Personality Test Comparison: VIA Survey and Myers-Briggs (MBTI)

Most people these days seem to know their personality “type” according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). You know whether you prefer to be more extraverted or introverted, thinking or feeling, or judging or perceiving. The MBTI has been one of the most popular personality tests for decades. People who have taken the test love to guess one another’s type.

Another test that has emerged as the main research-based test of personality strengths in the world is the VIA Survey. The VIA Survey measures strengths of character and in a short period of time has had over 3.1 million takers reaching every country. The 24 character strengths measured have been found to be universal across countries, cultures, and beliefs. These include strengths such as fairness, social intelligence, kindness, curiosity, bravery, and humility. Like MBTI fanatics, people particularly love to spot character strengths in others.

Here is some information that will help you understand some of the similarities and differences in the two personality tests:

Similarities

  • Both address parts of our personality (although MBTI calls these “types”).

  • Both inform one’s self-knowledge.

  • Both are used widely with “normal” populations, and used extensively by general consumers and professionals

  • Results on either test are not “good or bad” or “right or wrong,” nor do they reveal problems or psychopathologies.

  • Both are translated into over 20 languages.

  • Both reveal results that are immediately understandable and user-friendly.

  • All people have unique preferences (MBTI) or strengths (VIA) which color their perceptions and underlie their values, interests, needs, and motivations.

Differences

Measurement:

  • MBTI: measures preferences and how people perceive their world.

  • VIA: measures character strengths, core positive capacities for thinking, feeling, and behaving in ways that benefit others and oneself.

What traits are valued?

  • MBTI: your personal type (you receive 4 letters which stand for your traits/preferences).

  • VIA: all 24 character strengths are valued, but the biggest values are your signature strengths – those  those highest in your profile and most essential to who you are.

Cost:

  • MBTI instrument: Fees to use the test E.g., $120+ to take the test and receive a report/consultation.

  • VIA: Free.