The history of the MBTI® assessment
Today, the MBTI tool is the most widely used and recognized personality tool in the world. Around two million people complete it every year, but how did it begin?
Who created the MBTI assessment?
It began with Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, in the United States in the early mid-20th century.
Briggs was inspired to research personality type theory when she met Isabel’s future husband, Clarence Myers. She noticed he had a different way of seeing the world. This intrigued her enough to start a literature review to understand different temperaments.
What is Jung’s influence on MBTI theory?
Carl G Jung published Psychological Types in 1921. Briggs read the English translation (1923) and saw similarities between their ideas. However, Jung’s theories of personal difference were much more developed.
Briggs and Myers thought Jung’s work was so useful that they wanted to make his ideas accessible to a wider audience.
When was the MBTI assessment first published?
World War II was a huge influence on the project’s development. Myers believed that if people understood each other better, they’d work together better and there’d be less conflict. The post-war world could be a better place.
She was determined to find a way to give people access to their psychological type. This led to the idea of a type indicator, and Myers dedicated the rest of her life to its development.
She spent the next 20 years developing questions and validating the instrument and the theory. The MBTI instrument was first published in 1962.
Who publishes the MBTI questionnaire now?
The Myers-Briggs Company (formerly CPP, Inc.) has published, researched and updated the MBTI instrument since 1975. It has trained practitioners since 1989.
Today, The Myers-Briggs Company continues to follow Myers’ guiding principle: that understanding personality and difference can change the world for the better.
Key moments in MBTI history
|1919||Isabel Briggs Myers graduates from Swarthmore College.
Isabel’s mother, Katharine Briggs, starts to research personality type theory
|1921||Carl Jung publishes Psychological Types: The Psychology of Individuation|
|1943||Form A of the instrument is copyrighted|
|1962||Isabel self-publishes Introduction to Type. Educational Testing Services (ETS) publishes research version of the MBTI instrument and the MBTI Manual|
Katharine Cook Briggs dies.
|1969||Isabel Briggs Myers and clinical psychologist Mary McCaulley start Typology Lab|
CPP, Inc. (formerly Consulting Psychologists Press) publishes the MBTI instrument.
|1977||CAPT publishes first issue of The Journal of Psychological Type|
|1980||Isabel Briggs Myers dies. Peter and Katharine Myers become co-owners of the MBTI copyrights|
|1985||MBTI Manual second edition published|
|1990||Form K published. It is the precursor to the Step II assessment (Form Q)|
|1998||Step I™ (Form M) updated. MBTI Manual third edition published|
|2001||Step II™ (Form Q) and MBTI Step II Manual published|
|2007||MBTI Complete launched|
|2009||Step III™ published|
|2017||CPP, Inc. buys OPP Ltd|
|2018||CPP, Inc. becomes The Myers-Briggs Company|
New global versions of MBTI Step I and Step II assessments published.