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  1. #11
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    Sorry, but that is the most ridiculous experimental plan I haver ever read, and I have read many.

  2. #12
    Dhampyr Economica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maverick View Post
    Sorry, but that is the most ridiculous experimental plan I haver ever read, and I have read many.
    Real constructive there, Maverick.

  3. #13
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nails View Post
    So people, what are your thoughts on this?
    Well, just to be clear - there are a lot of personality dimensions... that has been tested. MBTI has performed factor analysis to confirm their four dimensions - so I think arguing about that aspect needs to be very robust (more than the ability to read preferences at a distance).

    In general, the consensus is that personality is a gradient - most instruments in use now are normally distributed (for all intents and purposes, kurtotic distribution is similar (here's a good graph). Either way, MBTI forces bimodal distribution (well, binary, but since it's not always clear, even within MBTI, bimodal is fairly reasonable to call it)...

    The reality of this isn't disputed - MBTI calls it the degree of expression of the underlying function... but behaviourally it is certainly a gradient.

    However, the methodology you mention really speaks as to the ability of people to type more than anything else.

    A better test would be to look at brain stimulation (ie: pdf warning thank you proteanmix) or such to see if there really is a point of threshold that would define a binary preference (in this link, this would relate to a certain chemical balance where Es would look for stimulation - not saturated chemical balance while Is would avoid stimulation - over saturated chemical balance.)

  4. #14
    Junior Member Nails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maverick View Post
    Sorry, but that is the most ridiculous experimental plan I haver ever read, and I have read many.
    You clearly do not posses a scientific background... Let me explain more thoroughly:

    Whenever an experiment in science is performed, the most basic requirement for the experiment to be reliable is an estimation of the uncertainty of the experimental measurement. This estimation is performed by repeating the measurement a large number of times. The average result is calculated and the average deviation from the average result is the uncertainty.

    So, if you measure the speed of light 10 times and obtain 10 very different results you can conclude that 1) your measurement setup is not working, or 2) the speed of light is not constant. If 100 MBTI seniors type one high school student, and half of them says N and the other half says S, then you can conclude that 1) the MBTI seniors are poor at typing people or 2) the MBTI assumption of binary preferences does not hold.

    If the result of the high school experiment is 50-50, then we must figure out whether the MBTI seniors were indeed having a hangover, or whether there is a problem with the binary preference.

    You could then ask "OK, but I already believe in the MBTI assumptions, why would I need to make this boring experiment?" Well, you don't, but that is what differentiates science from religion. If you accept the MBTI assumptions without question, then your subsequent logical conclusions may be flawed simply because the foundation of your system is not rock solid.

    Now, don't misunderstand me, I am not comparing MBTI to religion... but a hardcore sceptic might. And without scientific evidence, you won't be able to convince the sceptic that MBTI is actually real and useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Well, just to be clear - there are a lot of personality dimensions... that has been tested. MBTI has performed factor analysis to confirm their four dimensions - so I think arguing about that aspect needs to be very robust (more than the ability to read preferences at a distance).
    I think we are on the right track, but I am still a bit :confused:.

    What is this factor analysis you mention? Is it something that supports the binary preference of the four dimensions?

    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    In general, the consensus is that personality is a gradient - most instruments in use now are normally distributed (for all intents and purposes, kurtotic distribution is similar (here's a good graph). Either way, MBTI forces bimodal distribution (well, binary, but since it's not always clear, even within MBTI, bimodal is fairly reasonable to call it)...

    The reality of this isn't disputed - MBTI calls it the degree of expression of the underlying function... but behaviourally it is certainly a gradient.
    So, are you saying that the binarity is a simplification and that people really should be typed in a more relative manner, (e.g. with percentages)?

    I am trying to get a clear yes/no answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    However, the methodology you mention really speaks as to the ability of people to type more than anything else.

    A better test would be to look at brain stimulation (ie: pdf warning thank you proteanmix) or such to see if there really is a point of threshold that would define a binary preference (in this link, this would relate to a certain chemical balance where Es would look for stimulation - not saturated chemical balance while Is would avoid stimulation - over saturated chemical balance.)
    You are concerned with the practical issues of the experiment... you are sooo ISTP.

