Beginning Your Journey: Utilizing A Free Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Updated February 22, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

The first personality test was created in 1917 to help identify soldiers who were more prone to developing “shell shock” (now known as post-traumatic stress disorder) when subjected to enemy conflict. Now, the personality test industry is worth over $500 million with a projected growth rate of 10-15% yearly. One of the most popular personality tests used by employers and individuals is the Meyer-Briggs Type Indicator, (MBTI) a self-report questionnaire heavily influenced by the theories of Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung. Since its invention in the 1960s, over 50 million people have taken the test either from internal motivation or at the request of a future employer. 

The MBTI personality test can be a good starting point on your journey towards greater self-awareness and self-discovery. Many of us may be unaware of the ways in which we approach others, situations, or decision-making. Recognizing and understanding your own unique personality, tendencies, and group interactions can give you insight into your own thought-processes, behaviors, and why you act the way you do in each situation. A personality test may validate certain, unique traits and help you choose a lifestyle or career that compliments your personality type. Furthermore, with this self-knowledge often comes greater self-acceptance and compassion. If you are hoping to learn more about the Meyer-Briggs personality test and if it can help direct you to a deeper understanding of who you are, read on.

Are There Parts Of Your Personality You Want To Improve Upon?

Personality And The Myers-Brigg Type Indicator Test

While the definition of personality is complex, it is loosely based on a particular pattern of thoughts, feelings, social interactions, and behaviors that are influenced by reflection, other people, stress, and the environment. Over time, psychologists have developed several theories about the origin and development of personalities. In fact, there is an entire subfield known as personality psychology devoted to the study of the enduring characteristics that make up who we are. Personality psychology aims to define the nature of personality while investigating the development, variations, and maladaptive forms that encompass the full spectrum of the human psyche. In defining its nature, personality psychologists look to understand and define traits and variations within the individual, how these characteristics develop, and how these traits change in different environments and over time.

What Is The Myers-Brigg Personality Test?

Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers were the creators of the MBTI personality test after they spent twenty years observing different personality types as theorized by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. Myers and Briggs modeled their questionnaire using Jung’s theory of ”individual preferences”, which stated that the variation in the way people behave is caused by individual differences in mental and emotional functioning. 

Jung developed theories about the innate differences in how people process information and make decisions. His theory was based on two perceiving functions, sensation, and intuition, as well as two judging functions, thinking, and feeling. Those who process information primarily through sensing are more sensory-oriented and fact-based, while those who process information through intuition are more abstract and imaginal. Jung’s theory also included two primary different types of attitude, one known as extroversion and the other as introversion. These different qualities, particularly introversion and extroversion exist on a continuum with many people in the middle.

Isabel Myers is attributed to developing this test after World War II to help improve working relationships between healthcare workers, especially nurses. Myers interpreted Jung’s personality theory and developed sixteen personality types that explained these variations due to the different ways people use their minds. Sensing types learn best through learning about the material in a detailed, logical manner, while intuitive types prefer learning through insight, pattern recognition, and making associations. Thinking types desire to learn about objective truth and use logic and deductive reasoning while feeling types consider people's motives and personalize issues and causes. Lastly, judging types have a structured approach to the world, while perceiving types are more open to change.

An Interesting Yet Obvious Application

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a theory created by Abraham Maslow, which generally states that individuals need to have specific needs met in order to reach their full potential and reach higher states of self-fulfillment. Maslow popularized the term, self-actualization, which is a construct describing one's attainment of needs and its impact on a person's overall development. It theorizes that human beings have a hierarchy of needs must be fulfilled at each level to reach the peak of self-actualization. These levels are:

  1. Physiological needs

  2. Need for safety

  3. Need for love

  4. Need for esteem

  5. Self-actualization

Differences in aspects of personality and human interaction are overwhelmingly overlooked in different settings such as school, employment, social settings, and even within the home. Some environments may encourage and even reward different personality characteristics. 

For example, overall, most institutions in the U.S., encourage and reward certain personality traits, such as high extroversion, sensation, and judging personality characteristics. However, there are specific professions and environments that value and foster those opposing traits of introversion, intuition, and feeling. Many of us try to mold our personalities to the values held by the dominant culture, society, or environment. However, you can find a greater sense of belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization, if you acknowledge your own unique personality traits and searchers for people, environments, and careers that support those traits. Additionally, recognizing that others may be attuned to a certain way of processing or communicating can help you to better adapt and harmoniously work together. Overall, knowing about your personality type can you identify your own needs and seek out ideal environments to express these traits.

Free Myers-Briggs Personality Test

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test is a test formulated with extensive research, essentially breaking up the human population into sixteen different types with four different variables on a spectrum. There are many free websites online where you can take the free online Myers-Briggs  test and read about your personality type.

16Personalities is one free website with descriptive profiles for each of the sixteen types. This website summarizes personality strengths and weaknesses, relationships, careers, workplace habits, and more. This analysis of personality can help you get clearer about what your core values are, what motivates you, and environments that allow you to fully express yourself. Knowing more about your own personality type can be a great way to take inventory of the different aspects of your life and identify areas for improvement. However, it is noted that people are often the best judge of their own type. While the test provides a match of your type based upon your answers, there is also a "best fit" process, where individuals learn about the four dichotomies and form their own hypothesis about their actual type. In about 20% of cases, one's own hypothesis differs from their reported types. Reading about other types can help you determine if your reported type is accurate. It should also be recognized that personality type can change over time or throughout one's life.

Digging Deeper

The more you learn about yourself, the deeper you can venture into self-discovery and discover what brings you fulfillment while improving your communication skills and overall satisfaction in life. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can also help you identify areas of potential improvement in your life. By gaining greater clarity and understanding about your own values, communication style, you can begin to work towards fully utilizing and expressing these traits in a constructive way.

Are There Parts Of Your Personality You Want To Improve Upon?

Speaking with a professional counselor, who can discuss your results in detail can help you move towards a greater degree of self-actualization. This knowledge can also be used to create an individualize your treatment plan and help you identify goals. This, in turn, may positively impact your relationships, friendships, career, and self-esteem. Your therapist can help you recognize parts of your personality that may be hindering your ability to accomplish goals and enjoy your life. 

Many people live in a rural location, have busy lives, or are unable to afford the cost of in-person therapy. Fortunately, advances in technology and the advent of virtual therapy have made it possible to receive quality therapy online. Furthermore, studies have shown that online therapy increases opportunities for people to get the therapy they need and is equally effective as in-person counseling in improving mental health and general well-being. 

BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that connects clients with a licensed counselor.

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