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. 



Related Content

The Real Reality

Jean Piaget defined “object permanence” as the awareness that objects continue to exist even when th...

What’s Your Buddhist Personality Type

Like a 1,600 year-old Cosmo quiz, Buddhism has a tradition of separating people into distinct person...

Typewriter as Actual Writer

Mark Twain, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Jack Torrance from the Shining, all lost control of their typew...

The Benefits of Being an Introvert

In a world full of extraverts and TMI, a return to introversion could be just what we need. Take the...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

Michael_7
10/16/2010 5:01:31 AM
The Myers Briggs is a great test to do on oneself. It offered me tremendous help in understanding my approach and perspectives and also taught me a lot about how others differ, and why this can be such a gift. Myers Briggs rocks....still.

Brianz
10/8/2010 2:10:59 PM
These tests were designed so that people could understand how we are all different, how we communicate differently, how we learn in different ways, how we contribute and participate in different ways and how we work in different ways. These tests were designed to educate people about our bias and prejudices and not to catogorize people into ideal types to serve corporate needs or our anxieties to be better than anybody else and call this pursuing an American Dream instead of the nightmare it became by our mutual back biting about who is better suited to serve society. This is the real distortion of the way the test are being used today to serve business needs or somebodies pocketbook. These tests should be free and used in schools so that teachers and children can learn about differences and learn how it accept and to relate to these differences in a positive way instead of children learning how to degrade each other like we see in society at large in the education system and in the work place. If we are to function as a team anywhere and in anything we do, we should understand how each person functions in society instead of judging them according to our personnal standards of biases of right or wrong.

Mark Stanger
10/4/2010 6:20:24 PM
I am an Episcopal priest. The Meiers-Briggs is practically a sub-cult within our church. At a clergy renewal conference where the subject drifted to open discussion of Meiers-Briggs, I announced that is was an INRI.

Judy Johnson
10/4/2010 11:48:27 AM
I beg to differ. While Myers-Briggs is not a comprehensive personality-assessment tool, I found it to be valuable when I first took it at work. Firstly, it really did help me to understand myself better at the time, especially in the area of introversion/extroversion. Secondly(and this was the primary intent of our HR person), it gave me a better understanding of my teammates and our different ways of being/working/seeing the world. Of course, the fact that I also find value in astrology will undoubtedly invalidate my opinion.... Judy



Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* 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

Want 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!