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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright- I will very probably get a biased debate here since after all this forum is divided the MBTI way, and since being INFJ's we kind of have a tendency to actually like feeling understood and well-described once in a while. For some, once in a lifetime.

I wanted your opinion on this article:

Nothing Personal: The questionable Myers-Briggs test | Science | theguardian.com

What I sense here is the author has taken very grid-like tests where answers are carved in stone, as if all people sharing personality types were the SAME, like everything was based on binary choices. The tests I have taken give me percentages. There are other things I find weird about this article, as if I felt he based his arguments on experience instead of actually going deep into the topic.

I believe, as some said on the comments of the article, that there are more color shades between the black and white of being I or E, or being J or P. There was no mention of the functions either so I am doubting how well- informed the author is.

Of course, I have doubts myself at some points of the MBTI. I do not think it is perfect and I do not think it can actually determine your life, that statement sounds too much like something horoscopes would say... but when you know its limits, I think MBTI tests can be a good guideline on understanding oneself.

What do you think about this?
 

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Well all this stuff seems to kind of be common sense to someone who thinks for a second about it all.

First of all: "isn't science" --- I mean yeah, many things aren't science. What's the point of that claim? Unless someone is making claims something is science, this issue doesn't matter. There are many fields which aren't science, strictly.

Next:

I personally feel it's more to do with people's tendency to go for anything that offers an easy solution.


This seems to be the real issue. But it's not with the MBTI, it is widespread. When people screen you for medical school, or law school, or whatever, you get screened based on certain factors, which offer what is almost impossible to argue isn't fully contingent on your potential in the field, but rather a large component is how you play the game of admissions. When you apply for various jobs, contrary to much naive beliefs, there are plenty of employers who will look at school name and such things before developing a real conceptual idea of the applicant, if they do so at all. Because that's the thing -- if it works for them reasonably well they'll keep doing it. Strangely this is the whole basis of a lot of typology as I've been informed many times by people I trust to know what they're saying.

Tests do seem to give percentages most of the time, and it's common sense, a very young child can probably tell you that someone who caves away inside a secret chamber oblivious to external data is probably more introverted in some sense than someone who just needs some alone time, if you tell them what introversion is. This is all silly neglect of obvious things.



As to the functions, the functions model does not equal the dichotomies model for precisely the reason you were saying and because only the N/S and T/F dichotomies have anything to do with functions (but even there, issues arise --- how does your preference for objective value-based decision-making or objective impersonal rationalization have much to do if you are firm or gentle...no, there the only explanation is trying to say such attributes correlate with the F-function if anything at all...remember the F v. T distinction exists independent of the actual functions).

The main issue with linking the functions and the tests is that the test can produce differing percentages, which may or may not indicate differing levels of preference, but this is not taken into account. Even if the T/F dichotomy represented something meaningful in terms of T v. F functions, let's say someone scores really close on J/P -- are they suddenly, as a supposed INTJ/P, dramatically different (Ti dom v. Ni dom with all the functions different?).

I doubt it.

I think there is something to the function model's correlation to the tests based on my observations but I think it's inexact and dangerous to use these tools together.

 

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Please. What is this shit? I cannot even begin to express in words just how unbelievably ignorant that article is.

Any potential misuse of MBTI is the fault of the person, not the theory itself. There are people who abuse a diagnosis of a mental illness as a justification for their behaviour. I have a cousin who uses her bulimia to win sympathy from people. As annoying as it is, however, it does not invalidate the accuracy or the existence of the illness itself.

The article is just embarrassing to read really since he has dramatically misinterpreted the theory and is simply making a fool of himself by ranting about something that he hasn't bothered to properly research first.

I want to hear an opinion from someone who can demonstrate an accurate in-depth knowledge of the cognitive functions and how they operate and manifest.

Idiots like this on the other hand are in no place to be critiquing what they are either too stupid or too lazy to understand.

There is no reason whatsoever to invalidate MBTI any more than you would a language, a phobia or a mental illness. The theory may be potentially flawed yes, but overall very plausible. I have no reason to doubt it. It just makes sense and it explains so much. Best of all, I feel I've grown so much as a person because of it. It has helped me to accept and respect other people's differences in perception, without feeling I have to sacrifice the worth of my own.
 

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I like how he calls attention to how the MBTI costs a lot to train in. Well...yeah? The DSM (the manual psychologists use to diagnose mental disorders) also costs a lot to be trained in, because it easily misused by people who don't understand the theories or have the experience to interpret it. Clue train!!

