Comparing Personality Tests

There’s a lot of buzz lately about The Personality Brokers, a new book by Merve Emre about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the mother-daughter team that came up with it 75 years ago.   Now that we’ve launched The New Personality Self-Portrait 25 online, we’ve  been fielding a lot of questions about how the two tests compare.

The answer: they’re alike…and they’re different. They’re alike in that each is a systematic approach to understanding the varieties of personality patterns and function.In turn, both help explain why we are similar to some people and different from others.  This knowledge can potentially lead to self-acceptance and better communication with others, but it can also identify trouble spots that can be changed.

The two tests are different in that they approach personality classification from different perspectives and methodology.

The Myers-Briggs story

Amateur psychologists, Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers obtained a copyright of their iconic self-assessment test in 1943.  Katherine had begun constructing it in 1917 based on Carl G.  Jung’s ideas, which Jung went on to formalize in Psychological Typesin 1921.   Jung coined terms that are now firmly embedded in our popular language, such as “introverts” and “extroverts.”

The corporate business world soon began using the MBTI. For example, it was used to help determine which job applicants would be good team players, effective managers, or bad bets.   And once published in books for the general public, the MBTI became a valuable method for helping people understanding the variety of personality patterns that make life interesting.

The New Personality Self-Portrait

In contrast to the MBTI, The New Personality Self-Portrait (NPSP and now the online NPSP25) is a modern method of personality assessment based on scholarly psychiatricresearch. It derives from decades of science on personality disorders, which are the extremes of otherwise quite useful and normal personality traits.  Think of it as you do blood pressure: personality is necessary to human life, but if it’s too extreme, you might have a disorder that isn’t healthy and may not allow you to function effectively.

The NPSP, however, does not diagnose personality disorders.  It does identify and chart the healthy range of each of 14 styles that combine to create each individual’s Personality Self-Portrait.   The online NPSP25, a revision that celebrates the test’s 25th anniversary, allows you for the first time to compare your results with the average results of over 12,000 people who took the test worldwide.

Be Careful

Reliable and population-tested personality measures should be able to reveal results that are compatible and useful.  Many people have taken both the Myers-Briggs and the New Personality Self-Portrait to enhance their self-understanding.  Just remember to check your privacy protection when taking any test online or that you learn about through social media.