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Validity

The statistical validity of the MBTI as a psychometric instrument has been the subject of criticism. 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).[32] It has been argued that this reflects a lack of critical scrutiny.[32][33]

In 1991, the National Academy of Sciences committee reviewed data from MBTI research studies and concluded that only the I-E scale has adequate construct validity in terms of showing high correlations with comparable scales of other instruments and low correlations with instruments designed to assess different concepts. In contrast, the S-N and T-F scales show relatively weak validity. The 1991 review committee concluded at the time there was "not sufficient, well-designed research to justify the use of the MBTI in career counseling programs".[34] However, this study also based its measurement of validity on "criterion-related validity (i.e., does the MBTI predict specific outcomes related to interpersonal relations or career success/job performance?)."[34] The ethical guidelines of the MBTI assessment stress that the MBTI type "does not imply excellence, competence, or natural ability, only what is preferred."[28] The 2009 MBTI Form M Manual Supplement states, "An instrument is said to be valid when it measures what it has been designed to measure (Ghiselli, Campbell, & Zedeck, 1981; Murphy & Davidshofer, 2005)."[11] Studies have found that the MBTI scores compare favorably to other assessments with respect to evidence of convergent validity, divergent validity, construct validity, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability.[12][13][11]

The accuracy of the MBTI depends on honest self-reporting by the person tested.[16]:52-53 Unlike some personality measures, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory or the Personality Assessment Inventory, the MBTI does not use validity scales to assess exaggerated or socially desirable responses.[35] As a result, individuals motivated to do so can fake their responses,[36] and one study found that the MBTI judgment/perception dimension correlates with the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire lie scale.[37] If respondents "fear they have something to lose, they may answer as they assume they should."[16]:53 However, the MBTI ethical guidelines state, "It is unethical and in many cases illegal to require job applicants to take the Indicator if the results will be used to screen out applicants."[28] The intent of the MBTI is to provide "a framework for understanding individual differences, and … a dynamic model of individual development".[38]
Jung's theory of psychological type, as published in his 1921 book, was not tested through controlled scientific studies.[25] Jung's methods primarily included clinical observation, introspection and anecdote—methods that are largely regarded as inconclusive by the modern field of psychology.[25]

Jung's type theory introduced a sequence of four cognitive functions (thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuition), each having one of two orientations (extraverted or introverted), for a total of eight functions. The Myers-Briggs theory is based on these eight functions, although with some differences in expression (see Differences from Jung above). However, neither the Myers-Briggs nor the Jungian models offer any scientific, experimental proof to support the existence, the sequence, the orientation, or the manifestation of these functions.[25]
With regard to factor analysis, one study of 1291 college-aged students found six different factors instead of the four used in the MBTI.[39] In other studies, researchers found that the JP and the SN scales correlate with one another.[6]
Some researchers have interpreted the reliability of the test as being low. Studies have found that between 39% and 76% of those tested fall into different types upon retesting some weeks or years later.[8][33]

One study reports that the MBTI dichotomies exhibit good split-half reliability; however, the dichotomy scores are distributed in a bell curve, and the overall type allocations are less reliable. Also, test-retest reliability is sensitive to the time between tests. Within each dichotomy scale, as measured on Form G, about 83% of categorizations remain the same when individuals are retested within nine months, and around 75% when individuals are retested after nine months. About 50% of people tested within nine months remain the same overall type, and 36% remain the same type after more than nine months.[40] For Form M (the most current form of the MBTI instrument), the MBTI Manual reports that these scores are higher (p. 163, Table 8.6).

In one study, when people were asked to compare their preferred type to that assigned by the MBTI assessment, only half of people picked the same profile.[41] Critics also argue that the MBTI lacks falsifiability, which can cause confirmation bias in the interpretation of results.
 
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