What is the MBTI? The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality assessment tool. It is used for self-improvement and HR purposes mostly.

Isabel Briggs-Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs, founders of the MBTI, considered 4 different ways of making decisions and 4 different ways of gathering information. They based their personality theory on the works of the psychiatrist, C.G. Jung. They called these ways of thinking “cognitive functions”. People use 4 cognitive functions – in a certain order – which makes them a certain ‘personality type’. According to the Myers-Briggs personality theory, there are 16 different personality types.

Using the MBTI results can help improve communication between people who think differently and help you understand how your own mind functions. Recruiters often use this test to create balanced teams and to position people in roles where they can grow.

Technically, the “MBTI” designates the personality test, the tool. The ‘Myers-Briggs personality theory’ explains how and why the different combinations of cognitive functions make up a certain personality type. However, MBTI and “Myers-Briggs personality theory” are often used interchangeably.

How does the MBTI work? Usually one takes the test with a certified MBTI practitioner, then the expert helps refine the results through a discussion with a person being tested. As a personality type “indicator”, the MBTI is limited in assessing your “personality” and can only measure your preferences in how you make decisions and how your minds gather information. In other words, the MBTI doesn’t put you in a box forever. It only indicates how your mind works.

The MBTI measures…

  • 4 different ways of making decisions (known as judging functions).

What is important to you when you make a decision? The 4 ‘judging’ functions explain this.

  • 4 different approaches to gathering information (known as ‘perceiving’ functions).

What does your brain think is important when you look around? People don’t pick up on the same things. Again, the 4 perceiving functions answer that.

Everyone is able to use all the different processes of thinking mentioned above. However, it is our 4 favorite ones that make us a certain MBTI personality type.

Do you want to learn more about the theory itself? Check out this article. The MBTI theory explained (for dummies).

The MBTI doesn't tell you who you are

In other words, the MBTI does not determine your personality per se. It doesn’t assess your identity; whether you are “kind, smart, respectful, or petty, evil and mean”. The MBTI cannot assess what you like, your political stance, your culture, or even what you can or cannot do in life. It describes thinking processes you use every day.

The thinking processes described are based on C.G. Jung’s theory on psychological types in the field of analytical psychology. People who use the MBTI without any knowledge of analytical psychology will struggle to understand how the MBTI truly works.

Many criticisms of the MBTI come from people who don’t know that the use of the MBTI requires background knowledge.

You can start learning now. That might be the reason why you’re here. Welcome.

What is the MBTI used for?

The MBTI allows you to understand yourself and others better. It put words on how our brains function. You can use this information for self-improvement and for better self-care. It can highly improve your communication with the outside world.

By revealing how you process information and make decisions, the MBTI can reveal if you’re stuck in one way of thinking and could develop another to help you see new perspectives and work on your weaknesses.

However, if you are looking for a tool to tell you who you are, especially in an “objective” and “scientific” way… It doesn’t exist. The MBTI can help you, though, improve some of your strengths and weaknesses and your relationship with others.

Even if the MBTI doesn’t tell you who you are, it is considered a personality theory. It assesses subjective traits – not all the personality traits that exist in the world but specific ones defined by the MBTI creators – which help understand someone’s actions and reactions. That is in itself an indicator of someone’s personality. Every personality theory can only assess certain traits. They all have limits.

Learn more about the MBTI

Why do recruiters and therapists love the MBTI? Understand the theory itself. Check out this article.

If you want to learn more about the limits of the MBTI and what it is not, stay tuned, why not consider subscribing?

Let us know why you’re interested in the MBTI yourself. Leave a comment below:

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