I don't know what a psychometric questionnaire is

Give me my space: Introverts listen more than they talk and think quietly inside their heads. They tend to think before they act. They like to be alone with their own thoughts and prefer to work behind the scenes. — EPA

The Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire that you fill up to give an indication of your psychological preference and how you perceive the world.

My company has decided to send us all for training. In this training, we're required to take a Myers-Brigg personality test. What is this?

The Myers-Brigg Type Indicator is also called the MBTI assessment. It is one of the more famous personality type tests in the world.

The MBTI assessment is actually a psychometric questionnaire that you can fill in to measure your psychological preference and how you perceive the world.

These preferences were derived from the theories of Carl Gustav Jung and his book, Psychological Types (published in 1921).

In his book, Jung said that there were four principal psychological functions by which we experience the world:

  •  Sensation
  •  Intuition
  •  Feeling
  •  Thinking

Why is it called Myers-Brigg?

The Myers-Brigg personality test was developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers.

They were students of Jung’s work, and they created the test during World War II because they believed that women who had to enter the workforce for the first time could use it to identify the type of wartime jobs they would be most comfortable and effective in.

The small questionnaire subsequently grew into the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator, which was published in 1962.

So what are the personality types in the Myers-Brigg Type indicator?

There are four pairs of preferences.

  •  Extraversion (E) and Introversion (I)
  •  Sensing (S) and Intuition (N)
  •  Thinking (T) and Feeling (F)
  •  Judging (J) and Perception (P)

Now, this is where most people get confused. The meanings of the terms here are different from their usage in everyday life.

In everyday life, most people consider “extroverts” to be someone who is outgoing. But here, the term “extravert” is very different. And people who prefer “judgment” over “perception” are not necessarily very judgmental people.

The MBTI tool is a measurement of preference, not how the person appears in real life.

Give me my space: Introverts listen more than they talk and think quietly inside their heads. They tend to think before they act. They like to be alone with their own thoughts and prefer to work behind the scenes. — EPA

What’s the difference between ‘extraverts’ and ‘introverts’ then?

An extravert’s energy is directed mostly outward, meaning it is directed towards people and things which are outside themselves.

An introvert’s energy is directed mostly inward, towards their own thoughts, perceptions and reactions.

So, extraverts often have a lot of energy. They tend to talk a lot, more than they listen, and think out loud. They prefer to act, and then think. They like to be around people. They can multitask and are outgoing and enthusiastic. They can sometimes be easily distracted.

Introverts, on the other hand, listen more than they talk, and think quietly inside their heads. They tend to think before acting. They like to be alone with their own thoughts and prefer to work behind the scenes.

They can concentrate very well, and prefer to focus on doing one thing at a time. They are reserved.

What’s the difference between ‘sensing’ and ‘intuition’?

Sensors generally notice the facts and details of the world around them, while intuitives are more interested in connections and relationships between the facts as well as the meaning behind them.

Sensors are mostly practical and pragmatic people, while intuitives are imaginative and theoretical.

Sensors like to focus on details and specifics. They like practical solutions. They trust actual experience and like to use established skills. They like step-by-step instructions and work in a steady pace.

Intuitives like to focus on the big picture and possibilities. They like creativity and inventions. They think about future possibilities and they like to figure out things for themselves. They work in bursts of energy, when the creativity strikes them.

What about thinkers and feelers?

Thinkers make decisions based on objective fact that makes the most logical sense. They are usually cool, reserved and rational. They are honest and direct. They like to argue and debate for fun, and don’t take things personally.

Feelers are sensitive and make decisions based on their feelings. They are warm, friendly and compassionate. They take things personally, and they don’t like conflict.

What about judgers and perceivers?

Judgers like structure and order. They take their responsibilities very seriously. They are prompt and timely, and believe in work before play. They like to plan and stick to schedules.

Perceivers, on the other hand, are casual and less aware of time. They like to enjoy first, keep their options open, and work later. They like flexibility and not too many rules.

> Dr YLM graduated as a medical doctor and has been writing for many years on various subjects such as medicine, health, computers and entertainment. For further information, e-mail starhealth@thestar.com.my. The information contained in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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