Myers Briggs

Many of the pioneering studies for the
Myers Briggs Type Indicator were done
with high school and college students.
The information gathered from the original

studies is still utilised in conjunction with
ongoing data collection from colleges and
universities to provide a
current wealth of
information about how personality
affects learning and teaching styles.

Beginning with Jung

Carl Jung (1875-1961) was a well known Swiss psychiatrist, and it was his work which Myers and Briggs based their respected Type Indicator upon. Jung was an influential thinker, theoretical psychologist and practising clinician, who considered the process of Individuation* necessary for a person to become whole.

*Individuation is the psychological process of integrating the conscious with the unconscious,
while still maintaining conscious autonomy. It is the central concept of analytical psychology.[1]

Jung theorised that “much seemingly random variation” in human behaviour is “actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgement.” [2]

  • Perception – all the ways of becoming aware of things, people, happenings, or ideas.
  • Judgement – all the ways of coming to conclusions about what has been perceived.

Jung recognised that differences in perceptions and judgements meant that it was entirely reasonable for individuals to differ also in their interests, reactions, values, motivations and skills.

Jung specified four divisions of personality:

  • Favourite world
  • Information
  • Decisions
  • Structure

Daughter & Mother

In the 1940’s and 50’s, Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, developed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in an effort to make Jung’s theory accessible and useful for regular people. Their work is continued still, by the Myers Briggs Foundation.

Myers Briggs, as they developed their Type Indicator, used two alternatives within each of Jung’s divisions. These alternatives and their variant combinations identified and described sixteen distinct personality types.

  • Favourite world
    1. a focus on the outer world – [E]xtraversion or
    2. a focus on the inner world – [I]ntroversion
  • Information
    1. a focus o n the basic information taken in – [S]ensing or
    2. a focus on interpreting and adding meaning to info rmation – I[N]tuition
  • Decisions
    1. preferring to look at logic and consistency – [T]hinking or
    2. preferring to look at people and special circumstances – [F]eeling
  • Structure
    1. preferring to get things decided – [J]udging or
    2. preferring to stay open to new information and options [P]erceiving

Sixteen Types

It is important to remember that all types are equal. This kind of testing simply sorts preferences, and each combination of preferences is just as important and valuable as another – no attempt is made to measure trait, ability, or character.

MBTI 16 types - Myers-Briggs

Image by Las Valley 702 via Flickr

In saying that, it is interesting to note that the world is not divided into even statistical divisions for each of personality type. This table is a guide to how individually the breakdowns are distributed. People who are ESTJ and ISTJ are in the largest groups, at 12% each, while people who are ESTP have the smallest representation at just 3%. So if you are, or you are home educating a child who is Extroverted, yet Thinking, Sensing and Perceiving, you’re dealing with a rare and special individual indeed. 🙂

Below, we examine the characteristics of the sixteen types a little more closely.[3]


Flexible and tolerant, they take a pragmatic approach focused on immediate results. Theories and conceptual explanations bore them – they want to act energetically to solve the problem. Focus on the here-and-now, spontaneous, enjoy each moment that they can be active with others. Enjoy material comforts and style. Learn best through doing.

Practical, realistic, matter-of-fact. Decisive, quickly move to implement decisions. Organize projects and people to get things done, focus on getting results in the most efficient way possible. Take care of routine details. Have a clear set of logical standards, systematically follow them and want others to also. Forceful in implementing their plans.

Outgoing, friendly, and accepting. Exuberant lovers of life, people, and material comforts. Enjoy working with others to make things happen. Bring common sense and a realistic approach to their work, and make work fun. Flexible and spontaneous, adapt readily to new people and environments. Learn best by trying a new skill with other people.

Warm-hearted, conscientious, and cooperative. Want harmony in their environment, work with determination to establish it. Like to work with others to complete tasks accurately and on time. Loyal, follow through even in small matters. Notice what others need in their day-by-day lives and try to provide it. Want to be appreciated for who they are and for what they contribute.

Quick, ingenious, stimulating, alert, and outspoken. Resourceful in solving new and challenging problems. Adept at generating conceptual possibilities and then analysing them strategically. Good at reading other people. Bored by routine, will seldom do the same thing the same way, apt to turn to one new interest after another.

Frank, decisive, assume leadership readily. Quickly see illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems. Enjoy long-term planning and goal setting. Usually well informed, well read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.

Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.

Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone,want to help others fulfil their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership.


Tolerant and flexible, quiet observers until a problem appears, then act quickly to find workable solutions. Analyse what makes things work and readily get through large amounts of data to isolate the core of practical problems. Interested in cause and effect, organize facts using logical principles, value efficiency.

Quiet, serious, earn success by thoroughness and dependability. Practical, matter-of-fact, realistic, and responsible. Decide logically what should be done and work toward it steadily, regardless of distractions. Take pleasure in making everything orderly and organized – their work, their home, their life. Value traditions and loyalty.

Quiet, friendly, sensitive, and kind. Enjoy the present moment, what’s going on around them. Like to have their own space and to work within their own time frame. Loyal and committed to their values and to people who are important to them. Dislike disagreements and conflicts, do not force their opinions or values on others.

Quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious. Committed and steady in meeting their obligations. Thorough, painstaking, and accurate. Loyal, considerate, notice and remember specifics about people who are important to them, concerned with how others feel. Strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work and at home.

Seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible, and adaptable. Have unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Sceptical, sometimes critical, always analytical.


Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed,organize a job and carry it through. Sceptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others.

Idealistic, loyal to their values and to people who are important to them. Want an external life that is congruent with their values. Curious, quick to see possibilities, can be catalysts for implementing ideas. Seek to understand people and to help them fulfil their potential. Adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a value is threatened.

Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.


More Articles on MBTI

Free Online MBTI Testing

  • HumanMetrics – after completing the test, you will obtain your type formula including strengths and preferences, the description of your personality type, and a list of occupations which might appeal to your personality type.
  • SimilarMinds*.
    *This test asks for your gender first, then when you click <next> you’re taken to the test.

There are a great many comprehensive articles about Myers Briggs Type Indicator testing online – it’s well worth doing your own Google search to pursue your interest to your own satisfaction.

“Whatever the circumstances of your life,
the understanding of type can make your
perceptions clearer, your judgements sounder,
and your life closer to your heart’s desire.”
~ Isabel Myers

[1] from Soul Therapy Now: Jung’s Individuation Process
[2] Adapted from an article on the Myers Briggs Foundation website: MBTI Basics
[3] Excerpted from Introduction to Type by Isabel Briggs Myers