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  1. #1

    Default Thoughts on Myers-Briggs

    Thoughts on Myers-Briggs

    Here, I try to be reasonably concise but complete in my thoughts about Myers-Briggs. It would be interesting to see how people differ in opinions.

    I expect people to post their own views on personality or respond to the posts others (including myself) make.

    I summarize the beliefs I hold at the top, as well as experiments I'd like to see done. The rest are my thoughts in more detail.

    Beliefs/Hypotheses I Hold
    • The Forer Effect is the result of the similarities among human beings.
    • Big Five Theory is a description of descriptions of personality
    • Behavioral models are useful, but behaviorsm is too limiting. I believe there are actually things underneath driving us, defining our needs, and determining the themes of our lives.
    • We are not "tabular rasa" but are born with some innate tendencies. These tendencies in-turn color our interactions with the environment, while the environment shapes our personalities further.
    • Temperaments and Interaction Styles are excellent ways to behaviorally get a first guess on the personality.
    • The top two cognitive functions do determine type, and are important to understand for growth…i.e. I believe Isabel Myers's extrapolation of Jung's work was reasonably sound. However, unless obvious, I don't believe it is easy to type people directly like with functions.
    • Jung was onto something with archetypes, and with Function-attitudes (functions).
    • John Beebe was onto something with Archetypal Complexes, and that Berens was tracking the same something.
    • Lenore Thomson was onto something with the tertiary temptation as well.


    Experiments I'd like to see done
    • Have people read descriptions and are asked how well it describe someone they know well. See if similar thing to Forer Effect shows up. This would add weight to the hypothesis that the Forer Effect is the result of the similarities human beings.
    • See the difference in Forer Effect between random descriptions given to people, and descriptions given to people that are supposedly based on a highly accurate personality test.
    • See if people accept inaccurate beliefs more readily if embedded within accurate descriptions.
    • Do a Big-Five like factor analysis on the descriptions of things.
    • take sections of the population skewed by personalities based on the Big Five itself, and see if different factors don't emerge from different segmentations of personality.


    Forer Effect
    The Forer Effect is the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people.

    Is it possible that the descriptions are indeed accurate? ...even if the accuracy is the result of the Forer Effect…that is, even if they describe many other people?

    Human beings have a lot in common, and if the Forer Effect may simply be a reflection of that. It would be interesting to have people read descriptions and are asked how well it describe someone they know well.

    Or is that people accept descriptions that don't apply to them simply because it is generated by a test that is supposed to describe their personality? I'd like to see the difference in Forer Effect between random descriptions given to people, and descriptions given to people that are supposedly based on a highly accurate personality test.

    Do people accept inaccurate beliefs embedded within accurate descriptions? That would be another interesting thing to test, because it would mean the Forer Effect feeds on it self.

    Descriptions, 3rd person vs. 1st person

    There is an interesting dynamics tests that give descriptions back as a result of questions asked about descriptions. One would expect that a description built from descriptions a person agreed described himself/herself, would be agreed upon as well.

    I would expect a similar story in 3rd person descriptions. The 3rd party would read a description of the person the same as what they answered as descriptions in the questionnaire.

    If the Forer effect is cold reading, then a description based test being fed back to a person is warm reading. But in either case, the descriptions themselves can be helpful to people who need their own descriptions given to them from outside.

    Also, the descriptions would be different depending on who was describing it. There is an interesting classification scheme for "traits" known as Johari and Nohari windows. Each window is split into four categories…Arena (known to both self and others), Blind Spot (known to others but not self), and Façade (known to self but not others). The Johari window describes positive traits, the Nohari, negative ones.

    So here we see some value. If the person describes to others things about themselves that others do not know, it may be fruitful. Similarly, an outside party tells someone how they are perceived would also be helpful. The languages of personality systems can serve as a short had for this sort of communication.

    In a way, the results of the Big Five tests are nothing more than regurgitations of the test questions. The only real difference is that the Big Five aggregates the descriptions and then gives you where you are in comparison to the population on the five factors. That is the extent of the value of the Big Five…it lets you draw comparisons between yourself and a larger population. It may in addition, serve as good reflection of your beliefs about yourself, and if used with a Johari/Nohari-like technique, then it may further inform you how others perceive themselves compared to you.

