What is Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and why is it so essential? 15 years ago, I started a search for the discovery of my own personality type and now I answered that discovery recently. Let’s explore what MBTI is and why it is important.
In the 1920s, the idea of personality type was being explored by a Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung. Jung discovered that people seemed different in terms of whether they were more extraverted (people who interact with the outside of themselves whether be people or experiences) or introverted (people who focused on themselves whether be thoughts, ideas, feelings, and memories). These that he called “functions” and they are now called cognitive processes. Furthermore, Jung described two kinds of cognitive processes – perception and judgement. “Sensing” (living in the present moment) and “Intuition” (thinking about the future) was about part of the perception function. There were also two functions in the judgement category, “Thinking” and “Feeling.” Jung said that every person acts by using at least one of these four cognitive functions. He later then introduced eight personality types: Extraverted Sensing (Se), Extraverted iNtuition (Ne), Extraverted Thinking (Te), and Extraverted Feeling (Fe). Introverted Sensing (Si), Introverted iNtuition (Ni), Introverted Thinking (Ti), and Introverted Feeling (Fi).
It wasn’t until in the 1940s, Isabel Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, began developing the MBTI containing the eight cognitive functions and labeled the eight functions by a four-letter personality type code. They then added a dichotomy to help the individual understand their type pattern such as “INTP” or “ESFP.” This resulted in creating the sixteen types.
This MBTI personality test can either be administered by an expert or by the individual themselves, I do encourage individuals to pursue the test and when you get the result, be sure to get the whole pattern rather than just the four letters. I made that mistake when I was young where I was attending Wayne State University and they had me take the MBTI test and when I got the result, I just looked at the four letters rather than identifying the cognitive functions. Everyone is an extrovert and introvert or thinking and feeling or intuition and sensing, that’s not the right question to ask, rather how their mental process functions. It took me until the present day to realize that and now I have a better understanding of the instrument.
The result I had was ISFP and now that I understand the instrument, I am INTP. What exactly does that mean? Well think of them as roles in society, don’t pay too much attention only to the titles, but as a whole and their dichotomies indicate the role of the functions. For example, INTP has a dominant function in Introverted Thinking (Ti), their second function is Extroverted iNtuition, their third function is Introverted Sensing (Si) and the inferior function is Extraverted Feeling (Fe). It describes the cognitive functions which basically what shapes our personality, our mental processes. Do note that these are generalized descriptions.
If you’re curious and want to find out more about your personality and/or this MBTI instrument test, I highly encourage you to do so. Have fun!