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  1. #1
    Member Skip Foreplay's Avatar
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    Default Reworking the MBTI

    I'm sure threads similar to this thread have been posted, however, I would suggest with equal certainty that this is the case with 90% of the threads on this forum. Thousands of threads within subforums...What's left?

    I'm thinking of compiling some research (I see that this subforum has data collection at the top - I will check their methods and data out) and reworking the MBTI over the next 18 months. Since I've become interested in it, I have found it to be consistent and surprisingly accurate. That is why it is a great candidate for revision - better to revise that which is closest to the truth. It's a buffer against wasting time and energy.

    I've studied Philosophy and Psychology, so you may suppose that my psychological interest is highly theoretical. You would be right. That brings me to my first criticism of the MBTI...but maybe I shouldn't jump the gun.

    I'll post an egregious error or two, and then I'd like you to contribute, both by criticising mine and suggesting your own. A criticism isn't usually enough, though. Propose a solution to your problems if you can and will.

    The two greatest errors in the MBTI are:

    1) Far too much emphasis on the purported behaviors of those representing each type.

    This is very difficult to be scientific about. It's hard to produce research about the behaviors of people when your samples are only so large, and they are divided into sixteen sections. Why someone is driven to behave how they do is far better. I hear a lot of people saying that they were a P, but now they're more J. Interesting though, a P becoming organized with time and resources should change their primary and secondary functions. Are the types more plastic than is usually said, or are other functions used so frequently that they could account for some of the variation in behavior? Something's not right here.

    2) People frequently fit into type profiles snugly, and still test as something else - even if only for the first time.

    The test itself is not good enough. If you were an instructor who passed out this test the first day because you thought the reflections of your students in this regard may compliment the course, or for any other purposes really, you would want more than 3/4 or 4/5 to yield accurate results. What's going on here? It is difficult for one to answer accurately about themselves, I know. Knowledge of the Self is taken so much for granted, but people are usually so ignorant. The test should be modelled to account for this.


    What do you think? My structure for how to format your answers is a guideline, of course. Answer how you'd like.
    Last edited by Skip Foreplay; 01-10-2012 at 02:01 PM. Reason: basic revision

  2. #2
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    The flaws with MBTI depend upon how it's intended to be used. It's great for showing people that there are different styles of thinking, but not so great after that. I'd be pleased with any attempts to 'fix' the system in a variety of ways, though.

    I'd personally just like to see it reinvented with influence from the Big Five, or otherwise working the Big Five into an MBTI-like system (perhaps SLOAN), but retaining at least some notion of a set of cognitive functions.


    1) Validation, validation, validation.

    The thing needs to be scientifically, rigorously validated by psychometricians and statisticians if it is to be used for scientific work. [blah blah psychometric assessment statistics etc here]

    2) Which freakin' system?

    Is MBTI hand-in-hand with Jungian cognitive functions or not? If not, stop pretending that it is, and divorce the two; if so, then.. see 1).

    3) Too much detail!

    C'mon. You can't explain someone's behavior as "inferior Fi" or "Ne-Te loop" or "Fe/Fi clash" without real psychologists laughing at you. Stop pretending that the system explains behavior in absolute detail before you've validated it. Also, see 1).

    4) Focus on personal development

    Until 1) is completed, this is the sole strength of MBTI. Even then, the job is handled better in many ways by the Enneagram, and MBTI could stand to learn from it; however, its division of the JCF into sliding scales makes for a decent trait-based theory--which, again, is handled better in many ways by the Big Five.

  3. #3
    Senior Member animenagai's Avatar
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    I have some complaints about MBTI myself, but I'll type those later, I'll start with the OP's:

    1. I've never bought into the static view of functions and their order. To me, ENFP means Ne + Fi or Ne + Fi + Te + Si (maybe not in terms of strength, but through some functional definition, like using your tertiary function when you're stressed). The rest to me is up to grabs. For example, I am sure as hell that my Ti is stronger than my Te and Si. I don't see why we can't account for that in MBTI. Does it not make sense for me to say that my Ti has improved after a few years of logic classes? Now that doesn't mean that my function order has changed, I'm still NeFi first and foremost, it's just that one of my functions improved.