    Big Five

    I am not disputing the "truth" of the Big Five model. I am, however, disputing how much Big Five Theory can be used a description of personality. In short, I posit that the Big Five Theory (the theory being that personality has five factors, specifically Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism) is a description of descriptions of personality.

    The Big Five is based on the Lexical Hypothesis. The lexical hypothesis states that
    the most salient and socially relevant personality differences in people’s lives will eventually become encoded into language. I find this hypothesis rather dubious. Certainly some things will become encoded into language…but I believe that this encoding will distort and filter the true aspects of personality.

    This brings up some questions for me. Will majority opinion of a population skew how "traits" are associated with each other in a 3rd party based evaluation of personality? On self-report based personality descriptions, will we again only see the associations people make about themselves? This too could be largely skewed from their actual personalities.

    It would be interesting to do a similar factor analysis on the descriptions of things. I think you will find a similar (though not exactly the same) framework as the Big Five (designed for people) appear. If this occurs, then the hypothesis that the Big Five is a description descriptions would gain more weight.

    Also, it would be interesting to take sections of the population skewed by personalities based on the Big Five itself, and see if different factors don't emerge from different segmentations of personality. This too would mean that the Big Five Theory is more an artifact of language and culture than a true description of personality.

    It is further interesting that four of the dichotomies have strong correlations to 4 of the Factors (Neuroticism was explicitly left out because the Myers-Briggs community wanted to use the understanding of personality to help people work together and understand themselves and others). Of course, the Big Five factors are not the MBTI dichotomies in disguise, they are quite different. However, perhaps it can be taken as evidence that the scaffolding on which the MBTI was developed, the theory itself, has some validity.

    Getting to the "Core" of People's Personalities

    Ultimately, so far, we have talked about adjectives…traits that people have. We can alternatively look at verbs, what people do. This would lead to behavioral descriptions of people. But really, both trait-based and behavioral descriptions are at a surface level. They don't delve deeper.

    Behavioral models are quite useful, but behaviorsm is too limiting. I believe there are actually things underneath, driving us, defining our needs, and determining the themes of our lives. I think a good theory of personality should attempt to get at this core.

    I also believe we are not "tabular rasa" but are born with some innate tendencies. These tendencies in-turn color our interactions with the environment, while the environment shapes our personalities further.

    To this end, I really like the approaches that the theories of Temperament and Interaction Syles use. They look at traits and behaviors and use that evidence to get a good idea of what is diving people, defining their needs, etc.

    Of course circumstances and environmental factors will change what traits people develop, but I believe there are almost always enough clues on the surface (for Temperaments and Interaction Styles) to piece together the core.

    Temperament

    As far as Myers-Briggs related temperaments, there are 4 of them. They can be called different things based on who is describing them.

    I'll give the descriptions of all 4 temperaments, along with the core needs of that temperament:

