Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: Step I


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Note: This test review was published by BPS on 1st January 2019

Description of the Test

The MBTI Step I is the UK localisation of the MBTI, developed in 1998, based on a combination of items from previous forms of the tool, namely MBTI Forms G and J. It eliminates genderspecific scoring which was evident in the previous Form G of the questionnaire and has been specifically ‘translated’ and ‘standardised’ using UK-based individuals, to better suit European samples. It has been developed primarily for use on populations in the UK, though has been tested for reliability and validity in a range of European countries.

The MBTI Step I is designed to reflect the psychological type theories of Carl Jung. Jung believed that there are eight mental functions, and individuals’ innate preferences for one of these over the others leads individuals to direct energy towards it and to develop habits of behaviour, characteristic of that function. Combinations of these functions plus work by Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers on Jung’s concept of the auxiliary functions, resulted in the development of 16 different personality types, which the MBTI Step I assesses.

The MBTI Step I is a self-report type-based measure of personality that classifies a test taker’s preferences according to four dichotomies suggested by Jung’s theories: Extraversion (a focus on the outer world of people) versus Introversion (a focus on their own inner world of ideas or experiences); Sensing (taking in information that is real and tangible) versus Intuition (seeing the patterns, relationships and connections between facts); Thinking (looking at the logical consequences of a decision) versus Feeling (considering what is important to them and to others involved); and Judging (living in a planned, orderly way) versus Perceiving (living in a flexible, spontaneous fashion).

Test takers respond to 88 forced-choice dichotomous items, choosing which one of the pair is more representative of their natural preferences. On the basis of these items, scale scores are generated for each of the eight preferences. It is not a classical forced-choice ipsative questionnaire as each pair represents different ends of the same continuum. A preference clarity index is then calculated by subtracting preference raw scores from one another for each of the four preference pairs, indicating the test taker’s dominant preference within each pair, and the degree of clarity of this preference within each of the four pairs. A four-letter personality type is then derived from these preferences, indicating the test taker’s overarching personality profile from a choice of 16 possible types, e.g. INTJ (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking and Judging).

The MBTI Step I is primarily intended for use in developmental contexts within organisations, such as for training and development, career guidance, team working and leadership

development, though it also has some application within adult educational contexts. The MBTI Step I is not suitable for use as part of job selection procedures. Indeed, the UK publisher, OPP, states that the ‘MBTI should never be used in recruitment or selection because it does not measure a person’s skills or abilities – just their underlying preferences’.

A test taker’s (or group of test takers’) personality preference scores can be used to generate a wide range of individual and team-based reports using the online system. These reports are tailored to specific organisational uses.

Authors: Katherine C. Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers

Test Publisher: The Myers-Briggs Company

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