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MBTI Criticisms

Professional opinion on MBTI is divided. On one hand, there are modern psychometrics criticize MBTI for its low reliability and validity and prefer assessments like the Big 5. However, there are also Jungian scholars who acknowledge MBTI's value and think it can be improved on to assist in Jungian therapy. 

Criticism to MBTI

  • The reliability of the MBTI is poor, especially given its claim that type is inborn and remains the same throughout life.[1]
  • The two-letter categories are not as clear as it would appear, because it's possible for people with relatively similar scores to labeled with much different personalities.[1]
  • The validity is questionable. There isn't a consistent and meaningful relation between MBTI results and success in career placement.[1]
    • However, neither C. G. Jung or Isabel Briggs Myers claimed typological preference could predict job performance. 
    • Some studies find correlations in MBTI type and job satisfaction.[2][3]
  • The descriptions only appear accurate because of the Barnum effect, a mix of flattery and confirmation bias.
    • Barnum effect is a psychological phenomenon in which people believe that personal descriptions apply specifically to them, despite the fact that the description is actually filled with information that applies to everyone.
    • Some type descriptions may contain Barnum statements, but in general when presented with multiple descriptions of MBTI types, many people think that most descriptions do not apply to them. 

    Value of MBTI

    Despite its deficiencies, MBTI can be valuable if used properly. 

    • MBTI can be an instrument to discover the potentials you may not notice in life.
    • MBTI can be used to understand the differences between individuals and revolve the confusions you have when interacting with other people. 
    • MBTI type is not the answer to real life problems, but a rough measurement to categorize people. It is ok if you don't find yourself fit in the description of any type. 


    [1] Pittenger, David. (1993). Measuring the MBTI … and coming up short. Journal of Career Planning and Employment. 54.

    [2] Buie, E. A. (1988). Psychological type and job satisfaction in scientific computer professionals. Journal of Psychological Type15, 50-53.

    [3] Richard, L. R. (2001). Psychological type and job satisfaction among practicing lawyers in the United States. Cap. UL Rev.29, 979.

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