The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a popular personality test that has been used in a variety of contexts, from business and education team-building to personal development and counseling.
While the MBTI has its critics, many people enjoy the accessibility and insightfulness of this self-discovery tool. Fortunately, if you start a search online today, you can learn more about the MBTI and where your personality fits into it!
The MBTI is a personality test that is based on the theories of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. 1 It was developed by a mother-daughter team of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers and first published in the 1940s.
The test is often used to help individuals better understand their own personality preferences and to help them develop strategies for communication and collaboration with others. It can also be incorporated in the business world for personnel decisions, or career counseling and development.
The Four Dichotomies
The test is designed to identify an individual’s personality type based on four dichotomies: extraversion (E) versus introversion (I), sensing (S) versus intuition (N), thinking (T) versus feeling (F), and judging (J) versus perceiving (P). The corresponding letters amalgamate to represent sixteen distinct personality codes.
- Extraversion versus Introversion: Extraverts tend to focus on the external world and draw energy from interactions with others, while introverts tend to focus on the internal world and draw energy from solitary activities.
- Sensing versus Intuition: Sensors tend to focus on concrete details and the five senses, while intuitive individuals tend to focus on patterns and possibilities.
- Thinking versus Feeling: Thinkers tend to rely on logic and objective analysis, while feelers tend to rely on subjective experience in order to make decisions.
- Judging versus Perceiving: Judgers tend to prefer structure, planning, and closure, while perceivers tend to prefer flexibility, spontaneity, and openness.
Take a moment with each dichotomy and consider where you lean. How you interact with the world is an innate knowledge that may be difficult to understand, but these dichotomies can help reveal your inner preferences.
The Sixteen Personalities
By combining these dichotomies, the MBTI produces 16 different personality types, each with its own set of characteristics and tendencies. Eight of these types are introverted in nature, while another eight are extroverted. These groups are then further broken down by their emotional traits (caring, loyal, clever) and perceptual leanings (analytical, intuitive, spontaneous).
While the whole list is available online, some personality type examples are listed below:
- ISTJ (Introverted-Sensing-Thinking-Judging): Practical, responsible, and detail-oriented.
- INFJ (Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Judging): Insightful, idealistic, and empathetic.
- INFP (Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Perceiving): Idealistic, creative, and compassionate.
- ENTP (Extraverted-Intuitive-Thinking-Perceiving): Clever, inventive, and witty.
- ESTJ (Extraverted-Sensing-Thinking-Judging): Efficient, practical, and organized.
- ENTJ (Extraverted-Intuitive-Thinking-Judging): Confident, assertive, and strategic.
Can Personality Really Be Codified?
Individuals may fit snugly into one of these 16 itemized personality types, but that isn’t always the case. 2 Frequently, the MBTI can be used to map how people exhibit traits from multiple personality types.
It’s also worth noting that none of these personality types are considered better or more valuable than another. In fact, each personality contains strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies which explain an individual’s preferences and motivations.
Find Out Your Personality Code
You’re likely wondering which personality type is appropriate for you. Luckily, you can take part in a questionnaire or assessment to find out! The MBTI questionnaire typically consists of around 90 questions and can be completed either online or in-person. 3
The assessment is usually self-administered and self-scored. Individuals then receive their results in the form of a four-letter code that represents their personality type (as seen above).
Not everyone is on board with the MBTI’s approach or findings. Some psychologists and academics have criticized the personality test for its lack of empirical evidence and scientific validity. Scientists have argued that the test’s scoring and interpretation are not open to public scrutiny, which also raises questions.
Even though the MBTI has been utilized throughout the business world, many corporate leaders have criticized the test for its lack of usefulness in predicting job performance. Some have also argued that the test reinforces stereotypes and may limit individuals to certain career paths or roles.
A Tool To Strengthen Relationships
Regardless of those criticisms, the MBTI remains a popular tool for curious individuals and open-minded businesses. While it’s wise to maintain a healthy skepticism when engaging in personality tests of any kind, the results can be useful in a variety of scenarios. In particular, it can strengthen your relationships.
Even if no four-character personality code is likely to fully encapsulate your particular nature, the MBTI can help individuals communicate better. More self knowledge and discovery can only improve an individual’s awareness and ability to achieve their goals. So, give it a shot! You just may discover something new about yourself along the way.