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CenterForApplicationsOfPsyc

The Center for Applications of Psychological Type is a non-profit organization co-founded by Isabel Myers in 1975 for MBTI development, research and training.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test designed to assist a person in identifying their personality preferences. It was developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers during World War II, and follows from the theories of Carl Jung as laid out in his work Psychological Types1. The registered trademark rights in the phrase and its acronym have been assigned from the publisher of the test, Consulting Psychologists Press Inc., to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust2. The test is frequently used in the areas of pedagogy, group dynamics, employee training, leadership training, marriage counseling, and personal development, although scientific skeptics and academic psychologists have subjected it to considerable criticism in research literature 3.

Historical development

C. G. Jung first spoke on typology at the Munich Psychological Congress in 1913. Katharine Cook Briggs began her research into personality in 1917, developing a four-type framework: Social; Thoughtful; Executive; Spontaneous. In 1923 Jung's Psychological Types was published in English translation (having first been published in German in 1921). Katharine Briggs' first publications are two articles describing Jung's theory, in the journal New Republic in 1926 (Meet Yourself Using the Personality Paint Box) and 1928 (Up From Barbarism). Katharine Briggs' daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, wrote a prize-winning mystery novel Murder Yet to Come in 1929, using typological ideas. She joins her mother's research, which she would progressively take over entirely. In 1942, the "Briggs-Myers Type Indicator®" is created, and the Briggs Myers Type Indicator Handbook published in 1944. The indicator changes its name to the modern form (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®) in 1956 12 13.

About the indicator

The indicator differs from standardized tests and others measuring traits, such as intelligence, instead identifying preferred types. While types and traits are both inborn, traits can be improved akin to skills, whereas types, if supported by a healthy environment, naturally differentiate over time. The indicator attempts to tell the order in which this occurs in each person, and it is that information, combined with interviews done with others who have indicated having the same preferences, that the complete descriptions are based on. The indicator then, is akin to an arrow which attempts to point in the direction of the proper description. The facet of the theory which posits that the features being sorted for are in fact types, and not traits which can be improved with practice, is hotly debated, lacking definitive proof.

The types the MBTI sorts for, known as dichotomies, are extraversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling and judging/perceiving. Participants are given one of 16 four-letter acronyms, such as ESTJ or INFP, indicating what they prefer. The term best-fit types refers to the ethical code that facilitators are required to follow. It states that the person taking the indicator is always the best judge of what their preferences are, and the indicator alone should never be used to make this decision.

