The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) is the most widely used personality-typing instrument presently in use. It is provided in several different languages and has been proven to be statistically valid and reliable. It is used by many corporations, universities, governmental agencies, and the military to enhance team performance, communications, and organizational development. It is also used by individuals to better understand their behavior and ability to interface with members of their family or work environment.

The MBTI® was developed by the mother and daughter combination of Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs in an effort to operationalize the theories of the renowned psychiatrist Karl Jung. It was used successfully during World War II in placing civilians in jobs required by the war effort. It has since been revised several times and is constantly being tested for validity and reliability.

The instrument itself addresses an individual’s preference for four personality traits . The first acknowledges the individual’s preference for extraversion or introversion . This dichotomy indicates how the individual views the world around him/her and whether they are energized by others and their surroundings or prefer to address the inner world of ideas and concepts.

The second dichotomy considers how the individual takes in data or information. This can be either through the concrete method of sensing or the more abstract method of intuition. Differences between individuals in this area can create significant problems regarding how reality is viewed and consequently how individuals view each other.

The third dichotomy is the only one that is affected by the individual’s gender. It indicates how information is used by the individual in making decisions. The more logical and objective method is referred to as the thinking function and is preferred by 60% of males. The more value related and subjective method is referred to as feeling and is preferred by 60% of women. These differences can create significant communication difficulties at home and at work and understanding this function can greatly enhance the functioning of an organization or family unit.

Finally, the judging/perceiving attitudes indicate how an individual organizes and operates in the outside world. This dichotomy is usually the easiest one to spot if you are type watching. The judging type will be systematic and decisive, while the perceiving type will be random and open-ended. Differences in the way we conduct our outer lives can be quite annoying to those of the opposite attitude and need to be understood.

Four Personality Traits

  • Viewing the World – Introvert or Extrovert
  • Take in Data/Information – Sensing or Intuition
  • Decision Making – Thinking or Feeling
  • Organizes the External World – Judging or Perceiving