Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, often abbreviated as MBTI, is a psychological test meant to indicate a person's preferred way of perceiving their environment and making decisions. The original test was developed by Kathrine Briggs and her daughter Isabelle Meyers and was based off of the typological theories of the psychologist Carl Jung.

The purpose of this test was primarily to help people better understand the way they thought. As a result, it would be easier for someone to play to their strengths when finding a job or when interacting with people. Additionally, knowledge of types other than one's own can assist in discerning the way others think, which may serve to reduce conflict.

The Four Scales

A type is written as a four letter abbreviation. Each letter represents which direction on the scale you correspond with. The four scales are as follows:

  1. Introversion (I) vs. Extraversion1 (E)
  2. Sensing (S) vs. Intuiting (N)
  3. Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)
  4. Perceiving (P) vs. Judging (J)

Someone's result after taking an MBTI test will be formatted like the examples below.

INFJ=Introverted, Intuiting, Feeling, Judging
ESTP=Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving

So, there are a total of sixteen types. All sixteen types use every function. The type simply reveals which functions are preferred over others.

Introversion and Extraversion

Meyers, Briggs, and Jung all recognized that people focus there energy in two different worlds: the internal and the external. The external world deals with all actions, interpersonal dealings, and things. Conversely, the internal world deals with introspection, thoughts, and ideas. People who are extraverted focus most of their energy in the external world, and, as a result, extraverted people tend to be more energetic, outgoing, and social than their introverted counterparts, who tend to be more reserved, quiet, and separated from other people so they can focus their energy on their internal world.

Sensing and Intuition

Sensing and intuition are the "perceiving" functions; that is to say, they are the functions that take in information about the world. People who prefer sensing more readily take in concrete information, information that can be received using their senses and is firmly grounded in the present. Hunches that seem to come out of nowhere are not to be trusted from the perspective of a sensing type. On the other side of the spectrum, intuiting types are drawn toward abstract, theoretical information. Intuiting types are big-picture, thinkers—minute details mean little to them in most circumstances. Future possibilities and correlations between ideas are other things that a person's intuition looks for.

Thinking and Feeling

The "judging" functions, or decision-making functions, are thinking and feeling. These functions serve to interpret the information received by the perceiving functions. Thinking types prefer to make judgments from a detached perspective, basing their thought on what seems logical and reasonable. Sometimes, not enough consideration is given to how people and their values will be affected by a decision. Feeling types are the opposite, predictably; a feeling type wants to make sure everyone's needs are met and no strife occurs as a result of a decision. Problems may arise if a feeling type's decision is not practical enough to be carried out since not enough logic was applied to the decision-making process.

Perceiving and Judging

Meyers and Briggs added another dimension to Jung's typology. What they observed was that people extraverted either their perceiving (sensing/intuiting) or their judging function (thinking/feeling). Fittingly, the fourth scale types people as perceivers or judgers. Perceiving types, since their information-gathering function is extraverted, tend to appear open-ended because new information could be taken in, thereby changing their decision. Judging types extravert their decision-making function, so generally, a judger's decisions are finalized once they are made.

Curious About Your Own Type?

There are several sites on the Internet where you can find out what type you are. Links to some of these sites are provided below:

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp
http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory.html
http://www.personalitytest.net/ (choose the second test)

Works Cited

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator
http://www.cognitiveprocesses.com/
http://www.myersbriggs.org/

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