The preferences

Dichotomies
Extroversion Introversion
Sensing iNtuition
Thinking Feeling
Judging Perceiving
A dichotomy is a division of two mutually exclusive groups, or in this case, type preferences.
  • The terms Introvert and Extrovert (originally spelled ‘extravert’ by Jung, who first used the terms in the context of psychology, although 'extrovert' is now by far the more common spelling) are referred to as attitudes and show how a person orients and receives their energy. In the extroverted attitude the energy flow is outward, and the preferred focus is on other people and things, whereas in the introverted attitude the energy flow is inward, and the preferred focus is on one's own thoughts and ideas.
  • Sensing and Intuition are the perceiving functions. They indicate how a person prefers to receive data. These are the nonrational functions, as a person does not necessarily have control over receiving data, but only how to process it once they have it. Sensing prefers to receive data primarily from the five senses, and intuition prefers to receive data from the unconscious, or seeing relationships via insights.
  • Thinking and Feeling are the judging functions. They both strive to make rational judgments and decisions using the data received from their perceiving functions, above. Thinking uses logical "true or false, if-then" logical connections. Feeling uses "more or less, better-worse" evaluations. When Thinking or Feeling is extroverted, judgments tend to rely on external sources and the generally accepted rules and procedures. When introverted, Thinking and Feeling judgments tend to be subjective, relying on internally generated ideas for logical organization and evaluation.
  • Judging and Perceiving reveals the specific attitudes of the functions. In J-types, the judging function (T or F) is dominant, and will be directed inward or outward in accordance with the I/E preference. J-types tend to prefer a step-by-step (left brain: parts to whole) approach to life, relying on external rules and procedures, and preferring quick closure. The perceiving function (S or N) is the direct opposite to the judging function. In P-types the perceiving function is the stronger, and follows the I/E preference, whereas the judging function is auxiliary. This can result in a "bouncing around" approach to life (right brain: whole to parts), relying on subjective judgments, and a desire to leave all options open. (The terminology may be misleading for some—the term "Judging" does not imply "judgmental", and "Perceiving" does not imply "perceptive".)
  • Although the above explanation of Judgement and Perception is logically sound and is closer to Jung's definition of J and P, MBTI definition of J and P is different. The MBTI Judging type is not the type with the dominant Judging function and MBTI Perceiving type is not the type with the dominant Perceiving function. MBTI definition of J and P reads like this: "The Judging type is the type that has their strongest Judging function extroverted and the Perceiving type is the type that has their strongest Perceiving function extroverted". So MBTI INTP for example should be Judging type according to Jung, because it has dominant introverted Thinking (Ti), which is Judging function, but it is actually Perceiving type in MBTI because the strongest Perceiving function of MBTI INTP is extroverted iNtuition (Ne), which is obviously extroverted, hence P at the end of the acronym. The only other personality theory similar to MBTI theory is Socionics, which tries to resolve this inconsistency in MBTI theory and stay close to Jung's original definitions.

Type dynamics

TheSixteenTypesMBTI

The table organizing the sixteen types was created by Isabel Myers, who preferred INFP (To find the opposite type of the one you are looking at, jump over one type diagonally.)

PopulationBreakdownMBTI

By using inferential statistics an estimate of the preferences found in the US population has been gathered

The interaction of two, three, or four preferences are known as type dynamics, and when dealing with a four-preference combination it is called a type. In total, there are 16 unique types, and many more possible two and three letter combinations, which each have their own descriptive name. Additionally, it is sometimes possible to observe the interactions that each preference combination will have with another combination, although this is more unorthodox. Complete descriptions will contain the unique interactions of all four preferences in that person, and these are typically written by licensed psychologists based on data gathered from thousands of interviews and studies. The Center for Applications of Psychological Type has released short descriptions on the internet 4. The most in-depth descriptions, including statistics, can be found in The Manual 5.

The type table

The type table is a visualization tool which is useful for discussing the dynamic qualities and interactions of preference combinations. It will typically be divided by selecting any pair of preferences and comparing or contrasting. One of the most common and basic has been used to the right. It is the grouping of the mental functions, ST, SF, NF and NT, and focuses on the combination of perception and judgment. Alternatively, if we group by the rows we will have the four attitudes which are IJ, IP, EP and EJ. There are also more complex groupings, such as combinations of perception and orientations to the outer world, which are SJ, SP, NP and NJ, or combinations of judgement and orientations to the outer world, which are TJ, TP, FP, and FJ.

Descriptions of the function-attitudes

In addition to a person's general preference for introversion or extraversion (attitudes), each function can be introverted or extraverted as well (function-attitudes), and the same function will have different qualities depending on its attitude .

  • Extraverted Sensing is perceiving information literally from the senses and being drawn to focus on the moment and the experience of the here and now.

Extraverted sensation strives for intensity of novel and pleasurable experience derived from sensory stimulation. Consciousness is therefore directed outward to those objects and activities that may be expected to arouse the strongest sensations.

The extraverted sensation type is pleasure seeking and pragmatic. These experiences are seen as ends in themselves and are rarely utilized for any other purpose. If normal, such persons are sensualists or aesthetes who are attracted by the physical characteristics of objects and people. They dress, eat and entertain well, and can be very good company. Extraverted sensing instinctively reacts to stimuli without reflection. When neurotic, repressed intuition may be projected onto other people, so that they may become irrationally suspicious or jealous. Alternatively, they may develop a range of compulsive superstitions. According to Kiersey, ESFPs are thought to be the most generous type, second in kindness only to ISFPs.

