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CAPT Responds to Merve Emre’s “Uncovering the Secret History of the Myers-Briggs”

CAPT Responds to Merve Emre’s “Uncovering the Secret History of the Myers-Briggs”

Recently a writer named Merve Emre posted an article on Digg.com titled “Uncovering the Secret History of the Myers-Briggs” that makes numerous assertions about interactions she had with The Myers-Briggs Foundation and the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT), both not-for-profit organizations entrusted with continuing the work of Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers.

This article is misleading, and at times downright false. The attacks on CAPT (and people who attend certification classes) are disturbing.

The author of the article did approach CAPT about writing a biography of Isabel Briggs Myers. Impressed with her talent as a writer as well as her scholarly credentials, we welcomed the opportunity to explore the possibility of working with her.

Our standard policy is that any scholar reviewing the archives needs to be thoroughly educated on Myers-Briggs® type in order to contextualize the information contained in these documents. Therefore, as standard procedure with all graduate students we work with, we asked her to undergo MBTI® certification. Contrary to what the article she wrote implies, all fees for this program were waived for her, and she was enrolled in a program where no travel was required.

Access to the Isabel’s archives has always been limited, for three reasons:

1. Many documents contain intellectual property related to the development of the Indicator.
2. There is a significant amount of personal information in the form of assessment results that cannot be released for privacy reasons. And there are documents that contain personal information about living people that we have a responsibility to keep private.
3. Many of these historical documents are very fragile and must be handled with great care and kept in a climate controlled environment.

CAPT takes its stewardship of the archives very seriously, and access to documents in the archives is based on CAPT’s ability to keep the documents physically safe and to sort and make available to the public those parts that do not compromise intellectual property or violate the privacy of living individuals.

Evaluating the quite large archival resources to address these concerns is a substantial and ongoing endeavor. Access to documents may thus be restricted because CAPT has not yet determined if a document – or parts of a document – contain proprietary intellectual property or might violate the privacy of a living person.

Over the course of our engagement with Emre, we shared these considerations with her, and we also ultimately determined that it was not the right time to grant her access to the archives. At the very most, we indicated there was a possibility she might have limited access to some of these documents, but that this access was entirely contingent upon her developing a deeper understanding of Myers’s work, and a vetting process that is required as a part of CAPT’s stewardship role.

While it is unfortunate that we ultimately had to decide not to grant access at this time, we maintain that the process we have in place is necessary. Now, in light of Emre’s article, which contains numerous implications and personal conjecture about Isabel’s character without scholarly citation, we are firmly convinced that our decision was both appropriate and correct. It is unfortunate that she chose to express her disappointment in this manner. CAPT and the Myers and Briggs Foundation continue to be firmly committed to our work in moving forward to provide greater accessibility to the archives and awareness of the life and contributions of Isabel Briggs Myers.

Isabel Myers was a very public figure who interacted with thousands of notable individuals over the course of her work, and is the subject of an extensive and widely read biography: Katherine and Isabel: Mother’s Light, Daughter’s Journey. The information in the archives represents only a fraction of the knowledge that could potentially be mined to construct a view of her life. We look forward to continuing our mission to support this effort.

 

To read the article on the original website, click here.

 

 

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