Myers-Briggs Personality Test

What's your personality type?

Your guide to the Myers-Briggs personality test

In an attempt to work out how people view themselves and the world around them, introspective self-reporting questionnaires have been used by psychologists and psychotherapists since the times of Karl Jung. The Myers-Briggs personality test was developed from these original methods to form a structure around which people would be able to identify as one of sixteen distinct personality types. These are made up of four so-called dichotomies each which can be interpreted in two ways, thereby allowing for a total of sixteen possible combinations that correspond to the aforementioned personality types. The Myers-Briggs personality test was developed in the Second World War and after it to allow psychologists to determine the personalities of individuals according to the examples outlined in the Myers-Briggs personality indicator.

Who developed the Myers-Briggs personality test? 

As the name suggests, two individuals were responsible for coming up with the Myers-Briggs personality test and its indicator system. Katherine Cooks-Brigg, a researcher into personality, and her daughter and co-researcher, Isabel Briggs Myers, came up with the idea, basing it largely on the theories of Jung as laid out in his book, 'Psychological Types'. Initially, the idea was to come up with a systemic way of identifying personality types among women entering the labour force during the war. Still, it was soon extended well beyond that original remit.

What are the four dichotomies of the Myers-Briggs personality test?

As mentioned, the sixteen personality types that are identifiable from a Myers-Briggs personality test are made up of four dichotomies. The first of these is extraversion-introversion which centres on how inwardly or outwardly focussed a person is. The second is sensing-intuition which is to do with the way different personalities take information on. The third is known as thinking-feeling, which relates to decision making. Finally, judging-perceiving is a dichotomy that relates to how people enjoy their outer life. Depending on how people respond to questions about themselves and choosing between the different options, their personality type can be established. Commonly, this is given as a four-letter code. For example, ENFP means someone who is extroverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving.

What is the Myers-Briggs personality test step II?

Some people, including Isabel Briggs Myers herself, recognised that the Myers-Briggs personality test only allowed for a broad idea of personality types. Step II of the process was developed to offer more nuance in the approach with a further five traits added to each of the pairs of dichotomies.

Are there criticisms of the Myers-Briggs personality test model?

Although many people agree with the model that the Myers-Briggs personality test provides is useful for identifying the sort of personality types we encounter every day, there is no scientific basis for the dichotomies used. Consequently, some question whether other ones could have been chosen instead or whether others might have been added. Some also point out that self-reporting means there is little to establish genuine objectivity in the process.

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