Add to My MSN

The Pseudo-Psychology Personality Test

9/29/2010 3:19:00 PM

Tags: Avery Hurt, personality tests, psychology, science and technology, Mental Floss, Karen Garcia

Test formEach year, millions of dollars are funneled into administering the most popular personality assessment in the world: the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator Test. It’s used by dating sites, guidance counselors, pharmaceutical companies, and even the U.S. Department of Defense. Avery Hurt tries to figure out why in mental_floss.  

Hurt reports that the mother-daughter duo who came up with the questionnaire and scoring system in 1942 were basically dilettantes, and the only reason the test experienced sky-rocketing success was timing: Its release coincided with a surge of women entering the workforce (due to World War II), and industrial psychologists welcomed an instrument that could help them categorize, match, and direct these new workers into the appropriate fields. 

Today, the test is as pervasive as ever, even though most experts now dismiss it as worthless, “placing it only a step or two above astrology.” So why do huge corporations, government organizations, and even individuals continue to pour money into something so clearly based on nothing? Hurt submits: “We live in a culture where people seem willing to spend endless amounts of time and money to find themselves, and in that respect, it doesn’t look like the Myers-Briggs will be disappearing anytime soon.” 

Source: mental_floss   

Image by Casey Serin, licensed under Creative Commons. 

Content Tools

Pay Now Save $5!

Print and DigitalWant to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here