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I recently completed a graduate school course on psychological testing and assessment.  In this course we learned about various intelligence, personality and aptitude assessments.  We were required to administer two of the tests:  the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Taylor- Johnson Temperament Analysis (T-JTA).  The MBTI was, by far, the most interesting and useful-to-me of the assessment tools we studied.  Over the next several weeks I plan to do a series of posts about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, beginning with this post about the history of the MBTI and what it measures.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was created by the mother-daughter duo Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, was based on the work of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, and was first published in 1962.  According to one source:

When World War II began, Isabel Myers sought a way to help by finding a means for people to understand rather than destroy each other. In addition, she noticed many people taking jobs out of patriotism, but hating the tasks that went against their grain instead of using their gifts. She decided it was time to put Jung’s ideas about type to practical use. A type indicator was needed.

The Myers-Briggs was born out of a desire to help people perform in the way that they naturally best perform.  It was the vision of Myers and Briggs to help America and it’s workers be more efficient and more fulfilled while the country attempted to heal itself from the damage inevitably caused by the physical and emotional destruction of war.

As mentioned earlier, the MBTI is based on the Jungian typological functions.  The attitude types are Extroversion (E) and Introversion (I).  The function types are Feeling (F) and Thinking (T).  The sensation types are Intuiting (N) and Sensing (S).  The fourth parameter was added by Briggs and Myers and includes the functions of Judging (J) and Perceiving (P). In the posts that follow in this series I will explain what each of these functions means and how each one manifests alone and in conjunction with the other functions and combinations of functions.

It’s very easy to take a quick test (I’ll recommend one at the end of this post) and find out your type.  It’s useful to know your type and it may put into perspective many things about your personality, habits and interests.  It is equally important, however, to increase your self-understanding (and your understanding of others) by going a bit further than your four-letter type and understanding your dominant, auxiliary, tertiary and inferior functions.

For now, I will leave you with a link to an free online test based on the MBTI.  While this test is not the actual Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, it was one that my professors recommended that we take ourselves in order to discover our type without having to use the expensive testing materials on ourselves.  I had my test subject take both the online test and the actual MBTI and the results were accurate. Here is the link to the free online version of the test.  Take it, find out your four letter type, poke around the descriptions and come back next Thursday for more information on the MBTI!

I must add, at this point, that while I have been taught, studied, and administered the MBTI, I do not, at this time, hold a legal designation in the professional fields of psychology, psychometry or psychotherapy.

Read all of the posts in the MBTI series.

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