Meyer Briggs

Discussion for all topics (until the forum becomes large enough to justify splitting things up this will be where all topics go)
Raininginsanity
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 4:50 am

Meyer Briggs

Post by Raininginsanity » Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:37 am

So as to not derail the introductions thread, I thought I would bring the conversation about Meyer Briggs over here.

For context
RainingInsanity:
Strangely enough, there's lots of INTx people in the community even though Meyer Briggs is not very well respected in the Psych community. I would really like an answer to that. Scott Alexander brought that up the other day and it had me intrigued because its an argument I've made to my friends.

Me: I swear that INTP explains me really well!
Them: Its a horoscope! Of course you would think that!
Me: ...
Cactus Head:
To be meta-contrarian about this, it's a real difference from horoscopes in my opinion. People use their star sign to determine which of the twelve horoscopes they will read and they'll think it applies to them no matter what the star sign is---each of the twelve horoscopes are equally fluffy BS. With MB, people read the descriptions first and decide which type they are, and some types will resonate a lot more than others. On this basis, I think the MB is grasping at something real. I'm introverted, the eight extraverted types will not describe me at all. I will concede that a) the big five factor analysis (OCEAN) is better, and b) peoples' traits as measured by these things are unimodally distributed instead of bimodally distributed.
I think by horoscope they meant the personality aspect of it rather than the prediction aspect. People will think any personality test explains them. ("Which Scooby Doo character are you? Scaaary accurate!")

I'd like to see some good research into Meyer Briggs that isn't afraid to alter it. INTP is very accurate in describing my personality. Much more so than any others. But I'm also borderline on the first and third letters (on an official test, I was near the 50% mark). ENTP isn't too inaccurate, and INFP isn't too inaccurate, but I don't identify with ENFP very much, and none of the others. It seems more accurate than other personality tests in some aspects. But what are those aspects? And why has the scientific community largely completely rejected it rather than trying to redeem what DOES work?

SolenoidEntity
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue May 09, 2017 3:42 am

Re: Meyer Briggs

Post by SolenoidEntity » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:40 am

I basically agree. I've taken several Meyers-Briggs tests over the years (with varying degrees of officialness) and consistently been INTP. And I find that the holistic descriptions of INTP fit me extremely well, much better than any of the other possibilities, so while I won't necessarily claim that the test gives some sort of profound insight I couldn't have gotten any other way, for me at least it's a useful descriptive shorthand/categorization. On the other hand, I know people who don't consistently get the same type across tests, who don't feel that one description is clearly best, etc. This may just be a matter of falling towards the middle of multiple axes, but if there are many people who don't feel well-categorized by it for that reason, it does feel like a potential weakness of the test.

Filly
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:47 am

Re: Meyer Briggs

Post by Filly » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:26 am

Haphazard thoughts on the subject:

Horoscopes and MBTI are both person sorting functions that proport to have advce for members of their output groups.

However, I would expect MBTI groups to show larger clustering on other individual-level, general, mental tests (IQ, Career Recommendation, memory, social skills, etc) than I would Horoscopes. I would expect advice that works for one ESTP to work for another with greater regularity than advice that works for one Scorpio to work for another.

MBTI matches very loosely to OCEAN, which is itself based on the character traits that people see others. As a signal, giving one's MBTI result passes some information about how others see you, but only for those who know MBTI already. Better would be to spell out what your result means to you or how it is usually seen. This insures clarity and reduces the number of people who need to learn MBTI.

MBTI in the public seems to revolve around the 16 personalities rather than the Jungian Functions, which I personally find strange. The functions are tied to specific thought patterns and problem solving methods, and seem to be the part of the theory most closely tied to actual advice about one's weaknesses and strengths. Jung himself was very hesitant about his classification of mental functions, and it doesn't seem much additional research has been done in the last century to support them (Dario Nardi being all I could find in a short googling).

I personally see MBTI as insight-porn, a meme that is so prevalent because it is good at catching attention, building a narrative, and because users propagate it. It lacks evidence of providing meaningful advice to those who do believe in/work with it. It's built on century old research that has since been replaced by neuroscience and better supported psychology. As fun as it may be to think about, it's best to avoid putting too much faith in it to solve problems.

Raininginsanity
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 4:50 am

Re: Meyer Briggs

Post by Raininginsanity » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:20 am

I hadn't heard that Meyer Briggs really maps to anything real (IQ, OCEAN, social skills, etc.) I'd be interested in seeing some research in that. Maybe I'll google that tomorrow.

I haven't studied the Jungian functions, just cursory looks. (In fact, I've almost no knowledge at all when it comes to personality psych except the basics). Maybe that's something I should look further into. Anyone know any good personality psych books that are up to date on the research? I'm so worried about accidentally reading a pop-psych book on personality psych that I haven't bothered looking for ones with good research to back it up.

