Vox - Why the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless

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    • Published: 04-17-2015 04:07 am
    • http://www.vox.com/2014/7/15/5881947/myers-briggs-personality-test-meaningless

      The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is probably the most widely used personality test in the world.

      About 2 million people take it annually, at the behest of corporate HR departments, colleges, and even government agencies. The company that produces and markets the test makes around $20 million off it each year.

      The only problem? The test is completely meaningless.

      "There's just no evidence behind it," says Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania who's written about the shortcomings of the Myers-Briggs previously. "The characteristics measured by the test have almost no predictive power on how happy you'll be in a situation, how you'll perform at your job, or how happy you'll be in your marriage."
    • Published: 04-22-2015 09:33 am
      Updated: 04-22-2015 09:34 am
    • I agree that MBTI is not theoretically sound or based empirical evidence but that article contains so much missinformation that I need to address it.

      Here are the arguments:

      1. The Myers-Briggs rests on wholly unproven theories
      "Among other things, he explained that humans roughly fall into two main types: perceivers and judgers. The former group could be further split into people who prefer sensing and others who prefer intuiting, while the latter could be split into thinkers and feelers, making for a total of four types of people. All four types, additionally, could be divided based on attitudes into introverts and extraverts (Jung's spelling). These categories, though, were approximate: "Every individual is an exception to the rule," Jung wrote."

      Science is based on a priori, meaning theories and ideas. Just because there has not been any evidence for a theory doesn't mean that the theory in all semantical variations is invalid. One can argue that all semantical variations of Jungs theory has not been scientifically tested. MBTI is very loosely based on Jung so this argument does not neccesary mean anything in this context. Given the historical background of psychology it has been based on empirically unproven theories since the beginning. The problem is that it's not possible to observe subjective experience so it's not possible to get same kind of empirical observations as in other fields.

      2. The Myers-Briggs uses false, limited binaries
      "With most traits, humans fall on different points along a spectrum. If you ask people whether they prefer to think or feel, or whether they prefer to judge or perceive, the majority will tell you a little of both. Jung himself admitted as much, noting that the binaries were useful ways of thinking about people, but writing that "there is no such thing as a pure extravert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in the lunatic asylum.""

      Just because personality traits are often distributed on a spectrum does not mean that all personality traits are distributed that way. There are a lot of traits which are dependent on gene types which does not neccesary follow normal distributed patterns. This is also because the MBTI test is a ipsative, fixed-choice test which forces people to pick, MBTI does not claim that Thinkers doesn't feel and Feelers doesn't think.

      3. The Myers-Briggs provides inconsistent, inaccurate results
      Theoretically, people might still get value out of the Myers-Briggs if it accurately indicated which end of a spectrum they were closest to for any given category. But the problem with that idea is that the fact that the test is notoriously inconsistent. Research has found that as much as 50 percent of people arrive at a different result the second time they take a test, even if it's just five weeks later."

      Myers-Briggs claim that the personality types are fluid and that they change. I agree it doesn't seem like a meaningful test if the type can change in just five weeks.

      4. The Myers-Briggs is largely disregarded by psychologists
      "All this is why psychologists — the people who focus on understanding and analyzing human behavior — almost completely disregard the Myers-Briggs in contemporary research."

      This is actually not a rational argument, popularity does not equal validity. Most of psychologists have been practicing invalid theories for the last 100 years.

      5. So what is the Myers-Briggs useful for?
      "The Myers-Briggs is useful for one thing: entertainment. There's absolutely nothing wrong with taking the test as a fun, interesting activity, like a BuzzFeed quiz."

      This is actually more of a rhethorical question that doesn't need answering.

      To summarize I think this article is constructed by a PR agency to get people into other personality-theories.
    • ErikThor likes this post.
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