That said, I do think he brings up a valid viewpoint--it seems the use of MBTI in the workplace only stereotypes people in negative ways, rather than actually being an aid in fostering company health. I personally think the applications of MBTI outside of self-discovery and VERY general assumptions is pretty slim.

But that's all personality models for you...there's just not enough research behind what personality "is" and how all the little factors of life influence it...if we knew...it'd probably be a manual bigger than the encyclopedia, rather than the MBTI's little four-letter thing.

What MBTI DOES do for us is call attention to some fairly basic major differences in people that tend to get overlooked from a managing/socializing point of view. Introversion is not well understood. Intuition is definitely not that well understood. The opposite preference from your own in the T/F and J/P dichtomies can drive you up the wall if you didn't know any better. At the least, it brings these things to the table for discussion, rather than assuming we're all paperdoll cutouts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That said, I do think he brings up a valid viewpoint--it seems the use of MBTI in the workplace only stereotypes people in negative ways, rather than actually being an aid in fostering company health. I personally think the applications of MBTI outside of self-discovery and VERY general assumptions is pretty slim.

But that's all personality models for you...there's just not enough research behind what personality "is" and how all the little factors of life influence it...if we knew...it'd probably be a manual bigger than the encyclopedia, rather than the MBTI's little four-letter thing.

What MBTI DOES do for us is call attention to some fairly basic major differences in people that tend to get overlooked from a managing/socializing point of view. Introversion is not well understood. Intuition is definitely not that well understood. The opposite preference from your own in the T/F and J/P dichtomies can drive you up the wall if you didn't know any better. At the least, it brings these things to the table for discussion, rather than assuming we're all paperdoll cutouts.

Agreed. I actually began researching about skeptics on MBTI typing preciseley because I have seen some people take it a lot in the way of "Yay!!! I'm team XXXX!!" (insert any personality type). When these things happen I tend to think people just have this classifying conviction and people even start behaving "more" like their personality type, as if they wanted to become a stereotype in order to belong somewhere.

I even began reading about the ethics involved in MBTI typing and it said in the end that a test will never be the ultimate way of typing yourself, since it is subject to changing depending on other factors and it is also the tester's responsibility to take in mind other factors. So yes, a precise typing is REALLY complicated and I believe MBTI is just a useful GUIDE, but not your definite life manual.

Was you said it is fine for pointing out basic major differences and I agree with many things not being well understood. I like reading the description of my personality type since it makes me wonder a lot of things about myself that I had never wondered. I am still unsure, though, that it is that much of an efficient tool for big companies to get new employees. It does cookie-cut them and it seems to me they will be supposing things about how this person will work without really having evidence on their skill, so it seems unfair to me, sort of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There is no reason whatsoever to invalidate MBTI any more than you would a language, a phobia or a mental illness. The theory may be potentially flawed yes, but overall very plausible. I have no reason to doubt it. It just makes sense and it explains so much. Best of all, I feel I've grown so much as a person because of it. It has helped me to accept and respect other people's differences in perception, without feeling I have to sacrifice the worth of my own.

I feel familiar here. For example I REALLY felt relief when I read the definition of Introversion, it made me feel there was NOTHING wrong with me. I had cracy teachers in high school who took me to the psychologist because I said during an interview that sometimes I preferred staying home at friday night instead of partying like my friends. Teachers thought it was strange because I did not appear to be a shy person, nobody was bullying me and there was no aparent problem but that "apathy for socializing". Which I thought was bullshit. It was not like I was asocial, I just needed time to recharge on my own. When I read the definition of introvertion, it fit like a glove to me and I came to understand a lot of things that helped me A LOT to appreciate myself the way I am and I have grown to be better and happier. It has helped me understand other types of people too and find a way to get along with them better.

I have read about all personality types and of course I recognize I have a few similarities with other types... it is not like I am 100% INFJ either and I think these "percentages" say a lot, it does result in countless combinations when taken in mind.
 

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Blanca said:
I am still unsure, though, that it is that much of an efficient tool for big companies to get new employees. It does cookie-cut them and it seems to me they will be supposing things about how this person will work without really having evidence on their skill, so it seems unfair to me, sort of.


Yeah see this is the issue; the employers might be using the instrument in ways it is not really designed. If one reads "Gifts Differing" it's clear the very title is speaking to appreciating different people. But when did employers ever look for subtlety....mostly they just do whatever the heck works. I don't think their use of MBTI is any different from the many other ways they display this same trait.

