A diverse group of people in businesswear stand in a large open office space next to floor-to-ceiling windows.
The Myers-Briggs test has 16 results and each personality type is represented by a four-letter code. How many personality types are represented in your workplace? — Getty Images/Cecilie_Arcurs

If you’ve ever heard someone refer to themselves as an INFJ, they were talking about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Though mainstream science is divided on the accuracy of the test, many people consider the MBTI a helpful tool for personal discovery and growth.

[Read more: What is the CliftonStrengths Assessment, and How Does It Work?]

What is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator?

In 1943, the MBTI was developed by the mother-daughter pair Catherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. The test is based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality types, with the goal of making his ideas accessible to a broader audience.

World War II had a profound impact on Briggs’ desire to create the personality test. She wanted to make the postwar world a better place and believed that could happen if people understood each other better.

Initially, Myers and Briggs began using their assessment on friends and family members. The two women spent the next 20 years developing and refining the MBTI, and published the first assessment in 1962.

How does the test work?

If you’ve ever taken a personality test before, you may already have some sense of how the MBTI works. You’ll start by taking the test and answering a series of questions about your likes, dislikes and preferences.

The test will measure your answers based on the following four categories.

Extroversion (E) – Introversion (I)

The MBTI measures introversion and extroversion differently than the way you’re used to hearing about it. According to the assessment, extroverts are “outward-turning,” tend to enjoy socializing with others and are wired for taking action.

In comparison, introverts are “inward-turning” and tend to prefer spending time alone. They spend more time thinking and enjoy more profound relationships with fewer people.

[Read more: How to Tell if You’re an Introvert or Extrovert at Work]

If you lead with judging, you tend to prefer rules and structure. Those who lean toward perceiving are more flexible and enjoy more spontaneity in their lives.

Sensing (S) – Intuition (N)

This category looks at how people gather information and make judgments about the world around them. Individuals who prefer sensing tend to focus on tangible information. They enjoy hands-on experiences and focus more on the facts of a situation.

In comparison, individuals who lead with their intuition like to look at the big picture. They look for the patterns between the facts and enjoy thinking more about what’s possible.

Thinking (T) – Feeling (F)

Thinkers tend to make decisions based on objective data and logical analysis. They tend to be more practical when making a decision and rarely make decisions based on their emotions. In contrast, feelers will think about what’s important to them and how a decision could impact those around them.

Judging (J) – Perceiving (P)

This final category looks at how an individual lives their lives and interacts with others. If you lead with judging, you tend to prefer rules and structure. Those who lean toward perceiving are more flexible and enjoy more spontaneity in their lives.

How to use the test

Once you’ve finished taking the test, you’ll receive your assessment with an individual report. You’ll also receive an action guide to give you a framework for utilizing your MBTI personality type. There are 16 potential personality types, and each one is expressed as a four-letter code.

You can use the MBTI assessment three different ways, and the pricing will vary depending on which test you choose. The MBTI can provide a good foundation for personal growth, and this option costs $49.95 to get started.

You can also use the test to help you discover the careers that are the best fit for your personality type. If you choose this option, it’ll cost $69.95 to get started. And for $89.95, you can use the test to discover your team’s dynamics and learn more about one another.

[Read more: 8 Personality Tests to Help You Hire the Best Candidate]

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Published July 30, 2021