Term Paper: Myers Briggs Indicator Test

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¶ … Myers Briggs Indicator test is based upon the psychological theories of Carl J. Jung, a contemporary and once student of Freud, and is among a group of several personality assessment tools that attempt to apply psychological theory to personality typing. The original impetus of the development of the test was a personal one, effecting a way that Katharine Cook Briggs might be able to better understand the differences between people within her social circle. In part Briggs was interested in a better understanding of her son-in law (husband to Isabel Briggs Myers). Eventually Myers and Briggs teamed up to develop the first variations of the test based upon Jungian psychology as well as personal and social observations they compiled during a long phase of "incubation." The correlations between Briggs, and Jung are described by one group of scholars, thusly;

Briggs's meditative type was consistent with Jung's introverts; her spontaneous type corresponded with Jung's perceptive extraverts; her executive type corresponded with Jung's extraverted thinking types; and her sociable type corresponded with Jung's extraverted feeling types. (Watkins, 2000, p. 112)

The challenge of overcoming the many technical difficulties of the testing process were formidable but eventually the pair came to a working model, with Katharine Briggs' theory, derived from Jung studies and experience and Myers near constant formulating and testing.

Isabel Myers began by creating forced-choice questions that were intended to let people indicate the effects of Jungian preferences in everyday life. Almost at once she discovered type differences in the way people interpreted the question choices; as a result, each choice is presented in the frame of reference of the types for whom it is intended. In this way, questions became a "stimulus to evoke a type response." Myers understood that type theory was complex and sophisticated; the questions were not intended to tap the theory directly, but to be "straws in the wind," showing which way the wind blows. (Watkins, 2000, p. 112)

The early development of the test was intended for the purpose of research only, and not as a general manner in which to classify and quantify people, based on the standards of the personality exam. This is despite the fact that Myers was meticulous in her development of the questions and standards.

Working alone at home, with only family financial support, Isabel Myers painstakingly constructed a series of versions of the MBTI. She collected data on over 9,000 high-school students, over 5,000 medical students, and over 10,000 nursing students, hand scoring the answer sheets. (Watkins, 2000, p. 112)

According to those who evaluate the test, the test is not a test as in right or wrong answers but is a way of letting an individual indicate preferences between what are considered equally valuable opposites, that are based upon Jung's theory developments.

Results on the MBTI can be used to help people understand their reactions to situations, their relationships with other people, and their career interests. The MBTI measures preferences on four dichotomous scales: extroversion-introversion (E-I); sensing-intuition (S-N); thinking-feeling (T-F); and judging-perceiving (J-P). Some of the words that describe the contrasting preferences on each of these scales are given in Figure 4.(8) Peoples' results on the MBTI are expressed as a four letter combination which represents one of sixteen possible types. The sixteen types suggest differences in peoples' preferences but do not suggest that people of any type are better or worse than people of other types.(9) (Mani, 1995, p. 365)

The test when used correctly and interpreted by someone who is well trained to do so can help an individual significantly, with regard especially to self-judgment, something individuals are not always adept at. Though there is clearly controversy regarding this and other personality tests, especially with regard to "knockoff" and simplified tests being run across the full breadth of possible sources and locations, the MBIT is often considered on of the best personality tests available, due to its complexity and the borrowed interest on character trait balance inherited from Jung. ("The Psyche on Paper," 2004, p. B08)

The scales of the MBTI demonstrate four bipolar and discretely dichotomous or opposite preferences, each which is designated by a letter. The preferences include extroversion (E) vs. introversion (I) which is purported to report the individual's attitudes toward the inner and outer worlds, sensing perception (S) or intuitive perception (N), which is described as the "balance between perceiving the present realities (S) or envisioning future possibilities (N)." (Watkins, 2000, p. 114) the third scale is thinking judgement (T) or feeling judgement (F) which is described as the manner in which an individual either reaches judgements through impersonal logicl or through personal values. Lastly, the forth scale is perceiving (P) or judging (J) which is purported to be the balance an individual reaches between taking in information (P) or drawing conclusions (J). (Watkins, 2000, pp. 114-115)

Individual indications are designated by the balance between all four of these scales (which designates 8 letters) to make up the 16 types that describe the individual like ISTJ, ENFP or ESFJ. These types will be better explained in the table later in the work. The types are arranged in a standard order, which is described in the type table, in such a way that all the neighboring groups share 3 character traits with those around them on the scale. According to the theory, type is a reflection of the balance of opposites, a fundamental aspect of human growth, according to Jung, in a sense the idea being that the "most" balanced person is likely the one who is most adaptable to any given situation. Additionally all the type groups use all of the preferences including E, I, S, N, T, F, J and P. But not in the same manner and in each group the other designations modify the first and vice versa.

A in each of the 16 types, the pattern of interests and skills associated with one preference is modified by the other three preferences. For example, the extraverted attitude appears differently in ESTJ (a tough-minded executive type) and in ESFJ (a helpful, sociable type.) (Watkins, 2000, p. 115)

According to the original Jung theory each type is indicative of a particular type of conscious mental activity and these theories are elaborated on to form additional concrete ideals, as they are associated with skills of thinking and acting. The sensing type (S) (balanced with intuitive perceiving) is indicative of certain personal characteristics such as: "realism, acute powers of observation, memory for details, practical common sense, and the ability to enjoy the present moment." (Watkins, 2000, p. 115) According to the theory the sensing scale influenced by other instruments will include characteristics like a "practical outlook, economic interests, conventional, natural, favors conservative values, uncomfortable with complexity, contented." (Watkins, 2000, p. 115) Additionally the theory associates the sensing designation as one that correlates with scores for "banker, management, skilled and unskilled trades, clerks, accounting and any other fields requiring close attention to detain." (Watkins, 2000, p. 115)

The definitive designations for intuitive perceiving (N) are those associated with the capacity to see the possible outcomes or futures by intangible means such as symbols and abstractions in a way that Jung describes as "perception by way of the unconscious." (Watkins, 2000, p. 116) "For example, when a person uses sensing to describe a peanut, the words are likely to be crisp, rough, shiny on the inside, two symmetrical nuts." While in comparison a person using intuition to describe the same object they might use a series of symbolic systems, "peanut butter, take me out to the ball game, elephants, or George Washington Carver." (Watkins, 2000, p. 116) the MBTI manual reports that the N. scale in conjunction with other scale designations might signify "complexity, academic interests, individualistic, artistic, creative, theoretical, foresighted, resourceful." (Watkins, 2000, p. 116) the list of occupations that are common to those who have a strong intuitive trait are; "councilor, artist, physicist, chemist, reporter, foreign language teacher -- all fields requiring skills in dealing with abstractions and patterns of symbols." (Watkins, 2000, p. 116)

The thinking judging (T) designation is described as the process of reasoned thought that helps the individual reach conclusions using the logic of cause and effect. This type of designation is associated with analytical ability, objectivity, critical judgment, skepticism and a serious concern for fairness and justice. "Significant correlations between T. And other instruments include mechanical, skeptical, masculine orientation, theoretical, distrust, dominance." (Watkins, 2000, p. 116) the people who designate high in these areas tend to choose or do well in occupations that require skills that are needed to make sense of the inanimate, highly peppered with logic and/or mathematics, which includes; "engineering, business, sciences, computer technologies, and other technical fields." (Watkins, 2000, p. 116)

Feeling judging (F) personalities weigh values and the merits of individuals, objects and concepts to reach conclusions. This designation is associated with "appreciation, empathy, desire for harmony, and an understanding and concern for other people." (Watkins, 2000, p. 116) People who… [END OF PREVIEW]

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