I think some people really get all the data and statistics that drive the style of questioning in the MBTI. Introversion, feeling, thinking, sensing, etc are their own concepts, and the tests I believe are looking for statistical correlation among factors to produce some aggregate concept of "type".


 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well all this stuff seems to kind of be common sense to someone who thinks for a second about it all.

First of all: "isn't science" --- I mean yeah, many things aren't science. What's the point of that claim? Unless someone is making claims something is science, this issue doesn't matter. There are many fields which aren't science, strictly.
Very much, this. I will be honest here- I like science, but I lately feel like people take science as if it was some sort of religion where science is the only source of truth. What many people ignore is that even scientific concepts are open to debate and their validity is questionned. More often than they would like. As you said, many fields are not science technically. I don’t think something should cease to be valid just because it does not belong to a field.


This seems to be the real issue. But it's not with the MBTI, it is widespread. When people screen you for medical school, or law school, or whatever, you get screened based on certain factors, which offer what is almost impossible to argue isn't fully contingent on your potential in the field, but rather a large component is how you play the game of admissions. When you apply for various jobs, contrary to much naive beliefs, there are plenty of employers who will look at school name and such things before developing a real conceptual idea of the applicant, if they do so at all. Because that's the thing -- if it works for them reasonably well they'll keep doing it. Strangely this is the whole basis of a lot of typology as I've been informed many times by people I trust to know what they're saying.
Sort of out of topic, I kind of needed to read this. As a university student who has had several jobs related to my field, even without being graduated yet, I am annoyed when people speak with this false idealism that school name, diplomas and other written evidence of education do not matter because they somehow think employers will just notice your talent from just looking into your eyes (I’m being ironic of course).

While I admit being lucky to have been recommended by teachers and people in higher hierarchies, in the end I have gotten my jobs because I belong to a school with a sort of respectable name in the state and because people have seen my grades and my awards…and I know people will tell me that these may not be the best indicator for actual skill or the perfect profile for a worker… but, they speak of sense of responsibility and etc. It says you’ve been evaluated and gone right…and yes, your employers WILL evaluate you. Your boss will evaluate you. It is how things work and it is how many enterprises have been successful.


As to the functions, the functions model does not equal the dichotomies model for precisely the reason you were saying and because only the N/S and T/F dichotomies have anything to do with functions (but even there, issues arise --- how does your preference for objective value-based decision-making or objective impersonal rationalization have much to do if you are firm or gentle...no, there the only explanation is trying to say such attributes correlate with the F-function if anything at all...remember the F v. T distinction exists independent of the actual functions).

The main issue with linking the functions and the tests is that the test can produce differing percentages, which may or may not indicate differing levels of preference, but this is not taken into account. Even if the T/F dichotomy represented something meaningful in terms of T v. F functions, let's say someone scores really close on J/P -- are they suddenly, as a supposed INTJ/P, dramatically different (Ti dom v. Ni dom with all the functions different?).
Very interesting. I will read more deeply and make observations too. I’m not a master at the functions but I had read about the INTJ/P issue, as well as INFJ/P, which have inverted functions and I did wonder how does that worked. Thanks for your view on this, I’ll make a more critical reading soon.
 

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@Blanca yeah, and to make the connection to the topic clear, the article mentions employers' using personality testing as a sort of way to make "quick" decisions, and my claim is they do this anyway; it has nothing to do with the MBTI, it is a natural tendency they adopt. And the example I gave is just one instance.

With regards to INTJ/P etc, the point to emphasize is simply that the things defining the J dimension aren't something someone will 100% adopt, same with the P dimension, so to say an INTJ is TOTALLY different from an INTP strikes me as false. The concept that someone ends up with a certain model based on these variables that is the same regardless of the apparent strength of preference is dubious particularly since the predictor of model is an indirect one.

employers will just notice your talent from just looking into your eyes (I’m being ironic of course).


Although I speak from both ends as well --- I think employers do the thing that's the path of least resistance generally; so on the one end it is naive to think "nothing matters but innate skill" since that presumes there is such a thing as innate skill, but on the other hand, I don't pretend to believe there isn't a sort of huge bias to surface-nice-looking stuff when employers pick, and I do think the decisions ultimately are not measuring skill necessarily --- they're doing exactly what the MBTI does, which is not measuring whether someone has a preference for intuition or not, they're instead claiming there exists a dimension N-S where certain statistical patterns (significant correlation among certain measured parameters) create a notion called "N-preference".
Personally, I don't see N v. S as abstract v concrete --- you can be intuitive about the concrete and have a sensory style to procuring abstract insights, say achieved through feeling. But at the same time, they don't only ask you concrete v. abstract -- there are other questions; the reason for that is simple -- they're probably observing that people who tend to answer in favor of 1 "N question" answer in favor of another. And hence draw a relation, and say N is now a statistically meaningful entity. I imagine it's somewhat more complex perhaps, but nonetheless, conceptually I doubt there's something mind-blowing going on besides that.