  • Introverted Sensing involves recalling previous events, situations, or data. It compares the present situation with things that happened earlier and notices similarities and differences.

Introverted sensation is subjectively filtered. Perception is not based directly on the object, but is merely suggested by it. Instead, layers of subjective impressions are superimposed upon the image so that it becomes impossible to determine what will be perceived from a knowledge only of the object. Perception thus depends crucially upon internal psychological processes that will differ from one person to the next. At its most positive, introverted sensation is found in the creative artist. At its most extreme, it produces psychotic hallucinations and a total alienation from reality.

The introverted sensation type reacts subjectively to events in a way that is unrelated to objective criteria. Often this is seen as an inappropriate and uncalled-for overreaction. Because objects generally fail to penetrate directly the veil of subjective impressions, this type may seem neutral or indifferent to objective reality. Alternatively, the person may perceive the world as illusory or amusing. In extreme (psychotic) cases, this may result in an inability to distinguish illusion from reality. The subjective world of archaic images may then come to dominate consciousness completely, so that the person lives in a private, mythological realm of fantasy. Repressed intuition may also be expressed in vaguely imagined threats or an apprehension of sinister possibilities.

  • Extraverted Intuition involves seeing possibilities and connections or threads between ideas. When presented with data, it looks for possible patterns and meanings.

Extraverted intuition attempts to envisage all the possibilities that are inherent in an objective situation. Ordinary events are seen as providing a cipher or set of clues from which underlying processes and hidden potentialities can be determined. Yet once these possibilities are apprehended, objects and events lose their meaning and import. There is therefore a constant need for new situations and experiences to provide a fresh stimulus for the intuitive process.

The extraverted intuition type is an excellent diagnostician and exploiter of situations. Such people see exciting possibilities in every new venture and are excellent at perceiving latent abilities in other people. They get carried away with the enthusiasm of their vision and often inspire others with the courage of their conviction. As such, they do well in occupations where these qualities are at a premium - for example in initiating new projects, in business, politics or the stock market. They are, however, easily bored and stifled by unchanging conditions. As a result they often waste their life and talents jumping from one activity to another in the search for fresh possibilities, failing to stick at any one project long enough to bring it to fruition. Furthermore, in their commitment to their own vision, they often show little regard for the needs, views or convictions of others. When neurotic, repressed sensation may cause this type to become compulsively tied to people, objects or activities that stir in them primitive sensations such as pleasure, pain or fear. The consequence of this can be phobias, hypochondriacal beliefs and a range of other compulsions.

  • Introverted Intuition looks to what will be and what the deep significance of something is. This process often tunes in to aspects of universal human experience and archetypal symbols.

Introverted intuition is directed inward to the contents of the unconscious. It attempts to fathom internal events by relating them to universal psychological processes or to other archetypal images. Consequently it generally has a mythical, symbolic or prophetic quality.

According to Jung, the introverted intuition type can be either an artist, seer or crank. Such a person has a visionary ideal that reveals strange, mysterious things. These are enigmatic, 'unearthly' people who stand aloof from ordinary society. They have little interest in explaining or rationalizing their personal vision, but are content merely to proclaim it. Partly as a result of this, they are often misunderstood. Although the vision of the artist among this type generally remains on the purely perceptual level, mystical dreamers or cranks may become caught up in theirs. The person's life then becomes symbolic, taking on the nature of a Great Work, mission or spiritual-moral quest. If neurotic, repressed sensation may express itself in primitive, instinctual ways and, like their extraverted counterparts, introverted intuitives often suffer from hypochondria and compulsions.

