At a leadership academy that I attended several years ago, I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator test. Normally I’m skeptic of such things (thank you, Straight Dope), but this one kind of floored me. We had a whole class on the results of our tests. I was impressed with what I saw. Specifically, I was impressed by how well the descriptions of my ‘type’ seemed to fit me. What’s more, I was amazed at how other ‘types’ see the world, and how different their perspectives are from mine. For example, when asked to describe an apple, I offered a predictable, rather factual and bland description just as my type would suggest. When someone with a type that was polar opposite to mine described the apple, his first response was “Newton on fire”. He then went on to describe the meaning behind those thoughts. Wow. It’s trivial, I know, but I found it fascinating nonetheless. It really drove home the point that two people can look at one object and view it in two totally different lights.
Another interesting point was this: the instructors at the academy really knew how to motivate people by knowing their personality type. They knew exactly what buttons to push to achieve desired results. The point being, those in supervisory or leadership roles would be wise to take advantage of this knowledge to achieve specific results.
So anyway, has anyone else ever taken this test? What are your thoughts on the whole thing? Any other INTJs out there?
The full blown tests will cost money, but there’s no shortage of free online tests that basically do the same thing. Here’s another. Or, if you just want to see the different dichotomies and see which ones fit best, there’s this page.
What’s your personality type?
(I know this has been brought up before, but it’s been a few years so I’m throwing it out there again)
I have no doubt that they do. They probably also fit me, and if not, I might be able to bash them to fit. That’s why astrology and many other bogus disciplines APPEAR to work. Check out confirmation bias, wishful thinking, self-deception and cold reading. You can start here:
While I agree a lot of stuff is bogus, I disagree that Myers-Briggs is a form of cold reading/wishful thinking/etc. There is quite a bit of scientific support for it, and it has a lot of scientific thought put into the measures. (I know you’re going to ask for a cite, but I just wrote my mongo-paged lit review for my thesis…so for now, I say look it up on your own. My brain is full!). The online forms I find less accurate, though…the one available in the book Please Understand Me is much more thorough and thus your personality identification is more likely accurate. Still, the online ones are good enough for entertainment purposes.
And FTR, I couldn’t make all 16 personality types fit me. No way. I am an ENFJ, and reading about INTPs (my hubby) just makes me scratch my head. Y’all are weird, but I love you for it. And the SPs? Y’all are just another species entirely.
The book and MB research is a highly recommended read for teachers to help us understand students with different perspectives on life and learning. Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory probaby is more respected, but they both more or less say the same thing: kids are different people learning in different ways. Understand where they’re coming from, and you will be able to better meet their instructional needs.
I did a quick read of the link Musicat provided–interesting stuff, though I don’t think it flat-out says MBTI is bogus. I agree Carl Jung is a a better reputed source for the same kind of info, though, and it might be a better direction to go for more specific info. But I disagree that MBTI is entirely useless.
If there’s any real scientific support for it I haven’t seen it and I don’t even know how you would devise a test to prove it. How do you know what a person’s MBTI personality type is independent of an MBTI test?
I also sincerely doubt a real psychologist would put any value into a 96-question test administered by a management consultant in a corporate training room.
I’m not trying to bash folks who use this stuff, because it can be kind of fun, but the MBTI is transparently a Forer Effect game, and this and other tests like it have done a lot of harm to a lot of people’s careers in the past. Some companies got awfully serious about this back in the 80’s, and I’ve heard of folks whose careers were stalled because the powers that be didn’t like their MBTI type.
I’m a psychologist, and an ESTP.. As a psychologist, I can say that the Meyer-Briggs personality typing is among the best respected and does indeed have a firm scientific basis.
For many purposes, there is just a need for profiling people. And the Meyer-Briggs typing does a much, much better job at this then it’s predecessors astrology, Phrenology of handwriting-analysis.
If it was just the typing, the value of the theory would be limited; it would basically your test results saying back to you what you wrote down.
However, there’s a body of knowledge accesssible (also online) that tell you things about your type you didn’t know. For instance about the way you procrastinate, what your most effective way is to study, and what common errors are in dealing with other types and how to prevent them. Also, what types yield the best results when teambuilding. Just google MBTI and any keyword and see for yourself.
The M-B descriptions tend to be more specific than horoscope type stuff. It won’t say “you sometimes feel awkward in social situations” but rather something like “you prefer to leave parties early,and are drained and irritable”.
