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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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