  • Extraverted Thinking is concerned with organizing and structuring the outer world based on logical principles. It sorts things into hierarchies and judges on objective criteria.

Extraverted thinking is driven by the objective evidence of the senses or by objective (collective) ideas that derive from tradition or learning. Its purpose is to abstract conceptual relationships from objective experience, linking ideas together in a rational, logical fashion. Furthermore, any conclusions that are drawn are always directed outward to some objective product or practical outcome. Thinking is never carried out for its own sake, merely as some private, subjective enterprise.

The extraverted thinking type bases all actions on the intellectual analysis of objective data. Such people live by a general intellectual formula or universal moral code, founded upon abstract notions of truth or justice. They also expect other people to recognize and obey this formula. This type represses the feeling function (e.g., sentimental attachments, friendships, religious devotion) and may also neglect personal interests such as their own health or financial well-being. If extreme or neurotic, they may become petty, bigoted, tyrannical or hostile towards those who would threaten their formula. Alternatively, repressed tendencies may burst out in various kinds of personal 'immorality' (e.g., self-seeking, sexual misdemeanours, fraud or deception).

  • Introverted Thinking is the process of analyzing things and testing them against principles. It looks for inconsistency in models and is concerned with precision.

Introverted thinking is contemplative, involving an inner play of ideas. It is thinking for its own sake and is always directed inward to subjective ideas and personal convictions rather than outward to practical outcomes. The main concern of such thinking is to elaborate as fully as possible all the ramifications and implications of a seminal idea. As a consequence, introverted thinking can be complex, turgid and overly scrupulous. To the extent that it withdraws from objective reality, it may also become totally abstract, symbolic or mystical.

The introverted thinking type tends to be impractical and indifferent to objective concerns. These persons usually avoid notice and may seem cold, arrogant and taciturn. Alternatively, the repressed feeling function may express itself in displays of childish naivety. Generally people of this type appear caught up in their own ideas which they aim to think through as fully and deeply as possible. If extreme or neurotic they can become rigid, withdrawn, surly or brusque. They may also confuse their subjectively apprehended truth with their own personality so that any criticism of their ideas is seen as a personal attack. This may lead to bitterness or to vicious counterattacks against their critics.

  • Extraverted Feeling is concerned with the likes and dislikes of others and what is socially appropriate. It organizes the external world according to interpersonal relationships.

Extraverted feeling is based upon accepted or traditional social values and opinions. It involves a conforming, adjusting response to objective circumstances that strives for harmonious relations with the world. Because it depends so much on external stimuli rather than upon true subjective preferences, such feeling can sometimes seem cold, 'unfeeling', artificial or put on for effect.

The extraverted feeling type follows fashion and seeks to harmonize personal feelings with general social values. Thinking is always subordinate to feeling and is ignored or repressed if intellectual conclusions fail to confirm the convictions of the heart. When this type is extreme or neurotic, feeling may become gushing or extravagant and dependent upon momentary enthusiasms that may quickly turn about with changing circumstances. Such a person may therefore seem hysterical, fickle, moody or even to be suffering from multiple personality. Repressed thinking may also erupt in infantile, negative, obsessive ways. This can lead to the attribution of dreaded characteristics to the very objects or people that are most loved and valued.

  • Introverted Feeling evaluates things based on one's internally derived values. It sees things in terms of like and dislike or good and bad, and it is concerned with harmony and congruence.

Introverted feeling strives for an inner intensity that is unrelated to any external object. It devalues group consensus and is rarely displayed openly. When it does appear on the surface, it generally seems negative or indifferent. The focus of such feeling is upon inner processes and latent, primordial images. At its extreme, it may develop into mystical ecstasy.

The introverted feeling type is brooding and inaccessible, although may also hide behind a childish mask. Such a person aims to be inconspicuous, makes little attempt to impress and often fails to consider the perspectives of others. The outer, surface appearance is often neutral, cold and dismissive. Inwardly, however, feelings are deep, passionately intense, and may accompany secret spiritual, philosophical or poetic tendencies.

