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The standardization of Myers-Briggs type indicator into Turkisk: an application on students.

The main purpose of this study is to adapt the most widely used form of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is Form M with 93 items, into Turkish and provide linguistic and cultural equivalence, reliability and validity of the test. In scope of the standardization, linguistic and cultural equivalence was provided by three bilingual academicians via translation-back translation method. The demographic questions were added to the form and the form was applied on 214 students from high school and universities. Reliability analysis was made for the whole test and four functions of MBTI. Moreover, factorial validation is examined and the effect of demographic features on the MBTI type was investigated. The findings proved that Turkish version of MBTI (M Form) and the main dichotomies are reliable. The construct validity was verified as well.

Keywords: Jungian Theory, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Reliability, Standardization

The History of MBTI

Carl Jung's (1921/1971) theory is that the variations in human behavior are due to the logical results of a few basic observable preferences (Myers, McCaulley, Quenk & Hammer, 2003). He attempted to explain individual differences in personalities with two types which are extraverts and introverts (Myers et al., p. 22). Then he divided his initial classifications into types by identifying two pairs of opposite mental functions: two opposite perceiving functions respectively were labeled; Sensation (S) and Intuition (N); and two opposite judging functions, which Jung called Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) (Bell, 2005, p.30).

Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs developed the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) based on Jung's theory (Gentry, Mondore & Cox, 2006, p.858). They identified a fourth dichotomy in addition to Jung's theory, which they labeled: Judging-Perceiving (J-P) (Myers et al.). This served to make explicit one aspect of the theory that was implicit but undeveloped in Carl Jung's earlier work (Bell, 2005, p.32).

MBTI is a personality inventory that has been designed to identify an individual's preferences on eight separate characteristics (Myers et al., 2003). In 1942, Briggs and Myers began their first development in Jung's personality theory and they made widespread revision during the decades. They administered the test to cooperating individuals and conducted the preliminary analysis and revision of the instrument (Pittenger, 1993, p.468). While developing MBTI, their primary aim was to give individuals access to the benefit of knowing their personality type; furthermore, to validate Jung's theory of psychological types and to put it to practical use (Myers et al., 2003).

M Form, which was published in 1998, is the most recent version of MBTI. It contains 93 items written at the seventh-grade level with forced-choice answers that reflect the dichotomous poles. Scores from four dichotomous scales combine to form 16 possible personality types, each represented by a four-letter code indicating the preference for each of the dichotomies. Each letter represents a complex set of relationship among the functions (S, N, T, F), attitudes (E and I) and attitudes toward the world (J and P) (Hull, 2004, p.19).

The Structure of MBTI

The Myers-Briggs personality type theory provides a framework for examining similarities and differences in personality traits. Jung argued that two basic differences exist among human beings in how they prefer to use their minds and how their core personality develops (Myers, 1993). The first difference is related to how individuals perceive or take in information about experience (Opt & Loffredo, 2003, p.562). The second basic difference is related to how individuals process or come to conclusions about that which they have perceived. Beside these two core personality differences, it is argued that human beings differ in whether they focus more on the inner world of experience or the outer world of experience as well. These preferences combine to form 16 personality types, which can be acknowledged by using MBTI instrument (Myers & McCaulley, 1985; Opt & Loffredo, 2003).

The Difference of MBTl from other Personality Theories

MBTI and the way in which it is constructed and used, is seen to differ from many other personality instruments (Myers & McCaulley, 1998). It is designed to implement a theory which postulates dichotomies; therefore, some of the psychometric properties are unusual (Higgs, 2001, p.512). McCrae and Costa (I 988) extend this commentary on the unusual nature of MBTI with the indicating that MBTI is based on classic Jungian theory, and it measures types rather than traits or continuous variables.

One of the biggest controversies of MBTI is about the differences between typological and trait psychology approaches to personality (Maes, 2003, p.29). Jung theory emphasizes the entire personality ("type") of the individual, not the separate characteristics ("traits"). According to the theory, a type consists of various traits that interact to form the personality; furthermore, many differences in personality and behavior are explainable as differences in the way individuals perceive the world and form judgments about it. Therefore, the theory places great emphasis on mental functions (Wheeler, 2001, p. 127).

Previous MBTI Practices

MBTI has been described as "the most widely used non-clinical measure of personality in the world" (Bayne, 2003, p.529). It is frequently used for the purpose of clinical, counseling, and personality testing (Davito, 1985). Moreover, it has become one of the most widely used psychological measures currently in production (McCaulley, 2000), "with between 1.5 and 2 million persons completing it each year" (Salter, Forney & Evans, 2005, p.208). MBTI is used for non-clinical, normal populations; and is easily administered and interpreted by individuals trained outside the field of psychology (Michael, 2003, p.68).

