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MBTI – ARE PERSONALITY TESTS ACCURATE?




Rating The Internet’s Favorite Personality Matrix


In the modern-day age, where there are so many of us, human beings generally like to know where we stand.


Given the meteoric population rise in the last half a century, it’s safe to say we yearn to define ourselves as different from all the other shuffling bodies on the street.


We do this partly through our interests:


What type of music we enjoy, what hobbies we practice, what type of traits we’re looking for in a partner etc.


But as much as those are displays of how we choose, a big part of us wants to go a bit deeper.


To explore what subconsciously drives us and how similar we are to others who think and choose the same way.


This is where the MBTI 16 personality test comes in - a sleek and easily presentable table of several personality categories we can easily associate with great thinkers and leaders throughout history.

However, as cool and trendy as it has become in recent years, is there really some scientific merit to it?


Let’s find out!



The Test


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was originally created by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers in the early 20th century.


Although not initially inspired by Carl Jung’s theories, Briggs would soon base a majority of the index’s early foundations on her understanding of his works.


The test itself is a questionnaire that tests four major scales, which respectively range from introversion or extraversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, judging or perceiving.


This, in turn, results in a four-letter combination, such as “INTP,” for example, which can have 16 possible permutations, hence the name often given to the test.


Here’s the kicker though - neither Briggs nor her daughter had any sort of academic education in the field of psychology.


In fact, the MBTI is only mostly used in the recreational sense and in corporate circles as an interview tool to select preferred archetypes of workers for a job.


It isn’t fair to say it’s a completely useless tool. As we’ve mentioned, it is very popular with companies selecting for traits that predict a cohesive work environment, but in the psychological community, it has minimal to no use.


The problem with the MBTI test, aside from the lack of peer review by qualified professionals in its design, is mostly its lack of rigor:


It simply has quite low internal (meaning a person can take the test at relatively short intervals and come up with radically different results) as well as external (the test isn’t that good a predictor of behavior) validity.



Is There a Better Alternative?


Luckily, yes.


While using the MBTI outside of self-diagnosing as a fun tool is completely harmless, should one decide they want a tool that actual psychologists use, the five personality traits index is a much better alternative.


Developed in 1961 by Ernest Types and Raymond Christal (yes, it is actually newer than the MBTI), the theory and specific questions relating to it have been ironed out by other subsequent psychologists in the field.


The big 5 test as it is also sometimes called, focuses on the factors of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, easily remembered by the acronym OCEAN.


It is safe to say this test is used by the majority of research and diagnoses in the field of psychometrics and personality psychology due to its ease of use, the solid research behind it, and depth compared to the MBTI.



Final Words


Although the MBTI personality test is a popular option for people looking to learn more about their own personalities, it has been shown to have low reliability and validity.


The Five Personality Traits Index (FPTI) is a newer measure that has been found to be more reliable and valid than the MBTI.


If you are interested in exploring your personality, we recommend using the FPTI instead of the MBTI.


Have you tried any of the two, and what was your experience with them? Comment below!

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