Frequently Asked Questions
We have listed questions that may be of interest to independent practitioners, in-house learning and development professionals who administer the Indicator, and those who wish to explore the theory of psychological type at a deeper level.
Click each question for its answer.
1. What is the MBTI®?
The MBTI® is the instrument, or indicator, that provides us with access to our psychological type. There are several forms (versions) of the indicator that are now in use, and a myriad of reports that can be printed, depending on the situation and the end goal of the user. To find a list of the forms and reports that are currently in use, go to the publishers’ web site: www.cpp.com
. Read more here about the MBTI® inventory.
2. Why was the MBTI® created and who created it?
The MBTI® personality assessment was created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers because they wanted people to be able to understand their psychological type as identified by C. J. Jung, a Swiss Psychiatrist. Jung had written about psychological types
in his book Psychological Types
, but it was not available to the general population. It was Isabel’s mission in life to help people understand themselves and appreciate differences through the indicator. Read more about the history of the MBTI®instrument here.
3. How is the MBTI® inventory unique in the world of psychological instruments?
The MBTI® tool is unique in the world of psychological instruments because:
- It provides us with a holistic view of who we are rather than providing us with a list of traits that we have or do not have.
- It teaches us how we think, which is the basis for really understanding how we operate in comparison to how others operate.
- It truly is The Psychology that Works™ (read more under “Why is the MBTI® Instrument so Popular?” under About the MBTI® .
- It has a wide breadth of researched applications as well as depth.
- The MBTI® instrument also has a strong tradition of research behind it; it is the most researched and validated psychological instrument in use today. Read more about the research behind MBTI® instrument.
4. How can the MBTI®inventory help me?
The MBTI® tool has both breadth and here and depth
in its applications
5. How old does someone have to be to take the MBTI® assessment?
The MBTI® inventory should only be administered to anyone over the age of 14, who is able read at a 7th grade level or above. For kids under 14, there is an instrument called the Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children® (MMTIC®); see: http://www.capt.org/training-workshops/Children-Training-mmtic.htm
6. How can I take the MBTI® personality assessment?
You can take the MBTI® assessment on line through MBTI® Complete
or find a Certified Practitioner in your area: http://www.mbtimasterpractitioner.org/
7. If I know my four letters, is this enough?
Many people take the MBTI® assessment and get “a-ha” insights about themselves when they verify their four-letter type. However, many people who take the MBTI® instrument quickly forget their type because it has not been linked to either type dynamics
, or to any practical application
. Even though the initial insights are interesting and useful in and of themselves, MBTI® type has a greater impact on changing lives (and teams, relationships, marriages, communication, etc.) if accompanied by these two very important components.
8. How can I select a type when I do all of the things indicated by the four functions?
Yes, indeed you do! This is one of the most misunderstood aspects of MBTI® type. We all access and use all of the mental functions, all of the time. However, we are more at home, and have more energy for, using one over the other on four MBTI® dichotomies
. In order to grasp this concept, think of the mental functions as “action words”; we are NOT a function – we use the functions to adapt to the world, or to think. This is why nomenclature is so important. For instance, we are not an Extravert, but we prefer to use, or have more energy for extraverting than introverting. We are “at home” when we are using our natural mental processes; we are not the process itself.
9. What is meant by the term Type Dynamics?
Essentially, type dynamics unlocks our four-letter type and provides us with an understanding that we do not neatly fit into a box that is our type. Personality type is dynamic, has movement; it is personality in motion. Read here to find out more about Type Dynamics.
10. What is meant by the term Type Development?
Even though our type is innate – it does not change over time – we develop or differentiate
our use of and skill in the mental processes that are not our dominant or auxiliary
functions. We thus add to our four-letter type by moving into or stretching into areas that are less comfortable, but needed for adapting to the situation. According to type theory, we all have a path for development that is indicated through our type code hierarchy. Read here to find out more about Type Development
11. What are the Ethical Guidelines surrounding the MBTI® assessment?
There are numerous ethical guidelines that practitioners follow in order to ensure that the MBTI® instrument and type theory are used correctly. It is interesting to note that many people take the MBTI® tool, but many are not provided with ethical and sound interpretations that allow people to verify their own type. Additionally many organizations use the indicator and type for things such as hiring or promoting, which are unethical uses. Read here to find out more about Ethical Requirements
12. Can I take the MBTI® assessment over the internet?
There are many imitations of the MBTI® instrument on the internet. Many “quizzes” or “tests” claim they are the MBTI® tool or the Myers-Briggs® Type Indicator instrument, are offered for free, and yield some sort of 4-letter type but they are NOT the researched and validated instrument and you will not receive your true MBTI type from taking these instruments. CPP, the publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® instrument has created an online experience where you can obtain and verify your MBTI type which can be found at www.mbticomplete.com
. This site has a built-in interpretive session so you can arrive at your best-fit type. Some certified MBTI® practitioners also offer services via the internet and will provide the instrument and an interpretation to help you arrive at your best-fit type. Any assessment on the internet claiming to be the Myers-Briggs instrument but does include an interpretation session (either online, in-person or via phone) is not the real thing. You can also tell the genuine Myers-Briggs® Type Indicator instrument by the proper use of trademarks and copyright attribution. The terms Myers-Briggs® Type Indicator and MBTI® should use an ® symbol and should have proper copyright attribution.
