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Assessing Errors​


Recently I've been thinking about the approach of the MBT Instrument and it's possible weaknesses. An individual's type as determined by the questionnaire is, generally speaking, assessed on the basis of the answers given to specific questions on how the individual perceives the way they use their functions. For most of us this constitutes describing how we think we behave in relation to each of the situations, circumstances or concepts expressed by the questions. But because most of us are only partially aware of, and misunderstand, our behaviours and attitudes, this can lead to misinterpretation of questions, which has as a result inaccuracies in the type score.

Some of the typical misunderstandings occur when the society or social groups that we are a part of colour the ways in which we view the world (friends; family; work; sport clubs; political associations...). I realise this is a very Freudian idea, in that it appears that our view of the world may be coloured by the group instinct, of which we have little or no control over. But the fact remains that we must necessarily interact with other people within a common framework of ideas, and it is therefore these commonly held ideas that influence us. It is however how we hold and interpret those ideas as individuals that is of interest in determining type.

Another more specific way misunderstanding can occur is when the introverted function of an individual is so extremely internal that it goes completely unnoticed where the behaviours in question are concerned. The converse situation may also take place, that an extroverted function is so obvious that it causes other functions to remain unnoticed in perceived behaviours.

The questionnaire, as far as I can see, is not equipped with measures to counter any of these issues.

So I have decided to ask other people if they have noticed these types of issues, whether they themselves have been affected and what are some ways do you think these issues could be addressed?


EXAMPLE:
I identify most strongly with descriptions of the INTJ type and can very strongly relate to Jung's description of Ni, but I find the questionnaire often types me as INTP (TiNe) or ISTP (TiSe) and a look at the functional overview shows that Ti has an equal score to Te, and Ni is non-existent. I also scored strongly as ISTP while I was in a job where problem solving was the main task.

I believe that in order to at least identify these issues where they occur, there should be a method that describes how the individual answers the questions rather than simply taking what answers are being given. These questions could be something like the following:

The statement, “Emily is blue,” more closely refers to what situation:
a) Emily's mood is sad
b) Emily's colour is blue

The sensing type individual sees the statement “Emily is blue,” as a proposition referring to the state of Emily as regards her mood, and is likely to think something like, “people can't be the colour blue, so it can't be referring to her colour.”
The intuiting type individual sees the statement “Emily is blue,” as a proposition referring to an attribute of Emily as regards her colour, and is likely to think something like, “I had a rag doll called Emily that was dyed blue, and rag dolls don't have moods.”

I recognise that the answers also show some bent towards thinking and feeling types, but this is just to give a general idea of the types of question that determine an individual's cognitive process.
 

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I see where you're going. Can't add anything specific to help you, but you are pointing at a problem not just with MBTI but with any type of self-assessment. I try to reverse the mentality, and see MBTI as an instrument to improve self-awareness and aid introspection.

But I guess I'm less Freudian than you are, and assuming the actual existence of archetypes, I think the problem is as difficult.

Still, I would love to see your improvements to any sort of questionnaire, as I myself have been thinking about how to put together something for all the people coming here asking about their type...
 

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I think it's backwards. A sensing type will correlate blue with the color blue, regardless of what/who Emily is. While an intuiting type will think about various meanings of the blue. An NF will most likely consider blue as a mood. An NT could be something else.

It's also important to know about how the person approach the question. Not just the answer given.
 

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I think this flaw has to do with multiple choice questions in general, rather than being specifically a flaw within the MBTI design itself. In multiple choice questions, the test taker doesn't have the space and allowance to ask the test maker the intention behind the question, therefore providing them with a more accurate response. On top of that, the test maker doesn't have the ability to incorporate within their test designs reasons why an individual may do so. Of course, my dislike for multiple choice tests in general could be colouring my whole view on the subject, but still.

As far as the example question... I honestly don't see how that could point towards either a sensing or an intuiting function. Granted, I could be missing something, but you could easily come up with an answer using any of the functions, I imagine. Again, this is a flaw of multiple choice tests. I once explained to my friend the differences in our thought processes. We both get from the topic of 'physics' to the topic of 'music.' It's just that she thinks of 'sound waves' and I think of 'icebergs.' Which is something multiple choice tests will probably never uncover.
 

