Science and Technology

The Problem With the Myers-Briggs Personality Test

By Carla Delgado Discover

The MTBI type indicator is one of the most popular personality tests around the world. But its original design and the results it produces lack scientific support.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, famously known as the Myers-Briggs personality test, or MBTI, is one of the most widely used personality tests in the world. It was developed in the 1940s by the mother-daughter duo Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers — neither of whom were psychologists — to classify the various ways people perceive their environment and behave accordingly.

The test relies on the premise of four categories: introversion or extroversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. Each individual is assigned one of the two traits in each category, which produces the 16 different MBTI personality types that we know today –– such as INTJ or ESFP. The question remains whether these types accurately capture our behavior, intentions and decision-making tendencies.

At present, an estimated 2 million people take the MBTI test annually, demonstrating how well-known it is by the general population. However, the sheer popularity of the psychological instrument isn’t necessarily an indication of its accuracy and utility, and it may be crucial to understand why people are drawn to take such tests and whether the labels have a practical application.


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