Should You Trust the Myers-Briggs Personality Test?

Personality psychology is a thriving field that has led to important discoveries about how humans differ from one another and how they are the same. Unlike some subfields of psychology, it has done exceptionally well in the replication crisis. Personality might seem wispy and intangible, but it can be measured rigorously if you have the right tools. And it is of great practical importance: it predicts (on average) everything from salary to career performance to romantic and friendship relationships to running afoul of the law.

But the Myers-Briggs is not the tool for the job, as it fails spectacularly at these tasks. If companies and governments want to make evidence-based decisions, they should avoid the MBTI and opt for models of human personality and career propensity that have better validity and reliability.

As for regular people like you and me, we should not be lulled into the facile belief that the Myers-Briggs can tell us much of substance about ourselves, or that it can help us find the right career or mate. We’ll have to rely on our own minds for that—plus the chancy contingencies of an indifferent universe.

The Myers-Briggs offers only the illusion of self-knowledge, not the real thing. A closer look reveals that it rests on a foundation of empirically unsubstantiated Jungianisms and unsound psychometric practices.

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