Which Myers Briggs characters are compatible
The truth about Myers-Briggs guys
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most commonly administered psychological test. Most likely, most of you have taken it once, if not more than once.
The Myers-Brigg typology is based on Jung's theory of psychological types. It was built by the mother-daughter team of Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. Katherine Briggs had used Jungian to analyze notions of personality characters in literature. Although the MBTI is based on Jung's theory, it was actually Isabel Myer's interpretation of that theory that lies under the design of the test.
For example, in Jung's theory there is no "judgment of perception" (J vs. P) dimension, which was a creation of Myers and Briggs. So there are problems with both the theory and the design of the MBTI. Unfortunately, Myers and Briggs weren't very good at test construction and psychometrics.
Either or or both?
Serious psychometric problems are associated with the MBTI. For example, a problem that affects all typologies is that scores are divided into categories. In other words, you are either an extrovert ("E") or an introvert ("I"). In fact, the personality dimensions are continuous, with people being more or less extroverted or introverted.
In addition, the MBTI has a forced-choice format that requires you to choose between an Extroversionor an object of introversion (or an object of thought or feeling, etc.). Your score and type are based on how many of each you choose. So you can select 11 extraversion items and 9 introversion items and be an "E" while another "E" can have 20 extraversion items and no introversion. However, they will get the same “score”.
Many people who have taken the MBTI multiple times have wondered why their types change with each administration. Why when the personality is relatively stable? Scoring creates an additional problem in that you might get an "E" (11 vs. 9) during a test administration and become an "I" (9 vs. 11) the next time you change just two items. This is one reason for the low reliability of the test repetition in the MBTI.
Problems with using the MBTI
The MBTI has been used, or should I say abused, in many ways. For example, pre-marital counseling, the MBTI was used to measure the "compatibility" of couples. There really isn't any evidence to support this use.
I've also heard of companies using the MBTI to select employees. This is an obvious abuse as there is no evidence to show the accuracy of the MBTI types in setting up.
Commonly the MBTI is used in career guidance counseling (e.g., suggesting that thinker types take on more structured jobs; extraverted into "human professions" etc.). This can also be problematic as there is little evidence of the links between MBTI types and success in particular careers.
So, MBTI. What is it good for?
Perhaps the best use for the MBTI is for self-reflection. If this serves as a starting point for discussing how people differ in personality, emphasizing tolerance of individual differences, and taking the perspectives of others, this can be a useful tool. However, it is important that the test administrator cautions against over-interpretation of the results and discusses the limitations of the instrument.
You can find good, detailed criticism of the MBTI in the references.
Pittenger, David J. (1993). The usefulness of the Myers-Briggs type indicator. Review of Educational Research, Vo. 63, # 4, 467-488.
Pittenger, David J. (2005). Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Warnings. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, Volume 57 # 3, 210-221.
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