What Is The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely recognized psychological assessment tool that was developed to help individuals gain insight into their personalities.

Based on the theories of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, this unique instrument was created by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs, in the mid-20th century.

Each personality type identified by the MBTI is represented as a combination of four dichotomies extraversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving.

These dimensions are integral parts of our information processing and decision-making systems which guide our behavior in various aspects of life – from social interactions to career choices.


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Key Takeaways

  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a popular psychological assessment that identifies one’s personality type based on four cognitive functions: extraversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving.
  • Critics argue that the MBTI lacks scientific validity and reliability due to its reliance on selfreporting and oversimplification of complex personality types into simplistic categories.
  • Alternatives to the MBTI include Big Five Personality Traits, HEXACO Personality Inventory, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), DISC Assessment, Enneagram, Jungian Typology, and Hogan Assessments; however, no single test or system can fully capture the complexity of human personalities.
  • Understanding your results from taking the MBTI test alongside detailed descriptions provided by trained professionals can help you identify strengths and weaknesses for personal and professional growth while avoiding defining or limiting yourself or others solely based on a personality test result.

What are the Myers & Briggs Personality Types?

16 personalities

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) categorizes individuals into 16 personality types, each with their own unique set of traits.

Here is a list of the 16 personality types and some of their notable characteristics:

  1. ISTJ – The Inspector: practical, responsible, detail-oriented, and organized
  2. ISFJ – The Protector: loyal, compassionate, adaptable, and reliable
  3. INFJ – The Advocate: insightful, creative, empathetic, and decisive
  4. INTJ – The Architect: analytical, strategic, independent, and decisive
  5. ISTP – The Craftsman: adventurous, analytical, spontaneous and independent
  6. ISFP – The Composer: artistic, flexible, sensitive and kind-hearted
  7. INFP – The Mediator: idealistic, kindhearted, creative and altruistic
  8. INTP – The Thinker: intellectual, logical, theoretical and calm under pressure
  9. ESTP – The Dynamo: outgoing, energetic impulsive and witty
  10. ESFP – The Performer: spontaneous fun-loving enthusiastic people-person
  11. ENFP – Champion Exuberant authentic enthusiastic imaginative
  12. ENTP – Visionary Innovative clever resourceful restless
  13. ESTJ – Overseer Decisive direct confident efficient
  14. ESFJ – Caregiver Supportive warm sociable conscientious
  15. ENFJ – Teacher Charismatic empathetic visionary diplomatic
  16. ENTJ – Commander Assertive natural leader strategic ambitious

That being said remember that every person has a unique combination of traits that make them who they are; hence we should avoid stereotyping people based on the test result from MBTI or other personality tests alike.

Myers & Briggs Personality Test

The MBTI assessment is typically administered by a trained professional, such as a psychologist or career counselor or can be taken online.

The test taker usually answers questions relating to their preferences in four categories: extraversion vs.introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving. The results generate a four-letter code indicating the individual’s personality type (e.g., ENFJ).

Scoring of the test is done based on the individual’s responses to questions in each category and how they align with specific personality traits associated with each letter code.

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The Science Behind MBTI Personality Tests

The validity and reliability of the MBTI have been a topic of debate, with some questioning its scientific basis.

The Validity And Reliability Of The MBTI

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has been widely criticized for lacking scientific validity and reliability. While the test is popular and commonly used, there are concerns about its accuracy in identifying personality traits.

Many argue that the MBTI’s reliance on self-reported answers makes it susceptible to bias and inaccuracies.

Despite these criticisms, many still find value in using the MBTI as a tool for personal growth and professional development. While it may not be perfect, the test offers insight into one’s decision-making style, information-processing preferences, and communication tendencies.

Criticisms Of The Test And Its Limitations

Despite its widespread use, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has attracted criticism from psychologists and researchers. One of the main criticisms is that the MBTI lacks scientific validity and reliability.

Another criticism of the MBTI is that it perpetuates stereotypes and oversimplifies personality traits. For example, some critics argue that dividing people into categories such as “thinkers” or “feelers” ignores the complexity and nuance of human psychology.

It is worth noting that while criticisms exist regarding the limitations of this particular test, there are still benefits to using them in certain settings like career counseling or team-building exercises.


Alternatives To The MBTI

  • Big Five Personality: This model includes openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. It is widely regarded as more scientifically valid and reliable than the MBTI.
  • HEXACO Personality Inventory: This assessment measures six personality traits: honesty-humility, emotionality, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience.
  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI): This assessment is used primarily for clinical diagnosis and treatment planning but can also be useful in career counseling.
  • DISC Assessment: This model focuses on four main personality traits: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. It can be useful in team-building exercises and management training.
  • Enneagram: This personality system categorizes individuals based on nine different types. It provides insights into motivations and behaviors but lacks scientific validation.
  • Jungian Typology: Based on the work of Carl Jung, this system classifies individuals based on their dominant psychological functions: thinking vs. feeling and sensation vs. intuition.
  • Hogan Assessments: This suite of assessments evaluates an individual’s personality from multiple perspectives and is often used in executive coaching and leadership development.

Note that while these alternatives may offer different approaches to understanding personality, it is crucial to remember that no one test or system can fully capture the complex nature of human personalities.

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Taking And Interpreting The MBTI Test

To take the MBTI test, one must answer a series of questions online or in person and obtain their results from a trained professional; interpreting the results involves understanding one’s personality type and cognitive functions to identify strengths, weaknesses, and potential areas for growth in personal and professional settings.

Explanation Of The Test-taking Process

To take the MBTI test, individuals answer a series of questions that aim to determine their preferences in four key areas: extraversion vs. introversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving.

After answering all the questions on the test, individuals receive a report that outlines their personality type according to Myers-Briggs typology and how they scored on each of the four cognitive functions.

