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Thread: MBTI criticism?

  1. #21
    veteran attention whore Jeffster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jen View Post
    Honestly I am beginning to wonder myself alcea. When I first discovered MBTI I embraced it because it all finally made sense to me why I was so different to everyone around me. Now apparently I am just like the majority of the population I live amongst. I have been stripped of my intuitive function from my online peers and now have to suffer like every other shithead who voted for bush. we are all doomed! DOOMED!
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  2. #22
    will make your day Carebear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    MBTI was hoisted by Mrs Briggs and her daughter Mrs Meyers.

    It was hoisted from a book called, "Personality Types", by Carl Gustav Jung.

    And although Carl was quite safe in Switzerland, he volunteered to collaborate with the German National Socialist Workers' Party (the NAZI Party).

    The German National Socialist Workers' Party came very close to absolute evil in carrying out the Shoah.

    So it is no surprise to find that, "Personality Types", and MBTI are forms of reification.

    And it is no surprise to find MBTI appeals to those who have failed to individuate.


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  3. #23
    will make your day Carebear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    7. The theory is unfalsifiable and lends itself more to pseudoscience than to science.
    Not quite unfalsifiable. There are plenty of scientific tests that can be used to test it's validity and reliability. So far MBTI hasn't done all that well in any of them.

    It's a great tool for self discovery and a useful starting point for discussions about how people differ, and of course people of the same type will be rather similar (since they answer similarly on tests), but it's not a scientific theory.
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  4. #24
    unscannable Tigerlily's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffster View Post
    Yeah, but look at all the pretty colors!
    Go USA!
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  5. #25
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carebear View Post


    If you like MBTI you like Hitler.
    You might be tempted to think that but it is merely a temptation. In fact Hitler reified people in order to kill them, while MBTI reifies people to make them more manageable.

    And this is entirely understandable. To some degree we all find ourselves unmanageable. And to some degree we find others unmanageable too.

    And it is a life task to learn to manage ourselves. And it is equally a life task to learn to manage others.

    But once we learn to manage, what then?

    We probably learn to manage by about the age of twenty-two. And that leaves us with another fifty years.

    If we spend the next fifty years managing ourselves and others, it is just repetition upon repetition for fifty years. And it starts to look to me to be a bit unbearable.

    So the next life task is to learn to let ourselves go for a while, then return to ourselves. And this life task needs to be learnt at will.

    So we still keep our management skills but we manage to go beyond them for a while and return. We learn to transcend our managed selves for a while and return relaxed and refreshed.

    So MBTI does have a use, but a limited use.

    And I must say, MBTI is put to good use here. First to help us all manage ourselves and each other better. And secondly MBTI has created here a tolerant and well run group - an achievement in itself.

  6. #26
    unscannable Tigerlily's Avatar
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    ^ that's beautiful.
    Time is a delicate mistress.

  7. #27
    Senior Member Leysing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    1. People forget that MBTI is a classification system and think it makes predictions.
    2. People forget that MBTI is a crude classification system and think it represents the entire personality and don't engage other parts of the personality.
    3. People forget that MBTI is a crude classification system and think it represents the entire person.
    4. People box others or themselves into a type, thinking it is unchanging, and steer behavior and conversation to be consistent with that expectation.
    5. People forget that MBTI is a classification system and incorrectly believe that people are actually born with a certain configuration of 4 letters.
    6. People overestimate the consistency of a person's type, which is in flux.
    7. The theory is unfalsifiable and lends itself more to pseudoscience than to science.
    8. People overestimate its value as a classification system and use it to model problems, complexes, neuroses, and dynamics which extend beyond type classification.
    The reason I like the idea of Best-Fit Type and use MBTI as one tool when discovering my own personality and interacting with others.

    At least I try to do that...

  8. #28
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alcea rosea View Post
    Lately I have started to wonder if MBTI is taken too seriously by people (including me too). I mean, the theory is not even proven to be valid or reliable according to some criticism. So, people are defining themselves according to the theory, judging other people according to it and putting people to boxes. Before I saw no danger in the whole thing. I said to myself that I use the MBTI tool only to understand people but lately I have started to see some dangers related to the whole thing.

    Is there even anything behind in the traits, the functions and in the personality types? Is it any different that astrology?

    My answer to all of this: I don't know. That is why I'm asking.

    Your thoughts on the subject?


