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  1. GingerCoffee
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    Meyers & Briggs personality test and illusions of insight

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by GingerCoffee, May 26, 2015.

    Every year or two the Meyers & Briggs Personality Test recirculates around the Internet deceiving another batch of people.

    It was discussed here in 2010, in 2012, in 2013, and again a few days ago.

    My response is too long for one post so first, a review of some comments past:

     
  2. A.M.P.
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    Someone's being a total IISJ >.>
    Your cynicism toward the test is just so expected for your type.
    I, as a ESFP, don't let such negativity cloud my judgment.

    hehe... I make myself laugh.

    OT:
    There is an odd trend on social sites to post your type.
    It only greatens (Yes, it's a word) the social-belief that this actually means something.
    Kinda like envying people with high IQs without ever understanding the limits of the test.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    But being different does not equate to being valid. Someone who believes in horoscopes (and there are plenty of such people) are convinced one is affected by the planets and stars on the day, time (sophisticated horoscopes include time) one was born. They believe gravity or some other planetary force affected one's personality. It's a bit easier to see now with modern science that one's birth day and time does not affect one's personality.

    So, is answering the questions on the M&B test at least an indication of one's personality? Or is it an illusion? When something seems intuitive, you can't just stop there, you have to test your assumptions. And when you do:
    So people might be reliable assessors of their introversion and extroversion, but beyond that, the answers to the questions don't correlate with actual personalities.

    One of the problems is interpretation of the questions. They are so fungible as to be meaningless. You might interpret the question one way while I interpret it to mean something else. And those interpretations are not consistent with our personalities, they may or may not be consistent with our interpretation of the vocabulary used.

    How do we know that? But testing the hypothesis, not just accepting it as valid because it seems so.

    Regardless of the reason the test is not reliable, the evidence is, that it is not. You have to test your assumptions because the human brain is not always intuitively right.
     
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  4. plothog
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    For me, the biggest flaw of the test is it's assuming some aspects are opposites.
    Introvert and extrovert works well enough.
    Judging/Prospecting sort of works.

    I don't think that thinking/feeling and observing/intuiting are mutually exclusive at all.

    I've come out as an INFP and some of my profile rings true, but it talks about how I'm not interested in data and logic. That's not true at all. I like that sort of stuff. I've worked as a computer game coder etc. But there are times when data doesn't paint such a clear picture (such as trying to pigeonhole something as complicated as a human using a simple personality test)
    When it comes to social matters a bit of empathy can work better than cold hard logic. Many people can think or feel as appropriate.
     
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  5. HelloThere
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    So you mean I can't bring up that I'm the same personality type as Tolkien and Shakespeare at every conceivable opportunity? :(
     
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  6. Shadowfax
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    On the contrary, you absolutely can. I'm sure that Tolkien and Shakespeare name-dropped at every conceivable opportunity too!
     
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  7. HelloThere
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    HelloThere Contributing Member

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    Well in that case, did you know that, according to the Meyers-Brig's personality test, I'm the same personality type as Tolkien and Shakespeare? I mean, I'm not saying I'm a literary genius, but I am implying it.
     
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  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Tolkien or Tolstoy?

    (Side note, I never got the appeal of Tolstoy).
     
  9. Shadowfax
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    I've no idea, it's @HelloThere who's their doppelganger.
     
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  10. HelloThere
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    The lord of the long-winded himself, Tolkien.

    (Side note, did you ever stop to think that maybe Tolstoy doesn't get the appeal of you? hmm?)
     
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  11. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    That thought keeps me awake night after night. :3
     
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  12. jannert
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    I find astrology works for me, in helping me understand various personality types, including my own. Why does it work? I have absolutely no idea. It's totally unscientific. Yet, for me, it works.

    Maybe because 'good' detailed astrology focuses more on motivation than external manifestation of the motivation, when dealing with personality types.

    For example, the notion that Cancers (and I'm one) are motivated by a desire for security (among other things) is totally true for me. I have to fight that desire whenever I realise I'm resisting something for fear of losing security. This has nothing to do with whether or not I'm introverted, extroverted or any other personality type. This is just me. The very basic me. It runs very deep.

    While I can alter my external personality (which I often do, depending on circumstances) or develop various kinds of interests and skills—which I've done throughout my life—this basic motivation will never change for me. I will always want to feel secure. How I get there, is up to me, and can change frequently. It's not necessarily a good trait, but it is definitely me. The little hard (or soft!) shelled crab scuttling sidey-ways into its safe hole, claws out in defiance of danger ...that's me to a T.

