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The Myers-Briggs Personality Test Is Bullshit

Are you an introvert or an extrovert, a feeler or a thinker? For years, the go-to for this kind of introspective info has been gleaned from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a lengthy self-report survey established by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers in the early-20th century. The mother and daughter duo were not psychologists, but studied the work of psychoanalytical forefather Carl Jung. As such, their MBTI intends to categorize people with questions based on Jung’s interpretation of the four core psychological functions—extraversion versus introversion, intuitive versus sensing, feeling versus thinking, and judging versus perceiving. After completion, you’re be assigned a four-digit barcode (INFJ, ESTP) with each letter corresponding to what side you fall on each of those aforementioned spectrums, eventually trickling down into 16 distinct personality types.

The MBTI has become a weirdly ubiquitous piece of pop psychology. Businesses have used the Myers-Briggs test to make hiring decisions, there are academic papers published evaluating the correlation between MBTI and employment satisfaction, and there are literally thousands of personality-type clubs on meetup.com, (like “Toronto INFJs,”) ostensibly so that a community bound by nothing more than an online quiz can finally find solidarity with one another. (From my anecdotal research, I can also confirm that the diagnoses appear in a good deal of Tinder profiles too.) It’s easy to see why. No matter how logical and lucid someone might be, it’s always nice to be told you’re special by a deterministic authority. And on 16personalities.com, the commercial hub for all things Myers-Briggs, you get just that. “It’s so incredible to be finally understood,” reads a quote emblazoned on the site’s homepage.

This post is from VICE. Click here to read the full text

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