My impression of Meyer Briggs is that all the current pro-research was funded by the people making the tests. Am I wrong in that understanding?

archon
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 11:02 am

Re: Meyer Briggs

Post by archon » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:55 am

Isn't the really big reason that this kind of personality test works just that it spits your answers back at you? Like, you say "I don't like spending time in large groups, and then it spits back: You are a introvert, and you are like "Wow, it knows me so well".

I guess that is a success assuming argument, but I am rarely surprised when a test returns answers like that (and some of those personality tests are really crude like that - it become very obvious what they are testing for in a give answer).

It does drop people into semi-meaningful buckets, but mostly according to broad personality traits.

That said, has anyone been surprised by their Briggs-Meyer result? Anyone found any good alternatives (I am fond of taking that kind of test)?

I, too, have no real knowledge of personality psychology, beyond what I have picked up at random from the internet.

(INTx, by the by. It varies between tests)
"Don't be silly -- if we were meant to evolve naturally, why would God have given us subdermal implants?"

Raininginsanity
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 4:50 am

Re: Meyer Briggs

Post by Raininginsanity » Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:11 pm

OCEAN is really the only personality test that the majority of psychologists would support. Most others work on the principles you mention, but specifically, almost all are broad enough that everyone feels like every one of the results describe them. You read any personality description of a horoscope, and the majority of people will say "Oh yea, that's so me."

Everyone, at some time, needs time alone. Everyone, at some time, likes to be with people. If your vague enough, everyone will say that the personality description explains them.

Filly
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:47 am

Re: Meyer Briggs

Post by Filly » Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:52 pm

archon wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:55 am
Isn't the really big reason that this kind of personality test works just that it spits your answers back at you? Like, you say "I don't like spending time in large groups, and then it spits back: You are a introvert, and you are like "Wow, it knows me so well".

I guess that is a success assuming argument, but I am rarely surprised when a test returns answers like that (and some of those personality tests are really crude like that - it become very obvious what they are testing for in a give answer).

It does drop people into semi-meaningful buckets, but mostly according to broad personality traits.
The problem with MBTI and similar introspective personality tests is as you've said, that they don't provide much useful information after sorting people. If you take an MBTI and learn you're a ESFP, what does that tell you that you didn't already know before? Simply introspecting to answer the questions will give you more insights than the final category.
archon wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:55 am
(INTx, by the by. It varies between tests)
The fact that tests can give results like INTx is one of the reasons I find MBTI so uncredible. If you go to the layer of talking about the Jungian function associated with INTP versus INTJ, they are totally different. INTP => Ti + Ne, while INTJ => Ni + Te. To explain, according to the model they built off of, an INTP spends primarily introspects in models/decision trees, but primarily socializes in chaotic/random/brainstorming ways. INTJ, on the other hand, primarily introspects in life goal/future prediction ways, but primarily socializes in methodical/decision tree ways. Which is to say, they should be nearly impossible to mistake for eachother. Other personality type pairs like INTP/ISTP or INTP/ENTP, which share one function or reverse function order, should be the personalities that tests are most likely to make mistakes on.

In fact, I think you can devise a test around this, to see if MBTI are at least consistent with their own founding claims. Give individuals multiple MBTI, pick those individuals who got different results, see if their results match more closely to pairs that share a function or pairs that share no function. If the possible options tend to share one or two functions, that's a point in favor of MBTI. If they tend to share no functions, that's a point against.
Raininginsanity wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:11 pm
OCEAN is really the only personality test that the majority of psychologists would support. Most others work on the principles you mention, but specifically, almost all are broad enough that everyone feels like every one of the results describe them. You read any personality description of a horoscope, and the majority of people will say "Oh yea, that's so me."

Everyone, at some time, needs time alone. Everyone, at some time, likes to be with people. If your vague enough, everyone will say that the personality description explains them.
OCEAN has more support because it's not introspective, it's about how people perceive eachother. This makes it easier to check the validity of answers; you can run blind interviews of people to see if the test result matches the interviewer's result. tbh, I'm surprised more people give MBTI results than OCEAN results, since OCEAN claims to give information about your personality which will be useful to other people (and researchers), whereas MBTI is more about how one makes decisions and thus less likely to be relevant information to other people. Unless you want to give them hints on how to manipulate your thinking, I suppose...

archon
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 11:02 am

Re: Meyer Briggs

Post by archon » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:41 am

Filly wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:52 pm
The problem with MBTI and similar introspective personality tests is as you've said, that they don't provide much useful information after sorting people. If you take an MBTI and learn you're a ESFP, what does that tell you that you didn't already know before? Simply introspecting to answer the questions will give you more insights than the final category.
Yup. Still love doing those tests. (Answering the questions is indeed, good for introspection. Shame I have so much trouble finding good new ones)
Filly wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:52 pm
The fact that tests can give results like INTx is one of the reasons I find MBTI so uncredible. If you go to the layer of talking about the Jungian function associated with INTP versus INTJ, they are totally different. INTP => Ti + Ne, while INTJ => Ni + Te. To explain, according to the model they built off of, an INTP spends primarily introspects in models/decision trees, but primarily socializes in chaotic/random/brainstorming ways. INTJ, on the other hand, primarily introspects in life goal/future prediction ways, but primarily socializes in methodical/decision tree ways. Which is to say, they should be nearly impossible to mistake for eachother. Other personality type pairs like INTP/ISTP or INTP/ENTP, which share one function or reverse function order, should be the personalities that tests are most likely to make mistakes on.