    • Artisans(SPs) are often epicurian, spontaneous, restless, entertaining, impulsive, present oriented, fast-reacting, risk-taking, improvising, and cynical. They often like seizing opportunities, making an impact, using colloquial language, and telling stories. They are often good at tactics, variation, contextual thinking, promoting, adapting, and performing. Often, they make skilled troubleshooters, negotiators, operators, and players. They usually value action, skilled performance, variety, fraternal relationships, excitement, stimulation, aesthetics, and immediate adventure. Their core needs are the freedom to act on impulses and the ability to make an impact.
    • Guardians(SJs) are often economical, structured, dependable, appraising, meticulous, past oriented, cautious, careful, responsible, standardizing, fatalistic, and authority centered. They often like stabilizing organizations, using customary language, and making comparisons. They are often good at logistics, measurement, sequential thinking, supervising, protecting, and providing. Often they make skilled stabilizers, monitors, and conservators. They usually value security, hierarchical procedures, stability, group relationships, rules, regulations, conformity, and the preservation of social groups. Their core needs are having a place of belonging and meeting the responsibilities of a duty.
    • Rationals(NTs) are often theoretical, cold, logical, oblivious, critiquing, perfectionistic, infinite-time oriented, problem-solving, analytical, inventing, and skeptical. They often like forming hypotheses, gaining knowledge, using precise language, and thinking in conditionals. They are often good at strategy, analysis, differential thinking, marshaling, designing, and categorizing. Often they make skilled visionaries, directors, engineers, and inventors. They usually value intelligence, scientific inquiry, logical consistency, expert relationships, concepts, ideas, progress, ultimate truths, and theories. Their core needs are gaining knowledge, competence, mastery, and self-control.
    • Idealists(NFs) are often spiritual, warm-hearted, involved, praising, impressionistic, future oriented, inspiring, empathic, imagining, credulous, and relationship centered. They often like creating harmony, using global language, and thinking in metaphors. They are often good at diplomacy, interpretation, integrative thinking, counseling, revealing, and facilitating. Often they make skilled catalysts, mentors, foreseers, and advocates. They usually value self-actualization, cooperative interaction, unity, empathic relationships, ethics, morality, authenticity, and an ideal or meaningful world. Their core needs are having a unique identity of meaning and significance.


    Although our core needs are, in a way, invisible, the way to tell what they are is my looking at what gives you energy and vitality as opposed to draining you of life and energy. If your core needs are being met, you will be full of life, when they are not being met, you will be drained of life.

    Interaction Styles

    There are four interaction styles to complement the four temperaments. Each temperament has one type for each of the 4 interaction styles, and each interaction style has one type for each temperament.

    • Get-Things-going Style(ESFs and ENPs) People who like to get things going tend to be energetic, animated, gregarious, expressive, enthusiastic, engaging, persuasive and casual. They have talents for making preparations, discovering new ways of seeing things, sharing insights, exploring options, facilitating, catalyzing, energizing, brainstorming, and persuading. They have an urgent need to involve people, and aim to get an embraced result. Their core belief is that it's worth the energy to involve everyone and get them to want to do what needs to be done. They have faith that whatever emerges form the interaction will move people forward.
    • Behind-the-Scenes Style(ISFs and INPs) People who like to be behind the scenes tend to be quiet, agreeable, friendly, approachable, unassuming, accommodating, conscientious, and patient. They have talents for supporting others, defining specifications, clarifying values, producing high quality results, searching for commonalities, encouraging participation, reconciling inconsistencies, and sustaining effort. They have a pressing need to integrate things, and aim to get the best result possible. Their core belief is that it is worth the time to integrate and reconcile many inputs. They have faith that people can make it al work out in the end.
    • In-Charge Style(ESTs and ENJs) People who like to be in charge tend to be energetic, confident, composed, in control, commanding, straightforward, decisive, and sociable. They have talents for supervising, mobilizing resources, mentoring, executing actions, leading to a goal, actualizing a vision, accomplishing through people, and providing resources. They have an urgent need to accomplish tasks and aim to get an achievable result. Their core belief is that it is worth the risk to go ahead and decide or act. They have faith that people can control whatever happens.
    • Chart-the-Course Style(ISTs and INJs) people who like to char the course tend to be quiet, informative, reserved, intense, calm, private, planful, and focused. They have talents for outlining/planning agendas/logistics, conceptualizing end results, foreseeing how people will respond, figuring out what needs to be done, monitoring progress, illuminating, devising a plan, and giving guidance. They have a pressing need to anticipate things and aim to get a desired result. Their core belief is that it is worth the effort to think ahead to reach the goal. They have faith in their process to get where they want to go.



    Types, Archetypes, Functions
    There are many other things that make our picture of personality much more rich and that are embraced by the Myer-Briggs community. For instance type flavors (independent vs. participative, mainstream vs. counterculture, global vs. local, hard vs. soft), and life themes (athletic, artistic, community, establishment, political, growth, academic, entrepreneurial). Multiple intelligences (verbal-linguistic, musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, naturalist, interpersonal, and intrapersonal), and preferred modalities for learning (Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic) make the picture still more rich. There is also family influence, career choice, cultural effect, and gender difference.

