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Personality Test: Myers Briggs 101

Updated on February 4, 2009

 The Myers Briggs personality test, also known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a questionnaire that measures and names the way people perceive the world and make decisions. This very popular personality test is used by corporations and organizations worldwide in order facilitate understanding between and among people who work and live together.

History of Myers Briggs

The Myers Briggs personality test was created based on the concepts of Jungian psychology, created by Carl Gustav Jung. This personality inventory was adapted from Jung’s work by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. They started working on the personality test during WWII because they thought women entering the work force would benefit from a thorough understanding of their own personalities. Out of their preliminary work, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) developed and was published in 1962.

Myers Briggs Attitudes and Jung’s Psychological Types

Psychological type, as defined by C.G. Jung, is the basis of the MBTI. Jung theorized that human beings interpreted the world in two different ways:

Judging: These are the rational functions of thinking and feeling.

Perceiving: These are the irrationalfunctions of sensing and intuition.

Jung also believed that these two ways of interpreting were expressed differently in various people:

Introverted: These people become depleted if they act to soon. Rather, they like ot reflect, then act, then reflect again. These people need a lot of solitary time. Introverts engery flow is inward toward concepts, they seek depth of thought and personal interaction.

Extroverted: These people draw energy from action. They act, reflect, then act again. Inactivity is detrimental to people prone toward extraversion. The energy flow of the extravert is outward toward people and objects, they prefer breadth over depth, and value frequent interaction.

These four fundamental personality indicators are combined to create the sixteen unique personality types.

Myers Briggs Functions

According to the MBTI, while everybody uses all four funtions at different times and in different situations, one si usually more dominant.

The perceiving, or information gathering funtions are Sensing and Intution. This is how new information gets interpreted by the brain.

Sensing: People who are dominant in Sensing prefer to receive tangible, concrete information that can be sensed physically by one of the five senses. They like details and facts.

Intuition: Someone with Intuition dominances will trust a hunch. They have a high tolerance for the abstract and theoretical. They are also interested in future possibilities. These individuals value their own insight and the unconscious mind.

The decision making, or judging, functions are Thinking and Feeling. These terms describe the differet ways we make decisions. Both preferences are making decisions based on the information received as described above.

Thinking: These people usually make decisions based on what is reasonable and logical based on the circumstances.

Feeling: People with Feeling dominance seek to create the most balance or consensus in a given situation. Regardless of the hard facts, they tend to consider the needs of everyone involved.

Myers Briggs Lifestyle Factors

The final dimension to the MBTI is the lifestyle factor. These are Judging and Perceiving.

Judging: Those who are dominant in this style express their preferred judging function (thinking or feeling). That means if you are a TJ, you display your tendency to make decisions logically to the world. You like to have matters locked down tight.

Perceiving: Those dominant in Perceiving express their preferred perceiving function. If you’re an SP, others perceive you as solid. You like to keep your options open.

It’s really fascinating to have your MBTI done. And despite some criticism, this is still one of the most widely used personality tests out there.

Image Credit: megyarsh, Flickr


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  • Ruchi Urvashi profile image

    Ruchi Urvashi 6 years ago from Singapore

    Hi Lela, i have done MBTI test before and my personality type was INFJ. I found it very useful and it helped my refine my choices of career, vocation and simple things. Thanks for writing great article.

  • profile image 6 years ago from upstate, NY

    I'm a real fan of Isabel Briggs Myers and the MBTI. I believe it provides alot of useful insights for understanding yourself and others. It also can be very useful in looking at possible career options. When I took the test I found out that I was an INFP. This helped me to understand why business didn't interest me because I am an intuitive person who prefers the theoretical to the practical. A person of my personality is generally more drawn to artistic, relational and idea related occupations.

  • onceuponatime66 profile image

    Jackie Paulson 7 years ago from USA IL

    Wonderful written hub on personality and I will go ahead and take the test. Merry Christmas

  • My Esoteric profile image

    My Esoteric 7 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

    Nice summary. Found you from one of my hubs on personality. I use MBTI in an informal way at my company, especially with my partner.

  • profile image

    Virginia.Routh 7 years ago

    Myers and Briggs refined Jung's personality types by adding 2 further dimensions - with the unhelpful names Judging and Perceiving -unhelpful because they do not describe the dimensions. But as classifications I think they are brilliant. Who has a husband who lives in a state of chaos, with no sense of time, is always losing his wallet, keys glasses but is loving and friendly with everybody? (perceptual) or the person who is super efficient and always in a rush and no time to talk to anyone? (judgmental)

  • Neil Sperling profile image

    Neil Sperling 7 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

    Well done overview. Thanks

  • Dr. Cherie profile image

    Cherie Santasiero PhD 7 years ago from Hamburg, NY

    I love it. Great to see it again. I've used the Meyers/Brigs with my employees. It's fun, interesting and helps us better understand one another.

    Great hub. Glad you're helping people know about it.

  • sanbid profile image

    sanbid 8 years ago

    I've taken this test in the past with my employer but I've never found it to be very practical knowledge.

    You probably haven't heard about the new method called Energy Profiling yet because it was just introduced last month. I think you'd be very interested in what the new research is showing. It is the most detailed, accurate, and practical personality profile I've seen. I invite you to visit my hub to learn more.