Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

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The MBTI is a horoscope for nerds.
—Random Tumblr User[1]

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an alleged assessment of one's personality type. It aims to classify how individuals view the world through a questionnaire and categorizing people based on four different dichotomies. It was developed by a mother and daughter team (Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs) who had no formal education in any subject related fields, but had a personal interest in Carl Jung's Personality Types and wanted to make them accessible to a wide audience as a tool for self discovery. In personality research, it only plays an anecdotal role for a variety of reasons. One being its origins, since from its Jungian Roots (Psychological Types by C. G. Jung, 1921), the first MBTI Handbook (1944) and the MBTI Manual (1962), there was considerable advancements in the field of psychology in general. Other models of personality have been proposed and developed, which satisfy more scientific criteria by design and purpose than the antiquated Myers-Briggs model. Its popularity is mainly driven through its relative simplicity and appeal, the commercial profitability for its practitioners and the self-amplifying effect of its own propagation. On the question whether MBTI is pseudoscience, which would mean that the theory has absolute no empirical validity, the definitive answer is: no. Several studies linked the MBTI dichotomies to more accepted personality models like the Big5 based, NEO PI-R (A 5 factor model with 5 subscales each) [2], which showed strong correlations between the two as have other studies (see studies References).

Contents

[edit] Four dichotomies

A chart with descriptions of each Myers-Briggs personality types

In contrast to trait-based personality theories which assume a continuous, normal distribution around an expectancy value, MBTI, like other type theories (Keirsey Temperament Sorter, Socionics, etc.) postulates the existence of 16 distinct personality types. This hypothesis has the weakest empirical support, and is one of the major points of legitimate criticism. There is absolutely no support for it from any datasets, although there were some attempts at filtering large datasets with advanced statistical techniques, there were no evidence for a so called bimodal distributions found.[3]

[edit] Extroversion – Introversion

This scale is referred to as the "attitudes." Unlike the usual form of "extrovert" and "introvert," these have a very specific definition based on how a person reacts to action or reflection. Carl Jung proposed that one's psychic energy was either directed outwards (extroversion) or inwards (introversion).

An extrovert's attention is drawn to the outer world of things and action whereas the introvert's attention is drawn to the inner world of ideas and understanding.

[edit] Sensing – iNtuition

These are the "information gathering functions," and are fairly self explanatory. S prefers to look at the world and describe what they sense while N people are more concerned with the meaning. For example, “the street has many tall brown houses and is crowded” (S) versus “this is a shopping street with historical houses” (N).

[edit] Thinking – Feeling

This dichotomy is the "judging functions," based around how a person will make decisions. T will rely on factual information itself more, while F relies more on how they feel about the information in context, including rhetoric. Thinkers are not more logical, and Feelers are not more empathic.

[edit] Judging – Perceiving

The final functions become more complicated based on whether an individual is judged extroverted or introverted. Depending on whether one is extroverted or introverted it expresses whether the Sensing – iNtuition or the Thinking – Feeling aspect is exhibited to the outside. The logically minded may perceive this as some kind of juggling to correct a flaw.

[edit] Analysis

Combining these four scales comes up with 16 different personality types: INTP, ESTJ, etc. The scales, except for the last, are nominally based on Jung's theory of personality (the last was somewhat arbitrarily added by Myers and Briggs).

[edit] Criticism

Many skeptics consider the Myers-Briggs to be pseudoscience, since no scientific proof has been offered for the existence of these categories except for the introversion-extroversion scale,[4] although many find it useful as a wholly subjective frame of reference or categorization. Then again, there are also those who find the categorizations in Transactional Analysis, William Strauss and Neil Howe's generational types, the left-right political spectrum, dividing popular culture by decade (the "Sixties," the "Seventies," etc.) useful methods of systematizing too, despite their lack of scientific nature. As with any subjective construct, your mileage may vary.

Though the MBTI is popular in schools and businesses, it's disfavored by many in the psychological community for its low reliability and lack of external validity. The most common personality assessment tools used by psychologists are the MMPI-2 or the MCMI-III.

An also comedic aspect is the placement of real life personalities, e.g. John F. Kennedy being an introvert on one scale,[5] and listed alongside Sarah Palin on another.[6]

It should be mentioned that using a formal psychological test as part of the hiring procedure is viewed as a "medical examination" and therefore illegal in the United States under the ADA per Karraker v. Rent-A-Center Inc.[7][8]. Use of the MMPI (or one similar to it) is definitely illegal and there are serious questions regarding using the MBTI. The Myers & Briggs Foundation's own website warns "It is unethical and in many cases illegal to require job applicants to take the Indicator if the results will be used to screen out applicants."[9]

"Annie Murphy Paul, a former senior editor for Psychology Today magazine, attacked the $400 million a year testing industry, comparing personality tests to phrenology — a popular and discredited 19th century personality instrument that measured mental traits by examining the 27 bumps on a person’s head."[10]

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. http://coelasquid.tumblr.com/post/53521760472/extroverts-run-the-world-and-you-extroverts
  2. [The relationship between the revised neo-personality inventory and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator by Adrian Furnham et al. Social Behavior and Personality, 2003, 310(6), 577-584.
  3. todo
  4. The USA's National Research Council found the I-E scale to have sufficient construct validity, but none of the other scales. See Nowack 1997. The I-E scale has been found to correlate well with extroversion in the FFM, and the S-N scale to some degree with openness, though the MBTI is generally considered to be less reliable. See McCrae and Costa 1989.
  5. INTJ
  6. ESTP (It also implies that Palin and Donald Trump are "thinkers".)
  7. FindLaw: Karraker v. Rent-A-Center Inc.
  8. Karraker v. Rent-a-Center: Testing the Limits of the ADA, Personality Tests, and Employer Preemployment Screening The Loyola University Chicago Law Journal Volume 37 Issue 4 Summer 2006 article 6
  9. Ethical Guidelines
  10. H Beau Baez (January 26, 2013) "Personality Tests in Employment Selection: Use With Caution" Cornell HR Review Cornell University
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