Multicultural Use of the MBTI® Instrument
Excerpted from MBTI® Manual (CPP, Inc. 1998). Used with permission.
While type has not been assessed in all cultural societies, it has been surveyed in about 30 countries on all continents, some with more than one culture. So far, the studies have suggested the following:
All type preferences (E-I, S-N, T-F, and J-P) appear in all cultures studied to date.
People in different cultures report that the descriptions of the individual preferences make sense to them. They find value and usefulness in using type concepts in various ways, for example, to improve interactions and communication between diverse individuals and within groups.
People in different cultures report that Isabel Myers’ original whole type descriptions, or more recent versions, are appropriate and applicable. They react with, “This is me!”
Distributions of the sixteen types differ across different cultures. However, distribution patterns are similar across all the cultures studied.
STJ types predominate in all cultures.
Males within each culture report a preference for Thinking that is 10 percent to 25 percent higher than that reported by females.
Business people in various cultures in North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe were grouped according to temperament pairs (SJ, SP, NF, and NT types). When asked to select an animal to represent their groups, they selected similar animals, as appropriate to their physical environment: The SJ types chose loyal hard-working animals, the SP types chose independent adaptable animals, the NF types chose companionable animals who engaged in teamwork, and the NT types selected animals of competence and vision.
People in the same profession often have similar types. For example, law enforcement officers in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States show preferences for ISTJ and ESTJ.
Structured interviews of the same types across different cultures produced similar reactions. For example, ESTJ men and ESFJ women found great support from their environment as they grow up. The opposite types, INFP men and INTP women, reported more difficulty in finding a satisfactory fit for themselves as they grew up.
In summary, studies to date provide clear support for the theory that psychological type is universal across cultures.