MBTI personality test: Science or pseudoscience?  

By Chen Kaixin @kaixin0213

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality assessment tool that has been used for decades in various contexts, such as in education, counseling, and business. More than two million people take it every year. However, debates about the validity of this questionnaire always exist. 

According to MBTI theory, there are sixteen types of people in the world, and each personality type is defined by a combination of four pairs of elements, including extroversion or introversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. For example, ‘E’ or ‘I’ means you are an extroverted or introverted person. 

Initially, the purpose of the MBTI was to provide employees with a rational basis for aligning people with jobs. It was created during World War II and has recently seen a resurgence in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic. Young people in South Korea have even used this tool to seek friends online. However, the question remains: is this test really science-based? 

Critics argue that the four dimensions of personality measured by the MBTI are not mutually exclusive, and individuals can exhibit traits from multiple dimensions simultaneously. For instance, it can be difficult to draw a clear line between ‘soft-hearted’ and ‘tough-minded’ while answering ‘I am which kind of person’. Furthermore, the validity of the MBTI has been called into question because it relies on self-reported data, which can be subject to biases and inaccuracies. 

It has also been argued that the MBTI has low predictive validity and does not accurately predict behavior or job performance. For example, a study conducted by the University of Minnesota found no correlation between MBTI scores and job performance ratings. Similarly, a meta-analysis conducted by the Psychological Bulletin found that the MBTI had low predictive validity and was not useful for predicting job success or satisfaction. 

Have you taken the MBTI test before? What are your thoughts on its validity as a science-based tool? Share your comments below! 

Featured image: Andrea Piacquadio/CC/

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