This Is the Mother-Daughter Duo Behind the Hotly Debated Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Do you know the origins of the controversial Myers–Briggs Type Indicator?

You have probably taken or have known someone who has taken the Myers-Briggs personality test. The multi-question test is used across the globe in major companies, churches, and even in the military.  

For the uninitiated,  the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI is an introspective self-report questionnaire with the aim to showcase how an individual perceives the world, their personal strengths, and weaknesses, and how that individual can go about making better decisions.

Though the test ranges in questions and sizes, people who take the test are sorted into 16 different personality traits within four dichotomies: extroversion or introversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, judging or perceiving.

People use this test to make better career decisions and sometimes even in therapy.

If you always wanted to know the story behind the test, today is your lucky day.

The Women Behind Myers Briggs

The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator was created by the mother-daughter team Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. Considered a prodigy. Katharine Cook Briggs was born in 1875, exploring her passion for psychology while attending college by the age of fourteen. Her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers also shared her passion for psychology.

Both greatly influenced by the founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung, he was the originator of the ideas of Psychological Types; the same types that would later influence the traits in the Myers-Briggs test.

Carl Jung sparked the mother-daughter duo’s desire for understanding human development and a desire to make personality “theory accessible to everyone in a practical way.”

The Myers Briggs Test

After World War II,  the United States was looking for better ways to optimize workers in the booming labor market.

Countless personality tests were available on the market to help employers find the best possible employees. However, Katharine and Isabel created their first indicator for employers.

As stated by Isabel Briggs Myers, “By developing individual strengths, guarding against weaknesses, and appreciating the strengths of other types, life will be more amusing, more interesting, and more of a daily adventure than it could possibly be if everyone were alike.”

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Unlike other tests, the MBTI was not centered around individuals right or wrong or job but redirecting one's personality traits or talents to a job that they are more suited for.

The test was such a hit in the early days that the CIA purchased the type indicator to test what kind of covert operative mission might be best suited to new recruits' personalities. The rest is history.

Though the Myers Briggs test is still used to this day, some argue the validity of the test, arguing that there is very little science behind the test. Nevertheless, the test still holds some value in corporate culture.

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Have you taken the Myers-Briggs test? What is your personality type?