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  1. #1

    Default The use and abuse of MBTI and other personality matrices

    I've been thinking about this lately, I've done lots of different personality tests and do not take the conclusions entirely to heart, they can provide some basis for thinking about your personality, pause for thought, sources for reflection and as a result I think they can be useful in that way to the individual employing them.

    Although so can reading Shakespeare or Freud or Jung.

    I wouldnt be so pleased about employers, the authorities or other agencies using personality matrices to make decisions about me. The reason being that I do think most of these are inexact sciences, the questions are often subjective or eschewed towards certain conclusions by the cultural biases involved. Also the interpretation of the results can be contestable or again pretty subjective.

    For instance, lots of people have responded with disbelief to the idea that I am an ENTJ and work as a social worker, despite the fact that when you think about the public who have most contact with social services that the employment of better TJ or TJ strategies would really help that same public (its no substitute for the necessary formal support when an informal support network is non-existant or over taxed/exhausted but anyway).

    I would consistently test on another personality quiz as "adventurous type" which would have sent alarm bells ringing in a future social work employer because its shadow is anti-social personality disorder, although those traits associated with adventurous type include social and environmental awareness which would be highly recommended for the same profession.

    So what's your view, is this something you agree with? Does it mean that typology is just a bit of fun like magazine quizes? Is it likely to ever graduate to being an exacting science? If it did would it effect how you feel about its employ for any purpose other than self-insight or entertainment?

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    MBTI rests on rather shaky foundations not because of the validity of the theory in and of itself but rather because of how it is not applied correctly when people type themselves and others not to mention when people ascribe common qualities to all of the people of that respective type supposedly share.

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    I don't think MBTI has any useful real world applications. It's just something to fool around with.

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    I think it's a very bad idea to use to make decisions in hiring, etc. Just because a person tests a certain way doesn't make them inherently have all the strengths or weaknesses. As a general tool for understanding people, or for anticipating reactions and responses, I have found mbti incredibly helpful. But it is only a starting point, and can't measure desire or skill. For example, I have a close friend who is very ISFP. He is incredibly in the now almost always, yet he is an amazing military commander and trainer. Risk taking tendencies aside, I don't expect he would have been given the positions he has if mbti were the deciding factor. If it were, they would have missed out on an outstanding leader who has some serious understanding and knowledge, and a drive and willlingness to put himself out there and do what it takes.

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    Junior Member Chrononaut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I wouldnt be so pleased about employers, the authorities or other agencies using personality matrices to make decisions about me.
    They will do anything that makes their jobs easier.

    So what's your view, is this something you agree with? Does it mean that typology is just a bit of fun like magazine quizes? Is it likely to ever graduate to being an exacting science?
    Typology is more than just Jung or MBTI, and already has more than a few scientific inventories being researched and studied. However I do strongly feel that MBTI's popularity has actually regressed Jung's psychological types to a junk theory that can go nowhere. If the idea of psychological types as Jung presented them is to be of any scientific importance, MBTI needs to be scrapped and forgotten.

    If it did would it effect how you feel about its employ for any purpose other than self-insight or entertainment?
    It would increase general efficiency(there are many more classification systems that exist and do a better job than MBTI), but given the history of man, it's clear that such a thing would be easily used for destructive purposes.

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    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I wouldnt be so pleased about employers, the authorities or other agencies using personality matrices to make decisions about me. The reason being that I do think most of these are inexact sciences, the questions are often subjective or eschewed towards certain conclusions by the cultural biases involved.
    You are quite correct. Mind you, personality tests do have some value, so to put it another way, personality tests are inferior than the vast majority of other types of tests that could be taken. IQ tests come to mind immediately. Any argument made for using personality tests as a measure of capability, like in a job setting, can be done better with other tests that are not as socially acceptable. Further to the point, you can game personality questions, especially in niche industries (such as sales, where certain traits are pretty obviously perferred). Failing to do so is more an indicator of being so unaware as to not be worthwhile hiring in the first place.

    Although some information on a person is generally better than no information, you already have a large amount of information about people in a work environment. As far as communication and understanding goes, stuff like 3Cs ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3C's_Model ) works almost universally better. Culture matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by RaptorWizard View Post
    MBTI rests on rather shaky foundations not because of the validity of the theory in and of itself but rather because of how it is not applied correctly when people type themselves and others not to mention when people ascribe common qualities to all of the people of that respective type supposedly share.
    It would tend to be the other way around. MBTI (Step II/III) are decently valid and reliable tests for the four dimensions. It's the theory that isn't validated, only presumed. (I'm using valid as "supported", not "true".)

    (Also, decently valid, for the tests, should include confidence intervals that MBTI uses rather than just the binary choice flips. It becomes significantly less valid if you apply absolute types to test results because there is a large degree of low confidence results.)

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyGeek View Post
    I don't think MBTI has any useful real world applications. It's just something to fool around with.
    Despite what I said above, it does have 4 fairly rigid dimensions that have been shown to be consistent. The formal tests are pretty good. You can misapply anything, sure, but it does have real world applications.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrononaut View Post
    Typology is more than just Jung or MBTI, and already has more than a few scientific inventories being researched and studied. However I do strongly feel that MBTI's popularity has actually regressed Jung's psychological types to a junk theory that can go nowhere. If the idea of psychological types as Jung presented them is to be of any scientific importance, MBTI needs to be scrapped and forgotten.
    Jung rejected the scientific approach of Myers, so I'm not sure history would of gone the way you suggest. MBTI is the "scientific" version of the theories where as most of the current alternatives (more academic ones like FFM and IPIP) you referred to are relatively theory-agnostic, preferring factor analysis or similar bias-free foundations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Despite what I said above, it does have 4 fairly rigid dimensions that have been shown to be consistent. The formal tests are pretty good. You can misapply anything, sure, but it does have real world applications.
    Do tell. I'm curious.

    @Chrononaut - Welcome to the forums by the way.

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    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyGeek View Post
    Do tell. I'm curious.
    The test is robust enough to be used for any application any other "personality" test could be used in. Unfortunately, it's not widely available, like FFM (for academics).

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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    The test is robust enough to be used for any application any other "personality" test could be used in. Unfortunately, it's not widely available, like FFM (for academics).
    And what are these applications?

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    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyGeek View Post
    And what are these applications?
    Data gathering on people/personnel for individual and group dynamics and people's relationship with their environment (work, academic). It also helps communicate (and relate to) the major personality axes.

    Just so I'm clear, are you asking about MBTI or general personality testing? I'm not the right person to defend personality testing. I really only meant that as far as it goes, MBTI testing is pretty decent (based in reality, if you will).

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