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Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Definition

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely used personality inventory, or test, employed in vocational, educational, and psychotherapy settings to evaluate personality type in adolescents and adults age 14 and older.

Purpose

In an educational setting, the MBTI may be performed to assess student learning style. In a classroom setting, the MBTI may be used to help teens and young adults better understand their learning, communication, and social interaction styles. Guidance counselors also might use the test to help teens determine which occupational field or college major they might be best suited for.

Because the MBTI is also a tool for self-discovery, mental health professionals may administer the test in counseling sessions to provide their patients with insight into their behavior. Among adults, the MBTI is also used in organizational settings to assess management skills and facilitate teamwork and problem solving.

Description

In 2000, an estimated two million people took the MBTI, making it the most frequently used personality inventory available. First introduced in 1942, the test was the work of mother and daughter Katharine C. Myers Briggs and Isabel Briggs. There are now several different versions of the test available. Form M, which contains 93 items and is a self-scoring assessment , is the most commonly used. It can be used in a classroom or other group setting, and takes approximately 15 to 25 minutes to complete.

The Myers-Briggs inventory is based on Carl Jung's theory of types, outlined in his 1921 work Psychological Types. Jung's theory holds that human beings are either introverts or extraverts, and their behavior follows from these inborn psychological types. He also believed that people take in and process information in different ways, based on their personality traits.

The Myers-Briggs evaluates personality type and preference based on the four Jungian psychological types:

  • extraversion (E) or introversion (I)
  • sensing (S) or intuition (N)
  • thinking (T) or feeling (F)
  • judging (J) or perceiving (P)

A derivative version of the MBTI, developed by Elizabeth Murphy and Charles Meisgeier, is available for children age seven through 13 (grades two through eight). The assessment, called the Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children (MMTIC) uses the same four psychological types as the MBTI, but is written for a second grade reading level.

Precautions

The MBTI should only be administered, scored, and interpreted by a professional trained in its use (except in the case of Form M, which can be self-scored but should still be administered and interpreted by a professional). Cultural and language differences in the test subject may affect performance and may result in inaccurate test results. The test administrator should be informed before testing begins if the test taker is not fluent in English and/or he or she has a unique cultural background.

Preparation

Prior to the administration of the MBTI, the test subject should be fully informed about the nature of the test and its intended use. He or she should also receive standardized instructions for taking the test and any information on the confidentiality of the results.

Normal results

Myers-Briggs results are reported as a four-letter personality type (e.g., ESTP, ISFJ). Each letter corresponds to an individual's preference in each of the four pairs of personality indicators (i.e., E or I, S or N, T or F, and J or P). There are a total of sixteen possible combinations of personality types on the MBTI.

  • Letter One: E or I: Extraverts focus more on people and things, introverts on ideas.
  • Letter Two: S or N: Sensing-dominant personalities prefer to perceive things through sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell, while intuition-dominant types look to past experience and are more abstract in their thinking.
  • Letter Three: T or F: The third subtype is a measure of how people use judgment. Thinking types use logic to judge the world, while feeling types tend to view things on the basis of what emotions they invoke.
  • Letter Four: J or P: Everyone judges and perceives, but those who are judging dominant are said to be more methodical and results-oriented, while perceiving dominant personalities are good at multi-tasking and are flexible.

Risks

There are no risks involved with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test.

KEY TERMS

Multi-tasking Performing multiple duties or taking on multiple responsibilities and roles simultaneously.

Vocational Relating to an occupation, career, or job.

Parental concerns

When interpreting test results, the test administrator will review what the test evaluates, its precision in evaluation and any margins of error involved in scoring, and what the individual scores mean in the context of overall norms for the test and the background of the adolescent.

Resources

BOOKS

Keirsey, David. Please Understand Me II. Del Mar, CA: Prometheus Nemesis Book Co., 2002.

PERIODICALS

Folger, Wendy A. et al. "Analysis of MBTI type patterns in college scholars." College Student Journal. 37, no.4 (Dec 2003): 598(6).

Himmelberg, Michele. "Explore your skills, values and personality type to find best job." The Orange County Register. Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service (June 12, 2001): K4909.

Sak, Ugur. "A synthesis of research on psychological types of gifted adolescents." Journal of Secondary Gifted Education. 15, no. 2 (Winter 2004): 70(10).

ORGANIZATIONS

American Psychological Association. Testing and Assessment Office of the Science Directorate. 750 First St., N.E., Washington, DC 20002 (202)3366000 Web site: <www.apa.org/science/testing.html.>.

WEB SITES

The Myers and Briggs Foundation. <www.myersbriggs.org> (accessed September 5, 2004).

Paula Ford-Martin

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Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an instrument designed to evaluate people and provide descriptive profiles of their personality types. Based on the theories of psychologist Carl Jung, it is widely used in the fields of business, education, and psychology.

