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Orrex's Journal - Archives
Posted by Orrex in The DU Lounge
Sat Jul 19th 2008, 02:22 PM
Find me the result that reflects something along the lines of "dangerous sociopath on the brink of a homicidal killing spree."

Well, that's an exaggeration, of course. But find me a result in the Myers-Briggs spectrum that truly reflects a truly negative personality type. And here's a hint: it doesn't exist.

That's right--the test instrument so beloved by net-savvy psychologists-of-self is skewed to give only nebulously positive responses. And they are indeed sufficiently nebulous to apply to just about anyone willing to believe them from the outset.

Even setting all of that aside, the MBTI has a fatal flaw that precludes it from being anything other than a cutesy online novelty: if the test's results don't match your expectation of personality indicator, you can tweak the results! Here's a bit from Consulting Psychologists Press, which owns the Myers-Briggs Test Instrument:
Many people find that their MBTI results describe them quite well. But for others, changing a letter or two may help them discover an MBTI type that more accurately captures their personality. If you feel the characteristics (listed) above do not fit you, the person who administered the MBTI can help you identify a better-fitting type.

See page 2 of this pdf document.

In other words, "the test works well, but if it doesn't work for you, you can tweak the results up to 50%, and we'll still say that the test works well." By that one little caveat, the MBTI is utterly destroyed as a valid predictive tool.

Holy moley. I've never even met you, and I'll bet that if I asked you sixteen questions I could get within 50% of an accurate though vague description of you. Just like the MBTI does.

Honestly, and as I've said before, I don't care if people like to amuse themselves with this little bit of online nonsense. What sickens me is that companies use this product to assess people for career potential and advancement eligibility. You might as well say "You're an Aries, so I think you'd do well in middle management."
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