MBTI – What kind of dog are you?

June 10, 2012 | By

DogThe Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, commonly known as MBTI is a psychometric test designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.

The authors of the MBTI, Katharina Cook Briggs (1875-1969) and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers (1897-1980), were keen and disciplined observers of human personality differences. They studied and elaborated the ideas of Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung (1875-1961) and applied them to understanding people around them.

After more than 50 years of research and development, the current MBTI is the most widely used instrument for understanding normal personality differences. Because it explains basic patterns in human functioning, the MBTI is used for a wide variety of purposes. In a professional context the Indicator is frequently used in the areas of personal development, leadership training, and group dynamics.

“Preferences” can be illustrated by the following example. Take a white piece of paper and sign your name on it with the hand you usually use. Then sign your name again below, but this time using your other hand.

How would you describe your experience of writing your name with your preferred hand? Conversely, how did it feel using your non-preferred hand? Common responses to these questions are:

Preferred hand Non-preferred hand
Feels quick, flowing and natural Feels slow, awkward and unnatural
Didn’t think about it, just did it Had to think, concentrate while doing it
Effortless, easy Required energy
Looks distinctive and recognisable Not “me” at all, looks like a child’s writing

The words that you and others use to describe the preference for one hand over the other illustrate the concept of preferences: you can use either hand when you have to and you do use both hands regularly; but, for writing, one is natural and comfortable, while the other requires effort and feels awkward.

You can develop you ability to write with your non-preferred hand, yet you know how difficult it would be if you were required to use your non-preferred hand throughout the day. Similarly, according to the MBTI theory, everyone has a natural preference for one of the two opposites on each of the four MBTI dimensions. You use both preferences at different times, but not both at once and not, in most cases, with equal comfort and confidence. When you use your preferred approach, you are generally at your best and feel most confident, natural and energetic.

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