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  1. #41
    Senior Member Turi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reckful View Post
    Did you read my post? Did you look at the self-selection ratios in that Cal Tech sample?

    No, Turi, the respectable (dichotomy-centric) districts of the MBTI are not pseudoscience. They're soft science — like the majority of psychology, economics, etc.

    And they deal with probabilities (not "certain predictions," as you put it), and they use the scientific methods appropriate to the field of personality psychology, which involve reliability and validity, among other standards.

    And in those departments, as I think you know, the official MBTI can claim to be more or less on a par with the leading Big Five tests.

    And there's more on that in this TC Wiki article that I already linked to.
    I have looked at the self-selection sample - can I challenge this? What if I or others don't agree those statistics are correct?
    What if I don't believe those people are the types they claim to be, due to the MBTI being a self-assessment?
    How can I dispute this? What are my avenues for challenging and disputing those claims?

    There's either science, or uh, "not science". MBTI falls under "not science".

    I've got a real issue with the forced dichotomies employed by the MBTI as well - it's like, someone asks you "what's your favourite colour, blue or red?" well, what if I prefer purple, gray, black, white etc ie an option that wasn't available?


    For example:
    "Are you usually
    *E a "good mixer", or
    *I rather quiet and reserved"

    What if I'm not "usually" either? What if I'm "usually" a bit of both? What if I don't pay any attention whatsoever to my ordinary social habits?
    What if I interpret this question in a way related to animals, and not humans? Good at mixing what? Drinks? What if I'm quiet, but not reserved?
    What if I'm reserved, but not quiet? What if I'm not quiet, not reserved, and also not a good mixer?

    Or this beauty:
    "Do you usually get along better with
    *N imaginative people, or
    *S realistic people"

    How would I know? Imaginative according to who? Me? What if my friend thinks he's imaginative and I think he's not imaginative, but I get along great with him - now what?
    Realistic according to who? What's a realistic person? What's an imaginative person? What measurements are being used to define these terms?
    Do I usually get along better with them compared to what? Each other? What if I don't pay any attention to how imaginative or realistic people are, and instead just see them as human beings?

    Or this:

    "Are you
    *E easy to get to know, or
    *I hard to get to know"

    According to who? Me? I'm heaps chill. So chill. Easy to get to know for sure.
    According to other people in general? I'm a rock. Impossible to get to know. Never speak. Not open at all. Defensive. Reserved. Not easy to get to know.
    According to my friends? Kinda easy to get to know. They like me, I like them, I open up a little.

    Etc etc there's no context, the whole thing is completely open to interpretation, and you can't dispute anything.
    My friend could say I'm hard to get to know, I say I'm easy to get to know, who wins? What option is correct?
    It's a self-assessment, so I suppose it's what I say. Well, what if that's not supported by reality, what if I asked everybody I've ever spoken to, and the majority of people said "hard to get to know" are they correct, or am I correct?

    What if I'm kind of in between? What if I don't pay any attention to how easy or hard I am to get to know? What if that's never something I think about, outside of when it pops up in personality questionnaires to which I just provide my subjective as hell response that may or may not be accurately reflected in reality?

    This crap isn't scientific. The whole thing is open to interpretation, and it's a self-assessment. There's nothing science about it. It's decidedly *not* science.
    You can call it "soft science" if you want. As far as I'm concerned - there's either science or not science and that's the end.

    This isn't to say there's no value in the MBTI, I'm not even saying the MBTI is wrong - I'm just saying, it's not science.
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  2. #42
    Senior Member reckful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turi View Post
    What if I or others don't agree those statistics are correct?
    What if I don't believe those people are the types they claim to be, due to the MBTI being a self-assessment?
    If E/I and S/N aren't tapping into something real, or if, even if E/I and S/N are real, the test is doing a poor job typing people, then in either case, Turi, how could a sample of 705 Cal Tech science majors exhibit those kinds of spectacularly lopsided self-selection ratios?

    Hint: it couldn't.

