Review of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

 

An overview of the MBTI

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality assessment that can either be administered by a certified professional, or through the MBTI website for a fee.  A shorter, free version of the test, as well as explanations, can be found through 16personalities. The MBTI analyzes four categories of the takers personality.  These categories are introversion vs. extroversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and perceiving vs. judging.

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  • Introversion vs. Extroversion looks at where people get, and focus their energy.

 

  • Sensing vs. Intuition looks at how people get their information.
    • 16personalities also explains about this facet, “a decision is only as good as the understanding that backs it.” A sensing personality uses their physical senses (hear, taste, touch, see, smell) in acquiring information about their environment. An intuitive personality looks instead at the patterns and messages of their environment when acquiring information.

 

  • Thinking vs. Feeling looks at how people make decision, and how they deal with emotions.

 

 

User Friendliness of the MBTI Assessment

The MBTI is intended for multiple types of users including:

  • Employers
  • Universities
  • Professionals
  • Personal users

According to the official Myers Briggs website the assessment can be used for many reasons including relationships, careers, education, spirituality, and in the workplace.  The largest users of the MBTI, though, are corporations.  Elena Bajic in a Forbes article wrote, “80% of Fortune 100 companies rely on these types of tests.”

 

High Popularity Since 1940s

Carl G. Jung published his book, Psychological Types, in 1921 describing personality.  He claimed that a ones personality was either introverted or extroverted, and from there the personality had four functions, sensing, intuition, thinking, and feeling.  This concept was a new idea in the realm of personality psychology.  In 1944, Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katherine Cook Briggs published the MBTI, which expanded on Jung’s concept, creating sixteen possible personality types instead of Jung’s eight.  In 1975, the Center for Applications of Psychological  Type (CAPT) started research on the MBTI and continues to do so today.  Since then, multiple new editions have been released on the MBTI, and according to MBTI’s publisher, Consulting Psychologists Press, “As many as 1.5 million assessments are administered annually.”

For readers who have taken the Myers Briggs Type Indicator Assessment (MBTI), what was your experience with the test? Did you agree with the results?

 

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An Overview of Personality Testing

My field of study is the psychology behind personality testing.  It is so widely used by the public and professionals that an understanding of various aspects of the tests is vital.  I aim to decrease misuse of the tests and educate the public on how the test results are fabricated.  Elaboration might also be helpful on the benefits of test typing and ways in which it can be improved upon for more professional use. It falls under personality psychology, and is a sub field of psychology, which is the study of the mind.

 

History of Personality Tests

Personality testing has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks. Hippocrates categorized peoples’ temperaments based on the four different bodily fluids, blood, mucus, black bile, and yellow bile, according to a Colorcode article. This study is called Humorism.  Personality psychology then expanded broadly in the 20th century.  The first accepted testing instrument developed, the Woodworth Personal Data Sheet, by Robert S. Woodworth, was created in 1917 to test potential soldiers for mental disorders.  Further personality tests were created from there by psychologists such as Rorschach, Freud, and Jung.  Jung’s test, Psychological Types, categorized people into four functions; sensing, thinking, feeling, and intuition.  Later on, Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers expanded on Jung’s test to create the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

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Value of Personality Tests

Many of these tests made their way to the public and professionals alike. But, why are they so valued? Many theories are available on why personality tests are popular.  Jordan Shapiro wrote in a Forbes article, “My theory is that it is a collective manifestation of a psychological function that Sigmund Freud called displacement.” Sociologist Christine Whelan believes that people love talking about themselves, or answering personal questions. Lindsay Holmes wrote in a Huffington Post article,” The more insight you have into how you operate, the easier it is to determine what your best and worst traits are.” This theory may give someone an insight on how to make their next decision.  Others, such as Avery Hurt in a Mental Floss article, believe that the tests are so popular because you cannot fail it.

Professional Uses

As mentioned previously, personality testing is occasionally being used by some professionals to type their employees and their applicants.  Occupational psychology is common in large corporations to help their employees, and to help find qualified applicants. According to Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology 29% of employers use one or more forms of psychological measurement or assessment. These tests are sometimes used to do so. Personality typing is also used in dating websites to find more compatible matches.

Conclusion

This post is just a summary of the history of personality testing and its current popularity.  Personality typing is an ongoing topic of discussion in the realm of personality psychology currently, with new opinions coming out continuously.

Have you taken a personality test? What were your results? How accurate was the test? Would you use it in your company?