Most of us have taken the Myers-Briggs personality test at some point in our lives. The test that gives you a simple, four-letter acronym to sum up your personality. While it’s a neat way to learn about ourselves, you probably shouldn’t use it to do something serious like decide what career to pursue.
Photo by Crystal
As news site Vox explains, the Myers-Briggs test is based on personality types developed in the 1940s that have little connection to any real data. More problematic, though, is that it classifies personalities by a binary preference for a particular trait. In reality, however, most people exist on a spectrum between the two and can vary between them from week to week:
With most traits, humans fall on different points along a spectrum. If you ask people whether they prefer to think or feel, or whether they prefer to judge or perceive, the majority will tell you a little of both. Jung himself admitted as much, noting that the binaries were useful ways of thinking about people, but writing that “there is no such thing as a pure extravert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in the lunatic asylum.”
We often see that this is the case when we talk about introverts and extroverts. However, when it comes to the Myers-Briggs test, we tend to give it a pass. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing a simple test to get a bit more of an insight into your personality for fun. We all do it as we learn about ourselves. However, it’s worth taking a step back and questioning the test before you use it as career advice or a guide to your relationships.