MBTI was developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs, during World War II. The two women were acquainted with Jung's theories and sought to apply them to help civilians choose wartime jobs well-suited to their personality preferences. Myers and Briggs felt that this would make people happier and more productive in their work. Consulting Psychologists, Inc. (www.cpp-db.com) bought the rights to MBTI in 1975. The company estimates that it administers MBTI testing to 2 million people per year worldwide.

The MBTI system begins with a test in which participants respond to questions that provide clues about their basic outlook or personal preferences. These responses are scored to see where participants' preferences lie within four sets of attributes: extroversion/introversion; sensing/intuiting; thinking/feeling; and judging/perceiving.

The attributes extroversion (E) and introversion (I) are designed to indicate whether a participant derives his or her mental energy primarily from other people or from within. Similarly, the attributes sensing (S) and intuiting (N) explain whether a participant absorbs information best through data and details or through general patterns. The attributes thinking (T) and feeling (F) show whether a participant tends to make decisions based on logic and objective criteria or based on emotional intelligence. Finally, the attributes judging (J) and perceiving (P) indicate whether a participant makes decisions quickly or prefers to take a more casual approach and leave his or her options open.

The MBTI system organizes the four sets of attributes into a matrix of 16 different personality types. Each type is indicated by a four-letter code. For example, ESTJ would designate a person whose primary attributes were extroversion, sensing, thinking, and judging. For each personality type, the MBTI system includes a profile which describes the characteristics common to people who fit into that category.

For example, an article in the Harvard Business Review noted that people who fit into the category ISTP (introverted-sensing-thinking-perceiving) tend to be "cool onlookersquiet, reserved, and analytical; usually interested in impersonal principles, how and why mechanical things work; flashes of original humor," while people of type ENFJ (extroverted-intuiting-feeling-judging) are "sociable, popular; sensitive to praise and criticism; responsive and responsible; generally feel real concern for what others think or want."

MBTI is a popular evaluative tool. Many colleges and universities use it in career counseling to help guide students into appropriate fields for their personality types. In the business world, companies use it to make hiring decisions, identify leadership potential among employees, design training for specific employee needs, facilitate team building, and help resolve conflicts between employees. By giving people an increased understanding of their behavior and preferences, MBTI is said to help them increase their productivity, build relationships, and make life choices.

Proponents of MBTI see the testing system as a valuable aid to personal development and growth. But critics of MBTI argue that its personality profiles are so broad and ambiguous that they can be interpreted to fit almost anyone. Some also worry that, once a university career counselor or employer knows a person's "type," that person might tend to be pigeonholed or pushed in a certain direction regardless of his or her desires. Criticism based on "confirmation bias," namely that people tend to behave in ways that are predicted for them, has been offered but runs counter to experience. This critique asserts that a person who learns that he or she is "outgoing," according to MBTI, will be more likely to behave that way. Temperaments, however, are not that easily influenced by "hear-say": shy people labeled outgoing won't take fire; and schmoozers labeled shy will just continue to babble and hug on.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hirsh, Sandra Krebs, and Jean M. Kummerow. Introduction to Type in Organizations. Consulting Psychologists Press, 2000.

"Identifying How We Think: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument." Harvard Business Review. July-August 1997.

Kahn, Alan R. and Kris Austen Radclifee. Mind Shapes: Understanding the differences in thinking and communication. Paragon House, 2005.

Quenk, Naomi L. Essentials of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment. John Wiley, 1999.

"Training and Development." HRMagazine. January 2006.

                              Hillstrom, Northern Lights

                               updated by Magee, ECDI

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Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Definition

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely-used personality inventory, or test, employed in vocational, educational, and psychotherapy settings to evaluate personality type in adolescents and adults age 14 and older.

Purpose

In an educational setting, the MBTI may be performed to assess student learning style. Career counselors use the test to help others determine what occupational field they might be best suited for, and it is also used in organizational settings to assess management skills and facilitate teamwork and problem-solving, including communication difficulties. Because the MBTI is also a tool for self-discovery, mental health professionals may administer the test in counseling sessions to provide their patients with insight into their behavior.

As of the early 2000s, the MBTI is also being used in the mental health field to assess vulnerability to anxiety disorders and depression. Preliminary results indicate that some of the 16 types are more susceptible to mood disorders than others. ISFPs, for example, are overrepresented among patients in treatment for unipolar depression, while the four ST types appear to be more vulnerable to anxiety states.

Precautions

The MBTI should be administered, scored, and interpreted only by a professional trained in its use. Cultural and language differences in the test subject may affect performance and may result in inaccurate test results. The test administrator should be informed before testing begins if the test taker is not fluent in English and/or he has a unique cultural background.

Description

In 2000, an estimated two million people took the MBTI, making it the most frequently used personality inventory available. The test was first introduced in 1942, the work of a mother and daughter, Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. There are now several different versions of the test available. Form M, which contains 93 items, is the most commonly used.

The Myers-Briggs inventory is based on Carl Jung's theory of types, outlined in his 1921 work Psychological Types. Jung's theory holds that human beings are either introverts or extraverts, and their behavior follows from these inborn psychological types. He also believed that people take in and process information different ways, based on their personality traits.

