What Are the Myers-Briggs Personality Types?

What Are the Myers-Briggs Personality Types?
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By Stephen Gaffney

Published on May 14, 2021

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College students are generally eager to answer two questions: What will you major in? And what will you do when you graduate? Answering these questions, however, can be much easier when you know your personality type.

While personality types aren't an exact science, they can help students establish parameters for their major and career search. By far the most well-known system for classifying personalities is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which was developed in the 1940s by Katharine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers.

Overview of the 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types

The concept of the MBTI is relatively simple. Based on your answers to the questions in the assessment, you'll match one of 16 unique personality types, defined by four individual categories. Each category consists of two personality indicators or preferences, represented by a single uppercase letter.

Your answers to the questions reveal which two personality indicators in each of the four categories you lean toward. Here's an overview of all Myers-Briggs personality indicators:

Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I): These terms describe how you respond to and interact with the world around you. Extraverted types primarily gain energy from engaging with others and doing activities, whereas introverted types gain energy more internally from addressing ideas, either independently or with only a few people. Sensing (S) or Intuition (N): These preferences describe how you gather information from the world around you. Those who lean toward sensing rely more heavily on their five senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching), while those who identify with intuition look for patterns in information. Thinking (T) or Feeling (F): These terms describe how you make decisions based on the information you've gathered. Individuals who prefer to think rely more on logical principles and listing pros and cons, whereas those who feel more strongly emphasize the role of emotions, values, and impact. Judging (J) or Perceiving (P): These last two preferences relate to how you deal with the outside world. Those who judge follow a more organized and settled way of life, while those who perceive tend to be more spontaneous and adaptable.

Myers-Briggs Personalities and Career Pathways

Your personality type will be described as a combination of four letters, one from each category above. Below are all possible Myers-Briggs types, along with links to careers that match each personality type.

ISTJ

ISFJ

INFJ

INTJ

ISTP

ISFP

INFP

INTP

ESTP

ESFP

ENFP

ENTP

ESTJ

ESFJ

ENFJ

ENTJ

Are the Myers-Briggs Types Accurate?

Nearly 90% of Fortune 500 companies use the MBTI in over 100 countries. Businesses that use Myers-Briggs personality tests believe that knowing the different personality types of employees can lead to better workplace productivity by allowing them to create teams that will naturally work well together.

Not all experts recognize the validity of Myers-Briggs types, however. Most point to the fact that neither Briggs nor her daughter possessed any formal training in psychology, and that many people will arrive at a different personality type by retaking the test.

Even though the science behind Myers-Briggs personalities remains hotly debated, the test can still serve as a useful framework for college students trying to figure out what to study and what career to pursue.


Feature Image: Luis Alvarez / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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