Cognitive function dynamics in each type

In each type, all four of the cognitive, or mental functions, which are sensing, intuition, thinking and feeling, are present and arranged in a different order. The type acronym is used as a quick way to figure out this order, which is slightly different in introverts and extroverts. An important point to remember is that the first and last letter of the type are used as guides to figure out the order of the middle two letters, which are the main priority. The chart below this section has the dynamics worked out for each type.

Introverts

If the first letter of the type is an I, such as in INFP, then the dominant is introverted. The next step is to figure out which of the middle two letters this applies to, which is done by looking to the last letter. (The last letter represents the extraverted function). If it is a P, then the dominant will be the third letter, which is the judging function (the process is backwards and slightly confusing for introverts). If it is a J, then it will be the second letter, which is the perceiving function. Already it is possible to tell that the INFP has an introverted dominant, and that it is feeling, which is called introverted feeling. Also evident is that the auxiliary is intuition.

There are two theories on the extraverted/introverted orientation of the functions. One states: A rule of thumb-L is that the last three functions are always extraverted in introverts, and introverted in extraverts, so it is extraverted intuition. The third function of the introverted personality will be the opposite of the second. For the INFP, the second is extraverted intuition, so the third is extraverted sensing. The fourth will be the opposite of the first, which ends up as extraverted thinking.

The second states the functions alternate every other in orientation. For introverts, it would proceed introverted, extraverted, introverted, extraverted. The third function of the introverted personality will be the opposite of the second. For the INFP, the second is extraverted intuition, so the third is introverted sensing. The fourth will be the opposite of the first, which ends up as extraverted thinking.

Extroverts

If the first letter of the type is an E, such as ESTJ, then the dominant is extroverted. The next step, which is slightly different than in introverts, is to figure out to which of the middle two letters this applies. If the last letter is a P, then the dominant will be the second letter, and if it is a J, then it will be the third letter. Thus, we can tell from this that the first or dominant in the ESTJ is extraverted thinking, and the second is introverted sensing. The third, which is the opposite of the second, is introverted/extraverted (see above) intuition, and the fourth is introverted feeling.

Function table

Type
ISITEJ
ISIFEJ
INIFEJ
INITEJ
Dominant or first Introverted_Sensing Introverted_Sensing Introverted_Intuition Introverted_Intuition
Auxiliary or second Extraverted_Thinking Extraverted Feeling Extraverted Feeling Extraverted_Thinking
Tertiary or third Introverted Feeling Introverted_Thinking Introverted_Thinking Introverted Feeling
Inferior or fourth Extraverted Intuition Extraverted Intuition Extraverted Sensing Extraverted Sensing
Type
ISETIP
ISEFIP
INEFIP
INETIP
Dominant or first Introverted Thinking Introverted Feeling Introverted Feeling Introverted Thinking
Auxiliary or second Extraverted Sensing Extraverted Sensing Extraverted Intuition Extraverted Intuition
Tertiary or third Introverted Intuition Introverted Intuition Introverted Sensing Introverted Sensing
Inferior or fourth Extraverted Feeling Extraverted Thinking Extraverted Thinking Extraverted Feeling
Type
ESETIP
ESEFIP
ENEFIP
ENETIP
Dominant or first Extraverted Sensing Extraverted Sensing Extraverted Intuition Extraverted Intuition
Auxiliary or second Introverted Thinking Introverted Feeling Introverted Feeling Introverted Thinking
Tertiary or third Extraverted Feeling Extraverted Thinking Extraverted Thinking Extraverted Feeling
Inferior or fourth Introverted Intuition Introverted Intuition Introverted Sensing Introverted Sensing
Type
ESITEJ
ESIFEJ
ENIFEJ
ENITEJ
Dominant or first Extraverted Thinking Extraverted Feeling Extraverted Feeling Extraverted Thinking
Auxiliary or second Introverted Sensing Introverted Sensing Introverted Intuition Introverted Intuition
Tertiary or third Extraverted Intuition Extraverted Intuition Extraverted Sensing Extraverted Sensing
Inferior or fourth Introverted Feeling Introverted Thinking Introverted Thinking Introverted Feeling

Below, the MBTI personality archetypes, after David West Keirsey [1]. Keirsey adds four "Temperaments": SP - Artisan; SJ - Guardian; NF - Idealist; and NT - Rational.

