Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

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Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#1  Postby kennyc » Jun 20, 2014 12:48 pm

there is certainly an appeal to it though.....

Why The Myers-Briggs Personality Test Is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific
DRAKE BAER


The Myers-Briggs personality test is entrenched in business culture.
It's taken by more than 2.5 million people a year. A full 89 of the Fortune 100 companies use it.

The test promises to tell you which of the 16 personality "types" yours most resembles, slotted along a range of behavioral binaries. As a refresher, they are:

• Extraverted or Introverted

• Sensing or Intuiting

• Thinking or Feeling

• Judging or Perceiving

The types describe readymade personalities suitable for a T-shirt or coffeemug: The INTP is the Architect, the INFP is the Healer, the ENTJ is the Commander.

Taken together, the test and its administration is an industry unto itself, worth around $20 million a year.

It's a little troubling, given that Myers and Briggs were a mother (Katharine Briggs) and daughter (Isabel Myers) who studied the works of psychologist Carl Jung a hundred years ago, particularly his book "Psychological Types." Myers and Briggs weren't social scientists themselves. Briggs was a housewife with a deep interest in Jung; before she wrote a survey that served as a prototype of Myers-Briggs personality tests, Myers wrote mystery novels.

Many people say they didn't really understand Jung at all.

As Malcom Gladwell writes in the New Yorker:

... Jung didn't believe that types were easily identifiable, and he didn't believe that people could be permanently slotted into one category or another. "Every individual is an exception to the rule," he wrote; to "stick labels on people at first sight," in his view, was "nothing but a childish parlor game."

The Myers-Briggs (MBTI) has become so entrenched, in part, because people who invest themselves in something are typically loathe to give it up. MBTI training sessions cost a couple grand to go through, and once you believe in something like the personality types, your cognitive biases are going to do everything they can to hold onto it.

Cambridge University professor Brian Little says another main reason for the test's ongoing success is that it's been "marketed brilliantly." But, of course, "you have to have something of merit in order to market well."

The merits are there: Little says that the test gives people the chance to discuss their preferences and personality in the workplace — a conversation that otherwise gets crowded out.


.....


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/myers-br ... z35BJ8cxiq
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#2  Postby Mr.Samsa » Jun 21, 2014 9:48 am

My MBTI type is aquarius. My personality reading tells me that I will come into a small windfall in my near future and potentially meet a tall, dark, handsome stranger. Exciting!
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#3  Postby The_Metatron » Jun 21, 2014 9:50 am

I've taken these things a few times over the years. The results have been consistent for me.

Interesting, fun, but I wouldn't want to make management decisions on it.
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#4  Postby Made of Stars » Jun 21, 2014 10:38 pm

It's given me some insights into what I need to work on as a manager, and has been consistent with other forms of assessment and feedback, such as the LSI.

Oh, and that I like pina coladas.
Last edited by Made of Stars on Jun 22, 2014 6:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#5  Postby The_Metatron » Jun 22, 2014 5:16 am

Oh, that's bullshit, man!

Piña coladas suck.
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#6  Postby The Serpent » Jun 22, 2014 5:30 am

I've been told that a big problem with the MB is that subjects can fake it, that is with a bit of nouse one can answer the questions in such a way as to produce the outcome which suits one best.

I believe (but I do not know and am fully open to contradiction) that things like Minnesota Multiphasic contain elements which detect attempts to game the test.
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#7  Postby thaesofereode » Jun 22, 2014 5:36 am

As with anything like this, it's worth re-evaluating on the basis of new evidence and in the light of more recent findings in the field in general.

Anecdotally we all know that people have different inclinations and "strengths/weaknesses," but I agree that trying to "silo" them out into rows and columns is a little restrictive and therefore would seem inaccurate by virtue of that very fact. I've taken the Myers-Briggs "quiz" and found that the sensation of the experience did bear some uncomfortable resemblance to reading one's astrological "personality" profile. The experience of being so-evaluated also seems to involve a fair amount of ego-stroking along the lines of "let's do this 'analysis' to determine just how marvelous I am (as distinct from everyone ELSE)." It's a little too redolent of Pop Psychology for my taste. "Which type am I? I sure hope I'm not THAT (other) type for which I have less respect, etc...."

I'm not all that convinced of the accuracy of the results. The only upside far as I can tell is that this can trigger some self-evaluation regarding one's own "style" of dealing with others, and examining how one deals with others can be helpful regardless of what triggers that examination. It may yield some insight. Then again, it may only yield a sense of superiority.
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#8  Postby Made of Stars » Jun 22, 2014 6:24 am

slottedbox wrote:I've been told that a big problem with the MB is that subjects can fake it, that is with a bit of nouse one can answer the questions in such a way as to produce the outcome which suits one best.

