The Relationship between the Revised NEO-Personality Inventory and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

By Furnham, Adrian; Moutafi, Joanna et al. | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, January 1, 2003 | Go to article overview

The Relationship between the Revised NEO-Personality Inventory and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator


Furnham, Adrian, Moutafi, Joanna, Crump, John, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


This study investigated the relationship between two of the most widely used personality measures, the Revised NEO Personality Inventory and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. A total of 900 participants completed the NEO PI-R and the MBTI. Correlational analysis of the personality measures showed that NEO PI-R Extraversion was correlated with MBTI Extraversion-Introversion, Openness was correlated with Sensing-Intuition, Agreeableness with Thinking-Feeling and Conscientiousness with Judging-Perceiving, replicating the findings of McCrae & Costa (1989).

Key words: personality, Big 5, MBTI

Amongst the inventories used to measure personality constructs, two of the most popular are the Revised NEO-Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) (Costa & McCrae, 1992) and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) (Myers & McCaulley, 1985). The former is mostly used in the academic research area, while the latter is mostly used in the applied field of counseling and management training (Carskadon, 1979; Devito, 1985). Although the two tests differ in a number of ways, researchers have recently been focusing on the investigation of similarities between them (McCrae & Costa, 1989).

The NEO PI-R was developed by Costa and McCrae (1992) and measures five higher-order dimensions of personality, called the Five Factor Model (FFM). Neuroticism may be described as the tendency to experience negative emotions, notably anxiety, depression and anger. Extraversion refers to high activity, sociability and a tendency to experience positive emotions. Openness to experience represents the tendency to involve in intellectual activities and new experiences. Agreeableness refers to friendly, considerate, and modest behavior, while Conscientiousness is associated with persistence, self-discipline, and need for achievement. Each of these five superfactors is composed of six primary factors. Although the FFM did not derive from any single theory of personality, there is abundant evidence that its scales operationalize on a number of theoretical perspectives (McCrae & Costa, 1989). It has also received much empirical support and it is one of the most widely used tests in personality research (Furnham, 1996).

The MBTI was developed by Myers (1962) as an objective measure of jung's theory of psychological types. The test measures four internally consistent and relatively uncorrelated personality traits, namely Extraversion-Introversion (EI), Sensing-Intuition (SN), Thinking-Feeling (TF) and judgment-Perception (JP). Extraversion refers to a person whose mental processes are directed at the external world whereas Introversion refers to an orientation towards the internal world. Judging and Perceiving are two processes by which we perceive and then act upon information; Perceiving is concerned with directly receiving information without evaluation and judging is concerned with organizing and processing information. Sensing and Intuition are two alternative ways of perceiving information; Sensing involves receiving information directly through the senses, whereas Intuition involves discovering possibilities which might not be immediately obvious from sensory data. Thinking and Feeling are two alternative ways of judging information; Thinking involves the logical analysis of information in terms of the strict principles of cause and effect and Feeling involves identifying the emotional value that is attached to objects or events.

Psychological type is given by a four-letter code (e.g, ESTP) and there are thus 16 personality types in total. However, this has led to criticisms of the MBTI on the basis that there is no bimodal distribution of preference scores in reality (Furnham, 1996). The MBTI has also been criticized in that there is no support for the typological theory on which it is based (Hicks, 1984; Sticker & Ross, 1964) and that it has low construct validity (Saggino, Cooper & Kline, 2001).

Based on the claim that the Jungian concepts which underlie the MBTI have been distorted, McCrae and Costa (1989) attempted to reinterpret the MBTI from the perspective of the FFM in two analyses, one considering the four MBTI scales as discrete and one considering them as continuous variables. …

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