ISITEJ
ISIFEJ
INIFEJ
INITEJ
Inspector Protector Counselor Mastermind
ISETIP
ISEFIP
INEFIP
INETIP
Crafter Composer Healer Architect
ESETIP
ESEFIP
ENEFIP
ENETIP
Promoter Performer Champion Inventor
ESITEJ
ESIFEJ
ENIFEJ
ENITEJ
Supervisor Provider Teacher Field Marshal

Controversy surrounding the cognitive functions

Main article: Cognitive functions

Isabel Myers interpreted Jung's writing as saying that the auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior functions are always in the opposite attitude of the dominant. Many, however, have found Jung's writing to be ambiguous, and those who study and follow Jung's theories (Jungians) are typically adamant that Myers is incorrect. Jungians posit that Jung made explicit the point that the tertiary function is actually in the same attitude as the dominant, providing balance. More recently, typologists have examined the relationships all four functions in both attitudes--introverted or extraverted. Whether looking at the four functions, or eight "function attitudes," the inferior function remains most unconscious (least developed).

Temperament

Main article: Keirsey Temperament Sorter
MBTITemperament

Keirsey's four temperaments within the MBTI.

Hippocrates, a Greek philosopher who lived from 460-377 B.C., proposed four humours in his writings. These were blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. In 1978, David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates reintroduced temperament theory in modern form and identified them as Guardian (SJ temperament), Artisan (SP), Idealist (NF), and Rationalist (NT). After developing modern temperament theory, Keirsey discovered the MBTI, and found that by combining intuition with the judging functions, NT and NF, and sensing with the perceiving functions, SJ and SP, he had descriptions similar to his four temperaments.7-8

The Manual states on page 59 that, "It is important to recognize that temperament theory is not a variant of type theory, nor is type theory a variant of temperament theory." Keirsey later went on to develop the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, which was first included in his book Please Understand Me.

About the test, scoring and psychometrics

The current test asks 93 forced-choice questions, which means there are only two options. Participants may skip questions if they feel they are unable to choose. Using psychometric techniques, such as item response theory, the test will then be scored and will attempt to identify which dichotomy the participant prefers. After taking the test, participants are given a readout of their score, which will include a bar graph and number of how many points they received on a certain scale. Confusion over the meaning of these numbers often causes them to be related to trait theory, and people mistakenly believe, for example, that their intuition is "more developed" than their sensing, or vice versa.

During construction of the test, thousands of items are used, and most are thrown out because they do not have high midpoint discrimination, meaning the results of that one item do not, on average, move an individual score away from the midpoint. Using only items with high midpoint discrimination allows the test to have fewer items on it but still provide as much statistical information as a test with many more items with lower midpoint discrimination. The test requires five points one way or another before it is nearly as sure it can statistically be concerning a preference.

Statistical studies

The 16PF Fifth Edition Technical Manual11 presents correlations between the MBTI scales and the Big Five personality construct, which is a conglomeration of characteristics found in nearly all personality and psychological tests. The five personality characteristics are extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability. The following study is based on a sample of 119 graduate and undergraduate students.

  Extraversion Openness Agreeableness Conscientiousness Emotional Stability
E-I .65 .06 -.37 -.15 .31
S-N .12 -.56 .34 .37 .06
T-F .19 -.25 -.21 .09 .07
J-P .18 -.15 .10 .55 .08
The closer the number is to 1.0 or -1.0, the higher the degree of correlation.