    Obviously, I am making the assumption that the MBTI seniors weren't the night before the experiment and that it is somehow possible to employ a reliable typing technique. Whether it is based on interviews, behavioral monitoring or biochemical measurements is currently less important. What is important is only that such a reliable typing technique exists. If it doesn't, then we are entering a philosophical discussion of the metaphysical aspect of MBTI.

    BR

  5. #15
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nails View Post
    What is this factor analysis you mention? Is it something that supports the binary preference of the four dimensions?
    Factor analysis in general or for MBTI... well, I guess it doesn't matter.

    Support for binary preferences wasn't found through factor analysis, but the existance of the four traits was (although there are plenty of attacks to be mounted on factor analysis, it does seem to be valid). Although not as robust as FFM or something similar (due to the existance of pre-defined traits - it was to confirm, not deduce), what happens is a gigantic amount of traits are measured, then blindly seperated into "clumps" of traits... those end up being the four traits.

    I gotta run, and won't be on much for the next week or so... but I'll come back to this to give a better explanation just didn't want to leave it hanging.

    So, are you saying that the binarity is a simplification and that people really should be typed in a more relative manner, (e.g. with percentages)?

    I am trying to get a clear yes/no answer.
    IMO, yes, it should be a gradient. The point here was that almost every instrument does this - type simply takes it one step further after the fact.

    Obviously, I am making the assumption that the MBTI seniors weren't the night before the experiment and that it is somehow possible to employ a reliable typing technique. Whether it is based on interviews, behavioral monitoring or biochemical measurements is currently less important. What is important is only that such a reliable typing technique exists. If it doesn't, then we are entering a philosophical discussion of the metaphysical aspect of MBTI.
    It's more than that. Even strict behavioural measurements need to be analysed in some way to determine groupings - factor analysis is the statistical way of deriving common themes, however direct measuring is vastly more effective at giving a baseline for measurement... factor analysis is very much susceptible to "making the numbers work". This becomes increasingly true the more factors one tries to measure (typically there are about 30 or so personality factors to measure, even before we get into tail end cases or aptitude measurements).

    There is no way, currently, to accurately measure the cause of behaviour - we have derived some number of traits that act independently (mostly) from each other, but that's about it. For example, someone who is E (say - positive emotion based) does not influence how Neurotic you are (say - negative emotion based) (this is from the PDF I mentiond earlier). We are starting to measure things in more absolute terms, but it's just a start.

  6. #16
    Senior Member Blackwater's Avatar
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    To my knowledge, any MBTI survey ends in a conversation between the Psychologist and the Testee.

    As such, the proof would very much be in the process itself. Just like you'd test a clairvoyant's mettle by asking another clairvoyant the same question(s) and compare the answers, I very much like Nails' idea of sending the same person to 10 different MBTI practitions and then see what comes out. To my knowledge, this has not yet been done.
    best collection of philosopher typings online

    http://www.celebritytypes.com/philosophers/

  7. #17
    Junior Member Nails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I gotta run, and won't be on much for the next week or so... but I'll come back to this to give a better explanation
    I'm still not quite sure what factor analysis is, so I am looking forward to that.

    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    IMO, yes, it should be a gradient. The point here was that almost every instrument does this - type simply takes it one step further after the fact.
    Okay, I see. Then the next question that pops up, is how should we treat personalities traits that are near the 50 % border?

    Would it be more appropriate to categorize an ENTJ with 51 % N as ENTJ or as an "ExTJ", where the x indicates neutrality?

    I am raising this question as I could imagine that two ExTJs with 49 % and 51 % N would be more alike than two ExTJs with 51 % and 100 % N. For these personalities I think the ExTJ label would be more suitable.

    Also, do we have any idea of the size of the fraction of the population having personality traits that are "neutral", say in the 40-60 % range?

    BR

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nails View Post
    Let us imagine the following experiment and two possible outcomes: We ask a 100 senior members of MBTI central to type a random high school class with 30 students. 3000 interviews later, all the students have been analyzed a 100 times each and we can study the certitude of the typology. To keep the math simple, we will just study the N/S dimension, not the entire typology.
    I think there are quite a few issues here.

