Utilizing An Online Myers Briggs Personality Test

Medically reviewed by Melissa Guarnaccia, LCSW
Updated June 30, 2024by 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. Since then, the personality test industry has grown exponentially.

If you are experiencing trauma, support is available. Please see our Get Help Now page for more resources.

One of the most popular personality tests used by employers and individuals is the Myers-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 persons have taken the test either from internal motivation or at the request of a future employer.

The MBTI personality test may be a good starting point on your journey toward greater self-awareness and self-discovery. It may help you understand the way you approach other people, situations, or life decisions. Understanding your unique personality and tendencies may give you insight into your own thought processes and behaviors, which may influence lifestyle or career choices. Furthermore, greater self-knowledge may lead to more self-acceptance and compassion.

Below, we’ll discuss the Myers-Briggs personality test and ways you might use it to learn more about your unique personality.

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Are there parts of your personality you want to improve upon?

Personality and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test

While the definition of personality can be complex, it tends to describe a particular pattern of thoughts, feelings, social interactions, and behaviors that are believed to be influenced by genetics, other people, stress, and the environment. Over time, psychologists have developed several theories about the origin and development of personalities. There is an entire subfield known as personality psychology devoted to the study of the enduring characteristics that make up who we are. 

According to the American Psychological Association, “personality psychology studies the nature and definition of personality as well as its development, structure, and trait constructs, dynamic processes, variations (with emphasis on enduring and stable individual differences), and maladaptive forms.” In defining the nature of personality, 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-Briggs personality test?

The MBTI personality test was developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, after they spent 20 years observing different personality types as theorized by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. Myers and Briggs modeled their questionnaire using Jung’s theory of personality types, which stated that the variation in the way people behave is caused by individual differences in emotional and mental functioning.

Jung developed theories about the innate differences in how people process information and make decisions. His theories were 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 thought to be more sensory-oriented and fact-based, while those who process information through intuition are thought to be 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, tend to exist on a continuum with many people in the middle.

Isabel Myers is attributed to developing the Myers-Briggs test after World War II to help improve working relationships between healthcare workers, especially nurses. She became interested in personality, in part, as a result of her mother’s deep interest in the work of Jung. Myers used the work of her mother, who sought to categorize people’s characters according to Jung’s work, to formalize the MBTI. Myers interpreted Jung’s personality theory and developed 16 personality types that explained these variations. 

According to the test, sensing types are thought to learn best by learning about the material in a detailed, logical manner, while intuitive types may prefer learning through insight, pattern recognition, and associations. Thinking types often desire to learn about objective truth and use logic and deductive reasoning, and feeling types often consider people's motives and personalize issues and causes. Lastly, judging types tend to have a structured approach to the world, while perceiving types tend to be more open to change.

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The Myers-Briggs test and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

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 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. Maslow believed that human beings have a hierarchy of needs that must be fulfilled at each level for them 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 personality and human interaction can often be 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, many 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 the 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 may find a greater sense of belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization if you acknowledge your own unique personality traits and search for people, environments, and careers that support those traits. Additionally, recognizing that others may be attuned to a certain way of processing or communicating may help you better adapt to them and work with them in ways that lead to self-actualization for everyone. 

Taking a personality test based on the MBTI

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator personality test is an assessment formulated with extensive research, essentially dividing people into 16 types with four different variables on a spectrum. There are several websites online where you can take a free online personality test based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Offering a simple (but comprehensive) test, 16Personalities.com is a free website with descriptive profiles for each of the 16 types. Once you’ve taken your free personality test, you’re provided with one of the 16 personality types. Based on your type, it then summarizes personality strengths and weaknesses, relationships, careers, workplace habits, and more. This analysis of personality may help you understand 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 way to take inventory of different aspects of your life and identify areas for improvement. The free personality test through 16Personalities.com takes 10-15 minutes to complete. 

MBTI’s best fit type process

If you take the Myers Briggs test on the official MBTI website, it provides a match of your type based on your answers. There is also a Best Fit Type process wherein individuals can discuss their results with a certified practitioner, learn about the four dichotomies, and form their own hypothesis about their actual type. Sometimes, a person’s hypothesis differs from their reported type. 

Also, if you decide to take the test, it may help to remember that personality type can change over time or throughout a person’s life. The more you learn about yourself, the deeper you might venture into self-discovery and learn what brings you fulfillment. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses may also help you identify areas of potential improvement in your life. By gaining greater clarity about your values and communication style, you can begin to work toward fully utilizing and expressing these traits in constructive ways.

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Are there parts of your personality you want to improve upon?

Talk to a counselor about your results

If you decide to take the Myers-Briggs personality test, you might make the most of the experience by discussing your results with a licensed therapist. A therapist may be able to offer insight into your results and help you understand how your personality affects your relationships, friendships, career, and self-esteem. If you don’t have time to visit a therapist’s office, you might consider discussing your test results through online therapy, which numerous studies have shown to be effective.  

With an online therapy service like BetterHelp, you can be matched with a licensed therapist who has knowledge and experience using the Myers-Briggs personality test. You can then connect with your therapist by phone, live chat, or videoconferencing at a time that works for your schedule.

Takeaway

If you’re interested in learning more about your personality, you may benefit from taking a Myers-Briggs personality test online. This test may help you learn more about facets of your personality and ways to make decisions that lead to the most personal fulfillment. It may also help to discuss the results with a licensed counselor, whether in person or online. With BetterHelp, you can choose a therapist who has experience with the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and discuss your results from the comfort of your home. Take the first step toward learning more about your personality and reach out to BetterHelp today.
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