Isabel Briggs Myers – along with her mother Katherine Cook Briggs – is the original designer of the Myers-Briggs system. The system was originally designed to help the infamous surge of women who entered the workforce for the very first time during World War II. Most of these women had no experience at all in the industrial field, and Isabel and Katherine thought an understanding of personal preferences may help them make what was otherwise a blind choice in an unknown world.

What started out as a 16 year interest in Jungian typology developed into one of the most powerful self-understanding tools in modern psychology. Neither one of them formally trained psychologists, they searched and searched for a test or indicator of Jungian preference but came up with bupkiss. So, they developed their own, starting from scratch.

According to the preface in Isabel’s seminal work Gifts Differing, her son Peter B. Myers states, “As long as they worked on their own to understand and correlate their observations, they had no problem, but when, in 1943, they produced the first set of questions destined to become the MBTI, they came face-to-face with a double-barreled opposition from the academic community.”

Due to a lack of credentials, they were deemed “totally unqualified.” But Isabel was tenacious, and she found the resources necessary to understand test construction, scoring, validation and stats.

Seventy years later, the Myers-Briggs system has a large presence in the corporate as well as personal development community. As Peter B. Myers goes on to say, “Her gift has been in repudiating the old, but too commonly held, idea that we are each in various ways a deviation from some ideal ‘normal person’. She replaced it with the recognition that each of us is born with different gifts, with unique imprints of how we prefer to use our minds and values and feelings in the business of living every day.”

1 comment

  • Harmony
    • Harmony
    • April 29, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Thank you very much, Antonia, for this enticing introduction to Isabel Briggs Myers’s and Katharine Cook Briggs’s lives and work. It gives food for thought and it’ll help me writing myself a little presentation of Isabel Briggs Myers on a French social network.

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.