    But to delve deeper into the subconscious and unconscious... I think function-attitudes (also known as just "functions") are important. I believe that Jung was onto something with archetypes(innate universal psychic dispositions that form the substrate from which the basic themes of human life emerge), and with Function-attitudes. For Jung there are two attitudes, introverted and extraverted, and for each of the attitudes, there are 4 possible functions, Sensing, iNtuition, Feeling, and Thinking, yielding 8 function-attitudes.

    In Myers-Briggs typology two functions define a type…a primary function and an auxiliary function. In healthy individuals, the two functions should have opposite attitudes. In addition one should be a judging function (either thinking or feeling) and the other a perceiving function (either sensing or intuition).

    I believe the top two cognitive functions do indeed determine type, and are important to understand for growth…i.e. I believe Isabel Myers's extrapolation of Jung's work was reasonably sound. However, unless obvious, I don't believe it is easy to type people directly with functions.

    I believe John Beebe was onto something with Archetypal Complexes, and that Linda Berens was tracking the same something with the "lasagna model".

    The model is as follows:
    1. Hero / Heroine (superior or dominant function)
    2. Father / Mother (auxiliary function)
    3. Puer / Puella (tertiary function)
    4. Anima / Animus (inferior function)
    5. Opposing Personality (same function as #1 but with opposite attitude)
    6. Senex / Witch (same function as #2 but with opposite attitude)
    7. Trickster (same function as #3 but with opposite attitude)
    8. Demonic Personality (same function as #4 but with opposite attitude)


    I also believe Lenore Thomson was onto something with the tertiary temptation as well. The tertiary temptation occurs when we rely on our tertiary function which has the same attitude as our primary, creating an imbalance of attitude and leading to unhealthy mode if engaged in for a long period of time.

    Links:
    Forer effect - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Johari window - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Big Five personality traits - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Understanding yourself and others ... - Google Books
    Understanding Yourself and Others ... - Google Books
    Multiple intelligences & personality ... - Google Books
    Visual Auditory Kinesthetic Learning Styles
    http://www.darionardi.com/CHARpaper.html
    Jungian archetypes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Evolving the Eight-Function Model (by John Beebe) : Type Insights
    Tertiary Temptation

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #2
    That chalkboard guy Matthew_Z's Avatar
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    Quick note on Forer effect:

    I agree with the idea that the Forer effect is linked to the similarities of human beings. However, I propose that the essential root of the effect lies in the inaccuracies of qualification. (in the sense that it is contrasted with quantification.) In MBTI practice, everyone has some sort of an "F side" and a "T side." As a result, the existence of one does not guarantee a PREFERENCE for either. From here the APPEARANCE of similarities between human beings, (not an actual similarity, although one may exist) is the culprit in confusion related to Forer effect. If the use of logic qualifies one as a T, then many Fs will appear to be Ts.
    If a deaf INFP falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

  3. #3
    Retired Member Wonkavision's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post

    Beliefs/Hypotheses I Hold
    • The Forer Effect is the result of the similarities among human beings.
    • Big Five Theory is a description of descriptions of personality
    • Behavioral models are useful, but behaviorsm is too limiting. I believe there are actually things underneath driving us, defining our needs, and determining the themes of our lives.
    • We are not "tabular rasa" but are born with some innate tendencies. These tendencies in-turn color our interactions with the environment, while the environment shapes our personalities further.
    • Temperaments and Interaction Styles are excellent ways to behaviorally get a first guess on the personality.
    • The top two cognitive functions do determine type, and are important to understand for growth…i.e. I believe Isabel Myers's extrapolation of Jung's work was reasonably sound. However, unless obvious, I don't believe it is easy to type people directly like with functions.
    • Jung was onto something with archetypes, and with Function-attitudes (functions).
    • John Beebe was onto something with Archetypal Complexes, and that Berens was tracking the same something.
    • Lenore Thomson was onto something with the tertiary temptation as well.
    I agree 100%.


