, the dichotomous scoring of dimensions.

It has been estimated that between a third and a half of the published material on the MBTI has been produced for conferences of the Center for the Application of Psychological Type (which provides training in the MBTI) or as papers in the Journal of Psychological Type (which is edited by Myers-Briggs advocates) and it has been argued that this reflects a lack of critical scrutiny.

The reliability of the test has been interpreted as being low, with test takers who retake the test often being assigned a different type. Skeptics claim that the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) lacks falsifiability, which can cause confirmation bias in the interpretation of results with the terminology of the MBTI so vague that it allows any kind of behavior to fit any personality type, resulting in the Forer effect, where an individual gives a high rating to a positive description that supposedly applies specifically to them so that when people are asked to compare their preferred type to that assigned by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) only half of people pick the same profile.

The relevance of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) for career-planning has been questioned, with reservations about the relevance of type to job performance or satisfaction, and concerns about the potential misuse of the instrument in labeling individuals.

Different Personality Types

The following adaptation from C. George Boeree's Webspace website, helps explain the 16 different personality "types".

On the basis of your answers on the test questions, you are placed in one of sixteen types, with the understanding that some people might find themselves somewhere between two or three types. The authors believe that what type you are says quite a bit about you -- your likes and dislikes, your likely career choices, your compatibility with others, and so on.  It has the unusual quality among personality tests of not being too judgmental: None of the types is terribly negative, nor are any overly positive.  The "Myers-Briggs" simply opens up your personality for exploration.

The test has four scales. Extroversion - Introversion (E-I) is the most important. Test researchers have found that about 75 % of the population is extroverted.

The next one is Sensing - Intuiting (S-N), with about 75 % of the population sensing.

The next is Thinking - Feeling (T-F). Although these are distributed evenly through the population, researchers have found that two-thirds of men are thinkers, while two-thirds of women are feelers. This might seem like stereotyping, but keep in mind that feeling and thinking are both valued equally by Jungians, and that one-third of men are feelers and one-third of women are thinkers. Note, though, that society does value thinking and feeling differently, and that feeling men and thinking women often have difficulties dealing with people's stereotyped expectations.

The last is Judging - Perceiving (J-P), not one of Jung's original dimensions. Myers and Briggs included this one in order to help determine which of a person's functions is superior. Generally, judging people are more careful, perhaps inhibited, in their lives. Perceiving people tend to be more spontaneous, sometimes careless. If you are an extrovert and a "J," you are a thinker or feeler, whichever is stronger. Extroverted and "P" means you are a senser or intuiter. On the other hand, an introvert with a high "J" score will be a senser or intuiter, while an introvert with a high "P" score will be a thinker or feeler. J and P are equally distributed in the population.

Each type is identified by four letters, such as ENFJ. These have proven so popular, you can even find them on people's license plates!

ENFJ (Extroverted feeling with intuiting): These people are easy speakers. They tend to idealize their friends. They make good parents, but have a tendency to allow themselves to be used. They make good therapists, teachers, executives, and salespeople.

ENFP (Extroverted intuiting with feeling): These people love novelty and surprises. They are big on emotions and expression. They are susceptible to muscle tension and tend to be hyperalert. they tend to feel self-conscious. They are good at sales, advertising, politics, and acting.

ENTJ (Extroverted thinking with intuiting): In charge at home, they expect a lot from spouses and kids. They like organization and structure and tend to make good executives and administrators.

ENTP (Extroverted intuiting with thinking): These are lively people, not humdrum or orderly. As mates, they are a little dangerous, especially economically. They are good at analysis and make good entrepreneurs. They do tend to play at oneupmanship.

ESFJ (Extroverted feeling with sensing): These people like harmony. They tend to have strong shoulds and should-nots. They may be dependent, first on parents and later on spouses. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and excel in service occupations involving personal contact.

ESFP (Extroverted sensing with feeling): Very generous and impulsive, they have a low tolerance for anxiety. They make good performers, they like public relations, and they love the phone. They should avoid scholarly pursuits, especially science.

ESTJ (Extroverted thinking with sensing): These are responsible mates and parents and are loyal to the workplace. They are realistic, down-to-earth, orderly, and love tradition. They often find themselves joining civic clubs!

ESTP (Extroverted sensing with thinking): These are action-oriented people, often sophisticated, sometimes ruthless -- our "James Bonds." As mates, they are exciting and charming, but they have trouble with commitment. They make good promoters, entrepreneurs, and con artists.

INFJ (Introverted intuiting with feeling): These are serious students and workers who really want to contribute. They are private and easily hurt. They make good spouses, but tend to be physically reserved. People often think they are psychic. They make good therapists, general practitioners, ministers, and so on.

INFP (Introverted feeling with intuiting): These people are idealistic, self-sacrificing, and somewhat cool or reserved. They are very family and home oriented, but don't relax well. You find them in psychology, architecture, and religion, but never in business. Both Jung and I admire this type. Of course, both Jung and I are this type!

INTJ (Introverted intuiting with thinking): These are the most independent of all types. They love logic and ideas and are drawn to scientific research. They can be rather single-minded, though.

INTP (Introverted thinking with intuiting): Faithful, preoccupied, and forgetful, these are the bookworms. They tend to be very precise in their use of language. They are good at logic and math and make good philosophers and theoretical scientists, but not writers or salespeople.

ISFJ (Introverted sensing with feeling): These people are service and work oriented. They may suffer from fatigue and tend to be attracted to troublemakers. They are good nurses, teachers, secretaries, general practitioners, librarians, middle managers, and housekeepers.

ISFP (Introverted feeling with sensing): They are shy and retiring, are not talkative, but like sensuous action. They like painting, drawing, sculpting, composing, dancing -- the arts generally -- and they like nature. They are not big on commitment.

ISTJ (Introverted sensing with thinking): These are dependable pillars of strength. They often try to reform their mates and other people. They make good bank examiners, auditors, accountants, tax examiners, supervisors in libraries and hospitals, business, home ec., and phys. ed. teachers, and boy or girl scouts!

ISTP (Introverted thinking with sensing): These people are action-oriented and fearless, and crave excitement. They are impulsive and dangerous to stop. They often like tools, instruments, and weapons, and often become technical experts. They are not interested in communications and are often incorrectly diagnosed as dyslexic or hyperactive. They tend to do badly in school.

Additional Information

For more information about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), please click on the linked websites listed below.  Please remember that it may be considered a breach of ethics for a professional to administer a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or other psychological test without the person taking the test fully understanding the nature and purpose of the test and without providing person-to-person follow-up by a qualified practitioner.

 Webspace: Carl Jung
The Myers and Briggs Foundation

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