Review of The Myers-Briggs Test


“Why am I as I am? To understand that of any person, his whole life, from birth must be reviewed. All of our experiences fuse into our personality. Everything that ever happened to us is an ingredient.” ― Malcolm X

I’m sure we’ve all wondered what our personality was and taken an online personality test. The one everyone knows about is of course, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The test proposes that there are only 16 personalities that you could have. But does that mean there are only 16 types of people in the whole world? Does that mean that every person with a certain personality type behaves exactly the same? Do they react the same to similar situations? Quite unlikely. I don’t believe that people can be categorised like that. It’s reductionist and simplistic.  And yet, it’s one of the most used personality tests in the world. There are posts on here such as “how ENFP’s cope with heartbreak”. Which I think is totally meaningless. And in the workplace it’s used to group people into teams because it is thought that they will work better together, get things done quicker with minimal conflicts. Imagine if an introvert ever worked with an extrovert? Chaos would ensue. Not. It doesn’t take into account individual differences.

I took the test a few weeks ago and I found that my personality type is ENFJ-T, which stands for extraverted (78%), intuitive (78%), feeling (58%), judging (76%), and turbulent (70%). Do you know the definition of turbulent? I googled it – characterised by conflict, disorder, or confusion; not stable or calm. Well, that’s obviously not true. Do you know what else describes ENFJ-T’s? Outgoing, communicative, imaginative, idealistic, sympathetic, organised and ambitious. Maybe those descriptions are kind of true. The test says I’m apparently the protagonist. I don’t know how I feel about that.

I am of the opinion that we can have multiple personalities in different situations. We behave differently around friends, families, lovers, pets and when we are on our own. Personality isn’t static. So categorising a person into one of 16 types isn’t valid or reliable. If you take the test once, you are categorised as one of 16, right? If you take the test again in say, 5 months, you’ll probably be categorised differently depending on what your current life situation is like. There may be something that makes you shut down completely and you’ll be categorised as an introvert, or something else will give you confidence and you’ll be categorised as an extrovert. People change and I don’t believe you can be one type of person your whole life. A lot can happen in a year.

Personality doesn’t fit into an either/or category. It’s not just black and white there are grey areas. People don’t fall into one or the other, there’s a spectrum; people fall in between. And not only that, if you’re interested in taking the test, and you get a result which says you’re introverted, psychology says you will start to behave like an introvert even if you are not, because it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. You want to fulfil your role as an introvert. Weird, huh? Three are loads of articles on the Myers-Briggs criticism but maybe, people just don’t read them, including companies and business, otherwise, they would have learned by now. The test has no predictive power. It can’t predict how happy you’ll be in a particular situation or even how you’ll perform at your job. The test was based on Carl June’s theories, and the types were probably based on his experiences of different people.

So, even after all of its criticism by psychologists, the test still persists. It’s fun, interesting and makes you feel happy after taking get it because whichever type you are categorised as, the descriptions are never accurate, yet you get flattering descriptions such as ‘genuine’, ‘responsible’ and ‘sincere’. You’ll never see anything like ‘mean’, ‘angry’ or ‘poor performer’. Here’s the link if you are interested in taking the test. Just know that psychologists have found better (and more reliable) ways of assessing personality, and we should probably stop using this test for serious use. It’s no more valid than your horoscope.

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24 thoughts on “Review of The Myers-Briggs Test

  1. I and equally right brain and left brain for a girl, after taking enough tests online. I love these types of tests but yes they are general and fun, but not all true. We each have a unique personality so putting everyone in a “box” is not right. Just my opinion. Blessings, Jackie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great article. I think you are on to something here. How often do we hear that self-awareness is important and then take a personality profile assessment? I have never done Myers-Briggs but I have done The Fascination Advantage by Sally Hogshead, the DISC Profile, and Mark Gungor’s Flag Page. And it does seem to be a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy in that I have adapted my behavior to match the profile. Yet, I have often wondered if my profile would change over time. I think you are right, personality is fluid and does change. We should be careful not to define who we are by a simple profile test.

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    1. I immediately searched for the Fascination Advantage and found the 28 questions asked have similarity to that of MBTI statements. It also give me a similar insight as the MBTI. I have recently taken the DISC profile for a work employment requirement and have yet to now my results. Yes, personality tests can be fascinating and helpful, I agree, but our independent minds always have the end preference with what we want because we have a fast changing world as well. As I’ve mentioned, it’s there to give insight about why we do certain things and not dictate our way of life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do you think that INFJs are prone to blogging/writing because they prefer to be by themselves and write and not spend time with people, but still want to express their thoughts and feelings to share them with other people? If that made sense…

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      1. Well, given that people have such varied perceptions and preferred methods of processing information, if the personality test was accurate there would be some groupings of people who do not like to be categorised or to hold stock in psychology as a discipline. I have done the test with a lot of people, and this does seem to hold true.