    Even if all the practitioners agree on type this is no proof that type is significant. They may, for example, be typing based on some physical feature e.g. Hair colour.

    In the literature I’ve read they talk about a person having three types, their tested type, their agreed type and their real type. The tested type typically comes from a multiple-choice test that can be scored. Their agreed type comes from deeper analysis and understanding of type by the target subject. Finally the real type can never be discovered with certainty. I would suggest that in this thread we are talking about agreed type i.e. exam plus study.

    I’ve always understood the four types to be dichotomies and it to be meaningless to say that you are for example 49% Introverted. All this means is that you haven’t managed to discover your natural type.

    Your example of N/S is interesting as I think it’s the easiest to ascertain on a personal level. I’m 100% certain that I’m an N, the other three letters are all less certain. Although I don’t think I could spot an N by observation, I’m sure after 5 minutes or so of probing and discussion I could make a pretty accurate assessment of the S/N dimension.

    Finally though, I think the most important experiment would be to demonstrate that type could be used to make reliable predictions. My particular interest is people working in pairs. I would hope to be able to show that certain combinations of type perform significantly better than other combinations. It would not surprise me to dicover that all 4 dimensions may not be significant e.g. maybe NT + SF proves to be the best (this is a random example I have no reason to believe this to be a particularly good combination)

  9. #19
    Junior Member Nails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by red13 View Post
    Your example of N/S is interesting as I think it is the easiest to ascertain on a personal level. I’m 100% certain that I’m an N, the other three letters are all less certain. Although I don’t think I could spot an N by observation, I’m sure after 5 minutes or so of probing and discussion I could make a pretty accurate assessment of the S/N dimension.
    You first state that there is a difficulty in typing people correctly, but you also indicate that you can make accurate assesments of at least the N/S dimension...

    Perhaps, to clarify, do you believe that the dichotomy is appropriate for MBTI and that any discrepancy in typing results of a particular individual is caused by poor typing techniques? To be more precise, if 50 MBTI analysts claim a high school student to be N and 50 others say S, do you think that 50 of them are "wrong"?

    Quote Originally Posted by red13 View Post
    Finally though, I think the most important experiment would be to demonstrate that type could be used to make reliable predictions.
    I think it would be most useful to be able to make such predictions, and would eventually like to pursue that issue further.

    However, these predictions rely on the fact that we can type everyone accurately, and I am still not convinced about that. :confused:

    BR
    Last edited by Nails; 12-17-2007 at 10:35 AM. Reason: Technical problems(??)

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nails View Post
    You first state that there is a difficulty in typing people correctly, but you also indicate that you can make accurate assesments of at least the N/S dimension...
    I wasn’t trying to say that it’s difficult to type someone. My point was that even though there needs to be a high level of repeatability in the typing, it would be meaningless, from a scientific point of view, unless type could be used in some predictive way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nails View Post
    Perhaps, to clarify, do you believe that the dichotomy is appropriate for MBTI and that any discrepancy in typing results of a particular individual is caused by poor typing techniques? To be more precise, if 50 MBTI analysts claim a high school student to be N and 50 others say S, do you think that 50 of them are "wrong"?
    From the reading I’ve done types are dichotomies and therefore if 50 people say S and the other 50 say N then I think 50 have got it wrong. However, although tests and practitioners can give indications to type preferences they are probably only useful if the subject agrees with the typing. Ultimately I think type has to be discovered by the person their self. From my experience of testing and typing individuals there are some people who have been impossible to type. So I think we need to have a category of unTyped and only use those people that are comfortable with their type. Maybe some people are impossible to type, that would not necessarily reduce the value of MBTI for those that can be typed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nails View Post
    I think it would be most useful to be able to make such predictions, and would eventually like to pursue that issue further.

    However, these predictions rely on the fact that we can type everyone accurately, and I am still not convinced about that. :confused:
    After vigorous examination of my type over the last seven years it has never changed from INTJ, although my level of confidence in it may have varied. I’m very certain now that my type as defined by MBTI is INTJ, and I think that many other people are also very confident of their type, although possibly not a majority of people. That doesn’t really matter though, the important question is; can we make behavioural predictions for this group of people that can be typed?

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