 

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I do think there is a bit of truth in MBTI sometimes being used to dismiss applicants somewhat unfairly. In fact, funnily enough, just last week a family friend was upset about a position his wife had applied to. During the interview rounds the employers had been very impressed by her cv and personality, but the last step was taking the MBTI. They had already stated they were going to hire her, but when the test results came they did a 180 and told her she was not 'suitable' for that managerial position. She's an ISFJ. The thing is though that before an accident she had at work which rendered her unable to work for a few years she managed one of the most prominent night clubs in town successfully, owned her own consulting company and used her recovery period to do a degree. How does she suddenly not possess managerial potential just because her type is not the executive type when factual evidence speaks otherwise?
I had a similar experience applying to an event organizer training program. The interview went well and they professed to me having the most experience out if the applicants, but after the MBTI test was applied, in the final interview they flat out told me it wasn't the suitable field for me and recommended their composer/ musician training program. The problem was I was already actively gigging and didnt want a degree. I wanted an actual day job in a non artist capacity in the field doing something I'd already done.
My ESTJ friend I had worked with with an identical cv was admitted a year earlier. ;)
I would say I felt a bit prejudiced against.
 

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Alright- I will very probably get a biased debate here since after all this forum is divided the MBTI way, and since being INFJ's we kind of have a tendency to actually like feeling understood and well-described once in a while. For some, once in a lifetime.

I wanted your opinion on this article:

Nothing Personal: The questionable Myers-Briggs test | Science | theguardian.com

What I sense here is the author has taken very grid-like tests where answers are carved in stone, as if all people sharing personality types were the SAME, like everything was based on binary choices. The tests I have taken give me percentages. There are other things I find weird about this article, as if I felt he based his arguments on experience instead of actually going deep into the topic.

I believe, as some said on the comments of the article, that there are more color shades between the black and white of being I or E, or being J or P. There was no mention of the functions either so I am doubting how well- informed the author is.

Of course, I have doubts myself at some points of the MBTI. I do not think it is perfect and I do not think it can actually determine your life, that statement sounds too much like something horoscopes would say... but when you know its limits, I think MBTI tests can be a good guideline on understanding oneself.

What do you think about this?
The functions are abstract constructs to explain cognitive phnomena for which we can not accurately and reliably test for when it comes down to T vs F and S vs N. This makes the functions themselves irrelevant when it comes to scientific accuracy and credibility. The theoretical model however becomes untouchable because we can't really prove or disprove it due to lack of empirical evidence. The fact that everyone makes decisions in both T & F ways depending on context and can be either intutive or sensory makes discerning between these dichotomies difficult.

The question usually is: To what degree or percentage and it ultimately comes down to an observer's short term asessment (such as typing others on the forum) or the subject itself decides based on internal experience. Both of these could be highly inaccurate and off the mark due to either too short obeservation period or internal denial of the self in favor of wanted qualities.

What is clear however from empirical data is that the I-E cognitive dichotomy exists and the P-J dichotomy as well, however both of these are divided into 2 other categories. There are cognitive extroverts who are social introverts and cognitive introverts who are social extroverts and vice verso. There are cognitive percievers which are organized but open ended and cognitive judgers which are disorganized but closed eneded and vice verso.

Being areal cognitive perciever requires something more then being disorganized, it is the tendency towards being open ended and higly inductive, from incomming detail to general conclusions. The most telling sign of true introversion is being HSP ( a highly sensitive person). HSPs overload on stimulation, thus they need time for themselves to recharge, prefer the quiet and reaxed enviroments etc.. As far as social extroversion goes, about 30+% of HSP individuals have been reported to be social extroverts (outgoing social ppl).

Imo there is a sweet spot between understanding the theory and understanding it's practical limitations. We need to know where theory ends and reality begins, especially why they sometimes do not match up.
 