In fact, I think you can devise a test around this, to see if MBTI are at least consistent with their own founding claims. Give individuals multiple MBTI, pick those individuals who got different results, see if their results match more closely to pairs that share a function or pairs that share no function. If the possible options tend to share one or two functions, that's a point in favor of MBTI. If they tend to share no functions, that's a point against.
This is basically technobabble to me - could you give explanation (or link to such) of the basic theory behind MBTI. But I think the reason for this is just that if you have two categories of people, differentiated by one trait (whatever the P/J measures in the test), some people will be on the edge between the two. People are like that. (That said, if your theory says that result is impossible, and you keep getting it, I think you need to change your theory).
Filly wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:52 pm
OCEAN has more support because it's not introspective, it's about how people perceive eachother. This makes it easier to check the validity of answers; you can run blind interviews of people to see if the test result matches the interviewer's result. tbh, I'm surprised more people give MBTI results than OCEAN results, since OCEAN claims to give information about your personality which will be useful to other people (and researchers), whereas MBTI is more about how one makes decisions and thus less likely to be relevant information to other people. Unless you want to give them hints on how to manipulate your thinking, I suppose...
I just went and did a online OCEAN test, which seemed basically indistinguishable from the general run of the mill when it comes to multiple choice online tests. It was the same kind of questions, the same kind of results, and didn't come with a nice acronym.
"Don't be silly -- if we were meant to evolve naturally, why would God have given us subdermal implants?"

Filly
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:47 am

Re: Meyer Briggs

Post by Filly » Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:38 pm

If you simply want more tests, http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin/co ... -Resources .
archon wrote:
Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:41 am
This is basically technobabble to me - could you give explanation (or link to such) of the basic theory behind MBTI. But I think the reason for this is just that if you have two categories of people, differentiated by one trait (whatever the P/J measures in the test), some people will be on the edge between the two. People are like that. (That said, if your theory says that result is impossible, and you keep getting it, I think you need to change your theory).
I'm sorry about that, let me find a few resource links. Warning, as I've said above, this subject is more interesting than it is helpful.

This covers how each personality is associated with a series of cognitive functions.
http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin/co ... lity-Types

This covers a bit more of the history of Cognitive functions
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jungian_c ... _functions

This covers the development of functions over time in an individual
http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin/co ... -Functions

This is a description of the cognitive functions by Lenore Thomson, one of the more recent theoreticians (she's also in the wikipedia article above)
http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin/co ... -Functions

To summarize for those who don't have the time, or don't want to waste mental space on a theory of dubious scientific support, an MBTI result is supposed to predict how you think about the world, ie which cognitive functions you use. There are 8 cognitive functions: Introverted Thinking, Extroverted Thinking, Introverted Sensing, Extroverted Sensing, Introverted Feeling, Extroverted Feeling, Introverted iNtuition, and Extroverted iNtuition. Each personality is characterized by which functions they use most often, and which functions they develop first.

For example, an INTP personality is said to develop Introverted Thinking first, and use it most often. Next they develop, and also often use, Extroverted iNtuition. Introverted Feeling and Extroverted Sensing, on the other hand, at the functions they use least often and will have the most trouble understanding.

phaedrus
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 4:01 pm

Re: Meyer Briggs

Post by phaedrus » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:35 pm

Filly wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:52 pm
The fact that tests can give results like INTx is one of the reasons I find MBTI so uncredible. If you go to the layer of talking about the Jungian function associated with INTP versus INTJ, they are totally different. INTP => Ti + Ne, while INTJ => Ni + Te. To explain, according to the model they built off of, an INTP spends primarily introspects in models/decision trees, but primarily socializes in chaotic/random/brainstorming ways. INTJ, on the other hand, primarily introspects in life goal/future prediction ways, but primarily socializes in methodical/decision tree ways. Which is to say, they should be nearly impossible to mistake for eachother. Other personality type pairs like INTP/ISTP or INTP/ENTP, which share one function or reverse function order, should be the personalities that tests are most likely to make mistakes on.
Do the tests understand the structure of Myers-Briggs? My impression is that they take, for example, "introvert/extrovert" and then test that, "perceiving/judging" and then test that, etc.

FWIW, I get xNTP.

Post Reply