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Almost everyone I know has felt the test inaccurately scored them the first time around. I agree with you that the questions are misleading, and yes - I think it could be in part to the fact that multiple choice questions are very cut and dried, and assume certain things without giving the tester a chance to ask questions.

My friends and family have gone through the test together - we have the person take it first, then we go through their results and discuss which parts we feel are accurate, and which parts we feel are inaccurate, and why. (We are a family of five thinkers... lol.) After these discussions, the tester usually feels pretty satisfied that we have been able to come up with results as a group.

It seems like most of the tests tell you to take the test without help from your friends and family - and I'm not sure why. Oftentimes they notice things about you that you don't notice... Also, you don't always know how you come across to other people. For example, as an INTJ I had no idea that I could sometimes come across as cold and uncaring. I knew that I cared deeply - but didn't understand that didn't always translate into action.
 

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Sometimes I feel like I'm not totally sure that my type is right, even though I'm moderately sure it is. I question bits and pieces of it, and thats always fun. The thing about the test, the real MBTI thats given by psychologists is that after the test, I think that they're supposed to talk it over with you.

One of the things that pops up everywhere every time I look up the test in any sort of format is that it always stresses that the final decision, if thats the right word for it, is up to the test taker- no one is going to know them better than them, even though they generally don't know themselves all that well either. Taking the test is sort of a first step in the process of figuring out your type- you get a basic idea of how the types work, and after looking at your type, you look at the rest and sort of wiggle andplay with the semantics until you feel comfortable that you have found your type.

The thing I wish the test removed was the whole 'bias' thing, where the test taker sometimes they fill in the answers they want to fill in, instead of whats real. But I'm not sure how to fix that =/

Thats just what I think, at least
 

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This can't be emphasized enough:

Sometimes I feel like I'm not totally sure that my type is right, even though I'm moderately sure it is. I question bits and pieces of it, and thats always fun. The thing about the test, the real MBTI thats given by psychologists is that after the test, I think that they're supposed to talk it over with you.
And this is also key:

One of the things that pops up everywhere every time I look up the test in any sort of format is that it always stresses that the final decision, if thats the right word for it, is up to the test taker- no one is going to know them better than them, even though they generally don't know themselves all that well either. Taking the test is sort of a first step in the process of figuring out your type- you get a basic idea of how the types work, and after looking at your type, you look at the rest and sort of wiggle andplay with the semantics until you feel comfortable that you have found your type.
Thanks for pointing that out! :happy:
 

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I suppose that's true when I think about it. When I first took the test, I was scored as an INFP. The second time was an ENFP. Yet another time I scored as an INFJ. The best way I had of actually finding out my type was to openly talk with my friends about it.

But this has backfired for me as well. I have known people who enjoyed the idea of boxing people up into nice, neat categories. They treated people as their categories instead of as individuals. For example, one person would type others without consulting them, and I noticed that those people they had trouble getting along with always ended up in the ISFP category. Intuitives were inherently better than Sensors; introverts better than extraverts. I became extremely frustrated with this, and simply avoided personality tests altogether for quite a while.

For this reason, whenever I talk about types and preferences with people, I always try to express how all preferences and functions are intriguing and wonderful. I am always open to the possibility of being wrong; rather, I welcome it. And I nevernevernevernevernevernever treat people as their categories.

That being said, I agree that talking about it in an open, welcoming atmosphere is probably best. After all, all of us together are smarter than any one of us by ourselves. With more people, we can get a bigger picture and understand the situation more in depth. :proud:
 

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I imagined a sad, blue colored girl. The two aren't mutually exclusive, you know.

Hey! Perhaps she is also a dirty mouthed comedian!

The Ne function has spoken.
 

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The blue question strike me as a thinking/feeling division. A thinker is (I would assume) very unlikely to first assume mood. My first thoughts after reading the choices were: "Mood... what? Oh, blue can mean sad."
 