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I do think there is a bit of truth in MBTI sometimes being used to dismiss applicants somewhat unfairly. In fact, funnily enough, just last week a family friend was upset about a position his wife had applied to. During the interview rounds the employers had been very impressed by her cv and personality, but the last step was taking the MBTI. They had already stated they were going to hire her, but when the test results came they did a 180 and told her she was not 'suitable' for that managerial position. She's an ISFJ. The thing is though that before an accident she had at work which rendered her unable to work for a few years she managed one of the most prominent night clubs in town successfully, owned her own consulting company and used her recovery period to do a degree. How does she suddenly not possess managerial potential just because her type is not the executive type when factual evidence speaks otherwise?
I had a similar experience applying to an event organizer training program. The interview went well and they professed to me having the most experience out if the applicants, but after the MBTI test was applied, in the final interview they flat out told me it wasn't the suitable field for me and recommended their composer/ musician training program. The problem was I was already actively gigging and didnt want a degree. I wanted an actual day job in a non artist capacity in the field doing something I'd already done.
My ESTJ friend I had worked with with an identical cv was admitted a year earlier. ;)
I would say I felt a bit prejudiced against.
^ ^ Wow, this kind of thing makes me really angry. I mean - I have no words.

Maybe the only consolation would be: A company that is so fucked-up that they would use MBTI this way is probably seriously fucked-up in other important ways. Maybe you all dodged a bullet in these cases because who knows what kind of bullshit you'd have been required to participate in in places like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I do think there is a bit of truth in MBTI sometimes being used to dismiss applicants somewhat unfairly. In fact, funnily enough, just last week a family friend was upset about a position his wife had applied to. During the interview rounds the employers had been very impressed by her cv and personality, but the last step was taking the MBTI. They had already stated they were going to hire her, but when the test results came they did a 180 and told her she was not 'suitable' for that managerial position. She's an ISFJ. The thing is though that before an accident she had at work which rendered her unable to work for a few years she managed one of the most prominent night clubs in town successfully, owned her own consulting company and used her recovery period to do a degree. How does she suddenly not possess managerial potential just because her type is not the executive type when factual evidence speaks otherwise?
I had a similar experience applying to an event organizer training program. The interview went well and they professed to me having the most experience out if the applicants, but after the MBTI test was applied, in the final interview they flat out told me it wasn't the suitable field for me and recommended their composer/ musician training program. The problem was I was already actively gigging and didnt want a degree. I wanted an actual day job in a non artist capacity in the field doing something I'd already done.
My ESTJ friend I had worked with with an identical cv was admitted a year earlier. ;)
I would say I felt a bit prejudiced against.
This makes me angry too. MBTI tests are not that used in my country but I supposed there were situations like this one going on somewhere, I was apparently right. This sounds like a very frustrating situation!

It seems people fail to see that just because you belong to one personality type, you won't be the EXACT match of the description. Just because tests say that XXXX type is good for let's say engineering, not everyone who got this personality in the test will excel at math. Same with about every single field out there. Ugh, I did get mad.
 

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I do think there is a bit of truth in MBTI sometimes being used to dismiss applicants somewhat unfairly. In fact, funnily enough, just last week a family friend was upset about a position his wife had applied to. During the interview rounds the employers had been very impressed by her cv and personality, but the last step was taking the MBTI. They had already stated they were going to hire her, but when the test results came they did a 180 and told her she was not 'suitable' for that managerial position. She's an ISFJ. The thing is though that before an accident she had at work which rendered her unable to work for a few years she managed one of the most prominent night clubs in town successfully, owned her own consulting company and used her recovery period to do a degree. How does she suddenly not possess managerial potential just because her type is not the executive type when factual evidence speaks otherwise?
I had a similar experience applying to an event organizer training program. The interview went well and they professed to me having the most experience out if the applicants, but after the MBTI test was applied, in the final interview they flat out told me it wasn't the suitable field for me and recommended their composer/ musician training program. The problem was I was already actively gigging and didnt want a degree. I wanted an actual day job in a non artist capacity in the field doing something I'd already done.
My ESTJ friend I had worked with with an identical cv was admitted a year earlier. ;)
I would say I felt a bit prejudiced against.


Yeah, that was my reaction a moment ago. :\ wtf...who are these people?! Why? Why base a decision like that on a non scientific self asessment test? I mean come on for fracks sake if they call themselves psychologists I'm going to suffer a fit lol.

Here is my short term empirical observation based on the present facts: Stupid ppl doing illogical shit based on pop psychology. *Reads your birth sign and hires you based on that* <_> welcome to duh company! Frank over there does tarot and Jill there reads the future from the crista ball.
 
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