13. Who can give the MBTI® to other people?
In order to give the MBTI® questionnaire to other people, you must be qualified to do
so by the publisher of the instrument, CPP. Read more about qualifications for use of the MBTI® here.
14. What is Carl Jung’s theory of psychological type and how is this different than the MBTI® inventory?
Psychological types is the theory that the Swiss Psychiatrist C.G. Jung developed to help us understand human nature and behavior; it is the theory behind the MBTI® tool and what the MBTI® assessment was created to help us understand. Read more about Carl Jung’s Psychological Type here.
15. What are the “8 mental processes” that I seem to be hearing a lot about lately?
The eight mental processes are the “tools” that Jung identified for how we take in information and make decisions. We can see which of these mental processes we like to use the most by understanding type dynamics
and our type code hierarchy
. Read more about the eight Jungian mental processes here.
16. What is The Five Levels of Understanding™?
The Five Levels of Understanding™ was created by Katharine Myers to help people who are interested find a pathway through the door of the MBTI and psychological type to the deeper levels of Jungian psychology and individuation. Read more about The Five Levels of Understanding™.
17. Can I license the MBTI® inventory for use in research or in creating an application?
The MBTI® copyrights do not allow anyone to license the instrument for re-sale or distribution, or incorporation into any application. To administer the indicator, you must be qualified by the publisher to do so (read more about qualifications here
) and you must purchase each administration from the publisher at www.cpp.com
18. How can I contact someone from this site to obtain permissions to use or distribute material I find interesting?
You can write to us directly at if you have any questions about the material on the site or if you would like permission to use information that is posted to the site.
19. How can I get permission for using the Type Table in this website; or for using excerpts from CPP publications?
You can contact the permissions department of CPP using this e-mail address:
Additionally, a list of FAQ’s and answers about the MBTI® Indicator appear on the publisher’s website at: https://www.cpp.com/support/faq.aspx
- [www.capt.org] CAPT (Center for Application of Psychological Type) is the research, publishing, and education center founded by Mary McCaulley and Isabel Briggs Myers in 1975. It provides books, workshop materials, training, and research services. Publishers of the MMTIC (Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children®) and PMAI (Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator®).
- [www.cpp.com] CPP, Inc (formerly Consulting Psychologists Press) is the publisher/distributor of the MBTI® Inventory. It provides reports, books, training materials, and services for individual and organizational development in over 50 countries.
- [www.myersbriggs.org] The Myers & Briggs Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to research and sound development of the work of Isabel Briggs Myers. The goal of the Foundation website is to provide accurate information concerning the MBTI® inventory and Jungian psychological type.
- [www.CGJungpage.org] A website devoted to Jungian theory and practice which includes articles, essays, film reviews, forums, Jungian events as well as many helpful and interesting links for people interested in Jungian studies.
- [www.ashevillejungcenter.org] The Asheville Jung Center is an international community bringing together some of the world’s leading teachers of Jungian thought with a global network of students, professionals and lay people.
- [www.cgjungny.org] The C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology in NY City, founded in 1962, is dedicated to helping men and women grow in conscious awareness of the psychological realities in themselves and society, find healing and meaning in their lives, reach greater depth in their relationships, and live in response to their discovered sense of purpose.
- [www.psychometrics.com] The CanadianCertification provider and distributor of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality assessment.
For additional reference material, please refer to Applications and The Five Levels of Understanding™
- Myers, I. B., McCaulley, M. H., Quenk N. L. & Hammer, A. L. (1998). MBTI® Manual (3rd Edition). Palo Alto, CA: CPP, Inc.
- Myers, I. B. (1980). Gifts Differing. Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black Publ.
- Carskadon, T.(ed) (1977). Journal of Psychological Type, Research, Theory, and Applications of Psychological Type and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ® Personality Inventory. Gainesville, FL. CAPT.
- Hammer, A. (Ed.) (1996). MBTI® Applications, a Decade of Research on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Palo Alto, CA: CPP Inc.
CAPT Research and Library Services: