How relevant are MBTI tests in understanding behavioral patterns?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a test that measures how people perceive the world and make decisions. It’s based on the theory that people come to this world with natural tendencies toward specific ways of thinking and acting. As a result, they can be classified into what are commonly known as personality types.

If you’re interested in health and wellness, psychology or social work, the MBTI is so renowned that you’ll likely encounter it in your studies. If you’re interested in other theories on behavior, going back to school may be the ticket. You’ll be able to pursue leading programs, such as the Spalding social work master’s degree, that provide deep insights into the human mind. Moreover, as Spalding University believes, understanding human behavior is vital toward creating a “just society through refelective practice and advocacy.”

Widely used in the business world and even the US Air Force, the MBTI is a topic we should explore more deeply.


Intro to the MBTI test

Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Meyers initially developed the MBTI test based on Carl Jung’s book, Psychology Types. Moreover, they created it to understand the ways in which people are different and how they can work together better. During this time, the field of psychology was growing exponentially. For the first time, there was a need for a standardized way of looking at the differences between people. In the 1940s, the MBTI test formally launched as a commercial product. Today, it is used by a variety of organizations and businesses as a way to understand their employees better.


What is a personality type?

A personality type is how someone understands themselves and the world around them. It represents a person’s innate preferences. In short, it’s how they perceive their environment and make decisions based on their surroundings. There are 16 personality types in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Each type was formed by adding together two characteristics from each Jungian personality type.

Let’s take ISFJ (Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging) as an example. The first letter represents how the person relates to the external world. So, in the case of ISFJ, the person is Introverted. That means they prefer to spend time alone to recharge than with others.

The second letter represents how the person likes to process information. In the case of ISFJ, the person is a Sensor, which means they prefer to look at facts and patterns instead of imagination.

The third letter represents how the person makes decisions. In this case, the person is a Feeler and makes decisions based on emotions.

Finally, the last letter denotes the role the person takes in life. In the case of ISFJ, the person is a Judge, which means they prefer to plan and make decisions in advance.


Interpreting the results of an MBTI test and benefits

Interpretation largely depends on the purpose of the test. For the most part, if a person is taking the test for their own understanding, it’s essential to keep things in perspective. People are likely to identify themselves as one type or another, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change. When considering the results of the test, it’s more important to understand that every person has a specific set of strengths and challenges.

Similarly, if the test is used to understand an organization better, it’s best to compare the results of the different people within the organization. Furthermore, no two people are the same, and neither are their personalities, which means it’s impossible to say that one type is better than the other.

Still, some benefits of taking the test include the following:

  • A personality test can be a fun way to understand yourself and others better
  • It’s a great way of engaging people in conversations about themselves and finding common ground
  • It’s an exciting activity with a group of people
  • Personality tests are good icebreakers for a new group of people who don’t know each other


Much more than four letters

It’s important to remember that a person’s personality comprises much more than just four letters. Also, a personality test isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to better understanding yourself and others. So, consider the results like a snapshot of a particular time and situation. A personality test is just another tool to gain perspective about yourself and others.

Share With Friend