Friday, April 2, 2010

Why are we the way we are?

Friday, April 2, 2010

What is the MBTI® instrument ? – The MBTI® (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) has been in use for more than 40 years (first published in 1962) and is widely recognized as an effective psychometric instrument across the world. It is based on Carl Jung’s theory of types which proposes that each person has an inborn set of preferences. These become clearer over the years and have a distinct effect on the person’s behaviour. The instrument identifies four dichotomies and segregates people into sixteen types which arise from a combination of these dichotomies. These are as follows –

The E-I dichotomy - This speaks about whether the person derives energy from the outside world consisting of other people, events, places and interactions, or from the inner world of thoughts, feelings, emotions, dreams etc. Based on these, the person is typed as someone preferring Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).

The S-N dichotomy – This deals with our ways of perceiving data and information coming from the world around us. Some people perceive data in a step-by-step systematic way (S type) while others take it in a more intuitive way, forming patterns in their mind (N type).

The T-F dichotomy – Having perceived the world around us, we proceed to make decisions. Some people make their decisions on the basis of rational logic (T type) while others make them using personal values (F type).

The J-P dichotomy – Having made the decision, we than take action on our decisions. Some people have Judging (J Type) function who are methodical and systematic in their approach, not preferring distractions from the plan while others are Perceiving (P Type) who are more spontaneous and tend to explore options till the very end.

Thus each person can be described as a combination of one alphabet from each dichotomy (e.g. ENFP, ISTJ, ENTJ etc.) A key point to note is that the types DO NOT indicate competency or skill of any sort. They merely point towards the preference. This can best be explained as being similar to our being right- or left-handed. If a person is right-handed, it does not mean s/he cannot do things with the left hand.

Note - MBTI and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are registered trademarks of of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries.


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