Personality tests are hugely popular both online and offline, and the Myers-Briggs personality test (otherwise known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI) is one of the most well known and widely used. The test in based on Jungian theory of personality, and divides people in 16 “types” which are combination of the following binaries:
- Extraverted or Introverted
- Sensing or Intuiting
- Thinking or Feeling
- Judging or Perceiving
The test is taken by 2.5 million people a year, and is so seriously regarded that it is used by HR departments, recruitment consultants, and employers in a variety of industries in order to assess employees and their potential strengths and weaknesses in their role and interacting with others.
The only problem with the MBTI test is that the science behind it is seriously wonky. First developed in the 1900s by a mother and daughter pair who were advocates of Jung’s notions of psychological types. They initially developed their personality test to help people better understand themselves and find jobs which suited their personalities as decreed by the test results.
Human personalities are flexible, which the binaries of the MBTI test are too rigid to accommodate. You’re either an introvert or an extrovert, a thinker or a feeler; there’s no in between. Employees of the companies who use this test can find themselves forced into roles and perceptions of themselves which may be suitable on the day of the test, but not in the future.
People who take the test out of curiosity may find that the test matches their mood on the day of taking it, but also run the risk of false perceptions of themselves if they think that the results are set in stone.
Ultimately, there is no test for personality which can provide a magic answer for the perfect vocation, or say exactly what a person’s personality will be forever. If there is such a test, MBTI isn’t it.
Why The Myers-Briggs Personality Test Is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific [via Business Insider]