One of the most well-known personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It’s a psychometric assessment designed to measure preferences in how a person perceives the world and makes decisions. The test is based on Carl Jung’s book Psychological Types published in 1921
A mother-daughter team did the original work for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator during World War II. They thought that if women knew their personality type, they would find jobs best suited for their temperament.
Over the years, the Myers-Briggs Indicator Type test has become one of the most trusted and widely used personality assessment tools available.
The test is based on two different cognitive functions Jung identified: judging functions that relate to thinking and feeling and perceiving functions that relate to sensing and intuition. These functions are then expressed in an introverted or extroverted form.
Jung believed that people were born with, or developed, certain preferred ways of acting and thinking, none of which changed throughout their lifetime. By combining the two judging functions and the two perceiving functions with introversion or extroversion the Myers-Briggs indicator type came up with 16 possible psychological types.
Although some academic psychologists have criticized the Myers-Briggs personality test, there have been several studies where between 75% and 90% of adults get the same results when the same person is given the test more than once.
The 16 different types are usually abbreviated by four different letters. For instance, Extroversion is represented by an E, Sensing by an S, Thinking by a T, Judgment by a J, Introversion by an I, Intuition by an N, Feeling by an F, and Perception by a P. Each of the different personality indicators are known to operate under the umbrella of introversion and extroversion.
Extroversion (E) – Introversion (I)
According to the Myers-Briggs type indicator, people who prefer extroversion will draw their energy from action, and their flow of energy is directed outwards.
Conversely, introverts draw their energy from reflection or being alone; thus their flow of energy is directed inwards.
Extroverts usually prefer more frequent interaction with people, while introverts prefer less but more substantial interaction.
Sensing (S) – Intuition (N)
According to Jung, different types of people understand and interpret new information in different ways. People who are more sensing are likely to trust tangible and concrete information and distrust hunches that come out of nowhere.
Those who prefer intuition trust information that’s a bit more abstract and can be theoretical. They’re more interested in future possibilities and tend to trust flashes of insight.
Thinking (T) – Feeling (F)
The second half is judging functions. These categories are thinking and feeling and are used to make rational decisions based on data. Those who prefer to think will decide from a more detached standpoint, while those who prefer to feel will make a decision by associating with the situation or looking at it from the inside out.
Judging (J) – Perceiving (P)
The final part of the test is about how people prefer to deal with the outside world. Some people prefer structure and solid decisions, which is Judging (J). Others are more open, flexible, and adaptable; these are the Perceiving types (P).
Just to be clear, each of us operates in all four functions and has parts of our personality that are introverted and extroverted.
What makes the Myers-Briggs type indicator a unique method of determining personality function is the way in which it combines these four functions and looks at them through the lens of introversion or extroversion.
The Myers-Briggs type indicator is often used in career counseling, group dynamics, professional development, leadership training, personal development, marriage counseling, and executive coaching.
The Myers-Briggs test consists of 90+ “forced choice” questions where a person must choose between two possible answers. The test attempts to identify a person’s preferences. The questions have been refined through the years to provide better discrimination between functions.
A trained psychological evaluation by a psychologist or psychiatrist is needed to evaluate the Myers-Briggs type indicator test results accurately. However, there are less stringent testing methods available for those who are interested in learning a bit more about themselves or who want to match their particular personality types with others in career fields.
At the end of the day, even though personality tests like Myers-Briggs and others can be insightful, you are in charge of the kind of person you want to become and your destiny.
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