These data suggest that three of the MBTI scales are related to three of the Big Five personality traits. According to this study, there is fairly strong evidence that E-I is extraversion, that S-N is the opposite of openness, and that J-P is conscientiousness. The T-F scale of the MBTI is less clearly related to the Big Five, and the emotional stability dimension of the Big Five is largely absent.

Growth in the evidence base

Growth in the evidence base is reflected in the exponential growth of the MBTI Bibliography as seen in this chronological summary reported on the CAPT website:

Date References
1968 81 (ETS Bibliography)
October 1976 337(First CAPT Bibliography)
June 1980 597
August 1985 1,039
September 1990 1,675
October 1995 4,816
July 2000 7,155 (CAPT 25th Anniversary)
April 2005 8,961

Ethics

Before purchasing the test, practitioners are required to consent to an ethical code, in addition to meeting the educational requirements of class B and C psychological tests and assessments. After consenting to this code the usage of the indicator is largely unmonitored, which sometimes leads to abuses of the instrument. The ethical code contains, but is not limited to, the following points9-10:

  1. Results should be given directly to respondents and are strictly confidential, including from employers.
  2. Respondents should be informed of the nature of the test before taking it, and must choose to take it voluntarily.
  3. Allow respondents to clarify their results. They are always the last word as to which type is truly theirs. They should then be provided a written description of their preferences.
  4. The test must be used in accordance with The Manual.


Criticism

Validity

The scientific basis of the MBTI has been questioned. Neither Katharine Cook Briggs nor Isabel Briggs Myers had any scientific qualifications and Carl Jung's theory of psychological type, which the MBTI attempts to operationalise, is not based on any scientific studies. Jung's methods primarily included introspection and anecdote, methods largely rejected by the modern field of cognitive psychology. [1]

The statistical validity of the MBTI as a psychometric instrument has also been subject to criticism, in particular, the dichotomous scoring of dimensions. For example, it was expected that scores would show a bimodal distribution with peaks near the ends of the scales. However, scores on the individual subscales are actually distributed in a centrally peaked manner similar to a normal distribution. A cut-off exists at the centre of the subscale such that a score on one side is classified as one type, and a score on the other side as the opposite type. This fails to support the concept of type--the norm is for people to lie near the middle of the subscale. [2][3][4][5][6]

It has been estimated that between a third and a half of the published material on the MBTI has been produced for conferences of the Center for the Application of Psychological Type (which provides training in the MBTI) or as papers in the Journal of Psychological Type (which is edited by Myers-Briggs advocates) [7] and it has been argued that this reflects a lack of critical scrutiny. [3][7]

Reliability

The reliability of the test has been interpreted as being low, with test takers who retake the test often being assigned a different type. According to surveys performed by the proponents of Myers-Briggs, the highest percentage of people fell into the same category on the second test is only 47%. Furthermore, a wide range of 39% - 76% of those tested fall into different types upon retesting weeks or years later, and many people's types also found to vary according to the time of the day.[3][4] Skeptics claim that the MBTI lacks falsifiability, which can cause confirmation bias in the interpretation of results with the terminology of the MBTI so vague that it allows any kind of behavior to fit any personality type, resulting in the Forer effect, where an individual gives a high rating to a positive description that supposedly applies specifically to them [3][1] so that when people are asked to compare their preferred type to that assigned by the MBTI only half of people pick the same profile. [8]

Utility

The relevance of the MBTI for career-planning has been questioned, with reservations about the relevance of type to job performance or satisfaction, and concerns about the potential misuse of the instrument in labelling individuals. [3][9]

See also

References & Bibliography

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Key Texts

Additional material

External links

Authorized Myers-Briggs / Keirsey

Unauthorized personality tests inspired by Myers-Briggs / Keirsey

Additional information and essays on all 16 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Profiles


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