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2016, March, Opinions, Myers-Briggs Test, Shan

Myers-Briggs Test
by Ethan Shan, 2018 (posted 3-14-16)

Every year, we take a personality test to find out our best talents. This test, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, is the most common personality test used today. It places users in different categories, depending on how they answer the 93 different questions given to them. It is used by many different schools and businesses to determine which job is best for different people. However, we should stop using this, based on its ambiguousness and unreliability.

The test is based on the findings of Carl Jung in 1921, and put in test format by Katharine Myers and Isabel Briggs in 1944. It was an instant hit right off the bat. Today, CPP, the company that administers it, earns $20 million every year from the 2.5 million people who take it. Large businesses, top businesses, and government agencies follow this trend as well, with 89 out of the Fortune 100 companies utilizing it, as well as over a hundred agencies.

However, it has many fatal flaws. For example, people don’t exactly fit in categories. Clinical psychologists and psychiatrists don’t believe in it. Even Jung recognized that people don’t fit exactly in the categories he created. Also, Myers and Briggs weren’t social scientists by trade. Briggs had an interest in Jung as a housewife, while Myers was an author of mystery novels. The credibility of the creators of this test shed doubt on this test.

In addition, there have been studies that debunk its authenticity. Many of them show that it fails to predict people’s success in various jobs. Others show that 50% of people who take the test multiple times obtain different results each time, even in 5-week intervals.

The most surprising part is that the people in charge of the company that administers this test shed doubt on its authenticity. Carl E. Thoresen, a board member of CPP, says “it would be questioned by my academic colleagues” to use the Myers-Briggs test, despite the fact that his score is displayed alongside his profile. If even the people at the top of the company avoid using it, that says something about it ineffectiveness.

Well, why is it so popular? It seems that people like being put in categories that define them. Also, the results are overwhelmingly positive, seeming to compliment the person for who they are. This is known as the Forer Effect, used by pseudo sciences centuries ago. This is why BuzzFeed quizzes and horoscopes are so popular. It gives us satisfaction when we receive the test results.

Although the results you get back may seem accurate, the back history and nature of this test may change your opinion about what you receive. So when it’s time to take it again next year, remember: at the end of the day, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator should only be used for one thing: entertainment, not a tool to determine our futures.

Works Cited

Baer, Drake. "Why The Myers-Briggs Personality Test Is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 18 June 2014. Web. 05 Mar. 2016. <http://www.businessinsider.com/myers-briggs-personality-test-is-misleading-2014-6>.

"Why the Myers-Briggs Test Is Totally Meaningless." YouTube. Vox, 8 Oct. 2015. Web. 05 Mar. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5pggDCnt5M>.