It’s important to note that while the MBTI is widely used for personal growth and career development purposes, it should not be used as a diagnostic tool or seen as an absolute measure of someone’s personality traits or characteristics.

Myers-Briggs typology

How To Understand And Interpret The Results

After taking the MBTI test, it’s important to understand and interpret the results correctly. Each of the 16 personality types has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, preferences in decision-making, information processing methods, communication styles, career fields in which they may excel, and more.

For example, if you scored as an ENFJ (Extroverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Judging) type, you may have excellent interpersonal skills and enjoy helping others but also tend to be highly self-critical.

This knowledge can help you capitalize on your strengths while addressing any potential areas for improvement.

Using The Results For Personal And Professional Growth

The MBTI test is a valuable tool for personal and professional development. Knowing your personality type can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, as well as understand how you interact with others.

For example, if you are an introvert who tends to process information internally, you may find it helpful to take breaks during group meetings or brainstorming sessions to give yourself time to think through ideas on your own.

In addition to self-awareness, knowledge of personality types can also be useful in building effective teams. Understanding the different ways that people approach problem-solving and decision-making can lead to more productive conversations and better outcomes.

For instance, a team made up of both intuitive thinkers and concrete analyzers might benefit from having discussions about big-picture goals before diving into specific tactics.

personality type

Review And Criticism Of The MBTI

Critics have argued that the MBTI lacks scientific validity and reliability, perpetuates stereotypes, and fails to capture the complexity of human personality.

What are the Benefits Of The MBTI?

The MBTI test has many positive aspects and benefits, including:

  1. Helping individuals gain a deeper understanding of their own personality and preferences.
  2. Providing insight into how others may perceive and interact with them.
  3. Assisting with personal growth and development by highlighting strengths and areas for improvement.
  4. Aiding in career decision-making by identifying potential job fits based on personality type.
  5. Promoting team-building and communication skills by recognizing and valuing differences in personality types within a group.
  6. Encouraging self-awareness and empathy towards others through increased understanding of different personality types.
  7. Having practical applications in various fields like education, healthcare, and business management.

Overall, the MBTI test can be a useful tool for individuals seeking to understand themselves better, improve their relationships with others, or make informed decisions about their career path.

What are the Controversies And Criticisms Of The MBTI?

Despite its popularity, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has faced criticism and controversies over the years. One major concern is regarding its scientific validity and reliability.

Some critics argue that the test lacks empirical evidence to support its claims.

Another criticism is related to how individuals may develop different results from taking the test multiple times, or in different settings.

Despite these criticisms, there are still some benefits to using this assessment tool. The MBTI can help individuals gain insights into their strengths and weaknesses as well as better communicate with others who have different personality types.

mbti types

How does MBTI Compare To Other Personality Assessments?

The MBTI is just one of many personality assessments available today. Comparing it to other popular assessments like the Big Five, DISC, and Enneagram can provide a better understanding of its strengths and weaknesses.

Here is a table showing some key differences and similarities among these assessments:

Personality AssessmentNumber of Personality TypesPrimary FocusStrengthsWeaknesses
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)16Cognitive functions and preferencesWidely used, detailed personality profiles, helpful for personal and professional growthLacks scientific validity and reliability, perpetuates stereotypes
Big Five (OCEAN)N/A (uses five traits on a continuum)Personality traits on a spectrumStrong scientific backing, applicable to diverse populations, broader understanding of personalityLess specific, may not provide detailed information for personal growth
DISC4Behavioral styles and preferencesIn-depth insights into personal growth provide a view of how to develop and integrateLess comprehensive, may not address underlying motivations and cognitive functions
Enneagram9Core motivations and fearsIn-depth insights into personal growth provide a view on how to develop and integrateLimited scientific research, may be viewed as too focused on negative aspects of personality
Personality Tests Comparison Chart

How to Understand Yourself And Others Through The MBTI

In conclusion, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a popular personality test used by millions of people worldwide to understand themselves and others.

While the test has its limitations and criticisms, it still offers valuable insights into one’s cognitive functions and behavior patterns.

By understanding your personality type, you can make better decisions in personal and professional settings, as well as improve communication with others who may have different personalities.

Remember that the MBTI is just one tool for self-awareness and should not be used to define or limit oneself or others.

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What is the MBTI test and how does it work?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality assessment tool that measures individuals based on their preferences across four different dichotomies – extraversion vs introversion, sensing vs intuition, thinking vs feeling and judging vs perceiving. The answers given in response to specific questions can help an individual understand their personality type and tendencies.

How reliable is the MBTI test?

While widely used, research has shown that the MBTI tool has some limitations resulting from its focus on self-reported answers rather than true behavior or evidence-based data collection methods. Additionally, there are concerns over whether the categories formed by these dichotomies represent all types of personalities effectively enough to capture unique nuances between people.

Can knowing my MBTI type be useful in real-life applications?

Yes – understanding one’s own personality type can aid in career planning or personal relationships such as improving communication styles with others who may have contrasting preferred ways of processing information or making decisions; however depending upon results, it is often best not to heavily rely solely upon algorithms for decision-making purposes and consult other metrics when determining appropriate actions.

Is criticism towards the use of MBTI well-founded?

Some criticism against using this model stems from issues related to accuracy & replicability along with concerns about potential discrimination based on stereotyping associated with each category established through different response pairings particularly when results are viewed without context surrounding participant traits which could augment quantification biasing metrics. In recent years researchers have addressed the effects of variables remaining unaccounted & developing new methodologies while incorporating more diverse populations into study samples — which will lead to improved outcomes reducing instances causing confusion amongst those interested in applying theories behind popular psychological tests like Myers Briggs theory into practical settings.”


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