    It should be established within everyone's mind that there is a distinction between pure typology and applied typology. Pure typology is a study of our unconscious tendencies and what ideas they tend to lead. Applied typology is a study of how our type or our unconscious tendencies lead us to live our lives.

    An altogether pure typology is impossible. However some degree of 'purity' can be attained. The following is an example of questions pure typology tends to be concerned with. What cognitive functioning does Thinking tends to lead to. The answer that I see is impersonal judgment. This is a question of philosophy of mind.

    From the standpoint of applied typology, one shall ask, how does being a Thinker or having the unconscious tendency towards impersonal judgment affect how one lives. These are the questions of psychology and sociology. We can make some very basic hypothesises to answer such questions. But to attain sound and clear-cut answers, carefully controlled empirical research should be highly vouched for.

    Is type pure mythology, akin to astrology?

    From the standpoint of pure typology we know the following. There is an unconscious tendency towards Introversion and towards Extroversion. They are antithetical to each other. An unconscious tendency towards Thinking and the antithesis towards Feeling. And so forth for the rest of the pairings.

    How do we know that such things exist? No profound erudition is to be found in Jungian pure typology. It is common-sense. It is obvious that some of us are naturally drawn towards action, yet others more towards contemplation. Some towards impersonal judgment, others towards interpersonal, and so forth.

    From the standpoint of practical typology, empirical research has clearly demonstrated the possibility of examining how Introversion and Extroversion impact our lifestyles. This aspect of pure typology is most distinctly expressed of all, and for good reasons Jung has cited this as the most prominent of dichotomies. (It should however be noted that by dichotomy we do not mean that all people either gravitate altogether towards an extroverted type or altogether towards an introverted type. This is a continuum. Moderate representatives of type are far more common than radical. )

    It is more difficult to carry out empirical studies on Intuition and Sensation, and even more difficult on Thinking and Feeling. These unconscious predispositions tend to be more amorphous and less easily observable than E and I. They could be empirically tested only with great care and under very exacting circumstances in the laboratory.

    Another reason why these faculties are not easily empirically observable is because of the following distinction.

    For example.

    A)Thinking-An unconscious predisposition towards impersonal judgment.
    B)Thinker-A person adept at impersonal judgment.

    How on earth do we test this in the laboratory? Okay, we collect 50 people who pass their logic exams. Ask them all, are you good at logic? They say yes, we'd be tempted to type them as Thinkers, when in reality some of them may not be Thinking types, but those who merely have learned the skill of dispassionate contemplation.

    We may doubt that they are Thinkers because they also appear ostensibly emotional and upon further questions we may discover that their emotions play a bigger role in their lives than logic. (As for example they may tell us that they tend to devote more time to people they know and to public service than to problem solving). This is a difficult problem to solve, as in order to figure out if they are a Thinking type or not, we must see what tendency (Thinking or Feeling) were they unconsciously predisposed towards.

    Thus in short, figuring out the true type of a person may be difficult because life has forced them to develop skills we associate with all types. Introversion and Extroversion is easier to test on the empirical grounds because it is more observable in terms of how people choose to live their lives and function on daily basis.

    The only reliable way to figure out one's type (or one's natural unconscious predilection) is to observe, not their skills, (as life may have forced them to rely on skills contrary to their natural preferrences) but their thought processes. For example, unconsciously a thinker will favor and gravitate towards ideas associated with impersonal judgment. Procedures akin to psychoanalysis could allow us to figure this out. From the pure empirical standpoint, we would have to see which faculties in the brain are associated with excitement of faculties concerned with impersonal analysis. They should be more distinctly expressed when the Thinker is naturally led to focus on ideas associated with impersonal analysis. At this point, cognitive sciences are not advanced enough.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In summary, we notice that type is purely an unconscious tendency. Some unconscious tendencies are more easily observable than others. For example, Extroversion and Introversion are more easily observable than thinking and feeling, therefore more easily testable in the laboratory than thinking and feeling. Secondly, some unconscious tendencies bend much more easily than others. Thinking and Feeling is used interchangeably more easily (given that the person has skills of both) than Extroversion and Introversion.

    Is type innate? No. Some interaction with the external world is necessary in order to solidify our innate unconscious predispositions. I would assume that by the age of 7 one becomes a solid introvert or an extrovert. I would imagine, that at the age of 4 or 5, through intense extroversion the introvert could be made to unconsciously gravitate towards extroversion or vice versa. Solid N/S preferrenece, I would imagine would not be observed till the age of 8. Thinking and Feeling roughly the age of 10.

