Isabel Briggs Myers

Isabel Briggs Myers
Born (1897-10-18)18 October 1897
Died 5 May 1980(1980-05-05) (aged 82)
Nationality American
Alma mater Swarthmore College
Known for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Spouse Clarence Myers
Children Peter Briggs Myers and Ann Myers Hughes

Isabel Briggs Myers (October 18, 1897 – May 5, 1980[1][2]) was an American author and co-creator of a personality inventory known as the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Briggs Myers created the MBTI with her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs.

MBTI personality indicator

Briggs Myers implemented the ideas of Carl Jung and added her own insights. She then created a paper survey which would eventually become the MBTI. The test was to assess personality type and was fully developed after 20 years of research by Briggs Myers with her mother and thousands of others. In the 21st century, research into this instrument is still being put into action with dozens of articles written per year. The questionnaire is meant to help people realize their "best fit type", the personality type that will help them succeed most in life.[3] The three original pairs of preferences in Jung's typology are Extraversion and Introversion, Sensing and Intuition, and Thinking and Feeling. After studying them, Briggs Myers added a fourth pair, Judging and Perceiving.


In the July 1980 edition of MBTI News, Briggs Myers attributed another reason for creating the MBTI to her marriage to "Chief" Clarence Myers. Their differences in psychological type (she was an INFP and he was an ISTJ) inspired her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs, to keep studying differences among people and their actions. Cook Briggs came upon the work of Carl Gustav Jung and introduced it to her daughter who then started to studying the psychological types.

When World War II began, Briggs Myers wanted to help reduce conflict among people. People were dying, hurting and harming each other, and she wanted to help them understand each other instead of hurting them. She observed that some people also hated their jobs in the military and she wanted to know what was behind that.

In 1945, the dean of the George Washington School of Medicine allowed Briggs Myers and Cook Briggs to apply the MBTI to first-year undergraduates. This included about 5,500 students and Briggs Myers studied it for years by looking at patterns among dropouts and successful students.[8]


The novel Murder Yet to Come, published in 1929, won the National Detective Murder Mystery Contest for that year. It applies her ideas about personality type into a murder mystery.[9]

Briggs Myers' second work of fiction, Give Me Death, published in 1934, revisits the same detectives from Murder Yet to Come but also describes personality type as racially determined. In it, a Southern family commits suicide one by one after learning they may have "Negro blood".[10][11]


In 1962, the Educational Testing Service published the MBTI for research-only purposes. In 1975, 1977 and 1979, three national MBTI conferences were held at the University of Florida, Michigan State University, and Philadelphia respectively. In 1975, Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc. published the MBTI as a tool for helping people.

In the 2000s, the MBTI is now taken by more than two million people per year and is translated into 16 languages.[8]



In 1975, Briggs Myers co-founded the Center for Application of Psychological Type with Mary McCaulley. CAPT is a non-profit organization which maintains research and application of the MBTI. It also exists to protect and promote Briggs Myers' ideology.[3] Its headquarters are in Gainesville, Florida and its motto is “Fostering human understanding through training, publishing, and research”.[8]

Memorial research awards

The Isabel Briggs Myers Memorial Research Awards exist to further MBTI and psychological research. These awards are given twice a year. They consist of $2,000 for up to two people. They are rewarded for advancements in understanding of these topics to focus on continuous research in the field.[12]


Gifts Differing is written by Isabel with her son, Peter Briggs Myers. It is about human personality and how it affects several aspects of life such as career, marriage, and meaning of life. It speaks about all sixteen personality types.[13]

Further reading

Saunders, F. W. (1991), Katharine and Isabel: Mother's Light, Daughter's Journey, Davies-Black Publishing, U.S. ISBN 0-89106-049-9 (biography of Briggs Myers and her mother)


  1. "The AJPT Interview: Otto Kroeger" (PDF). Peter Geyer. 2004-06-28.
  2. "Global Citizens All: An Interview With Rebecca Chopp". Swarthmore College.
  3. 1 2 "Isabel Briggs Myers and Her Mother, Katharine Cook Briggs". The Myers & Briggs Foundation. The Myers & Briggs Foundation. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  4. "Extraversion or Introversion". The Myers & Briggs Foundation. The Myers & Briggs Foundation. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  5. "Sensing or Intuition". The Myers & Briggs Foundation. The Myers & Briggs Foundation. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  6. "Thinking or Feeling". The Myers & Briggs Foundation. The Myers & Briggs Foundation. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  7. "Judging or Perceiving". The Myers & Briggs Foundation. The Myers & Briggs Foundation. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  8. 1 2 3 "The Story of Isabel Briggs Myers". Center of Applications of Psychological Type. Center of Applications of Psychological Type, Inc. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  9. "Murder Yet to Come". CAPT, Inc. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  10. "Murder Yet to Come". Frederick A. Stokes Company, Inc. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  11. "Uncovering The Secret History of Myers-Briggs". Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  12. "Memorial Research Awards". The Myers & Briggs Foundation. The Myers & Briggs Foundation. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  13. "Rev. of Gifts Differing: Understand Personality Type, by Isabel Briggs Myers". Innovation Watch. Innovation Watch. Retrieved 19 February 2012.

External links

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