Murphy Paul argues that people cling to the test for two major reasons. One is that thousands of people have invested time and money in becoming MBTI-certified trainers and coaches. As I wrote over the summer, it's awfully hard to let go of our big commitments.
The other is the "aha" moment that people experience when the test gives them insight about others -- and especially themselves.
"Those who love type," Murphy Paul writes, "have been seduced by an image of their own ideal self." Once that occurs, personality psychologist Brian Little says, raising doubts about "reliability and validity is like commenting on the tastiness of communion wine. Or how good a yarmulke is at protecting your head."
Palm readings and horoscopes can spark insights too. That doesn't mean we should talk about them in our work teams. As Little observes, "Insight from the Myers-Briggs can start that conversation, but unfortunately it often ends the conversation. You've got your type stamped on your forehead."