    All could be changed through traumatic events. Any physical alterations to the brain could also be responsible for this.


    It is important to keep the distinction of pure typology and applied typology intact. Theoretical thinkers, especially philosophers are often guilty of being arm-chair psychologists (how people of a certain type turn out for example) or arm-chair sociologists (how people of a certain type tend to behave in a group) or arm-chair astronomers (Hegel proving that there are 6 planets in the solar system), and this leads to many of the evils described in Edahn's post.

    The reason for such errors is that pure typology only includes the theoretical framework or tools for us to utilize when dealing with theoretical problems or those of the real world. In themselves they do not offer answers. Hence, the arm-chair theorists tend to lack the sufficient information to answer such practical questions. Such information can derive only from carefully controlled studies of the external world.

    Typology is justified on grounds of truism, namely, obviously everyone tends to 'naturally' gravitate towards external world or outer world, abstract or concrete, personal or the impersonal and so on. However, because this is a truism, this does not answer many of the more important and deeper questions of philosophy of mind. And certainly does not answer the practical questions of typology in psychology or sociology (applied typology), which could only be answered satisfactorily through carefully controlled empirical inquiry. For this reason MBTI must be rejected as it insists on the thesis that one will live his life in this particular way because or mostly because he is this certain type.



    No, you are not your type. What you are is a question of psychology.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  9. #29
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    I've got a new one I was thinking about today. It's a little on the mystical side, though.

    If you've dug into your experience or read about any mystical tradition, you might agree that reality has no labels or boundaries. The boundaries are made by our minds and thoughts. A person can relate to reality through their ideas about it, or relate to it more directly, without those ideas. The point of mysticism, as I see it, is to relate to reality on this direct level. With that said, MBTI can do the exact opposite. It causes a person to experience things through a filter that attaches labels and tags to events and things that culminates in 4 letters that are ascribed to the person. All of those labels are man-made, but there's a tendency to forget that when you get deep into typing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carebear View Post
    Not quite unfalsifiable. There are plenty of scientific tests that can be used to test it's validity and reliability. So far MBTI hasn't done all that well in any of them.

    ...but it's not a scientific theory.
    Hm. I'll be honest. I've only read a few of the studies on MBTI reliability. Like you said, they're very unconvincing.

    I've never read tests regarding validity because I can't really think of a test that would validate an instrument like this, which is essentially descriptive. Like you said yourself, it's not a scientific theory. In that case, though, what is there to validate?

  10. #30
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=ThatsWhatHeSaid;252322]I've got a new one I was thinking about today. It's a little on the mystical side, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    If you've dug into your experience or read about any mystical tradition, you might agree that reality has no labels or boundaries. The boundaries are made by our minds and thoughts. A person can relate to reality through their ideas about it, or relate to it more directly, without those ideas. The point of mysticism, as I see it, is to relate to reality on this direct level. With that said, MBTI can do the exact opposite. It causes a person to experience things through a filter that attaches labels and tags to events and things that culminates in 4 letters that are ascribed to the person. All of those labels are man-made, but there's a tendency to forget that when you get deep into typing.?
    This is merely an example of our coping mechanism concerning application of systematic thinking towards what appears to be a chaotic world. This is a remark concerning systematic thought which is synonymous with logical thought as well as is the cornerstone to sciences and philosophy.



    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Hm. I'll be honest. I've only read a few of the studies on MBTI reliability. Like you said, they're very unconvincing..?
    MBTI contains deep flaws, and ought to be rejected for the reasons depicted in my previous post. In order to gain reliable insight into typology one must conduct a critical overview of Jung's writings and purge them of the errors innate in his system. Obviously its unreliable at this point as the ideas behind the system of MBTI are untenable, yet could be rendered tenable through careful revision.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    I've never read tests regarding validity because I can't really think of a test that would validate an instrument like this, which is essentially descriptive. Like you said yourself, it's not a scientific theory. In that case, though, what is there to validate?
    Introversion and Extroversion temperaments are empirically falsifiable. Thinking/Feeling and Intuition/Sensation will be as cognitive sciences advance further. (I've commented on why this is the case in my longer post)
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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