Use This for That : The Myers-Briggs Test for Character Development

During one of my weekly writing group sessions, our host, outstanding author Hazel Manuel  brought up an idea that she and another of our colleagues discussed at a recent lunch (I’d name the other person but I haven’t been able to ask permission yet). This idea was to use the Myers-Briggs Test as a way to define the personalities of the characters in our stories.

So what’s the Myers-Briggs Test?

The Myers-Briggs is a personality test that was developed by mother/daughter dynamic duo of psychology Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers which expanded on theories first put forth by psychoanalyst Carl Jung. It uses a series of questions to place aspects of one’s personality into definable categories.

Each of the categories are assigned two letters of which the test taker will receive one depending on how the questions are answered. After all scoring is complete the subject will have a four letter code that can be used to further examine parts of their personality.

The letter pairs and their root words are:

Extraversion – Introversion

Sensing-INtuition

Thinking-Feeling

Judging-Perceiving

When I took this free online version myself, I discovered my code was ENTP. This wasn’t surprising. I’ve taken the test as part of various staff meeting activities in the past with similar if not the results. Repeatable results are the cornerstone of good science!

Now what does this have to do with our characters? Continue reading

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