Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
|Tell me about your mother|
|Let us examine...|
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. Psychologists don't actually use it (it's not very good), but businesses love it.
 Four dichotomies
Rather than the sensible idea of using a Likert scale, the four attributes are presented as a dichotomy, meaning that one person merely has a preference of one over the other, with no room in the analysis for any middle ground.
 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 (extraversion) 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.
 Sensing – iNtuition
These are the "information gathering functions," and are fairly self explanatory. S prefers to look at the world and believe it while N people will go on their guts and hunches.
 Thinking – Feeling
This dichotomy is the "judging functions," based around how a person will make decisions. Again this is self explanatory: T will think logically while F will prefer to empathise with a situation.
 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.
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).
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, 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 external validity. The most common personality assessment tools used by psychologists are the MMPI-2 or the MCMI-III.
 See also
- Entry in The Skeptic's Dictionary
- The Myers-Briggs Foundation will charge you a fortune to take the copyrighted version or you could take a cheap rip off for the same effect.
- Myers, Briggs, and the World's Most Popular Personality Test, Mental Floss
- Nothing personal: The questionable Myers-Briggs test, The Grauniad
- Measuring the MBTI...and Coming Up Short, David J. Pittenger
- Myers-Briggs: Where if you're a TJ, you're either stuck-up or a heartless asshole. (Also parodied by The Onion)
- ↑ Some researchers attempting to salvage MBTI, however, have redefined the dichotomies as continuums.
- ↑ 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 extraversion 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.
- ↑ INTJ
- ↑ ESTP (It also implies that Palin and Donald Trump are "thinkers.")