Reinterpreting the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator from the perspective of the five-factor model of personality

J Pers. 1989 Mar;57(1):17-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1989.tb00759.x.


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI; Myers & McCaulley, 1985) was evaluated from the perspectives of Jung's theory of psychological types and the five-factor model of personality as measured by self-reports and peer ratings on the NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI; Costa & McCrae, 1985b). Data were provided by 267 men and 201 women ages 19 to 93. Consistent with earlier research and evaluations, there was no support for the view that the MBTI measures truly dichotomous preferences or qualitatively distinct types; instead, the instrument measures four relatively independent dimensions. The interpretation of the Judging-Perceiving index was also called into question. The data suggest that Jung's theory is either incorrect or inadequately operationalized by the MBTI and cannot provide a sound basis for interpreting it. However, correlational analyses showed that the four MBTI indices did measure aspects of four of the five major dimensions of normal personality. The five-factor model provides an alternative basis for interpreting MBTI findings within a broader, more commonly shared conceptual framework.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Extraversion, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Introversion, Psychological
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory*
  • Psychometrics