When the implications in the education sector are considered, Hubbell (1991) argued that MBTI should be incorporated into public administration curriculums. Relevant to Hubbell's statement, Laribee (1994) made a research on 320 undergraduate accounting students to investigate the personality types of accounting students. The findings showed that the STJ preference was overrepresented among accounting students (Wheeler, 2001).

Furthermore, Steele and Young (2008) have reached some results about the personality types of music education and music therapy majors as measured by MBTI. An awareness of student personality types allows teachers to have a better understanding of the classroom dynamic and determination of what kinds of classroom activities and strategies would be most effective.

In recent years, MBTI as well as other personality instruments have become tools in providing insight for teachers seeking to relate instructional strategies to individual differences of their students (Beauvois & Eledge, 1996, p.29). The researches in academic life are another aspect of MBTI practices. Thus, the "NF" personality favors were most consistent among the academic advisors in the study and notable among the advisors who had been employed longest (Hull, 2004).

Kirby (1997) stated that MBTI is one of the most widely used self-report instruments in leadership and management development, team building, career enhancement, and organizational development training in the US and the world. As Furnham and his colleagues (2007) stated, various studies have examined type measures of business performance. It is valued for its accessibility to practitioners, its usefulness with work preferences and leadership style and for research and practice in organizational and applied settings and managerial and leadership development (Berr, Church & Waclawski, 2000; Fitzgerald & Kirby, 1997). Some researchers and experts have advocated the use of MBTI in career guidance and job-related activities (Kennedy & Kennedy, 2004; Sample, 2004; Gentry et al., 2006).

Many universities and companies need comprehensive, reliable and valid tools in order to assess the ability of the candidates and to make the best choice (Salgado 1997; Furnham, Dissou & Sloan, 2007). Rideout and Richardson (1989) asserted that the aspect of thinking and feeling traits of MBTI is a good way of team building (Rideout & Richardson, 1989, p.529). Besides, Murray (2001) examined the personality characters of women admitted to US Naval Academy to evaluate whether personality type was predictive of success vs. attrition by using MBTI.

The Reliability and Validity of MBTI

The reliability of MBTI has been discussed in many studies (Salter et al., 2005, p.208). It has been extensively tested for reliability and validity, and used in a large number of basic and education research studies (Wheeler, 2001, p.125). Capraro and Capraro (2002) found an average of about 0.81 for MBTI scores in their reliability generalization study. Furthermore, Consulting Psychologist Press (CPP) had extended the researches about the reliability and validity of MBTI in 1990s. Under the license from CPP, the Central and Eastern European Center for Applied Psychology (CEECAP) was founded in 1994 and with the help of their students and psychologists began translations which also included Turkish (McCaulley and Moody, 2001, p.412). Tuzcuoglu (1996) has studied the translation and equivalence of MBTI which included a different version of M Form.

The Standardization of MBTI

Purpose of the Study

MBTI is a widely used personality test in many areas from education to career development, recruitment to counseling and job-related activities to on-the-job trainings. In recent years, Turkish researchers' interest on MBTI and studies using MBTI has increased significantly. This research aims to standardize M Form of MBTI into Turkish hence it is the most widely used form among the different types of MBTI. In the scope of the study, linguistic and cultural equivalence as well as reliability and validity of MBTI are aimed to be provided.



The sample was constituted of the students from high school and universities. Participants' age ranged from 16 to 22 years. Although the majority of the participants were living in Istanbul, there were 56 different birth places stated by the participants. The sample consisted of 128 female (%59.8), 86 male (%40.2) and totally 214 students. According to the education level, 198 high school and 16 university students participated. Only 4.2% of the sample was left-handed. When the occasions of participants' mothers were classified, 83.2 % of them were housewives.

Instruments and Procedure

The research was conducted with the instrument including M Form of MBTI and demographic questions. Two academicians translated Form M into Turkish, and then a bilingual psychologist back translated the Turkish version. The original and translated forms were compared and the linguistic equivalence was provided by two translation-back translation processes.

The demographic questions such as gender, age, number of brothers, being left-handed, occupation of mother and father and education level were aimed to test the difference of variance between groups. The questionnaires were applied in paper-based form. All participants were instructed before filling the questionnaires.

