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by Science Friday and WNYC Studios
Science Diction

The Rise Of The Myers-Briggs, Chapter 2: Isabel


At first, it seemed like Isabel Briggs Myers would have nothing to do with personality typology. That was her mother Katharine’s passion project, not hers. But when Isabel enters a tumultuous marriage, she discovers that her mother’s gospel of type might just be the thing to save it.

In Chapter 2, Isabel picks up her mother’s work, and decides to transform it into a marketable product—but first, she has to convince a group of skeptical PhDs that it actually works. Along the way, one particularly dogged researcher notices some issues with her indicator, threatening to undo everything she’d worked for.

If you’re new to the series, listen to Chapter 1.

A transcript of this episode is being processed and will be available within a week.


Merve Emre is a writer and English professor at the University of Oxford.

Footnotes & Further Reading:

Read Merve Emre’s book, ​​The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing.


This episode was produced by Johanna Mayer, Chris Egusa, and Senior Producer Elah Feder. Our music was composed by Daniel Peterschmidt, who also mastered this episode and helped with archival research. We had fact checking help from Cosmo Bjorkenheim. Peter Geyer provided us with archival audio. Nadja Oertelt is our Chief Content Officer.



by Science Friday and WNYC Studios