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Myers-Briggs testing: yes or no?

MISUSED, MISLEADING, MISERABLE // Mia Dorsey

Whether it was an activity at school or a team-building exercise for work, people have probably come across the Myers-Briggs Test. And while the idea of discovering what type of person you are after answering a couple questions is fun, the test is actually quite useless.

To begin with, and most importantly, the Myers-Briggs Test is not recognized as credible by the psychology community. The test itself wasn’t even created by psychologists or people knowledgeable in the field. Created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers, the test is loosely based on the work of psychologist Carl Jung, who established certain categories that humans and their personalities can be separated into. However, Jung didn’t believe in putting people into such narrow boxes, making the note that “every individual is an exception to the rule,” according to Business Insider.

Not only is the Myers-Briggs not based on an actual study, but the test doesn’t follow the vital component of the standard scientific method in psychology: reliability. According to a 2014 Business Insider article, philosopher Roman Krznaric found that 50 percent of people who retake the test after five weeks will get different results, showing that the test is not consistent, which is enough for it to be discredited.

These discrepancies would not seem so bad if the test was used strictly for leisure, but 89 of the Fortune 100 companies use the Myers-Briggs for work. Whether the results determine which department suits a person best or if a person should even be hired, the largest companies in the country are basing important career decisions on a test that offers no insight to the success potential of a potential employee.

While the information of the test’s follies is readily available, it seems absurd that it is continued to be used and taken seriously. The first reason is that the results are always positive; a person will be content with whichever four-letter classification they receive. Also, this test, much like a horoscope or fortune, is extremely vague, allowing practically any result to fit any person, which provides a false sense of accuracy.

The constant use of and trust in the Myers-Briggs Test is inappropriate, and it should only be taken as seriously as a fortune cookie.

MAGICAL, MERRYMAKING, MODISH // Gem Sheps

People are naturally self-interested and constantly searching for ways to label and categorize themselves. From zodiac signs to Hogwarts houses, these tests and alignments help people understand their own and others’ strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.

Sorting oneself into personality categories gives an individual an opportunity to learn more about themselves. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) sorts people into one of sixteen categories made up of four sub-categories: Introversion/Extraversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. The test is a short evaluation of the taker’s preferences with regard to communication, work style, and lifestyle.

The MBTI is another personality quiz that provides just as much scientific merit as any other—that is, none. The quizzes aren’t based on any solid psychological foundation. However, the point of these quizzes isn’t to create a fully inclusive psychological profile of an individual.

Like all other personality tests, the MBTI is for the individual’s benefit and serves as a method of forming one’s own self-concept. The categories are broad and vague in order to allow the taker to narrow them down and apply them to themselves. The descriptions of the types are similar to horoscopes and provide neutral information and guidance for each category. 

The MBTI was never intended to be a tool used to make important decisions with. In fact, the ethical use guidelines of the MBTI website state that the use of the MBTI for screening purposes is unethical and in many cases illegal, meaning employers cannot use the test to make hiring and other administrative decisions. Test-takers are also discouraged from using the test to make major life and personal decisions.

When used for its intended purpose, the MBTI is a useful and entertaining tool for those looking to do some introspection, gain insight into how to comfortably operate in their highest capacity, and maintain communication pleasant for both themselves and those around them.

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