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lostjelly's avatar

What do you think of the Myers-Briggs inventory?

Asked by lostjelly (41points) November 1st, 2010

i have taken a few of the online-freebie tests for fun but i cannot help wondering if they have truth to them, or are just a good time waste
what do you think? about the online tests? the legitimate test?
have you taken it before? did your result resonate or completely miss?

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14 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Myers-Briggs is a respected personality inventory. It should not “miss” unless you are not truthful with your answers.

I found my results insightful. It was especially useful in terms of interacting with team members.

Sarcasm's avatar

It’s not like a Zodiac symbol that bases your personality off of your birth month. You give it information about your personality, and then it gives you a more summarized version of your personality.
It’s as correct as the information you feed it, and it’s as accurate as a test with 16 possible answers can be.

In looking at the results I get (Sometimes ISTJ, other times INTJ), I generally find myself thinking, “Yeah. I agree with almost all of that assessment”.
I look at other personality types, even ones that only differ from mine by one letter (e.g. getting ENTJ or ISFJ) and think “Holy cow, those are completely different from me!”

Cruiser's avatar

I find it will reliably put you into one of their categories from there I have never figured it out.

I am a member at another forum where pretty much everybody took it and presented their results and it was very telling in that the personalities of the members that meshed also matched with the MB category and further gave insight to why you meshed or clashed with the members you did! INTJ as if you couldn’t tell!

Lightlyseared's avatar

I have always found the groupings to be so vague and general that no matter what personality type is tells me I am are there are aspects of all the types that could describe me.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Studies have shown that up to 75% of those tested will fall into a different category if retested.

downtide's avatar

I usually come out as ENFP and it fits me very well. Ocasionally I get ESFP which is still very close but not quite as close.

crisw's avatar

Skwptoid did a great podcast on the test. Good for fun and games and conversation- not for reliablle analysis.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I think that they are interesting but without many other assessments, the ability to make important decisions about careers or relationships are not meaningfully improved.

ratboy's avatar

I think they need to diversify.

weeveeship's avatar

I think it is quite useful but should be taken with a grain of salt.

What I like about it:
1. Gives you a description of what makes different people tick. My observations show that this is at least fairly accurate.
2. Shows you the compatibilities between you and someone else. This could reveal potential complementary areas and potential problems.
3. You can use it to guess someone else’s type based on what they say or do. This is not 100% accurate, but it’s better than not knowing. I think.

What I don’t like about it:
1. Too rigid. For one, just because someone is an INTJ (I here being introvert) doesn’t mean that the person could not be outgoing and have fun in the right circumstances. For another, a person could show characteristics of more than one type (e.g. both ISTJ and INTJ).
2. Does not take into consideration beliefs and culture. A ESTJ from one particular culture might act very differently from an ESTJ from another culture.
3. Pigeonholes people too much. e.g. I’ve known quite a few ISTJs in my life. Some of them are nice and would not hesitate to lend a hand, even at the expense of their time and resources. Some of them are apathetic at first, but would lash out at you for “not living up to their standards” (which they do not disclose). Others are just jerks. But it would be unfair for me to know that someone is an ISTJ and judge “Oh, she’s a nice person” or “Oh, she’s a jerk” without really getting to know that person.

mattbrowne's avatar

Acceptable and valuable, but not perfect. None of these tests are.

perg's avatar

My coworkers and I took the step II test (more questions, more informative results) as part of a staff retreat last year. As others have noted, it’s as accurate as you allow it to be by your answers. We didn’t share the specific details of our individual results – just the four-letter summary. Reviewing our personal results was enlightening, but you can’t just read the letters and say that’s it – you have to understand what they mean, and where you fall on the spectrum of, say, introversion versus extroversion.

The point of doing this as an office was to learn how to be more understanding and respectful of others’ work and communication styles. So it helped to know, for example, that one of my coworkers will tend to approach a question in a broad way and why he’ll give an answer I find overcomplicated, and for him to know that when I ask a question, I need a specific, pointed answer. You can probably get this information just by having a good talk with someone, but the test results (and the facilitator who ran our meeting) provided a very helpful framework for the conversation that made it a lot more efficient and memorable.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I feel the same way as @perg and for very similar reasons. I’ve taken it twice with an 8-year span in-between. Both were conducted for the whole department (two different depts.), and we discussed the results with a certified facilitator over a 2–3 day session. The graphs for each team member were provided to all of us. Having the detailed results, having it explained in-depth, and discussing it with others that know you well made it easier to understand the validity of the test results.

It is also not wise to share the 4-letter code with someone who doesn’t know you well; assumptions can easily be made and often incorrectly. If I were asked to take the assessment as part of an interview process, I would politely decline and offer to take it after being hired. Any company or hiring manager that banks on the results to find the ideal candidate clearly does not understand the purpose of personality assessments, such as Myers-Briggs.

For example, @Sarcasm and I share the same four letters and @downtide‘s are the opposite. If all three of us were applying for the same job and the hiring manager felt that the ideal candidate is not an ISTJ, should that automatically rule Sarcasm and me out? Absolutely not, IMO. Sarcasm may be introverted by nature, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be extroverted when the need arises. In fact, using some personality assessment results as part of a selection process could be construed as discrimination.

perg's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Well put. My jobs have all required me to behave like an extrovert, but I’m well over on the introvert side of the MB test.

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