Close Menu

As a MBTI practitioner you may have come across questions from clients or potential clients on the use and usefulness of the MBTI assessment. We have put together talking points relating to some of the common questions you might receive on the utility and science behind the MBTI assessment.

1.  The MBTI assessment is a well-researched, valid and reliable assessment

> The Myers-Briggs instrument is the world’s most popular personality assessment largely because it is a psychometrically validated instrument that people find accurate and useful.

> It has withstood more than fifty years of scientific scrutiny, and a simple search on the Center for Applications of Psychological Type’s MBTI Bibliography Search reveals nearly 11,000 citations of the MBTI assessment.

> An updated MBTI Form M Manual Supplement containing data on the various validations of the instrument at

> Isabel Briggs Myers worked with Educational Testing Service in Princeton, NJ, a major test publisher, in developing the instrument. ETS was its first publisher (as a research instrument) in 1962.

> Twenty years of research preceded its initial 1962 publication.

>  The instrument is updated regularly based on continuing research.

> The Myers-Briggs tool conforms to all the requirements for educational and psychological tests.

> Four technical manuals and supplements have been published—1962, 1985, 1998 and 2009, providing a wealth of research-based evidence on its reliability and validity.

> A number of exploratory factor analyses have revealed factors which almost perfectly match the theoretical factors of the Myers-Briggs assessment.

2. The Myers-Briggs instrument provides consistent results

> The Myers-Briggs Form M Manual Supplement reports test-retest correlations within 3 weeks for the most recent version of the Myers-Briggs instrument in the range of .65 to .81 indicating good reliability for each preference over long periods of time.

○ In the instances that changes did occur, they typically were for individuals who had low Preference Clarity Category (PCI) scores for the preference.

MBTI Test-Retest Correlations

MBTI Test-Retest Correlations

> The Myers-Briggs Form M Manual Supplement reports reliability results for the most recent version of the Myers-Briggs instrument which are considered to be very good in the category of self-reported personality instruments:

○ Reliability based on employment status: Reliability across five employment statuses – employed full-time, employed part-time, full-time student, retired, and not working for income – are high, ranging from .86 to .92, indicating that the Myers-Briggs instrument is reliable across a variety of employment situations.

○ Reliability across ethnicity: The reliabilities are high, ranging from .80 to .92, and are similar across the nine ethnic groups, suggesting that the Myers-Briggs Form M assessment is reliable across a range of ethnic groups.

○ Reliability comparisons of the MBTI against the NEO (aka Big 5 or Five Factor Model) are superior, with MBTI from .94-.97 and NEO from .75 -.83 (also ref. below table and comparisons to Birkman, DiSC, BarOn EQ-i)

Reliability of MBTI and other Personality Assessments

Reliability of MBTI and other Personality Assessments

> One’s true type may not be revealed through a measurement device alone; therefore the process by which individuals determine their “best-fit,” or verified, type is a critical part of an ethical interpretation process. Verification enables participants to reflect on their placement into a type and identify whether it is the best fit.

○ The Myers-Briggs Form M Manual Supplement reports that agreement rates between reported type and best-fit type are very good. Moreover, when discrepancies between reported type and best-fit type occur, they are found more frequently when the preference clarity index had lower values (Slight to Moderate pci).

3.  The MBTI tool provides an effective and efficient model for understanding personality differences.

> The Myers-Briggs instrument does not purport to qualify every aspect of personality, nor does it claim that individuals of the same type are alike. However, the sorting of people into the sixteen type categories allows for the identification of four dimensions of personality that are common among people of similar type:

○ where one derives energy and focuses attention

○ the way one takes in information

○ the way one makes decisions

○ a person’s orientation to the external world

> Furthermore, the Myers-Briggs Step II™ instrument identifies five facets within each of the four preference pairs that provide greater insight into the different ways that people express their particular preferences.

○ For example, two people with preference for ESTJ may have differences for any or all of the five facets for a given preference (E, S, T or J), which helps explain subtle differences in their “ESTJ-ness.”

4. The Myers-Briggs assessment examines peoples defaults and starting point for gathering information and making decisions.

> The Myers-Briggs assessment suggests predisposition, but not predetermination. Rather than pigeonholing, the Myers-Briggs assessment empowers individuals to further shape their futures through an understanding of their own preferences and those of others.

> Both the Jungian theory underlying the Myers-Briggs instrument and the insights it provides celebrate the complexity of human personality.

○ The theory behind the instrument states that an individual uses both of the preferences of a dimension, but has an innate predisposition for one—just as a person may be left- or right-handed, but is able to use the other hand when necessary.

○ By understanding their type preferences, individuals can chose to develop their less-preferred preferences.

5. The Myers-Briggs assessment enables individuals and organizations to optimize their talents and abilities based on what they have to work with.

> The Myers-Briggs assessment’s value in work settings and applications such as conflict resolution, leadership development, team building, and numerous other areas has been demonstrated through success stories and case studies from numerous organizations and usage of the assessment by of 89 of the Fortune 100. Thus the instrument remains the most widely used personality assessment in the world:

○ “One of St. Luke’s differentiators—and this is at the core of the concept of ‘workforce vitality’—is that we strive to provide a work environment that brings out the best in all our people and allows strong leaders to develop. Our satisfied and energized employees, in turn, perform excellent work and provide superb service to our customers and patients.” – Robert Weigand, Director of Management Training and Development, St. Luke’s Hospital & Health Network

MBTI® tool makes an impact in the trauma and emergency department of St. Lukes Hospital

○ “They got a better picture of how their style and personality impact the organization in helpful and non-helpful ways. Myers-Briggs is a good starting point to determine what parts of yourself you need to develop to be as effective as possible.” – Erin Sills, Director of Workforce Engagement and Communications for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for 2010 Olympics

Organizing the 2010 Winter Olympics with the help of the MBTI tool.

○ “Understanding of Myers-Briggs personality type gives managers the ability to check their perception against reality, often helping them avoid taking offense where none is intended.”—Michelle Hibbs, Senior HR Specialist, Hallmark

Hallmark is using the MBTI tool to create a work culture for the 21st century.

> The Myers-Briggs assessment provides people with insights that increase self-awareness. This, in turn, provides people with choices for how to best engage with others, which can lead to improved performance.

Click here for a free download of our “Discover the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator” brochure, designed to introduce the MBTI assessment to professionals and lay people alike.

For helpful articles like these sign up for our monthly e-newsletter Psychometrics Direct