HomeLifestylesFunfactsMyers-Briggs: How The Famous Personality Test Really Works

Myers-Briggs: How The Famous Personality Test Really Works

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The world’s most famous personality test, the Myers-Briggs, created these 16 personality types. How do you determine your letter combination? Try free personality test here

The MBTI has been around for over a century. Dr. Jennifer V. Fayard says people love personality tests in all their forms because they hope to learn new things about themselves (via Psychology Today). They help people feel included and understand others’ quirks and motivations. Associate psychology professor Chris Soto tells Discover, “We all have beliefs about ourselves, our personality, and our behaviour.” “It feels good to get feedback that confirms those beliefs.”

Over 1 million people take the MBTI annually to discover their personality type. The test is used worldwide for personal growth and self-discovery, despite validity debates. Let’s examine how this famous test works and what it can reveal about you.

What is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)?

Illustration Image (Image By: Kpopmap)

The Myers-Briggs test helps people understand themselves. The test measures how people see the world and make decisions based on their psychological preferences. The Myers-Briggs Company says the MBTI also identifies core personality traits. These traits help people communicate better, appreciate others’ strengths and differences, and become more self-aware.

The MBTI is the world’s most popular personality test. Career counsellors, life coaches, and educators use the test. Companies use the MBTI to evaluate job candidates and current employees, so most people are familiar with it. According to Marketplace, 89 of the Fortune 100 use the MBTI for hiring, team-building, and executive talent management. It helps government agencies, universities, and hotel chains develop staff, leadership, and self-awareness.

How was the MBTI developed?

Katherine Briggs & Isabel Briggs-Myers (Image By: pocketblog.co.uk)

A mother-daughter team from Michigan invented the well-known self-reporting assessment tool in the early 1900s. The psychological theories and types developed by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung captivated Katherine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers.

Katherine Briggs was a brilliant, highly educated woman who graduated first in her college class, according to NPR. She worked as a homemaker but maintained a strong desire to conduct important research that would help other people figure out who they were, something she believed would help them live their best lives. Briggs developed a questionnaire to categorise people’s personalities as a young wife and mother. After reading Carl Jung’s book “Psychological Types” in the early 1920s, Briggs struck up a correspondence with the famous psychoanalyst to pick his brain about the abstract categories he used to describe people’s personalities.

Her daughter Isabel began to expand on this language and her mother’s existing questionnaire around the time of World War II (via Marketplace). Her goal was to create a test that would assist people in finding jobs that matched their unique abilities. The test language was intended to be non-judgmental and to provide test takers with the self-knowledge answers they required to thrive and better understand others. The pair collaborated to broaden Jung’s initial work and make it more understandable to the average person. Briggs and Myers worked on the test for 20 years before publishing the first version in the early 1960s.

How does the MBTI work?

The MBTI asks simple online questions about your preferences, likes, and dislikes. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the questions classify people into 16 personality types. Four dichotomies—inspired by Carl Jung—create these personality types (via Truity). Briggs and Myers believed that each personality type’s four-letter code described a person’s broad personality preferences.

The four-letter MBTI codes represent Jung’s three type preferences and Briggs’ one. Extroversion (E) and Introversion (I), Sensing (S) and Intuition (N), Thinking (T) and Feeling (F), and Judgement (J) and Perception (P) are the dichotomies (P). Because the MBTI measures aptitude rather than definitions, MentalHelp.net says these words have different meanings. A person who prefers thinking over feeling may not be more thoughtful than emotional. It’s personal preference. A person’s dichotomy level doesn’t matter either. Isabel Myers believed that a person’s general personality type was more important than their exact introversion or extroversion.

Extroversion (E) & Introversion (I)

Extroverts start with E and introverts with I. This Myers-Briggs trait examines energy exchange.

Traditionally, extroversion or introversion affects sociality and energy. Extroverts are talkative, optimistic, and dislike being alone. Introverts, who thrive alone, live quieter, more reflective lives. The MBTI scales extroversion and introversion. The MBTI extroversion/introversion categories also consider how a person reacts to their environment.

Extroverts are social, talkative, and goal-oriented. They are strong because they want to act and can push limits and bring a lively, contagious energy to any gathering. Introverts prefer contemplation, thoughtful interaction, and learning. Introverts need quiet to recharge.

Sensing (S) & Intuition (N)

Learning is all about sensing and intuition. Sensing people interpret facts using their five senses. Sensors are busy, practical people who don’t have time for fantasy. Realistic and present-minded. Sensors are factual, detail-oriented, and believe there is a right and wrong way to solve a problem. They prefer hands-on learning to books or recordings.

