Alliteration aside, this post made me supremely happy. I’ve long been voicing my opinion that the Myers-Briggs is a worthless assessment that seduces executives without an I/O Psychology background into thinking it has some value. I did however find this amusing. For the record, I’m a prototypical ENTJ which would be cool if I thought it could be used for anything. The MBTI is based on the work of Carl Jung the disciple of Freud who came up with the collective unconscious (basically the idea featured in the movie Avatar that there is a greater collective knowledge generated over the history of the world and stored somewhere in the universe everyone has access to). He also believed himself to be an alchemist.
Anyways, the Myers-Briggs has poor reliability and validity (10 bonus points to any of my former students who remember what these terms mean). Reliability is the concept that if you use the same test to measure the same thing over and over again, you’re going to get approximately the same result every time. If I measure the length of your arm three times in a row, I’m probably going to get the same length three times. That is a reliable test. I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs a few times and I’ve also been identified as an INTJ and an ESTJ in addition to the ENJT I get most often. Taking the same test multiple times and getting different results indicates poor reliability. The research on the Myers-Briggs supports my anecdotal evidence.
Validity is the extent to which the test predicts meaningful outcomes. The Myers-Biggs, unlike most personality tests, largely is NOT related to job performance, which is the criterion we are most concerned with in I/O Psychology.
I could continue with my rant and keep berating this old and worthless test, but Adam Grant is a much smarter man and better I/O Psychologist than I, so I encourage you to read his entire article linked to at the beginning of this post. Have you taken the Myers-Briggs? If so, what category did you fall into and what are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments section below.