First off, for those of you who celebrate Easter, Happy Easter! I hope you all enjoy this round of research. In this round, I focussed on the reliability of the MBTI personalities and the possible flaws with the test. Here is what I found:
Many people have taken the MBTI test - it is so popular, nearly 2.5 million people a year (1) take it! Of course, it is impossible to create a perfect personality test, (4) however, this test is more controversial than I imagined. Some psychologists have even "cautioned future users" (2) as if they believe the test is dangerous. Organizations such as The US Office of Strategic Services, as well as The US Educational Testing Service do not believe the MBTI test is valid. (9) Some psychologists have even claim it is "one of the worst personality tests in existence." (3) There are a variety of reasons why some psychologists despise this personality test so deeply.
The test is poorly constructed, poorly worded, and repetitive. The questions are apparently "confusing," and some questions are irrelevant and do not contribute anything to the test. Some questions even give false information. (3) Psychology Today says, "There are many serious psychometric problems associated with MBTI." (4) Many questions within the test also repeat themselves (as some people mentioned in the comments of my last round, they often ask the same question twice, but phrase it differently!) Psychologists also believe the test has "...not been clearly established using factor analytic techniques." (5)
Image source: (2.1)
There is also little to no scientific evidence to support the MBTI test (which I found surprising) and it is often compared to pseudosciences such as astrology. (3) (9)
The test overlooks important parts of a person's personality. (6) People cannot be purely one thing or another - "personalities are continuous." (5) A personality is made up of both letters in an MBTI pairing - everybody simply just has more of one than the other. For instance, I am both introverted and extroverted, but I am definitely more of an introvert. Merve Emre, an English professor at Oxford University, concludes that the test “annihilates individuality” by simply trying to fit people into boxes. (9) The test also appears to use a "forced choice format," (5) meaning the client can only choose one answer or the other; it doesn't "depend on the situation."
MBTI focuses more on preferences than personality. All the MBTI types are based around preferences. (6) Do you prefer to live a structured lifestyle? Your result for the J/P pair is likely Judging. Do you prefer to make decisions based on emotions? Your result for the T/F pair is likely Feeling. With that said, workplaces often use the MBTI test to determine whether or not a candidate would be satisfied with a particular position. (7)
The MBTI test only represents the person at one point in time. Personalities change over time, so there's no way a personality test would represent who a person is their entire life. (8) A personality changes with life experiences, interests, and of course, results would be very different if the test was administered before, during, and after puberty - somebody could have a very different result at eleven years old than if they took the test again at eighteen years old. (4)
The test is biased. In many cases, people who take this test choose answers that reflect the person they want to be seen as, rather than the person they truly are. (8) However, even though this isn't entirely the test's fault, the test is "built on the creator's subjective feelings about personality." (3) Many tests are influenced by the opinions of whoever created it.
The test heavily relies on self-reported data - the MBTI simply uses information from whomever is taking the test, rather than gathering data from outside. I am unsure of how data can be collected from outside without being invasive. True, the client has to be honest with their answers, however, the test allows them to choose whatever answer they want rather than choosing the best answer.
Lastly, the mother-daughter duo who created the test had no formal training in psychology to begin with. Myers and Briggs designed the questions based around Jung's psychological types. (10)
So, the MBTI test is not necessarily a reliable personality test. That doesn't mean it isn't a fun activity to do! It is always interesting to try different personality tests and see what they may say about you, and it is totally okay to use the test as a tool for self-reflection. (4) However, psychologists encourage folks not to take the test too seriously.
I encourage anyone who is interested to explore the MBTI test for fun, to reflect on who you are, or to gain knowledge about it, but not necessarily to believe everything it says. Remember, it is only placing your personality in a box - you may not feel it best represents you because there are several more layers to who you are!
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That's all I have for now! In my next round, I will be looking at some interesting ways in which the test is used, and the concept of test-retest reliability. As well, I will be looking at an alternative personality test I learned about along the way. After that, I will start to conduct surveys. Thank you all for reading, and as usual, all comments are welcome!