If you prefer to think about possibilities and daydream about the future, you may be intuitive. The Myers & Briggs Foundation describes intuitive as curious about new things but more trusting of impressions and metaphors than actual experience. They’re inspired by creative, high-level projects and don’t like details. Intuitive value imagination and creativity over pragmatism and spend most of their time trying to improve the world.

Thinking (T) & Feeling (F)

Thinking/Feeling is the third MBTI dichotomy. Critical thinkers thrive on logic, facts, and problem-solving. They are rational, analytical, and objective. Thinkers prefer a more detached view and are always calculating odds and strategic nuances. Thinkers excel in science and math.

Feelers make decisions differently. Feeling people base their decisions on emotions rather than perception. They prioritise emotional well-being. Feelers are also empathetic, compassionate, helpful, and nurturing. When making a decision, a feeler usually considers others’ needs and wants to create balance.

Judging (J) & Perceiving (P)

Judging/Perceiving completes the dichotomy. This cognitive function measures how people organise and interact with the world. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not related to your self-image or others’ perceptions. Instead, it assesses your outward outlook.

Judging people like structure. Judges are organized, decisive, and task-oriented. They take their responsibilities seriously, dislike impulsivity and ambiguity, and want problems solved. Judges are also reliable. Perceivers are more adaptable and flexible. Perceivers embrace change, risk deadlines, and value work-life balance. They believe that keeping their options open is the best way to maximize life.

The eight introverted personality types

Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers believed everyone had all the opposing personality functions. The 16 personality groups were based on an individual’s dominant thought, feeling, or decision-making letter. Each group has eight introverts and eight extroverts with their own reference mix.

ISTJ, ISFJ, INFJ, INTJ, ISTP, ISFP, INFP, and INTP are introverts. ISTJs are calm, practical, and responsible. Defenders are ISFJ. They’re kind, protective, and dedicated to harmony. INFJs are conscientious and value connection. INTJs are sceptical but strategic thinkers who value competence and independence, making them architects.

Virtuoso ISTPs are reserved, flexible, observant, and tolerant (via Mindfulness Muse). ISFPs are creative, flexible, and adventurous. INFPs also mediate. They are altruistic, kind, and poetic. Finally, INTPs solve complex problems with critical, analytical, and theoretical thinking.

The eight extroverted personality types

Extroverts include ESTP, ESTJ, ESFP, ESFJ, ENFP, ENFJ, ENTP, and ENTJ. Persuaders are perceptive, outgoing, dramatic, and present-minded ESTPs. Directors—ESTJs—are assertive and lead. Entertainers (ESFPs) are lively, enthusiastic, and love the spotlight. Caregivers are caring, popular, social ESFJs who see the best in others.

ENFPs, or champions, love creative projects. ENFJs lead. Positive people have strong values and never turn down an opportunity to lead. Debaters—ENTPs—love intellectual challenges. Smart, curious, and inventive, they can read others. Finally, ENTJ commanders are bold and creative project organizers.

Benefits and criticisms of the MBTI

Despite its enduring popularity amongst the public, and its numerous revisions and adaptations over the years, the MBTI is a bit controversial in the scientific and psychological communities. There are a number of criticisms surrounding the MBTI, mainly that the self-reporting tool is a form of pseudoscience.

According to Simply Psychology, the dichotomies Carly Jung created aren’t based on any methodologically sound study. The type of descriptive language used in the questionnaire is thought by many researchers to be vague and too broad, meaning it can apply to anyone exhibiting any behavior. The questionnaire itself has come under fire for its likelihood of bias. Many people who take the test may be motivated to fake their answers in order to achieve the personality type that they want to have. Furthermore, test takers can retake the test as often as they like in order to achieve a favorable result.

While it has its faults, there are also a number of benefits to the MBTI. Knowing your MBTI personality type can help individuals understand their preferred learning and decision-making styles, which can help them communicate better. It also provides insight into much-needed self-awareness and self-reflection.

How reliable is the MBTI?

Despite its enduring commercialized popularity, the MBTI and its generalized people sorting have been scientifically debunked numerous times. The test’s lack of validity is largely due to the fact that Katherine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, while both incredibly smart women, did not have a formal background in psychology. Their processes during the design of the questionnaire were unscientific as were the published results. Although the MBTI boasts a 90% accuracy rate for its participants, many scientists doubt that it actually measures what it claims to measure (via Job Talk). People are often skeptical of the results they receive post-test, with up to 50% of people who take it reporting that they received a different personality type when they take the test a few weeks later.

However, some people argue that the MBTI is as valid as any other personality type test. It is positive and nonjudgmental that allows individual people to align with the ideal version of themselves. Although any test claiming to unlock a unique person’s personality should be met with some healthy skepticism, some argue that simply recognizing the good and bad parts of yourself in a classification of letters is a form of validity.

Info Source – Glam

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