    But as previously noted, because E/I and S/N are far from the only influences on whether somebody will become a science major, you can't unfalsifiably predict either than an IN will become a science major, or that a science major will be an IN.

    But if that leads you to say, OK then, personality psychology ain't science, consider this...

    Biology (generally considered one those hard sciences) tells us that human reproduction involves two sexes copulating, and so humans have evolved in such a way that males are sexually attracted to females and vice versa, right?

    Except, oops, it turns out that you can't unfalsifiably predict that any particular human male will be sexually attracted to females. You can only say that it's a lot more likely than several other alternatives.

    Do biological assertions that involve probabilities — rather than "certain predictions" (as you put it) — belong in the "not science" bin, as far as you're concerned?

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turi
    What if I don't believe those people are the types they claim to be, due to the MBTI being a self-assessment?
    I think you're right to be skeptical of the idea that people can just unfalsifiably be right about their type, and I don't think either the Big 5 or MBTI have as strong point individual typings. I think they're a lot stronger at measuring trends than in typing individuals.

    What this means is that in self and peer reports, the structure of the Big 5 keeps on turning up, but it can be dicey to type individuals. I think it's still something you can do a pretty decent job of after reading lots of statistics on the Big 5, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by reckful
    Do biological assertions that involve probabilities — rather than "certain predictions" (as you put it) — belong in the "not science" bin, as far as you're concerned?
    I think part of his question would be, though, that even granting the predictions are probabilistic, are they dealing with anything definite at all. That is, his complaint might be what's 'friendly' to me isn't 'friendly' to you, so at the end of the day, you're never feeding anything close to objective into the system -- it isn't just an issue of admitting we can only tell how likely it is that someone is friendly, but rather that the term is sufficiently vague as to be hard to rate someone on, particularly for all but the most black-and-white casees. Ditto for stuff like 'imaginative'.

    I think that's a reasonable point worth addressing (vs complaining about probabilistic predictions would simply be dumb).


    HOWEVER, interestingly, the answer to the vagueness issue is related to the probabilistic issue. I'll go back to my usual example of the idea of 'general intelligence' -- there's support for the idea that there's such a thing, yet it's still pretty vague what it actually says in terms of what intellectual tasks you can achieve specifically. It just makes the general claim that you'll succeed at a lot of 'hard' but relatively unrelated tasks if you're high in general intelligence.
    The emphasis here is the specific ways you measure the overall construct may differ quite a bit, but the overall construct may remain quite stable despite the differences.


    What it turns out is that despite the vagueness of terminology, we still see very similar trends on aggregate scores for the 5 main variables of the Big 5, and at that, these trends replicate across multiple populations, which suggests the vagueness of specific terms isn't wildly screwing with things on a broader level and that it's likely the vagueness is intentionally not being corrected. And in particular, I think the vagueness becomes significantly less of an issue the more pronounced a difference there is between people. If someone rates someone who rarely wants to talk to people, shoos them away, etc as friendly, and rates someone who is always happy to have people around and entertain them as not-friendly, I'd say that someone is already not in the norm, and this is reflected in the statistics.

    That is, even if there is subjectivity in the self and peer reports, i.e. it's ultimately "someone who considers himself/herself friendly and is considered friendly by many peers," you're still going to see trends that replicate, meaning you'll get a construct called Extraversion with some broad trends going with it.

    There are also more definite questions out there like whether you're likely to say yes or no to going to parties (also, there are more definite predictions than is-he-friendly -- e.g. you can predict majors and careers, which are actually definite things, so even if the questions are vague on the tests, if the overall construct can predict definite things probabilistically, vs only predict indefinite things probabilistically, I think it's again clearly real). The point is sure it might depend which party, but that's the whole point -- if you're saying no to more than 50%, you're being more selective with your social energy, and that adds some introvert points.
    Similarly, we could ask for scenario questions to measure Agreeableness to as to get something more definite than 'are you generally considered compassionte'