        My comment was really aimed at the fact that there were three INFJ people right there, one of the types that do (in my experience) tend to buy into the Myers-Briggs indicator.

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      2. So you’re saying that there are some types of people, not necessarily the 16 categories of people that are more or less likely to buy into the Myers-Briggs Indicator because they have different information processing methods?

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      3. Hi April. I don’t think we can really generalize that all INFJs are into writing or blogging but it’s a well known fact that we cherish our time alone. We don’t really prefer to be by ourselves all the time, in fact, INFJs are regarded as the most extraverted introverts. We are outgoing too, prefer to be with close friends and family and spend time doing a lot of worthwhile things. At the end of the day, we just need time to recharge by being ourselves, processing the things that we’ve done, seen or experienced. Some use art (check out the blog of INFJoe, others become good advocates in society — leaders, politicians, singers — really, there’s a lot of things in the spectrum besides the need to be alone. 🙂

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      4. Wow you learn something new everyday! I think alone time is a good way to recharge away from people because people can be very energy consuming. I wouldn’t have thought about any leaders or people in authority being INFJs to be honest so it’s interesting to learn that

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  3. I’m an INFJ every time I ‘re test’ myself with a couple of times getting into the ISTJ/ISFJ spectrum.

    While its true that personality is difficult to measure and therefore personality tests can give inconsistent results, the MBTI is a generally accepted standard as a psychological instrument (and not just a personality test) with reliability and validity. Reliability in terms of consistency (like me being in the same spectrum on re tests, for example) and validity (because a personality exists, and thus valid; and can be measured here as ‘preferences’)

    Isabel and Katharine Briggs developed the test to give access to the theory of Dr. Jung about how personalities are variable and random but they are also orderly and consistent in the way we see and deal with the outside world (E/I) and (J/P), the way we process information (S/I) and in decision making (T/F). It sorts our preferences and gives us an insight to our behavior, values and attitudes; and not meant to put someone in a box describing ability and character; or to have a guide and predict happiness, as horoscopes do.

    Personally, It has been an instrument to knowing and accepting oneself in the process. For years, I have questioned why I act, react and think a certain way. I dwell too much, feel too much, cry too much and would prefer to be alone most of the time. To the outside world, I am highly sensitive and weak. But those things do not define me, instead, those are the mechanisms with which I function as a person and not as an excuse to behave a certain way as there are times that I function with traits from the other spectrum. So it doesn’t really compare because all traits are desirable and dynamic, leading you to understand your strengths and weaknesses, hence none of the ‘negative’ traits are described.

    In the end, it’s actually the individual’s recognition of his or her preferences that matter, as Isabel Briggs Myer would say.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You make some very good points, thank you for your comment 😊 and admittedly I haven’t researched into it too much, I’ve sat through a few lectures about personality, but everything you said makes complete sense. I pretty much thought it was just used as a personality test, because I don’t know what else it IS used for. The test seems like it could be useful in terms of the 4 pairs, it does give an insight into people’s behaviour, values and attitudes when you are trying to figure yourself out, it gives you an understanding of yourself if you’re not quite sure. I suppose then, that the descriptions are just a baseline which generally describe people in a particular personality type, and it gives room for differences.
      I like your perspective, thanks for sharing because it made me look at the test in a new light.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that if people’s lives don’t really change much from day to day, then their personality doesn’t change much either, it depends on the circumstances and what people go through, because some people’s lives are crazy and wild and they do all sorts of things, and some people are quite quiet and stay in not wanting to socialise much. Everyone is unique 😊

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  4. I am a big advocate of the Myers-Briggs indicator, and of Carl Jung’s theory in general. There really is a lot more to it than being a summary based on people he knew, and it is not intended to be a form of horoscope. I have got a lot of practical use out of it.

    You are right in saying that personality is fluid, and you can indeed change your type as you go through different phases of life. The Myers-Briggs is in no way presented as a lifetime categorisation. In fact, you can even be a different type if you complete the test using ‘me as I am at work’ and ‘me as I am at home’.

    I think the quality of the interpretation varies depending on the source. Some of the quick and free internet quiz ones do have a horoscope type feel to them, so I would say the more questions you have to answer the better the quiz will be. There are some good free ones out there, and they don’t all focus on the positives (although most people are not so keen to hear their stressors or troubled aspects!).

    The questions in the quiz, if written well, are designed for you to indicate your preference only. That is why you come out with a percentage, which also accounts for shades of grey. You can be an ENTP with a strong preference for thinking for example but that doesn’t mean you don’t ever use your feelings to make decisions. Not all ENTPs are exactly the same, they just have the same tendencies.

    I have to say I have never heard of Turbulence being a factor, and I have done a lot of research on Myers-Briggs over the years. I am intrigued as to what aspect that measures… I will look it up!

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