    And thank you for posting all the other relevant info.

    I hope that people who don't have the time to read the books will at least read your post.

    This forum would be much more fruitful if people understood the terms they're throwing around.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Tyrant's Avatar
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    Two functions define a type? LOL. MBTI really is a piece of crap.

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  5. #5
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    It seems to me that I can look at MBTI from the inside or the outside.

    And from the inside it looks like a hall of mirrors.

    And from the outside MBTI has been used by the Military during and since WW II. And it has been used by business for about the same period of time. But during this whole period, it has been rejected by Psychology Departments of accredited Universities.

    So it seems MBTI is a useful belief - useful to the military and useful to business. But it is not a valid and reliable personality test.

    And it is a belief like astrology, or alchemy, or phrenology, or dowsing, or homeopathy, or allopathy, or paganism, or Lysenkoism, or creationism, or anti-semitism.

    And it is a striking thing about all these beliefs that they are impervious to reason. But at the same time they have, or have had, large numbers of believers.

    So I find entering the inside of MBTI, I become disorientated in the never ending hall of mirrors, but on the outside I am astounded anyone would accept it, and frustrated it is impervious to evidence and reason.

  6. #6
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    Really an interesting question would be -

    Why is the industrial military complex so powerful that it has been able to teach a false belief for 70 years?

    Why has business and the military taught the false belief called MBTI for 70 years?

    President Eisenhower warned about the power of the military industrial complex, and MBTI is the perfect example.

    And why has business and the military taught a false belief for 70 years entirely against the spirit and the words of the Constitution?

    And this is the same Constitution the military is sworn to uphold.

  7. #7

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    I don't believe the MBTI should ever be used to pigeonhole people or to screen people for jobs.

    ...but here is some research indicating that the MBTI as an instrument is reliable, and has validity.

    The Reliability and Validity of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Instrument - CAPT.org

    Reliability
    What is reliability? Reliability is how consistently a test measures what it attempts to measure. Why is consistency important? Well, when you measure something with an instrument two times, you want it to come out with the same answer (or close to it) both times. With the MBTI® instrument, as with other psychological instruments, you want the person to come out the same type both times they take it (this is test-retest reliability, the kind most people care about).

    Because personality is "slippery" to measure, psychological instruments cannot have the same consistency you would expect from, say, a ruler. But there are generally accepted standards for psychological instruments. . . . It should be understood that the MBTI® instrument meets and exceeds the standards for psychological instruments in terms of its reliability.

    There is also a kind of reliability that addresses the degree to which someone answers questions consistently on any given scale on the same taking of the MBTI® instrument. This is, not surprisingly, called internal consistency reliability. This is of special interest to people who construct instruments because the more consistency there is, the less "noise" there is in the measurement process. It is of interest to (MBTI®) practitioners because it tells us that there is more "noise" when using the MBTI® instrument with some groups of respondents — and this is important to know."

    Some conclusions about the reliability of the MBTI® instrument that would be helpful to know . . .


    1. Reliabilities (when scores are treated as continuous scores, as in most other psychological instruments) are as good or better than other personality instruments.
    2. On retest, people come out with three to four type preferences the same 75-90% of the time.
    3. When people change their type on retest, it is usually on one scale, and in scales where the preference clarity was low.
    4. The reliabilities are quite good across age and ethnic groups, although reliabilities on some scales with some groups may be somewhat lower. The T-F scale tends to have the lowest reliability of the four scales.
    5. There are some groups for whom reliabilities are especially low, and caution needs to be exercised in thinking about using the MBTI® instrument with these groups. (For example, children)


    Validity
    What is validity? Validity is the degree to which an instrument measures what it intends to measure, and the degree to which the "thing" that the instrument measures has meaning. Why is this important? If type is real (or rather, if it is an idea that reflects the real world with any accuracy), then we should be able to use type to understand and predict people's behavior to some degree. Type should help us make useful distinctions in the values, attitudes and behaviors of different people.