    However, there's still something to Turi's point, in that other statistical instruments like standardized tests have one advantage, in that there are objective answers to their questions, and you can't really 'lie" because you either get it or not. Still, if it's actually the case that instruments like the Big 5 show that the same person will average roughly the same 'percentile range' if they take multiple implementations of the Big 5, whether the person or peers report, it does suggest there is something to the measurements.
    But it does make it seem like personality may be even fuzzier than your percentile range in a well-constructed standardized test (intended to test aptitude, not mastery, since mastery can be changed with practice)... (though even those seem to fluctuate enough that I'm not going to bet my life on it)

    This does have an implication for individual typing for the following reason: while it might be that if Turi has a really wild interpretation of the word 'imaginative' by which he thinks Newton is TRULY imaginative but Einstein isn't, and he associates imaginative with more-like-Newton's-style.....it's likely his idiosyncratic preference won't s how up in the statistics.....however, it may actually show up in self-reports!

    I've noticed a fair number of weird self-ratings among friends who take the Big 5! And I'm kind of not surprised due to the vagueness of many of the test items. Also, the fact that differences in inventories tends to show up more at the individual level than at the broad statistical trend level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turi
    What if I'm not "usually" either? What if I'm "usually" a bit of both? What if I don't pay any attention whatsoever to my ordinary social habits?
    I think there's nothing stopping in-betweens. Some are pronounced and some are in between. This issue obviously doesn't exist in the Big 5, though many of the other ones you mention do exist with it.
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  4. #44
    Senior Member reckful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GavinElster View Post
    This does have an implication for individual typing for the following reason: while it might be that if Turi has a really wild interpretation of the word 'imaginative' by which he thinks Newton is TRULY imaginative but Einstein isn't, and he associates imaginative with more-like-Newton's-style.....it's likely his idiosyncratic preference won't s how up in the statistics.....however, it may actually show up in self-reports!
    Well, of course, but who's ever argued that any personality test isn't subject to error in plenty of individual cases, for a wide variety of reasons?

    That's one of the reasons respectable personality type data is generally based on suitably large samples.

    But if the self-reporting aspect of any particular personality test is causing an unacceptably large proportion of mistypings, then when you use it to do correlational studies, you're not going to end up with the kinds of dramatic self-selection ratios shown in that 705-student Cal Tech sample.

    To end up with 30-to-1 self-selection ratios in a large sample, it's not enough that the underlying personality aspects have a substantial impact on whatever you're correlating them with. You also need to be using a test that does a good job (on average) of typing the subjects.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by reckful
    Well, of course, but who's ever argued that any personality test isn't subject to error in plenty of individual cases, for a wide variety of reasons?
    Sure, but (and I obviously do think the Big 5 is soft science, not BS, but I want to try to explain the point fully) the basic point is how do we know whether someone is in error? Someone might think "well, I had a reasonable interpretation of the test items -- who is to say i'm wrong when there is no criterion clearly given for knowing when the result is accurate?" The question is really does the Big 5 just give you a nice way of knowing what correlates with what, but doesn't really tell you what percentile-range you likely are with some very useful level of certainty?

    At some point, it helps to have definite, non-subjective markers -- and note that I'm *not* saying non-probabilistic predictions, so much as probabilistic predictions that someone has a trait with an objective meaning. That is,stuff like major or career -- because, while we can only predict with some probability whether someone high in Extraversion and low in Agreeableness, say, will go into a certain career, at least it's not a subjective thing whether someone goes into a given career.
    I'm sure that there are such 'objective' markers, by the way, but are there enough to actually type someone with, or are these pretty fuzzy rules of thumb that won't work for a pretty large number of people?

    When it comes to something like "how pragmatic is so and so," it's quite conceivable two people will rate the person quite differently on a Likert scale, after considering the exact same data point about the same person! For instance, a metaphysician may be inclined to shrug and say "well, an experimental scientist is very pragmatic! 4/5!" Whereas, the experimental scientist may think of himself as more like a 2/5, having faced a family full of money-minded folk who encourage a career in some finance-oriented field.
    And we're talking real, psychological difference: the metaphysician may be aware there are business-minded people out there, but may see them as 5/5 vs anyone of an applied field dealing with tangible (vs purely logical) facts as less than a 3/5.
    It's kind of like one teacher's B+ may be another's A.

