Sign up for our Monthly Highlights newsletter
Don’t miss the roundup of our newest and most distinctive insights
December 2, 2022 | Klein Consultants
When you hear someone describe themselves as an INTJ or an ESTP, do you find yourself wondering what those mysterious letters could possibly mean? When people talk about their “type,” they are usually referring to their Myers-Briggs personality type (MBTI).
Individuals’ personality types, strengths, and preferences can be determined through the use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a self-report inventory. Katherine Briggs, Isabel Myers’ mother, and Isabel Myers collaborated on the development of the questionnaire based on their research into Carl Jung’s theory of personality types. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) inventory is currently one of the most popular personality assessments around the globe.
This article explains the history of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), its 16 distinct personality types, and how it can be used to learn more about yourself.
Myers and Briggs both found Jung’s theory of psychological types fascinating and saw how it could be applied in the real world. They started working on an indicator that could be used to better understand individual differences during World War II. 1
Myers and Briggs believed that if they could help people better understand themselves, they could then guide them toward careers that were a good fit for their unique personalities, resulting in longer, more fulfilling lives.
In the 1940s, when Myers first developed the inventory, she and another woman began field-testing it on their personal networks. In the following two decades, they perfected the instrument.
Taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is becoming increasingly popular because of the wealth of information it can provide about an individual’s personality. Your familiarity with these traits may even outweigh the need to fill out the formal questionnaire.
According to the Myers-Briggs Foundation, it’s crucial to keep in mind that there’s no “wrong” personality type and that each one has their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses.
Recognizing one’s own strengths and learning to appreciate the strengths of those around you can be very useful when working in groups, whether in the classroom or the workplace. Working toward a common goal with a group can often reveal who among you has the most specialized knowledge and expertise. The group will be better able to divide up responsibilities and cooperate toward their goals if they acknowledge and account for these differences.
As one method of categorizing people, the MBTI is not the only game in town. Systems that classify people according to their habits, tendencies, and other characteristics are called “personality typing.”
Examples of other common types of personality tests are:
There are, however, notable distinctions between the Myers-Briggs personality types. In the first place, the MBTI is not a true test. There’s no such thing as a correct response, and no single category can claim superiority over the others. The indicator is not meant to provide a mental health diagnosis or evaluation.
In addition, your results are not compared to any norms like they are in many other psychological tests. The purpose of the instrument is not to compare your results to those of other people, but rather to provide you with more insight into your own unique personality.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is valid and reliable according to the Myers-Briggs Foundation. The test’s official website claims an accuracy and test-retest reliability rating of 90%. Despite the scale’s high levels of internal consistency and test-retest reliability, some degree of variation was found in at least one study.
Personality types are assigned to respondents based on their responses to the inventory’s questions. The MBTI’s purpose is to help individuals learn more about themselves and their relationships with others as well as their preferences in work and leisure activities.
There is no such thing as a “best” personality type. It’s not meant to detect abnormalities or problems. Instead, it is meant to serve as a tool for introspection. A total of four scales make up the questionnaire itself.
Jung’s theory of personality types is where we first see the extraversion/introversion dichotomy put to use to describe people’s reactions and behaviors in the world. Though most people will be familiar with these terms, the MBTI employs them slightly differently than the common vernacular
Those who are “extraverted” (also spelled “extroverted”) are those who get their energy from interacting with others and who prefer to take the initiative. People who are “introverted” are more likely to be focused on their own thoughts, to seek out and thrive on meaningful relationships, and to find rejuvenation in quiet time alone.
Every person has both extroverted and introverted tendencies, but most people lean more toward one or the other.
How people take in data from their surroundings is measured on this scale. Everyone, regardless of their level of extroversion or introversion, spends time sensing and intuiting. The MBTI suggests that people have a natural preference for one of the 16 different functions.
People who are more sensing-oriented tend to focus heavily on empirical evidence, especially that which they can gather through their own senses. They are detail-oriented and learn best through direct participation or experimentation. Intuitive people are more likely to focus on fleeting impressions and recurring patterns. They take pleasure in speculating on future events and developing theoretical frameworks.
People’s reliance on their own senses and gut instincts to guide their decision-making is the primary concern of this scale. Those who prefer to think rather than feel place a higher value on hard evidence.
When making a choice, they are usually consistent, rational, and detached. Those who are more intuitive are more likely to factor in the feelings of others into their decision-making process.
The last scale measures how typically people interact with the outside world. People who are more prone to passing judgment favor order and decisive action. Those who have a perceiving bias tend to be more receptive, adaptable, and open. This pair of tendencies has a dynamic relationship with the other indices.
Keep in mind that everyone spends some time participating in extraverted pursuits. You can use the judging-perceiving scale to describe your extroverted tendencies when it comes to gathering new information (sensing and intuiting) and making choices (thinking and feeling).