A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

From Abracadabra to Zombies

reader comments: MBTI®

note: I stopped accepting comments on the MBTI® in 2000. I made an exception in the following case because it indicates that some readers may be misinterpreting one part of the entry.

24 May 2008
Your article on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is either the work of someone who knows nothing about the Myers-Briggs types or is deliberately meant to deceive. In either case it's rubbish.

Your claim that any type, to a significant extent, fits most people is absolute nonsense. It is justified by taking two paragraphs pulled out of context to prove that one type fits all. In fact, the full descriptions of the ISTJ and the INTJ personalities show that they are radically different and incompatible. If you actually read the descriptions of all sixteen types you will see that they span virtually the whole range of human personality variation. Unless you believe that a description which fits a race car driver could be interpreted by a theoretical physicist as also fitting him or her, your comments are outright fraudulent. If you genuinely believe that all types fit one or that one type fits all you either know nothing about the type model or are a total moron.

Incidentally, I have taken many different type indicator inventories over many years and I always get INTJ. Since there are sixteen types and since INTJ is found in these inventories only about 1% of the time, this can hardly be a fluke. Also, the INTJ personality descriptions fit me excellently and the only other type that fits me even approximately is the closely related INTP personality.

In other words, the one who is "skeptical" is me and the object of my skepticism is you. I'm so skeptical that I will never visit your web site again and I'll also advise my associates to be similarly "skeptical".

unsigned

reply: In response to this letter, I added the following note to the Myers-Briggs entry:

What I suggest is that some parts of the profiles could apply to most people, a characteristic shared by other kinds of readings such as astrological or psychic readings. I do not claim that any profile, taken as a whole, will fit most people. I am not suggesting that one type fits all. Since the various profiles are based on information the client has provided, they shouldn't be telling the customer anything about himself that he doesn't already know. Thus, just as psychics have many satisfied customers because they feed back to clients what the clients have told them, and they make claims that could apply to most people or that most people would want to be true, so too do Myers-Briggs folks have many satisfied customers. In any case, those who read the above article carefully recognize that the main problem is not with the accuracy of the profiles but with the way they are abused by employers and others.

I would add that the fact that some people consistently get classified as a single type does not imply that parts of the profile for that type won't seem accurate to others of various profiles, as the reader himself notes. Nor does the fact that some or many people get classified consistently over a long period of time take anything away from the fact that, as I write in the entry:

Several studies have shown that when retested, even after intervals as short as five weeks, as many as 50 percent will be classified into a different type.

Anyway, I do not claim that one type fits all. As the reader notes, in forceful and colorful language typical of an INTJ who spends a lot of time within his own mind, such a view would be wrong. I'll concluded with some observations made by an expert (BSM Consulting) in Myers-Briggs about the INTJ:

When under a great deal of stress, the INTJ may become obsessed with mindless repetitive, Sensate activities, such as over-drinking. They may also tend to become absorbed with minutia and details that they would not normally consider important to their overall goal.

INTJs need to remember to express themselves sufficiently, so as to avoid difficulties with people misunderstandings. In the absence of properly developing their communication abilities, they may become abrupt and short with people, and isolationists.

 

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