Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung proposed a theory of psychological type in 1921, asserting that everyone is either extraverted or introverted in orienttion, and prefers one way of perceiving (sensing or intuition) and one way of judging or deciding on action (thinking or feeling) (Bonham, 1987). Jung proposed that personality, or psychological type, is formed by the ordered combination of four preferences concerning the use of perception and judgement. The four bi-polar preferences encompas Extraversion-Introversion, Sensing-Intuitive, Thinking-Feeling, and Judging-Perceptive.
Katherine Cook Briggs became interested in personality similarities and differences about the time of World War I. After beginning to develop her personality typology, she discovered and adapted that of Jung. In 1942, she and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, began to work on an instrument that would reveal ndividual types, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI is proported to measure the three Jungian dichotomies plus a fourth dimension, perceiving (P) versus judging (j). of the four dichotomies, the sensing-intuition preference reveals basic learning style differences while the thinking-feeling dimension shows a pattern of commitments and values of the student and the judging-perceiving dimension shows work habits (Schultz, 1985).
Type is identified as preference among four opposites and is identified by a four-letter description. The sixteen MBTI types ae derived from the possible combinations. Descriptions are provided for the individual preferences and 16 types, in general terms and in such specific areas as education, management, counseling, and religion. Type is considered stable and unmodifiable (Bonham, 1987).
Critics of the MBTI draw notice to the forced-choice format assuming that the opposing functions or orientations are not independent but mutually exclusive. The descriptions are based on those proposed by Jung and were without subsequent research. Badenoch (1986) citing Cury (1983) note that in test-retest correlations the reliability is as high as .83 and averages .78. The internal consistency scores are as high as .88 and average .86. In a summary of learning style research that included the use of the MBTI, Lawrence (1984) reported sixteen studies using different measures of learning style that had significant relationships between some MBTI indexes and the various learning style scales.
The MBTI has been extensively perfected in terms of item content, reliability, and validity, and has been updated periodically since the first version developed in 1942. Form G is the current form, published by Consulting Psychologists Press (which also publishes other Jungian measures) (Bonham, 1987).
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Peter L. Heineman
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