    The question of validity essentially asks the question, "Is this type stuff real?" Chapter Nine in the Manual (3rd Edition) broadly describes the kind of research that is done to demonstrate the validity of the MBTI® instrument, and large amounts of data are summarized in that chapter. Three broad categories of data are summarized: (1) evidence for the validity of the four separate scales; (2) evidence for the validity of the four preference pairs as dichotomies; and (3) evidence for the validity of whole types or particular combinations of preferences. These three categories of data all speak to question of validity.

    Three books offered through the CAPT catalog that go into an in depth discussion of the Reliability and Validity of the MBTI® instrument are: The MBTI Manual, Statistics and Measurement, and Building People, Building Programs.
    Construct Validity of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator -- Thompson and Borrello 46 (3): 745 -- Educational and Psychological Measurement

    The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is widely recognized as an important measure of normal or non-pathological variations in personality. However, the construct validity of the measure has not been clearly established using factor analytic techniques. The present study investigated the structure and item performance of the instrument using data from 359 college students. Factor analysis was applied to the 95 scored MBTI items. Factor adequacy and invariance coefficients were computed, and the appropriateness of the recommended item weights was examined. The results strongly supported the instrument's construct validity.
    Second-Order Factor Structure of the MBTI: A Construct Validity Assessment.

    Factor adequacy and other results based on data from college students (N=359) provided positive evidence regarding the construct validity of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Second order factor analysis supported the appropriateness of the MBTI item weighting procedures. (Author/ABB)
    This last one is a little mixed in it's results, but it is hard to understand how what they did corresponds to a standard validity study.
    A Construct Validity Study of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator -- Cohen et al. 41 (3): 883 -- Educational and Psychological Measurement

    This study assessed the construct validity of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, MBTI (Myers, 1976). The rationale was that friends or relatives can make judgments about an individual which will be associated with his/her predominant personality type. Forty-eight subjects rated themselves on two seven-point Likert scales designed to assess behavioral styles. These inventories (designated, "Behavioral Style Inventories") were designed for this study based on the operational definitions of type outlined by Myers in the manual to the MBTI. One inventory assessed perceptions held by subjects of themselves (Form S); the other was a measure of perceptions of their ideal selves (Form I). Forty-five of the subjects were also independently rated by their spouses who used a similar form of the inventory (Form M). All subjects then took the MBTI. Scores were converted to type categories and compared by using the coefficient of agreement for nominal data, Kappa. Self-typing on Form S of the Behavioral Styles Inventory (BSI) showed no agreement with the MBTI. Self-typing based on use of Form I (measure of ideal self) of the BSI showed no agreement with that from the MBTI; whereas, Kappa coefficients comparing the type categories of extrovert-introvert (E-I), sensation-intuition (S-N), and thinking-feeling (T-F) between the MBTI and the form of the BSI filled out by the spouses all showed significant positive values: E-I, Kappa = .70, P < .001; T-F, Kappa = .78, p < .001; S-N, Kappa - .43, p < .01. The Kappa for the J-P scale was not significant (Kappa = -.08. The construct validity of the MBTI scales of Extroversion-Introversion, Sensation-Intuition, and Thinking-Feeling was supported, whereas that of the Judging-Perceiving scale was not.
    I really do not want to spend to much time arguing or proving the validity of MBTI. But I suppose some discussion in this direction is good.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jaguar's Avatar
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    Abstract
    Journal of Personality Assessment
    1993, Vol. 60, No. 2, Pages 290-301

    Bipolarity in Jungian Type Theory and the Myers--Briggs Type Indicator
    Steven A. Girelli, *Jayne E. Stake*



    The standard form of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI; Myers & McCaultey, 1985) was constructed to measure introversion/extroversion, sensing/ intuiting, and thinking/feeling as single, bipolar dimensions. We tested this assumption of bipolarity with a Likert form of the MBTI that allowed for the independent assessment of each attitude and function. A total of 106 female and 59 male undergraduate and graduate students completed the standard and Likert MBTI forms approximately 3 weeks apart. Evidence for the bipolarity of the introversion/extroversion dimension was weak, and findings did not support the bipolarity of the sensing/intuiting or thinking/feeling dimensions. Results provide evidence that high negative correlations within MBTI dimensions are an artifact of its forced-choice format.