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I suppose that's true when I think about it. When I first took the test, I was scored as an INFP. The second time was an ENFP. Yet another time I scored as an INFJ. The best way I had of actually finding out my type was to openly talk with my friends about it.

But this has backfired for me as well. I have known people who enjoyed the idea of boxing people up into nice, neat categories. They treated people as their categories instead of as individuals. For example, one person would type others without consulting them, and I noticed that those people they had trouble getting along with always ended up in the ISFP category. Intuitives were inherently better than Sensors; introverts better than extraverts. I became extremely frustrated with this, and simply avoided personality tests altogether for quite a while.

For this reason, whenever I talk about types and preferences with people, I always try to express how all preferences and functions are intriguing and wonderful. I am always open to the possibility of being wrong; rather, I welcome it. And I nevernevernevernevernevernever treat people as their categories.

That being said, I agree that talking about it in an open, welcoming atmosphere is probably best. After all, all of us together are smarter than any one of us by ourselves. With more people, we can get a bigger picture and understand the situation more in depth. :proud:
They didn't write the Ethical Guidelines for nothing... :crazy: (http://personalitycafe.com/articles/33440-mbti-ethical-guildlines-use.html)
 

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The blue question strike me as a thinking/feeling division. A thinker is (I would assume) very unlikely to first assume mood. My first thoughts after reading the choices were: "Mood... what? Oh, blue can mean sad."
Haha, i did the same think, i saw the "emily is blue" and didn't even think about anything deeper then the literal sense. I don't know if that's supposed to be a thinking/feeling or sensing/intuitive, or whatever. I'd think it depends how someone says it. When something is typed, we take it more literal i would think, because if someone came up to me and told me that her friend is blue, i wouldn't take it literal as i know it can't be true. also, english being my second language, i sometimes don't remember that blue can mean sad, so...i don't know how you can come up with a more understanding of the types with this honestly...i don't know if there's anything that will help to come up with a type because we are more complex then our types.

I'm supposedly INTP/ISTP, yet I care about the people around me more then myself, so isn't that a feeling thing? But there's always excuses for it like, well you might be aware of your feelings more. Well the same goes with sensing and extroversion and judging. If the test says I'm INTP, but I can be extroverted a lot of times, and sensing, and judging...that means i must be perfect. Ahhahaha. These tests blow. I understand where Jung wanted to get, but...no matter how much we try to define ourselves and others, i don't think there's is ever a definite description, we are all too different and too complex, yet a lot alike. First it was horoscopes, now this...I wonder what will be next.
 

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The term 'blue' is a common word that is used to describe someone when they are feeling down.
I am an NT and if someone said : "Ashley is blue" than I would get the gist of it.
I wouldn't think "(it isn't physically possible for a person to have natural blue skin) A person can't be the color blue so they must be referring to something else".


I am not that dull.


Perhaps you should consider a different example for your analogy? One that I could possibly tell the difference between the different types.
 
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Oh, well sratch that. It does kind of make sense. Our brains don't think "A person can't be the color blue so they must be referring to something else" everytime someone says "(Put a persons name here) is blue". What you could say is that it's our personal instinct to automatically think that "(in this case) Ashley is having a bad day" because "Being blue" is just such a common word that I am pretty sure everyone in the United States understands it. Not unless if you are terribly sheltered and don't get out much.
 

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I would issue a word of warning: the real MBTI test is one not many of us will really have taken. We've taken facsimiles online, so we have no guarantee of the quality of the question-structure.

Otherwise, I would advise those here to go back and read the core texts. There is a obvious danger of missing the descriptive (as opposed to prescriptive) nature of the functions etc. The language describes what we sense indirectly about the human mind.
 

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Oh, well sratch that. It does kind of make sense. Our brains don't think "A person can't be the color blue so they must be referring to something else" everytime someone says "(Put a persons name here) is blue". What you could say is that it's our personal instinct to automatically think that "(in this case) Ashley is having a bad day" because "Being blue" is just such a common word that I am pretty sure everyone in the United States understands it. Not unless if you are terribly sheltered and don't get out much.
Yaaaaay idioms! :D
 

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Yep, pretty much.

It Takes Two To Tango:
A two person conflict where both people are at fault.
 
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