Who invented the Myers-Briggs test and how does it work?

Written by Angela Atkinson


Myers-Briggs Test – The Story Behind the 16 Personalities (Plus Q&A) Did you know? Two women, Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers are credited with creating the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, the most popular personality test in the world. More than two million people take the MBTI every year.

You can take the test yourself at 16personalities.com.

It is used in 26 countries to assess employees, students, soldiers, and even potential marriage partners. It is used by Fortune 500 companies and universities, in self-improvement seminars and wellness retreats.

Katharine was born in 1875, Isabel was born in 1897. When Katharine died in 1968, the MBTI test was nearly forgotten. But Isabel had codified the method of testing and categorizing personalities and copyrighted in 1943.

In 1968, a third woman, Mary McCaulley, discovered the test and teamed up with Isabel, helping to make the test a more “professional operation.” By 1980, when Isabel passed, the test’s popularity was just taking off.

While it has now become a 2-billion dollar industry, the women were not in it for the money – they actually believe they had discovered a way to help people be happier and also a way to make working more efficient (by putting people in positions that worked for them).

The basic theory behind the MBTI is that there are 16 kinds of people in the world, but that each personality type reduces to a set of elements taken from four either/or binaries.

Everyone is either extroverted or introverted, sensing (meaning relying on sense data) or intuitive, thinking or feeling, judging or perceiving. Your “score” on the test is the combination of the 4 characteristics indicated by your answers to the 93 questions

While it is widely used in organizations and HR departments around the world, the MBTI is also promoted as a means of self-discovery, and that is undoubtedly why it is so widely used today – and it is the purpose of our discussion today.

So, I test as ENFP-A, which is considered the “Campaigner.” What’s your MBTI personality type?

 

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