What Matters Most?

Using your strengths to impact well-being

Myers-Briggs or VIA Survey (Character Strengths)?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the VIA Survey are two of the most popular tests in psychology for both personal and professional use. There are some similarities but many important differences to understand. These are offered as well as ideas for integration. Read More


I would never compare these personality tests! They seem so different in so many ways. I felt very comfortable with the MBTI; the results felt correct.

The VIA. on the other hand gave answers so 'over the top' positive it left me not trusting the results. Weird.

Just sayin'.


Yes, these are interesting tests to compare. I get asked this question a lot so I decided it would be easier to simply blog out the distinctions!

The MBTI is value-neutral whereas the VIA is a true positive test. It is not positive or negative to be more introverted or extraverted, sensing or feeling...of course you can make these attributes positive but they are squarely neutral at the core.

The extensive work of the VIA Classification was to uncover "positive" traits found universal throughout time and across cultures, therefore, the VIA Survey which measures these attributes, reveals positive results. That's one of the interesting aspects is that you "have to" get positive results. It reveals your perception of your highest qualities, even though you have all 24 of these positive traits in you to some degree.

The VIA Survey occasionally does feel awkward to some people at first because many are not used to looking at themselves through this positive lens or "strengths lens." At the same time, a personal paradigm shift in how we view the world is far more likely as a result. In contrast, the ah-ha's seem much less likely in learning that one is intuitive or sensing, feeling or thinking-oriented (and I share this as a MBTI fan.

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Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D., is the education director at the VIA Institute on Character.


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