    2. I don't really see this as a major problem. These tests are supposed to be quick and simple, but MBTI is not. What people need are veterans in MBTI asking them questions, figuring stuff out. You will never get a test that is simple enough for the general public but still accurate enough due to complexity of the system.
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  4. #4
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    no no no pleeeeease no big 5 influence

    i cannot even emphasize how much i dislike the big 5

    it's so clearly biased to certain results

    i feel like it's bad for people

    think about how an RCOAI feels compared to a SLUEN when they read their profiles...

    ANYWAY ---------

    as for OP:

    i agree with #1. but i'm not sure what there is to rework, short of people's interpretations. if you study the theory carefully it is clear that these are cognitive preferences, not behavior predictors. perhaps the more interesting question is can type change over time (i personally believe highly unlikely, short of coma / PTSD / neurological trauma / other major mind-altering change).

    #2 - i'd like to see the format changed from "ENFP" to NeFi and "ISFJ" to SiFe. wayyyy less complex in terms of parsing out functions and should help individuals better distinguish their own type. more likely for a NeFi to mistype as FiNe than something vastly different, like FeNi - which is only 1 character away in 4 letter code!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    no no no pleeeeease no big 5 influence

    i cannot even emphasize how much i dislike the big 5

    it's so clearly biased to certain results

    i feel like it's bad for people

    think about how an RCOAI feels compared to a SLUEN when they read their profiles...
    Yeah, actually, you're right. The thing that's wrong with most Big 5 implementations is that one extreme seems "right" and the other seems "wrong" on all five axes. It'd have to be balanced if it's going to be used for personal development. Who wants to identify with "Primary neurotic"? Who would identify with "Primary neurotic"?

    SignalPatterns is one implementation that does a great job in providing a balanced picture of the axes.

  6. #6
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    Yeah, actually, you're right. The thing that's wrong with most Big 5 implementations is that one extreme seems "right" and the other seems "wrong" on all five axes. It'd have to be balanced if it's going to be used for personal development. Who wants to identify with "Primary neurotic"? Who would identify with "Primary neurotic"?

    SignalPatterns is one implementation that does a great job in providing a balanced picture of the axes.
    agreed, i love signalpatterns.

    i could see reworking the big 5.

    novelty preference - familiarity preference (openness)
    ordered - spontaneous (conscientiousness)
    extraversion - introversion (same)
    tact - straightforwardness (agreeableness)
    calm - emotionality (neuroticism)

    or something along those lines. i don't mind it in theory, it just makes me cringe every time i hear "neuroticism", like you said, lol.

  7. #7
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    calm - emotionality (neuroticism)

    or something along those lines. i don't mind it in theory, it just makes me cringe every time i hear "neuroticism", like you said, lol.
    Big 5 neuroticism is about emotional stability and negative affect vs no major mood swings and not getting depressed(temporarily or longer periods) easily over small shit. Its not a scale thats as good to go both ways(like other scales, which correlate with MBTI). Its usually a good thing to not feel depressed easily and being relatively emotionally stable, but ofc really low scores on that scale isnt a good thing either, its a healthy thing to have emotions vary to some degree..

    But i agree that those other scales are usually bit more negative in nature and i think they would need some balancing.

    And for op.

    1. MBTI isnt about behavior, its just that type profiles often list some behaviors typical for type, but those are just stereotypes and shouldnt be taken too seriously.

    2. I agree that there isnt very good tests around, but it should also be mentioned thay MBTI comes from words myers briggs type INDICATOR, its just meant to point out what type you might be and as i mentioned earlier, type profiles are bullshit. MBTI was meant to(and used to) be taken with a professional who discusses about how the type fits you, tell you briefly on its theory and you decide wether the type fits you or if some other type would fit better. This naturally has been forgotten totally and its no wonder newbies get confused with their type if they think F type feels and J type judges..

    What comes to MBTI in general, i think it serves as a good beginning point to typology and can help some people with some issues, but if you want to get serious about typology and have some understanding on how it fits to psyche, you need to go back to its roots and study jungs work. Not just the type descriptions in 'psychological types', but other work aswell, also some general knowledge on psychology helps alot.
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
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