New York Times: Popular Meyer-Briggs Test has Roots in Nearby Delaware County

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Isabel Briggs-Meyer with granddaughter Kathleen in her Swarthmore living room
Image via James A. Hughes Jr.
Isabel Briggs-Meyer with granddaughter Kathleen in her Swarthmore living room

The well-known Briggs Meyer personality test, often used to match job hunter personalities with the right jobs, was co-invented by a part-time crime writer and mother of two in Swarthmore, writes Glenn Rifkin and Benedict Carey for The New York Times.

In the early months of World War II, Isabel Briggs-Meyer was fascinated by a Reader’s Digest article on “Fitting the Worker to the Job.”

She was a volunteer aircraft spotter for the Civil Air Patrol and a nurse with the Red Cross who also graduated from Swarthmore College at the top of her class.

She dwelled on the importance of matching the right people with the right jobs as a U.S. intervention in Europe seemed more and more likely.

She contacted her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs, a magazine writer enthralled by the ideas of Carl Jung.

Together, they created the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It identified and sorted people as introverts or extroverts, thinkers or feelers, among other categories.

It became the most widely-used personality assessment in the world, taken by two million people each year. It is embraced by corporations, universities, and the government, despite it not being rooted in science.

Read more about the inventors of the Myers-Briggs test in The New York Times.

The history and intent of the Meyers-Briggs test.

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