Updated: Feb 1, 2022
There are some people who believe that the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test is wrong, but does that mean that it actually is?
Just because a number of people believe something doesn’t necessarily make it true.
What is the MBTI?
Let’s start out by diving into what the MBTI actually is. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator personality test is based on a theory by Carl Jung. Jung was one of the first people to develop the theory of personality types, extroversion and introversion, and individualism. In fact, his work is the basis for modern-day psychology. Without it, the MBTI wouldn’t be possible.
Jung developed the theory of cognitive functions, also called psychological functions, in his book Psychological Types. Cognitive functions are the basis for his theory on personality types. He noted four main psychological functions: thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition, each being either internally focused (introverted) or externally focused (extroverted).
In the early 1900s two Americans, Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, started studying the differences in personalities. They studied the work of Carl Jung and eventually developed it into a personality test for practical use. They believed that learning about your personality and knowing your differences would help women as they entered the workforce during WWII.
Today, the MBTI is widely used my corporations to help people understand their personality types so that they can improve their work, communication, and management of others, among other things. It’s also used to help people understand themselves better for a variety of personal development and relationship-building reasons. The tool is incredibly resourceful in the ways that it can be applied.
What determines your personality type?
There are two things that are essential to determining your personality type: Preferences and Functions. The MBTI is primarily focused on preferences, but Jung was focused on functions. Let’s take a look at both.
The MBTI describes human behavior through four preferences:
Your favorite world (introversion [I] or extroversion [E])
How you take in information (sensing [S] or intuition [N])
How you make decisions (thinking [T] or feeling [F])
How you deal with the outside world (judging [J] or perceiving [P])
These preferences are the 4 letters that make up your personality type, INFJ. They help you understand that you gain energy from being alone, take in more information than just what is said, make big decisions with your gut feeling and you prefer things to be organized and decided, just to name a few.
Functions are the second half of the story. Jung believed that functions form a hierarchy based on how developed they are. The dominant one being the most used and the auxiliary one being used second-most. These are the two that are the most noticed and natural for you. The last two are underdeveloped and more difficult to access. Some people never develop them at all.
INFJ Functional Stack
For INFJs, our functional stack looks like this:
Dominant: Introverted Intuition (Ni) – explores ideas and possibilities that come from inside.
Auxiliary: Extraverted Feeling (Fe) – looks at all of the feelings of those around them. They want to have peace and harmony among everyone.
Tertiary: Introverted Thinking (Ti) – looks to make their own personal decisions logical and standardized. They are more focused on the individual rather than the whole experience.
Inferior: Extraverted Sensing (Se) – looks for exciting experiences outside of themselves, things that appeal to the senses (taste, sounds, sights, experiences).
Is the MBTI wrong?
There are a number of people who claim that the MBTI is wrong or debunked. But is that true? You have to remember that it is based on a theory, one theory of human behavior that is characterized one way. There are many theories of human behavior, some of which are contradictory. You can’t believe one when you believe the other.
Most people who believe in what Jung developed, don’t believe what his predecessor, Sigmund Freud, believed. That’s not to say that one is right and the other is wrong. It’s simply to say that their work is different.
It really comes down to what you choose to believe and what makes sense to you.
There are many personality tests available and most are based on different theories. Some people believe that the position of the moon when they were born determines their personalities and others believe that dead people can tell them all they need to know about themselves.
The great part is that you get to choose what you believe and what you don’t believe. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong for believing something that they don’t. It’s completely up to you.