Data Analysis

SPSS 16.0 for Windows Programme was used for statistical analysis of the questionnaires. The reliability of the Turkish version of MBTI was tested with Cronbach's Alpha Test. Besides, the four dimensions of MBTI (El, SN, TF, JP) was tested in the reliability analysis. Exploratory Factor Analysis based on principal component analysis and varimax rotation was used to test the structural validity of MBTI.

The difference of variance between the groups was tested by Independent T Test (Pearson Correlation),ANOVA or Welch and Brown-Forsythe test according to the results of Levene Homogeneity Test. Furthermore, Scheffe and Tamhane's tests were used for the determination of the groups which had different variances.


The Cronbach's Alpha coefficient of Turkish MBTI was found 0.819; thus, the standardized scale is reliable. Moreover, when the item total correlations are analyzed, the results prove that the items have high correlations with the whole scale. The reliability of four dimensions of MBTI was also tested in this context. The reliability of El, SN, TF and JP dichotomies are respectively 0.772, 0.544, 0.804, and 0.866. Even though the reliability of SN dichotomies is the smallest, all of the Cronbach's Alpha coefficients are bigger than 0.50.

In the frame of factor analysis, the value of Kaiser-Meyer Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy was found 0.648; moreover, Barlett's Test of Sphericity is significant. With the exploratory factor analysis, 69.73 % of total variance was found to be explained.

When the difference of variance between groups was analyzed, no significant difference was found between the groups on the cases of these variables: gender, birthplace, number of brothers/sisters and being left or right handed. The participants aged between 16- 18 years preferred Feeling dimension more than the participants aged between 21-22 years. The means of TF dichotomies of the groups between 16-18 years and 21-22 years were, respectively, 15.1 and 11.6. The occasions of participants' mothers were found to have an effect on the JP preference of the participants. When the difference of variance was analyzed, the mean of JP preference was found 16.35 for the participants whose mothers were housewives and the mean was found 9.44 for the samples whose mothers were working or retired. In other words, the students with housewife mothers preferred J dimension more than the others.

The correlations between the dichotomies were also analyzed in the research. It is found that Sensing preference is correlated with Judging and Thinking preferences. Furthermore, Judging preference is also correlated with Thinking preference.


In this study, the most recent version of MBTI, Form M, is aimed to be standardized IntoTurkish. Beside the linguistic and cultural equivalence, the reliability and validity of the indicator was provided. The reliability coefficient is found very similar with the findings of Capraro and Capraro's (2000) reliability generalization study. The Cronbach's Alpha coefficients of the dichotomies were also measured and SN dichotomy showed the smallest reliability. As this dichotomy is closely related to cognitive style, it may be explained by the difficulty of understanding the cognitive predisposition (Atay, 2001). Besides, the sample consisted of students whose ages ranged from 16 to 22; therefore, Sensing and Intuitive preference can be difficult to decide for this group.

The study proved that younger participants prefer Feeling dimension more than the older ones. The findings support the hypothesis that the adolescence period can be effective in students' preferences (Winters, 2008). According to this finding it is important that teachers behave carefully towards students' decisions and show respect whether they seem irrational. Moreover, the occasions of students' mothers have a significant relationship with the Judging-Perceiving preference which might also be meaningful for teachers.

Atay's (2000) finding about the difference of variance between the mother's education levels and cognitive style of postgraduate business students is supportive for our findings. Moreover, correlations found between Sensing, Thinking and Judging preferences can be related to cognitive style. Hence Sensing, Thinking and Judging preferences also indicate the domination in the left hemisphere.


Individual differences are not only the main topic of psychology but are also related to education, management and organizational behavior sciences. MBTI is one of the most widely used personality test and asserted as a good indicator of individual differences. Although it has started to gain Turkish researchers' interest in past decades, there was confusion about the reliable and valid different forms of MBTI.

MBTI types are informative for learning styles which include students' interests, needs, expectation from the teacher and the best way of learning. Moreover, the combination of perception (S-N) and judgments (J-P) influences career interests and choices. Therefore, standardized MBTI is expected to encourage researchers about further studies regarding learning styles and career development of Turkish students. Moreover, the researches on MBTI in the education sector will contribute to management and organizational behavior sciences. Further studies should investigate the effects of socio-demographical features on students and employees' MBTI types. Besides, researches which are expected to be conducted in Turkey will also enable cross-cultural studies.


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Salim Atay, Assistant Professor of Management, Marmara University, Business Faculty, Department, Bahcelievler/Istanbul/Turkey.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to SalimAtay at
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Author:Atay, Salim
Publication:Journal of Instructional Psychology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7TURK
Date:Jun 1, 2012
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