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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Although MBTI can be very reliable and is seen by many as relevant in determining the characteristics of an individual in the form of a personality type or perhaps even a group of people in the form of a temperament, there are those who criticize it. It may seem questionable to start this thread on the Myers Briggs forum but I've noticed that even those who view MBTI as accurate seem to have their own interpretations of its purpose as well their own views of its flaws. Therefore, this thread functions as a way of enabling others to express their views and criticisms of MBTI to shed light and possibly truth on what is otherwise a seemingly subjective subject.

I'll start with myself and my views on MBTI. I hadn't discovered MBTI and didn't care very much for who I actually was personally even though I don't lack introspect. However, when I discovered the MBTI test I was at a stage in my life where my views of the world, myself, and others were significantly altering. Nonetheless, I was interested in taking the test as I wanted to acquire a greater form of comprehension of myself. When I received the results (INTJ) I was surprised in regards to how accurate they were in relation who I am. Although it wasn't perfect, I think it was borderline close to being perfect. As time went on I continued to learn more about myself and my personality type. I began to read about other personality types as my interest continued to deepen and now I've learned what I consider to be a fair amount of information about MBTI.

However, I've now pondered the accuracy of it and in regards to what extent it can applied in the form of judgement towards others, ourselves, and in communicating with others. I've noticed those that suggest MBTI shouldn't be taken too seriously typically state that everyone is different and simply labeling others in a world of approximately seven billion people is absurd. There are also those who are somewhat neutral on the matter but despite that still observe some form of validity in MBTI. Then there are those who think that MBTI is very accurate or at the very least see a fair amount of validity in it and therefore hold less criticism against it.

To get to the point of all of this, I want to know what you think of MBTI and specifically what criticisms you have of it in regards to its accuracy, if any. I think that this is a topic that hasn't been sufficiently discussed on the forums and therefore I've arrived at the decision of writing and submitting this thread for all to observe and respond to. I hope that this will bring significant insight into the actual accuracy of MBTI and ultimately how we should judge ourselves and others on the basis of it.

Please respond if you have anything to shed light on this matter, thank you.
 
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I don't like that people often seem to be ignorant of the fact that there is a spectrum of how well you fit into different personality traits.

That being said, I still am kind of obsessed with MBTI.
 

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One issue that does get at least some degree of frequent discussion on this forum is the validity of "type dynamics" (although, such discussions often also involve the various similar "cognitive functions" theories that are not MBTI, but have gained some preponderance in online communities and are often mistaken for the MBTI). Unlike the preference pairs (or "dichotomies"), there's no real empirical support for the claims made with respect to type dynamics, so the constriction of possible combinations that type dynamics provides seems to lack justification (why must the auxiliary and inferior oppose the dominant in attitude, for example?); furthermore, there is no evidence I'm aware of to support the asserted links between the "dichotomies" and the "functions" (e.g., that IP and EJ types both have their judging function as dominant), so again it seems that plausible combinations are excluded without reasonable justification. I've posted on this a few times (e.g., my posts in this thread), so there's probably no need to go into further depth on the issue here.

Beyond that, the MBTI also doesn't clearly delineate between what is necessarily true of particular types/preferences, and what merely correlates. As such, it's unclear what exactly is true of, say, "every introvert and no extravert"; the lack of clarity in this regard can be problematic when attempting to discern type, particularly when it's a close call... on that matter, the lack of any proper indication of individual degrees of preference seems limiting also (the best we have are the "preference clarity" scores; presumably, there's some correlation between degree of preference and preference clarity, but treating the two as equivalent would be unreasonable). If it's true that the distribution across each preference pair is roughly normal (to which I understand there is some empirical support, though the lack of explicit measures of degree of preferences hampers coming to a clear conclusion), and if type dynamics remains unsubstantiated, then the entire notion of a typology based on those four dimensions seems somewhat questionable.

I tend to focus on criticisms that undermine the MBTI as a theoretical construct, but some of the other criticisms, although more tangential, have a degree of merit - chief among these being the Forer effect (which becomes particularly relevant given the focus on type descriptions). The presence of a test administrator as part of the official process may go some way to alleviating that issue, but the process of selecting the type that seems to fit best loses rigour when considered in light of that.

Despite the above criticisms, I do think there's value in the MBTI. The preference pairs themselves have at least some empirical support, and, questionable though the typological model might be, that doesn't mean worthwhile information about human personality can't be gleaned from examining it in that fashion.
 
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