ISTP here This description fits me to a T. It pretty much wouldn’t fit any one else I know, and I some of the people I’ve shown that to find many of the items degrading. Even though many of the points described are negative, I acknowledge that the shoe fits. The last paragraph suggest the ISTP is likely to be a motorcyclist or hang-glider pilot. Both here…and I know plenty of folks that would NEVER consider either.
M-B was really a revelation to me when a good friend gave me a book on it a few years ago. Turns out I’m not as weird or unusual as I thought I was. ISTPs are not very social creatures, so we tend not to meet each other.
Perhaps I should have started this thread in Great Debates.
I can appreciate the skepticism; there are few people more skeptical and cynical than I. But I simply don’t see this as some type of astrology or cold-reading. There’s no attempt to ‘give hope’ or predict the future that I can see. I simply see this as a way of classifying certain personality traits and exploring the commonalities found within. The uses beyond that, I will agree, could get scary. The job-related issues mentioned by RickJay being an example.
I would hope that we could all agree that different people exhibit different personalities, right? For example, you’re either introverted or extroverted, or somewhere in between, right? That’s what MBTI points out - to what extent you are one, the other, or near the middle.
I guess I fail to see what’s so bogus about simply classifying personality types and identifying the common threads. FTR, they made it perfectly clear that people will rarely exist completely in one dichotomy over another; generally people will exhibit traits from both sides of that particular dimension.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s very useful. I had no idea that people deemed people worthy of respect merely based on position rather than competence. Learning about the differences between me and other types was exceedingly useful. It also explained why an ISTJ organization (something like 96%!) that tried hiring a few ENTPs like me and found they didn’t fit. ISTJs seem to think ENTPs are idiots. The non-linear thinkers and the linear thinkers see the world very differently, it seems, and that can lead to some real unpleasantness.
So just for the worth of reading about the types and seeing how they operate, I think it’s useful. But overall, the most impressive test I ever took was the colourquiz. It blew me completely out of the water. I took it at the same time someone else did; our descriptions could not have been more different (or more accurate).
I’ve taken the MBTI test several times (generally ENTJ) as well as other personality/management style tests. I don’t know how “scientific” they are, but they certainly should not be used for hiring or career advancement decisions. It isn’t predictive.
These tests are only usefull as a team-building activity to demonstrate that different people think differently. For example, I solve problems using logic and reason. Another type might uses emotion and gut feeling (which is a polite way of saying they are a moron).
To a certain extent, I do have some skepticism about all of these tests. If you answer a bunch of questions about how you perceive yourself, is it any wonder the results seems to match your personality?
In the same way, I had no idea some people were more comfortable before they made a decision rather than after.
I don’t think MBTI is really sound, and it’s no mystical connection to the self, but it does provide a framework and a vocabulary for self-reflection, which is something many people find interesting and beneficial.
INFP here. After a brief period of being fascinated by this stuff about a decade ago, I’ve kind
of moved on, since I’m more interested in what I call vertical typology (tho even then you
probably shouldn’t call it that) as opposed to something more horizontal like the MBTI (or the
Enneagram). Vertical refers to progressive transformative practice, and in that I am most
certainly not the same person I was when I first learned about all that stuff, such that the
INFP I am now is rather different from the INFP I was, and I have indeed learned to borrow
from the strengths of other types.
That said, the original description in Please Understand Me of the INFP certainly hit home
in a way that the other descriptions didn’t, esp. the part about the Lone Knight motif.
But while this label fitted/fits me rather well (as does/did the Enneagram Type Four,
along with my mom the Two and my late father the One), I’ve met enough people whom I
have no idea what to do with that now I find such things to be of limited value. YMMV.
MTA (without running my edit timer past the 5 minute limit): true to one of the core assumptions
of the MBTI theory, I indeed interact with the world via my feelings, but make my decisions via
my intuitions (which in my case are more properly called core subjective principles). Does the
world truly break down into 16 (or 9) types so nice and neat? Probably not tho that doesn’t mean
they don’t have some value.
You should see one of those people doing the class when confronted with a room full of programmers, software and hardware test engineers, and EE’s. 30 IxTJs staring at the lone ENFP who was bouncing around emoting like mad and telling us all how we can get along with all the different personality types.
The eyerolling was audible.
INTJ, I think I was