Stop Taking This Famous Personality Test So Seriously

Author makes a case against Myers-Briggs
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2018 12:11 PM CDT
Stop Taking This Famous Personality Test So Seriously

Are you an ISFP? Or maybe an ENTJ? Those who have taken the Myers-Briggs personality test—and there's a lot of them—will recognize the acronyms immediately. They're two of the 16 personality types the test seeks to reveal after people answer a series of questions in about 10 minutes. See for yourself here. The first acronym, for example, stands for introverted-sensing-feeling-perceiving. As Bradley Babendir writes at the Outline, the acronyms often show up in, say, a person's online dating profile. Because "it's difficult to encapsulate yourself into a bio, but it's easy to share your four letters." But perhaps too easy? Babendir, whose piece is headlined, "The Myers-Briggs test is a joke," makes the case that the test isn't nearly as credible as its supporters think, and that results taken too seriously can have dangerous consequences.

Here, Babendir quotes author Merve Emre from her book about the test, The Personality Brokers. “[Studies] by psychologists showed that people who take the test more than once, even just a few weeks apart, get classified as a different type more than 50 percent of the time,” writes Emre. “The MBTI’s test-retest validity is well below acceptable levels of statistical significance.” This might be harmless enough if people used the test as a not-too-serious tool to learn about themselves. The problem is that the test has become a fixture in corporate America, with employers using it to hire and otherwise categorize workers. Go ahead and take the test, but don't treat it as gospel, advises Babendir. Remember that "what functions perfectly fine in one context is a catastrophe in another," and with this test, "the consequences are often unseen." Read the full piece. (More personality test stories.)

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