The Myers & Briggs Foundation

"It is up to each person to recognize his or her true preferences."
Isabel Briggs Myers
Original Research

In 1942, Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs began the work of developing a "sorter" instrument to help people identify their psychological type preferences, as described by the theory of C. G. Jung. They tested their concepts by creating an individual item (a question on the Indicator) and then began collecting data to determine whether that item accurately measured what was intended. Isabel Myers recorded her research notes on thousands of index cards, which are now a part of the archives at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Myers and Briggs first tested the items for the Indicator on a group of about 20 relatives and friends whose type they felt they knew from observation over many years. If an item consistently seemed to indicate a preference, it was added to the Indicator; if it did not, it was discarded. As data started to grow, larger samples were used to check validity of items or to determine item weights. Most people in the samples were adults, as Myers believed they would generally be clearer about their preferences. However, the Swarthmore College class of 1943 was included, and later information was collected from many other students of college age.

Form C of the MBTI® instrument was developed by 1944. Myers took a part-time job with the Human Resources Director of a large company in order to familiarize herself with personality sorting instruments then in use. She persuaded her boss to give the Indicator to everyone who applied for employment.

Early forms of the Indicator were tested, beginning in 1951, with 5,355 medical students at 45 medical schools. The goal was to determine which types might end up more content in the medical profession and which types would end up choosing certain medical specialties. The results of that study were presented by Myers at the American Psychological Association conference in 1964.

A study of 10,000 nurses was undertaken the same year and provided large amounts of data that further validated the instrument.

In 1957 Isabel Myers took the Indicator to Educational Testing Services (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey. Professionals at ETS were quite impressed with the methodology and results of her work. In 1962, the Indicator and its accompanying manual were published by ETS for research purposes. Also in 1962, Isabel Briggs Myers wrote and self-published a booklet called Introduction to Type in order to introduce the general public to the practical applications of the instrument. This simple yet comprehensive book is still in print and continues to be among the most popular MBTI introductory and educational materials. In 1970, a typology lab was established in Gainesville, Florida. In 1975, Isabel Myers and Mary McCaulley, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who had used the Indicator in her practice, founded the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT®) in Gainesville and became lifelong collaborators.

By the time of Isabel's death in 1980, the MBTI instrument had begun to be widely used by organizational consultants to help employees work together better, by career counselors to help people make good career decisions, by educators, and by many others who sought to enhance communication and understanding.

My MBTI Personality Type
MBTI® Basics
Take the MBTI® Instrument
Hiring an MBTI® consultant
My MBTI® Results
Understanding MBTI® Type Dynamics
Type in Everyday Life
MBTI® Type at Work
Personality and Careers
Type Use in the Professions
Type and Learning
Psychological Type and Relationships
Type in Personal Growth
Using Type as a Professional
Become Certified to Administer the MBTI® Tool
MBTI® Certification Program
Training Applications
MBTI® Master Practitioners
MBTI® Step II Instrument
MBTI® Step III Instrument
Versions of the MBTI® Questionnaire
Purchasing MBTI® Materials
More About Type
Books & Articles
Research and the MBTI® Tool
MBTI® Organizations
International Use
Trusting MBTI® Information on the Web
Misconceptions about the MBTI® Assessment
About Us
Objectives and Mission
Ethical Use of the MBTI® Instrument
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the ways to take the MBTI® assessment?
How do I purchase MBTI® materials?
What are the requirements to administer the MBTI® instrument?
How do I get permission to adapt the MBTI® instrument?
What are the guidelines for ethical use of the Myers Briggs® assessment?
Where can I find information about MBTI® research?
Legal - Privacy - Site Map - Unsubscribe -
The Myers & Briggs Foundation | 203 NE 1st Street | Gainesville, FL 32601 | All rights reserved 2023
Share this site on Facebook Share this site on Twitter Share this site on LinkedIn