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Thread: Word usage in MBTI tests ('prefer', 'like', etc.)

  1. #1

    Default Word usage in MBTI tests ('prefer', 'like', etc.)

    This is really a 2-part rant...

    1) What is the deal with the use of words such as 'prefer' and 'like' in MBTI tests? If I really answered according to what I prefer and/or like (as opposed to what I actually do), my results would be totally different.

    • "You prefer to act immediately rather than speculate about various options" -- Indeed I would prefer that, but what I do is drive myself insane with incessant speculation.
    • "You like an organized home" -- Uh, yeah I like an organized home! Do I like to keep it organized though?
    • "You know how to put every minute of your time to good purpose." -- Yeah, I know how to -- doesn't mean I'm going to.

    2) When these tests use such words, I'm left to wonder their definition as intended by the test creator. Is it really too much to ask for:
    • Standard definitions for all key words listed at the top of every test.
    • Words chosen that most accurately convey the intent of the question.
    • That these words to be used consistently throughout the test.


  2. #2
    Intriguing.... Array Quinlan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    As far as I know your mbti is based on natural inclinations/preferences not behaviours which are easily influenced/interfered with by society.

    If you really want to know yourself it's probably of more interest to find out how you naturally prefer to be.

  3. #3


    A lot of MBTI questions are along the lines of, say, "Everyone should always use logic for all of their decisions, all the time." Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but still..

    If you strongly disagree with that, suddenly you're a feeler?

  4. #4
    Reason vs Being Array ragashree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008


    This is a large part of why I find the Mbti tests weak and unreliable in comparison with the underlying theory, which I think is relatively sound. I can get entirely different results on Mbti depending on what kind of mood I am in when answering the questions, whether I am trying to get a specific result or not and therefore how I choose to interpret such poorly designed questions as these. They should not be open to such broad interpretation if they are going to produce meaningful and consistent results.

    The only reliable way I have of typing myself is actually by going and looking at the personality descriptions, whereupon I find one which is uncannily accurate and fits me about 90%, and 15 which are talking about different people entirely - I know or have met most of them, but they're certainly not much like me. Of course, now that I know how the system works and what I should be getting I can simply answer the questions to ensure that this happens should I wish *they're quite transparant, after all*. However, I really don't think the test should be working this way round. In its present form it only really types people effectively when they have an extreme and pronounced preference or when they are second-guessing themselves in order to get the exepcted results.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how questions might be linked to people's preferences without having to rely so heavily on them interpreting ambiguous language in a certain way? At present I find the Mbti tests like using a rusty axe for a precise surgical operation...

  5. #5
    thankful Array PeaceBaby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    937 so/sx


    Quote Originally Posted by beyondaurora View Post
    What is the deal with the use of words such as 'prefer' and 'like' in MBTI tests? If I really answered according to what I prefer and/or like (as opposed to what I actually do), my results would be totally different.
    Agree completely.

  6. #6
    Honor Thy Inferior Array Such Irony's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    5w6 sp/so
    LII Ne


    The poor wording of questions is likely why I get varied results on type tests.

    Here are some examples of questions I've found particularly troublsome:

    *Objective criticism is always useful in any activity (Humanmetrics test)

    I think objective criticism is useful for many activities but not for *every* activity. There are situations where objective criticism is not appropriate. I see this is a very logical response, yet this question is giving me points for F when the rationale for responding the way I did is more of a logical one.

    *21.You know how to put every minute of your time to good purpose

    I know how to do it but it doesn't mean that I *actually* do it (which I think is really the intended purpose of the question).

    Keirsey Temperment Sorter:

    *When finishing a job, do you like to
    move on to something else
    tie up all loose ends

    I don't enjoy the process of tying up the loose ends, so yeah I'd prefer to move onto something else. On the other hand, I can't stand having loose ends, so I feel a need to tie them up even though I don't like it that much. So how to answer?

    *Are you the kind of person who
    doesn't miss much
    is rather talkative

    Bad question because the first option is kind of ambiguous? Doesn't miss much of what sorts of things? I feel like neither option applies to me because I look at the first option, I think of someone who's always on top of things and doesn't overlook details. As an N, sometimes I fail to notice the things that are obvious to others. I could see IN types selecting the second option if they are strongly intuitive and not overly introvert and interpret it the way I do.

    *At work, is it more natural for you to
    try to please others
    point out mistakes

    I have a copy of Keirsey's book and in the answer key, this one is listed on the J/P scale with the first option being P and the second being J. Why is it a J/P question? It sounds more like a T/F one to me. I see F's as more likely to hold back pointing out mistakes because they want to please others and not offend.

    *Is it easier for you to
    put others to good use
    identify with others

    This one is on the S/N scale with the first option being S and the second being N. The first option does sound S because it is practical but the second option sounds more F than N.
    5w6 or 9w1 sp/so/sx, I think
    Neutral Good

  7. #7
    Consulting Detective Array Mr. Sherlock Holmes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010


    Well I think in some circumstances what you 'prefer' is not quite that. What it is is 'do you care enough about this certain factor to have a tendency towards it'. Like for a clean house, most people would like one, sure, but many, NPs, for example, tend to be less concerned with it than others and thus have a lower drive to actually clean their house, so they might pick no.
    Ti | Fi | Ne | Si | Te | Ni | Fe | Se
    Enneagram: 5w4 sx/sp

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

    "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

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