    Obviously, what's going on is the metaphysician is probably just in a lower percentile for valuation of pragmatism, even if both may well be below average (and thus generally turn out to be Ns).

    My general point is, despite believing the Big 5 is getting at something real, I *still* am often a little hazy on typing people besides some of the more black-and-white cases with much finality. I don't know, for instance, what the 'resolution' of the test is: for instance, I think we all know we can't say for sure if someone is exactly in the 88th percentile, but what about something like 40-60 vs 40-50 with 80-ish percent likelihood? Presumably your likelihood of being right increases by asking for many peer reports, a self report, and pursuing many different inventories.

    I think to some extent, having studied a lot of stats on the Big 5, I do have an intuitive feel for the Big 5, and I can probably guess quite a bit about where someone stands on it, but I feel this part is still left to something of an art in the current state of affairs, again because of the subjectivity-of-test-items issue.


    The real TL;DR version of this is I sort of think the Big 5 could use a resolution upgrade, so as to be a little more definite on the individual level. I doubt this changes anything about personality seeming to have the structure the Big 5 says it does -- that is, generally, personality clusters into 5 main macro-variables. It seems like there's enough to show the Big 5 is real stuff, but it's more a question of making it more useful to the individual -- it's clear that there are objective correlates of the Big 5, including biological ones and also including things like career, major, etc, which rules out that feeding in fuzzy stuff with vague definitions implies the output is of questionable reality status....but the point is to go farther than that.

  6. #46
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    It's pseudo science. There's not any studies to support the ideas of MTBI. It was developed by some people with no formal use of science.
    What is scientifically viable is the study done on various trait levels found in men in women.

    Men tend to prefer working with things and women tend to prefer working with people, hence the reason why men dominate in fields such as technology and women in nursing.

  7. #47
    Junior Member Starry NiTe's Avatar
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    MBTI is a pseudo-science for the following reasons:

    - It's based off of information gleaned from a psychodynamic theorist. Psychodynamic theory is famously unscientific. It's extremely hard to test and research as any breakthroughs in the field are spontaneous and can't be predicted.

    - It's not a theory that is unified. While I believe there is reference in Man and his Symbols to Jung's being aware of his students' further study of typology, the original theorist (Jung) didn't work with Myers and Briggs to unify a theory that correctly interpreted the foundation: typology. In other words, MBTI was born of typology, but it is also subject to Myers and Briggs' understanding of typology.

    - It has not been refined and put to rigorous testing the way other, more popular theories have been. For instance, Erikson's psychosocial stages of development has been tested over and over and it has even been found to be a theory that only really pans out in the Western world, it's not universal, and it is more likely to show up in English-speaking countries. MBTI has been studied, but not rigorously like this.

    - In the past 10 years or so, MBTI has degenerated from a pseudo-scientific on the cusp of scientific theory into stereotypes and anecdotes. It has been sold by armchair psychologists as a parlor trick and is sometimes compared to something as vague as Astrology or other forms of divination.

    MBTI is scientific for the following reasons:

    - It can be tested, studied, and refined (this is generally the University text-book definition of whether a thought qualifies as a scientific theory or not).

    - It is something prominant people in the Psychological scientific community take seriously (peer reviewed): Jung, Von-Franz, Beebe, Kiersey, etc

    - It falls within the trait theory category of theories and can be measured accurately via the MBTI published by CPP inc based on trait theory tests and measures (the presence/absence of certain traits).

    My take? I don't know. It's right there on the cusp for me. There are definite ways of improving it and I'm excited about seeing this be improved upon. But, then again, before the Internet (yes there really was such a time), I didn't have the knowledge that people could run so far with a theory to be completely opposite of the way that theory was intended. What laypeople have done with MBTI is stunning.

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