Posted on September 28, 2018 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

The Myers-Briggs personality test began not in a laboratory, but in a living room.

Today, it’s a multimillion-dollar industry, though author Merve Emre doubts that would be a source of pride for its creators.

Emre has written a book, titled The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing, about the assessment named after the mother-daughter duo who built it.

Katharine Briggs, the mother, was a college valedictorian who married her class’s salutatorian.

But she was living in an era (the late 1800s and early 1900s) when women stayed home, kept house, and raised children.

So Briggs had to be creative.

She began studying the personalities of the neighborhood children, and along with her own daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, created the now-famous — and debunked — test.

Emre gives a preview of her book, which follows the Myers-Briggs test’s long history, and explains why its founders would have disliked its recent surge in popularity, on All Things Considered.

You can listen below or read an edited transcript on NPR’s website.

Categories: Author Interview

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