    What astrology does is make you aware that people do the same things for very different reasons.

    An 'extrovert' can be somebody who makes lots of noise in a social situation as a smoke screen to hide their insecurity. Or they can make lots of noise because they simply don't realise they're doing it. Or they can make lots of noise in order to manipulate (or bully) people into doing things - and that can be just for fun, or for some focused purpose. They can make lots of noise because they think the world is a fantastic place and everybody is (or should be) as exuberant as they are—Tigger comes to mind here. Understanding the differences in motivation behind any action or personality trait is SUCH a useful tool for writers to use.

    I've developed my awareness of this sort of thing through learning about astrology. Not the mumbo-jumbo, but simply comparing people I know, related to their astrological makeup. In that sense, it's KIND of scientific—hey? :)
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  13. Ivana
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    I have a feeling that you Cancers literally shift your moods based on phases of the Moon. :p
    But seriously, there's definitely something in the stars. Being a Scorpio myself, I feel like I need to be a bit on a mystical and non-scientific side. ;)
     
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  14. Simpson17866
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    Exactly. Descriptions can always be useful if taken correctly, it's only when they're used prescriptively that we run into problems.
     
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  15. Steerpike
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    I find Meyers-Briggs to be of dubious objective scientific value. From a psychological standpoint, I think examining the answers that respondents give to the questions in their self-assessment could tell you something about how they perceive themselves, however.
     
  16. Simpson17866
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    Just because the system is not 100% objectively correct doesn't mean that it is 100% objectively incorrect.

    If we were talking about something medical (neurotransmitters, cerebrospinal fluid, muscle contractions...) then we would want to be as objective as possible. If we're just trying to understand other people, then you can afford to be a lot less objective.
     
  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yep. Psychology isn't a "hard" science to begin with.
     
  18. GingerCoffee
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    The reason it appears to work is you are making it work by your own subjective validation without realizing it.

    Here's a discussion of the Forer Effect and why the concept of the planets and stars affecting people* is impossible.

    *Daylight and moonlight are an exception and there is the tidal effect on the planet. But there is no evidence gravity from the Sun or Moon affect people, even the menstrual cycle myth. People do not act differently on full Moons, that is also a myth.

    If you don't believe this is true and you still think there is any validity to horoscopes, take this test to prove it to yourself. Match these horoscopes to their sign before you look at the link:
     
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  19. GingerCoffee
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    Except that it doesn't. It's been tested and it fails because people inconsistently interpret the questions. If you take all the INTPs or whatever, they do not have similar personalities, again with the exception people generally know if they are introverts or extroverts but you don't need a test to tell you that.
     
  20. Simpson17866
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    That's just because MyersBriggs doesn't measure everything.

    If I were comparing triathletes' times and looked at 1) which people weren't particularly fast at any, 2-4) which were extremely fast at one of either swimming, biking, or running, 5-7) which were extremely fast at two of the three, and 8) which were extremely fast at all three, would it makes sense to say "But the people in each group have completely different weight-lifting abilities. The 8 'athletic' groups are meaningless because the people in each group has different levels of athleticism from the others in the same group"?

    If a single test was comprehensive enough to tell everything about everybody, then nobody would be smart enough understand to comprehend the test results.
     
  21. GingerCoffee
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    From Wiki: (I posted some of this in the other thread as well.)
    No peer review that support the claims of Meyers & Briggs:
    The test has been evaluated many times. If the evaluation was done by Meyers & Briggs, the test works. If it is evaluated by actual researchers in the field, it doesn't:
    If the answers told one anything at all about the person it would have been reflected in the evaluations of the test.
     
  22. Nilfiry
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    I only take tests like these--and pretty much any other tests--for the fun on it. Only you need to know yourself best. If you need to take a test to tell you or confirm things about yourself, you need to do some soul searching.
     
  23. GingerCoffee
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    What does it measure then?
     
  24. Steerpike
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    I didn't say it tells you anything about a group or relationships between people in a group, just that it can tell you something about an individual's own perceptions (and probably only at a given time, because a person taking it twice over the course of time may well get different results).
     
  25. Simpson17866
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    Exactly what it says it does: are you self-contained or outgoing, do you prefer tangible information or general principles, do you make decisions personally or impersonally, are you organized or disorganized. The test doesn't tautologically say "If we assume A, then we can prove A," is simply defines "This is A."

    There are personality details that MyersBriggs doesn't measure, and there are tests that measure things MyersBriggs doesn't: DISC, OCEAN ... I've even invented my own. I don't treat is as being medically objective, I treat it as a set of descriptions.
     
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