The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contridictory. I was naive, I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself.
-- Ralph Ellison
Theories of personality types that were developed by C. G. Jung, and described in Chapter 2 on theoretical influences of cognitive styles have direct implications for the development of The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), an instrument that is often used to assess personality and cognitive preferences. The MBTI is designed to identify individual cognitive preferences through the use of a self-report test for grades nine through college level and for adults.
The MBTI is primarily concerned with the valuable differences in people that result from where they like to focus their attention, the way they like to take in information, the way they like to decide, and the kind of lifestyle they adopt. ( Myers and Myers, 1980, 2)
In the early 1900s, Katherine C. Briggs started a systematic study of personality types in human interactions. Her focus was individual behavior related to experience and information processing. At the same time she spent a great deal of time reading biographies.
With her discovery of the work of Jung, she began to realize that his descriptions of psychological types were compatible with her interests in personality development. After a prolonged study of Jung's personality theory, Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers,