Time to Eat the Dogs

On Science, History, and Exploration

Where No ENFP Has Gone Before, Part I


Myers-Briggs personality assessments are sprouting up everywhere on Facebook this week. For those who don’t know what this is, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most widely used personality profile in the United States, a favorite tool of career planners, team-builders, and guidance counselors.

Isabel Briggs Myers

Isabel Briggs Myers

Brain child of Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers, the MBTI divides the human psyche in four separate areas, each one of which has two different tendencies or dichotomies:

Extraverion (E)/Introversion (I)
Intuition (N)/Sensation (S)
Thinking (T) /Feeling (F)
Judging (J) /Perceiving (P)

There is nothing obvious about these psychic divisions. In truth, the categories of the MBTI were long in the making. In the early 1920s, Briggs was experimenting with a number of different categories for explaining the diversity of human behavior. More specifically, she was interested in explaining the strange, unBriggs-like behavior of her new son-in-law.

Then Myers read Carl Jung’s Psychological Types in 1923 and psychometric light bulbs started to go off in her head.  Jung’s system seemed perfectly suited for creating a system of personality profiles.  This is probably because Jung had his own strange in-law to explain, former mentor and father-figure Sigmund Freud.

Carl Jung (lower right) and Sigmund Freud (lower left), 1908

Carl Jung (lower right) and Sigmund Freud (lower left), 1908

Freud, Jung observed, gained energy by focusing on the outside world, a process that Jung called extraversion. Jung, however, was different. He found succor looking inward. (As a boy Jung spent his days writing secret messages to a mannequin carved on the end of his ruler). These were not neuroses, he thought, as much as they were different expressions of personality (though Jung does make one wonder).

Indeed, Jung felt that the spectrum of introversion and extraversion expressed a key dichotomy in western thought, one that dated back to the different approaches of Plato, who usually sought truth inwardly through the world of ideas, and Aristotle, who looked for reality in the phenomena of the world around him.

All of this is to say that the roots of the MBTI go deep. By the 1940s, Myers had expanded on Jung’s types and established a test that could be used for commercial application. Since then the MBTI has rocketed into mainstream culture, used to profile everyone from religious seminarians to astronauts.

Next Post: MBTI and the Explorer Type


  Phil Clements wrote @

I recently finished reading the psych analyses compiled for the 1963 AMEE team. Looking forward to seeing where you’re going with this in MBTI and the Explorer Type!

  Colin Purrington wrote @

Scores are moderately heritable (0.4 to 0.6), according to data from comparison of twins reared apart and twins reared together.

  Michael Robinson wrote @

Hmmm. I wonder what Briggs (and Jung) would have made of this. From what I read, they thought that personalities were formed in the early years of life – though I would imagine that they accepted heritable components of personality as well. I’ll have to do more reading….

  wheelchair ramps plans wrote @

Dry and some wheelchair support materials are created to great the skin to reduce chafing and following destruction.

  ios apps development on windows wrote @

Yes! Finally something about astuce dans castle clash.

  buying a home through hud wrote @

Normally I don’t read article on blogs, however
I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do so!

Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, quite nice article.

  self publishing podcast wrote @

Once once more here’s a comparability: For ten books
I paid CreateSpace $117 and alter (the costs of my books, their
Pro Plan, and the cost of delivery the books to me).

  website wrote @

Some bad boys by no means become reformed
and choose indefinite bachelorhood or trouble in the end lands them in prison or useless.
These are harsh facts, but I may give some credit to the unhealthy boys that find their approach out and change into a better man for it.

  electrician job vacancy in kerala wrote @

Given the demanding nature and abundance of their work,
few electricians are able to work half-time.

  gift delivery services in sri lanka wrote @

All the time check the Product Page for accurate supply information. Until you are having an merchandise specially made
or ordered, supply is normally inside six working days, and often a lot

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,683 other followers