    Is the Myers Briggs system reliable?

    This is an extended quotation from the Gale Encyclopaedia of Psychology,

    "With any psychological test, its use is dependent on its reliability and validity. A reliable test is one that produces consistent results over time. For example, IQ tests have high reliability, inasmuch as your IQ as measured today will not be appreciably different a year from now. The MBTI's reliability is only fair. One study showed that fewer than half of the respondents retained their initial types over a 5-week period. Consequently, we should be careful about making career decisions based on a classification system that is unstable. People change over time as a result of experience. The MBTI may capture a person's current state, but that state should probably not be treated as a fixed typology. Does the MBTI assist in career counselling? Is the test diagnostic of successful performance in particular occupations? These questions pertain to validity-the ability of the test to predict future performance. There have been no long-term studies showing that successful or unsuccessful careers can be predicted from MBTI profiles. Nor is there any evidence that on-the-job performance is related to MBTI scores. Thus, there is a discrepancy between the MBTI's popularity and its proven scientific worth. From the point of view of the test-taker, the MBTI provides positive feedback in the form of unique attributes that are both vague and complimentary, and thus could appeal to large numbers of people. It is possible that the MBTI could be useful as a vehicle for guiding discussions about work-related problems, but its utility for career counselling has not been established."

    Personality testing and, MBTI in particular, is here found to be of "only fair" reliability and its use, even in career counselling, doubtful.



    Reinterpreting the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator from the perspective of the five-factor model of personality.
    McCrae RR, Costa PT.
    Gerontology Research Center, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MD 21224.

    The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI; Myers & McCaulley, 1985) was evaluated from the perspectives of Jung's theory of psychological types and the five-factor model of personality as measured by self-reports and peer ratings on the NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI; Costa & McCrae, 1985b). Data were provided by 267 men and 201 women ages 19 to 93. Consistent with earlier research and evaluations, there was no support for the view that the MBTI measures truly dichotomous preferences or qualitatively distinct types; instead, the instrument measures four relatively independent dimensions. The interpretation of the Judging-Perceiving index was also called into question. The data suggest that Jung's theory is either incorrect or inadequately operationalized by the MBTI and cannot provide a sound basis for interpreting it. However, correlational analyses showed that the four MBTI indices did measure aspects of four of the five major dimensions of normal personality. The five-factor model provides an alternative basis for interpreting MBTI findings within a broader, more commonly shared conceptual framework.

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    MBTI is admittedly a piece of crap because it chooses to do an analysis on the four dichotomies instead of the 16 types, the tests are no different (using % scales was foolish).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
    [/B]The data suggest that Jung's theory is either incorrect or inadequately operationalized by the MBTI and cannot provide a sound basis for interpreting it.
    It's more than likely the latter.
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    It seems like we are just rehashing research done in the 1980s. Depending on the way construct validity is tested we get varying results.

    Personally, I think the instrument itself is not aggressive enough as a sorting mechanism...and so leave a lot of questions in the test that do not actually make people feel strongly to one side or the other. If your aim is indeed to sort, then it makes to make the questions sort people.

    There are statistical effects of averaging that generally make distributions look more Gaussian, and there is a further psychological penomemon that makes people tend to pick the middle of the road types of choices more often. Make a qustionaire that has nothing to do with anything, and people will tend towads the center. This is an artifact of questionaires.

    Creating a sorter is tricky business.

    We've already had some discussion along those lines:
    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...ributions.html

    The main thing I took away from the thread is that, as far as use in coaching, is that the theory, not the instrument that does the work.

    I see it working in two ways:
    1. Helping us keep in mind that there are perspectives, methods, reactions, interpretations, etc. that can differ quite a bit from our own.
    2. Helping us gain insight into what a particular person needs to properly function and grow. (IMO, a caveat in this second endevour is similar to what people in the medical proffesion preach, "seek to do no harm.")