The Myers-Briggs evaluates personality type and preference based on the four Jungian psychological types:

  • extraversion (E) or introversion (I)
  • sensing (S) or intuition (N)
  • thinking (T) or feeling (F)
  • judging (J) or perceiving (P)

Preparation

Prior to the administration of the MBTI, the test subject should be fully informed about the nature of the test and its intended use. He or she should also receive standardized instructions for taking the test and any information on the confidentiality of the results.

Normal results

Myers-Briggs results are reported as a four-letter personality type (e.g., ESTP, ISFJ). Each letter corresponds to an individual's preference in each of the four pairs of personality indicators (i.e., E or I, S or N, T or F, and J or P). There are a total of sixteen possible combinations of personality types on the MBTI.

Letter One: E or I

Extraverts focus more on people and things in the outside world, introverts on internal thoughts and ideas.

Letter Two: S or N

Sensing dominant personalities prefer to perceive things through sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell, while intuition dominant types look to past experience and are more abstract in their thinking.

Letter Three: T or F

The third subtype is a measure of how people use judgment. Thinking types use logic to judge the world, while feeling types tend to view things on the basis of what emotions they elicit.

Letter Four: J or P

Everyone judges and perceives, but those who are judging dominant are said to be more methodical and results-oriented, while perceiving dominant personalities are good at multitasking and are flexible.

Resources

BOOKS

Quenck, Naomi. Essentials of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1999.

PERIODICALS

Clack, G. B., J. Allen, D. Cooper, and J. O. Head. "Personality Differences between Doctors and Their Patients: Implications for the Teaching of Communication Skills." Medical Education 38 (February 2004): 177-186.

Janowsky, D. S., E. Hong, S. Morter, and L. Howe. "Myers Briggs Type Indicator Personality Profiles in Unipolar Depressed Patients." World Journal of Biological Psychiatry 3 (October 2002): 207-215.

Kameda, D. M., and J. L. Nyland. "Relationship between Psychological Type and Sensitivity to Anxiety." Perceptual and Motor Skills 97 (December 2003): 789-793.

KEY TERMS

Multitasking Performing multiple duties or taking on multiple responsibilities and roles simultaneously.

Vocational Relating to an occupation, career, or job.

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"Myers-Briggs Type Indicator." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Retrieved December 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/myers-briggs-type-indicator-0

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

A personality test that categorizes people according to stated preferences in thinking and perceiving.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assigns people to one of sixteen different categories or types, based on their answers to 126 questions, such as: "How easy or difficult do you find it to present yourself, consistently, over a long period as a person who is patient?" There are 4 different subscales of the test, which purport to measure different personality tendencies. Extraversion-introversion (E-I) distinguishes between people who are sociable and outgoing, versus those who are more inward looking. Sensing-intuition (S-I) sorts people according to their attention to practical realities as opposed to relying on their imagination . Thinking-feeling (T-F) shows the difference between relying on logic versus intuition when making decisions. Finally, judging-perceiving (J-P) refers to one's tendency to analyze and categorize one's experiences, as opposed to responding spontaneously. Sixteen different types emerge from the combination of the above four pairs of traits .

The MBTI is probably the most popular self-insight psychological test in use today, with at least a million people per year completing it. It is widely used in business, industry, educational settings, and government because of its assumed ability to capture people's interests, needs, and values. MBTI profiles are often used in career counseling or as a basis for matching work partners or for selecting tasks that are best suited for one's MBTI type.

With any psychological test, its utility is dependent on its reliability and validity. A reliable test is one that produces consistent results over time. For example, IQ tests have high reliability, inasmuch as your IQ as measured today will not be appreciably different a year from now. The MBTI's reliability is only fair. One study showed that fewer than half of the respondents retained their initial types over a 5-week period. Consequently, we should be careful about making career decisions based on a classification system that is unstable. People change over time as a result of experience. The MBTI may capture a person's current state, but that state should probably not be treated as a fixed typology. Does the MBTI assist in career counseling? Is the test diagnostic of successful performance in particular occupations? These questions pertain to validitythe ability of the test to predict future performance. There have been no long-term studies showing that successful or unsuccessful careers can be predicted from MBTI profiles. Nor is there any evidence that on-the-job performance is related to MBTI scores. Thus, there is a discrepancy between the MBTI's popularity and its proven scientific worth. From the point of view of the test-taker, the MBTI provides positive feedback in the form of unique attributes that are both vague and complimentary, and thus could appeal to large numbers of people. It is possible that the MBTI could be useful as a vehicle for guiding discussions about work-related problems, but its utility for career counseling has not been established.

Timothy Moore

Further Reading

Pittenger, D. "The utility of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator." Review of Educational Research, 63, (1993) 467-488.

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"Myers-Briggs Type Indicator." Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/myers-briggs-type-indicator-1

"Myers-Briggs Type Indicator." Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. . Retrieved December 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/myers-briggs-type-indicator-1