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« The War Against Outliers | Main | Emotional Intelligence and Type »

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Hi Vicki,

I enjoyed reading this post! I also commented on Terence's blog post and while I take your point that comparing instruments such as the MBTI to astrology breaks down as an analogy when you examine it, the overall thrust of Terence's argument is that such instruments often do more harm than good in a business context when used inappropriately - as you acknowledge. I've some sympathy with that view and I've written my own post in response: http://www.tenpencepiece.net/blog/2012/12/28/does-measuring-personality-make-sense/

I think what the MBTI and other similar instruments claim to do is problematic - precisely because it isn't the individual answering the questions who is choosing labels for themselves. Instead, it's the researchers behind the instrument that are exercising this power. If we as individuals really want to understand our personalities, then applying an idiographic framework such as Kelly's Personal Construct Theory may be rather more helpful than the "bed of Procrustes" methodologies offered by trait and type theories of personality.

Tim.

Tim - Thanks for commenting and for adding to the discussion.

I do have to push back on your comment that " it isn't the individual answering the questions who is choosing labels for themselves. Instead, it's the researchers behind the instrument that are exercising this power." because that's not strictly true.

The researchers created the labels, yes. But the individual chooses. Part of the point of the MBTI is that, of you get to the end and don't think the code it gives you is a match, you are Supposed to read the profile (and other profiles) and make a decision. It is _expected_ that the questions may not be perfectly answerable by all people.

The better someone knows himself or herself, the more accurate the results will be. Part of the MBTI instrument is the understanding that it should NOT be done in a vacuum and it is important to look at the results and decide if you believe them.

No one "assigns" you a type but you yourself. If anyone ever tries to tell you "this is your type whether you agree or not", that person is misusing the MBTI.

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