• Three Minutes

Is the MBTI Personality Test a hoax?

The MBTI personality test is so popular and common that I have seen people starting introductions by saying they are an ENTJ personality type.

The first time I heard it, I got confused and immediately googled it up.

Then I found a test and saw that I am INTJ one of the rarest personality types. I immediately felt better about myself.

What if we were to tell you that this test was only meant for you and the recruiter to feel better about you? Still, about 1.5 million people take the test online each year, and more than 88% of Fortune 500 companies, as well as hundreds of universities, uses it in hiring and training.

Let us first see how this test works.

We found a simplified version on Team Technology that we are sharing here. In each of the four statements given below, you have to make a choice. E or I? S or N and so on. And based on your choice you become an ESTJ or an ISFP.

People and things (Extraversion or "E"), or ideas and information (Introversion or "I").

Facts and reality (Sensing or "S"), or possibilities and potential (Intuition or "N").

Logic and truth (Thinking or "T"), or values and relationships (Feeling or "F").

A lifestyle that is well-structured (Judgment or "J"), or one that goes with the flow (Perception or "P").

But the thing is, we aren’t always the best judge of ourselves. I still haven’t made up my mind whether I am an Extrovert or an Introvert and that was just the first statement! So Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers created this test which through a series (approximately 90+) questions makes your decision for you.

But psychologists are now calling it unscientific and bogus.

They state that the MBTI test was born out of the theories of Carl Jung which were proposed before psychology became an empirical science and thus were never tested properly. Even Carl Jung called them rough tendencies, not strict classifications as they weren’t tested via controlled experiments. And the Briggs weren’t even initiated in psychology although Katherine Briggs was known to be a very perceptive woman.

Another criticism here was that no personality can ever be black and white. Some are grey. I couldn’t make a decision whether I was an Extrovert or an Introvert because maybe I am an ambivert. The choices often come off as too far apart, not offering any middle ground. Recent psychologists have claimed that there are up to six personality dimensions as opposed to MBTI’s four.

Research has also shown that around 50% of the people who take the test twice get different results which again add to the ambiguity of the test.

For the Briggs’ the MBTI test as a method of increasing women employability in World War II times. It was to help women understand their personalities and choose the best job for them.

Although the Myers-Briggs company has discredited all such claims, stating they are based on old theories. They even maintained that when an individual answers 90+ questions it is difficult for him to give the exact same answers each time and the individual’s differing perceptions about himself/herself is what leads to divergent results.

But it is often difficult to believe those who make around $20 million off a fake test (or not) every year.

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