The Myers-Briggs Personality Test

After observing her future son-in-law and realising how differently he sees and interacts with the external world Katharine Cook Briggs delved into a course of self-study of people. After reading several biographies she came up with the theory that there are distinctly different personality types. However, sometime before this a Swiss psychiatrist and student of Sigmund Freud, Carl G. Jung, posed his own theories on the existence of different personality types, and published his theories. He posited that what appears to be random behaviours in different people, is really the result of differing preferences of ways to use individual mental capacities.

personality test

After Jung’s publication was translated into English, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers put into practical use for the layman what was technically difficult to read in Jung’s text. From this came the idea that there are sixteen different personality types.

There are four dichotomies that make up these sixteen personality types. They are:

  • Where individuals their Energy from
  • The types of Information an individual prefers to pay attention to
  • How a person prefers to make her Decisions
  • The Lifestyle a person prefers to lead

The dichotomies in Energy are Extraverson (E)and Introversion (I). In this case Extraversion, not Extroversion, and Introversion refers to where people prefer to focus their attention in energy gathering. Where an person inclined toward Extraversion will soak up external energy, like a solar panel, an individual who prefers Introversion will get their energy from their inner self, or personal environment, like a rechargeable battery.

16 personality types

The second dichotomy, Information, come from Sensing (S) and Intuition (N). This dichotomy seeks to explain the type of information a person will prefer to pay attention to. An individual who prefers Sensing will prefer information that is tangible, and concrete. These people will pay attention to small details and facts because the meaning of something is in the data whereas a person who prefers intuition may appear to have no plan of action. People who prefer intuition will prefer freedom of variety, and may resist structure, rules or plans.

The third dichotomy separates decision makers into Thinking (T) and Feeling (F). A thinker will look to principles and logic when making decisions where as a feeler will make decisions from their personal feelings and values.

The fourth dichotomy describes the two types of lifestyles people prefer to lead, Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). A person who prefers the Judging end of the dichotomy prefers to be planned, organised, and may complete projects in a step-by-step manner. An individual inclined to Perceiving will prefer flexibility and freedom of variety, and may leave projects to be completed until the last minute.