The question is, why would you?
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#9  Postby epepke » Jun 22, 2014 6:59 am

From what I've read, the Myers-Briggs test is just a way to codify Jung's archetypes. So it wasn't scientific or supposed to be scientific in the first place.
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#10  Postby The Serpent » Jun 22, 2014 7:12 am

Made of Stars wrote:
slottedbox wrote:I've been told that a big problem with the MB is that subjects can fake it, that is with a bit of nouse one can answer the questions in such a way as to produce the outcome which suits one best.

The question is, why would you?


Well because it might suit one's career objectives or somesuch. I'm not saying people should game these sorts of tests.
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#11  Postby Mr.Samsa » Jun 22, 2014 8:11 pm

Made of Stars wrote:
slottedbox wrote:I've been told that a big problem with the MB is that subjects can fake it, that is with a bit of nouse one can answer the questions in such a way as to produce the outcome which suits one best.

The question is, why would you?


The problem is that on self-reported measures there is always going to be a bias in how you see yourself and how you'd describe yourself to others, whether intentional or not. For example, people tend to see themselves in a more positive light than is true, they remember positive aspects easier than negative ones, their answers change depending on specifically how the question is asked (e.g. "Do you enjoy your own company?" vs "Are you awkward, shy, and incapable of interacting with other people in social settings?"), etc etc.

The MBTI makes absolutely no attempt to control for any of the biases that we're aware of. The test simply asks you what you think of yourself and then repeats back what you reported thinking about yourself. It's not surprising that many people find that it accurately describes them as it essentially asks: "Do you think you're introverted?" and, if yes, then reports at the end that it thinks you're introverted.

The more damning fact is that even though it is only telling you what you believe about yourself, for many people they find it is an inaccurate reflection of their own personality types. That's an absurd failure.
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#12  Postby KeenIdiot » Jun 22, 2014 11:33 pm

I always tend to bounce between ENTJ and INTJ.
I had to give a short speech about my classification in a public speaking course, and criticized the test and how they tried to apply it back to historical people.
Naturally they just said something long the lines of "That's just like an ENTJ."
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#13  Postby Mr.Samsa » Jun 22, 2014 11:53 pm

KeenIdiot wrote:
Naturally they just said something long the lines of "That's just like an ENTJ."




More seriously, I find it weird how something so heavily debunked as the MBTI can still have so much support. To me it seems worse than things like homeopathy and crystal healing because at least most people seem to recognise the latter things as ridiculous, whereas even amongst skeptic groups you'll find this unwavering irrational support for MBTI.
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#14  Postby Made of Stars » Jun 23, 2014 11:26 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:... whereas even amongst skeptic groups you'll find this unwavering irrational support for MBTI.

Where was this?
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#15  Postby KeenIdiot » Jun 23, 2014 7:20 pm

It does seem to be popular.
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#16  Postby Mr.Samsa » Jun 23, 2014 11:08 pm

Made of Stars wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:... whereas even amongst skeptic groups you'll find this unwavering irrational support for MBTI.

Where was this?


There have been a few threads on the topic here, there were some on RDF, the JREF, and a few others. There always seems to be one or two people who, despite the evidence, will argue that it works.
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#17  Postby Dissident » Aug 02, 2014 9:09 pm

Obviously it's not scientific, but that is probably too much to ask from psychology still. I think that the important part is if it's useful, and maybe to a point at least it is.

We could draw a parallel to (at least old school) IQ tests, can intelligence be described by a simple number? Of course not. But there it is, a pretty clear correlation between IQ and academic achievement, etc. So even if it doesn't perfectly measure intelligence it does measure something, and that is still useful.

Similarly, your answers to the (I hear unending) questions of the test will say something about you, and in some cases that may be enough.
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#18  Postby Loren Michael » Sep 28, 2014 11:41 am

I'm an iNTj, or an eNTj after either my third gin and tonic or my first shot of espresso.

obviously as an i/eNTj I put little stock in the MBTI
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#19  Postby IanRaugh » Mar 03, 2015 8:38 pm

I fluctuate between INTJ and INFJ. I find the MBTI a handy short version. I'd much rather use the Five Factor Model. It is a lot more descriptive, reliable, and useful.
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Re: Myers-Briggs is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific

#20  Postby The_Metatron » Mar 04, 2015 11:42 pm

I like M-B. It tells me what I like to hear.

Funny, though. The results are consistent over decades. Also, the results are the same when someone else answers the questions, reflecting how they see me, not as I see myself.

It's an indication, probably not something on which I'd make critical decisions, though.
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