    Edcoaching's response to a particular set of questions I had, I found very illuminating, and forms the basis for how I now think about Myers Briggs.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Maybe I've been brainwashed by working in a technical field, but if the tests themselves aren't useful indicators how do you go build a "body of knowledge?"

    How do you know if your coaching is effective or good? do you use feedback surveys? or do you just have a great memory?

    How does one transfer the knowledge of what is effective from one coach to another?

    Do you find Myers-Briggs theory itself applicable?

    Sorry if this feels like the third degree, I just have a lot of questions.

    I am asking because, I have never been a "natural" at anything. I generally get better by learning and incorporating "Best known Methods" in particular fields into my thinking.

    The reason I turned to personality theories is to learn something I could incorporate into my thinking.

    I don't necessarily want to become a coach, but I do want to know how they go about doing things.
    Quote Originally Posted by edcoaching View Post
    First off, you rely not on reported type [results from MBTI, Golden, PTI, etc.] but on best-fit type--the type a person self-identifies through multiple methods which may include an instrument. The best studies are based on best-fit, not reported type, because the instruments were never meant to be diagnostic tools. They're self-reporting so there's more error variance than, say, in the MMPI.

    Second, a huge body of knowledge has been built up by professionals who have gathered information from confirmed people of the 16 types that show distinct patterns in all kinds of things--career choice, communication preferences, change needs, decision making, and so on.

    Third, you see "what works" and capture that in studies. For example (and this won't surprise you) Extraverted and Sensing students catch onto math concepts faster when they use hands-on materials and are given time to experiment with them in order to make sense of the problem. They need to move, talk and ask questions to develop understanding. We filmed students doing the same tasks and there were clear differences (and yes, we used best-fit, not reported type, in the study).


    I mostly coach teachers, so I'm looking for whether they change their teaching practices. Sometimes I'm looking at assignments, classroom management, differentiated activities, rigor...I might actually record class time spent in each learning style, or rate the rigor of assignments, or together we'd look at student work to see if any one group of students is not catching on. So my effectiveness is judged by whether the teacher is meeting the needs of more students.

    For teams, sometimes I survey before and after. If I've been called into mediate in a huge conflict situation, I might do a blind survey a few weeks later to find out who thinks they've made progress toward resolution and who thinks more intervention is needed. The last time I did that, where there'd been huge problems, over 70% were ready to move ahead with teaming, 20% were ready but wanted a few more protocols to continue the progress, and just 10% felt things hadn't been resolved (100% had felt there was too much conflict to team effectively before the intervention...)



    There are great books and resources on coaching, teambuilding, conflict resolution, etc. Type puts patterns to things we see in human nature and you can learn how to use those patterns to foster understanding.

    There are workshops all over the place where you can experience things that work and learn how to use them with others.

    I train coaches through "live" case studies, where they learn how to adjust their style to interview and create action plans with people of dissimilar types. They're a blast and people quickly grasp why changing up their style is so important.



    Absolutely. It's the theory, not the instruments, that does the work. Here are some examples.
    • When I finally got teachers to grasp the different needs of Judging and Perceiving students at one school, the teachers worked to implement strategies that took the failure rate on science fair, ,history day, major reports, etc., from 30 % to 0-2%.
    • In a team where over 60% of the employees were siding with the "old" president who still worked there, I used type theory to help them understand and appreciate the style of the new president. The intervention was so lasting that other department chiefs had me work with their staffs.
    • One team's meetings had been ending in shouting matches. We did an afternoon workshop just on communication and at the end the biggest troublemaker looked at all the work posted around the room and said, "Can we always sit in our [ST, SF, NF, NT] groups so we remember that we actually speak foreign languages?" The employees asked to have me return for at least 4 other meetings, working on other issues with them.
    • One student, responsible for 50% of the referrals to the principal's office, learned about his own type and his best approaches to learning and so did his teachers. He was NEVER in the principal's office again.


    I could go on and on. Ethically used, type can help people understand each other's strengths in ways that can truly be constructive. Hope this doesn't sound like a lecture--it is true that it is often misused, so a lot of people have only had superficial experiences and have no idea how effective deep use of the theory can be...

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

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