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MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR

History of MBTI Carl G. Jung, MD (1875-1961), the Swiss psychiatrist who founded Analytical Psychology, developed the concept of psychological types.  Then Katherine Briggs (1875-1968) and her daughter, Isabel Myers (1897-1980), designed, developed, and tested a psychological types survey, which ultimately resulted in the MBTI that would measure and validate the dimensions developed by Jung.

In 1943, Isabel Briggs Myers expanded upon Jung's work and her mother's work by publishing the first Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality preference survey. Myers wanted to help people understand themselves and others so they could all understand and realize their full human potential. Myers tested the validity of the MBTI in the longest running longitudinal assessment of its time using over 5,000 medical students at George Washington School of Medicine and over 10,000 nursing students between 1944 and 1956. In 1957, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) published the MBTI as the validity studies continued. By 1975, the MBTI was the most widely available personality preference assessment tool for clinical psychologists and counselors in America. Currently it is the most extensively used personality instrument in history.

MBTI: Dimensions The four continuums of typology include extraversion-introversion (EI), sensing-intuition (SN), thinking-feeling (TF), and judging-perceiving (JP).

The first typology, Extraversion-Introversion (EI), identifies the personality preference for whether individuals prefer the external world (extraverts) or internal world (introverts) and how they gain energy from their preferred world. Extraverts prefer to have an interest in the world of people and things while introverts prefer to have an interest in the world of concepts and ideas. Hence, extraverts gravitate more toward people while introverts gravitate more toward concepts. Also, extroverts move quickly through their world with little deliberation while introverts move in a more considered direction with much deliberation. Extroverts' life results are more extensive while introverts' life results are more profound. In the American adult population, 49.3% are extraverts and 50.7% are introverts (based on 2003 data).

The second typology, Sensing-Intuition (SN), identifies the preference for what individuals naturally pay attention to when in their preferred world (external or internal). Sensing individuals (S) use their five senses to collect concrete information around them in the external world. If they cannot identify the origin of this concrete information with one of their five senses, they mistrust the information gathered. Therefore, sensing individuals process this information consciously (not with the unconscious), which slows down their processing speed, but they mistrust spontaneously appearing data (intuition, gut feeling), unlike intuitives. Intuitives (N) use their sixth sense to collect abstract information around them from their internal world, often ignoring the concrete data right in front of them in the external world. The intuitive processes information with the unconscious, often with extraordinary speed; the result of this unconscious processing is then filtered into the conscious mind, which leads to feelings of inspiration and certainty (confidence). Behaviorally, sensing individuals read what is on the page while intuitives read between the lines. In the American adult population, 73.3% of individuals are sensing while only 26.7% are intuitives (based on 2003 data).

The third typology, Thinking-Feeling (TF), identifies individual preferences for the processes used to make decisions (coming to conclusions) about the information gathered through sensing-intuition (SN). Thinkers (Ts) like to be logical, organized with their facts and ideas, and impersonal (unbiased) about their goal (objective truth). Therefore, they tend to be viewed as impersonal because they view their truth as independent of their and others' personalities and wishes (objective), which creates problems when dealing effectively with people. Feelers (Fs) like to determine a personal, subjective value, such as whether a concept or idea has value (good or bad; pleasing or displeasing; supporting or threatening) and are people-oriented. Therefore, feelers are more adept with human relationships. Thinkers may proclaim, this is the truth while feelers need only say, this is valuable to me.  Due to socialization practices in America, the only preference with a marked gender preference is the thinker-feeler typology. While 40.2% of adult Americans are thinkers and 59.8% are feelers, 56.5% of men are thinkers and 43.5% are feelers while 24.5% of women are thinkers and 75.5% are feelers (based on 2003 data).

Finally, the fourth typology, Judging-Perceiving (JP), describes individual preferences for living in the external world in a structured (making decisions) or spontaneous (continuously taking in information) manner. Judging individuals (Js) like orderliness in their lives, are highly structured, and use the facts gathered to be decisive about decision-making, which is why they prefer to come to a conclusion immediately, seemingly with much finality. Perceiving individuals (Ps) like to live life, act spontaneously, and experience and understand life. They are open to continuously collecting information for decision-making rather than erring toward decisiveness and conclusion. Therefore, perceivers may be viewed as those who are unwilling or unable to make a decision. Often, they will wait until the last moment before making a decision, if then. Perceivers often view the judgers as rushing toward judgment and are horrified by such eagerness to decide a matter. In the adult American population, 54.1% are judgers and 45.9% are perceivers (based on 2003 data).

MBTI: Combinations of Dimensions Isabel Briggs Myers viewed the combinations of the functions of perception (SN) and the functions of judgment (TF) as extremely important since they are often viewed as the preferred learning style of individuals.

STs use sensing for perception and thinking for making judgments. They are considered the practical and matter-of-fact types because of their persistent interest in facts and things, rather than concepts and people. They are perceived as practical and matter-of-fact because they use impersonal analysis on facts (not people issues), which often leads them into technical areas of expertise with facts and objects.

SFs use sensing for perception and feeling for making judgments. They are considered the sympathetic and friendly types. While they prefer to gather data with their first five senses (perception), they employ a subjective approach based on their personal value system for making judgments. This preference leads them to an interest in facts about people rather than facts about things. SFs are conscientious and loyal. They use their personal warmth to analyze facts, which leads them to express their sympathetic and friendly natures. They enjoy offering practical help and services for others in need. This preference for helping others is not the same as preferring relationships with people.

NTs use intuition for perception and thinking for making judgments. They are considered the logical and ingenious types because they prefer to focus on the structure and/or management of people. They prefer to be objective while focusing on abstract patterns, possibilities, and theoretical relationships. Their non-personal style and cause-and-effect focus leads them into theoretical, scientific, technical, or executive work where a focus on the human element is often secondary. They are adept at intricate problem-solving within their area of expertise, which affords them the reputation of being ingenious in their field. Their non-personal analyses of the various possibilities often leads them to theoretical and technical developments.

NFs use intuition for perception and feeling for making judgments. They are considered the enthusiastic and insightful types who prefer to focus on possibilities and relationships, whether of ideas and/or people. They are viewed as sympathetic and friendly, but their focus on future possibilities means they are often oblivious of the concrete facts before them (in the present). Rather than have a focus on facts, they have a focus on underlying facts (reading between the lines), symbolic meanings, and theoretical relationships, which they use to enhance personal relationships and benefit humankind. They tend to have a gift for communication, written and oral, which they use to their advantage to disseminate their life's message gleaned from personal insights and their personal value system. Their personal warmth, focused on possibilities, results in them becoming enthusiastic and insightful, especially in the areas of understanding and communicating with people.

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