"Overall, the review committee concluded that the MBTI has not demonstrated adequate validity although its popularity and use has been steadily increasing. The National Academy of Sciences review committee concluded that: ‘at this time, there is not sufficient, well-designed research to justify the use of the MBTI in career counseling programs’, the very thing that it is most often used for."
I found my type to be dead on accurate.
Looking at all the other types, ENTP fits me like a glove. I could see where the forer affect would apply to vague, subjective descriptions - like a horoscope or palm reader, but my personality traits, as quoted by wikipedia --
ENTPs are frequently described as clever, cerebrally and verbally quick, enthusiastic, outgoing, innovative, flexible, loyal and resourceful. ENTPs are motivated by a desire to understand and improve the world they live in. They are usually accurate in sizing up a situation. They may have a perverse sense of humor and sometimes play devil's advocate, which can create misunderstandings with friends, coworkers, and family. ENTPs are ingenious and adept at directing relationships between means and ends. ENTPs "think outside the box," devising fresh, unexpected solutions to difficult problems. However, they are less interested in generating and following through with detailed plans than in generating ideas and possibilities. When ENTPs are used correctly on a team, they offer deep understanding and a high degree of flexibility and problem solving ability. The ENTP regards a comment like "it can't be done" as a personal challenge, and, if properly motivated, will spare no expense to discover a solution.
Is like none of the other personality types and fits me well. Truthfully, it was quite amazing the first time I read an ENTP description.
Seriously: the Forer effect applies. These descriptions are vague, because people attach entirely different meanings to the terms used. For instance, everyone thinks they are clever, flexible, loyal and resourceful, when compared to others. 80% of a class thinks they belong to the best 20% of the class. This is exactly the same.
'ESFJs are people persons - they love people. They are warmly interested in others. They use their Sensing and Judging characteristics to gather specific, detailed information about others, and turn this information into supportive judgments. They want to like people, and have a special skill at bringing out the best in others. They are extremely good at reading others, and understanding their point of view. The ESFJ's strong desire to be liked and for everything to be pleasant makes them highly supportive of others. People like to be around ESFJs, because the ESFJ has a special gift of invariably making people feel good about themselves.'
Anyone can put me in the INTJ, ENTP or the two intermediate categories. That's already 4 out of 16. Now collect some characteristics from those 4 and mingle: voila, you have produced something I will consider recognizable. In this way, everyone is as good a psychologist as Jung.
I've found that an understanding of MBTI has helped me immensely when facilitating or leading groups. Knowing that there will be some people that are most creative when brainstorming on their own (often introverts) and some that are most creative when working in groups (often extraverts) means that I give time for both in any session I'm leading. If I'm running a meeting that is going to go over time, but is producing good results, I'll ask everyone if they are ok with going over time and will set a new time limit. Before I knew about MBTI and realized that people with a J preference (unlike myself) often disengage from any process that doesn't appear to have a defined ending, I was losing out on the contributions from all Js in any meetings gone over time.
Those are just a few examples, but hopefully they show that MBTI isn't just about 'knowing your type'. People will act with preferences on either side (I lean a little bit to the I side, but often play the role of an E depending on the group I am in) but understanding how all of these preferences play out in groups gives you a much better chance of getting the best contribution from everybody on the teams you work with.
Seriously, these things are the real-life equivalent of a silly Facebook quiz.
edit: Having looked over the questions in the linked quiz, my answer to most all of them was "it depends". I guess this means I have no personality. :)
The Myers-Briggs typology based on Carl Gustav Jung's work, is in my opinion, an accurate and useful tool for generalizing intelligence types.
You are correct, in contending, that quantifying the psychic whole of a person to an absolute degree is absurd because the psyche of a person is constantly evolving. The MBTI type only seems to shift in a minor way, though, despite gnostic shifts in the psyche.
I can account for this. I was typed as an INTJ early in life when I mostly just built stuff, didn't socialize much, and sandboxed in my own mind; throughout life I've experienced many things and people that would be considered "outside" the profile of an INTJ. Those experiences didn't change my typing, they only made it more potent.
Instead of a socially inept introvert, I became a socially adept introvert. Instead of being intellectually rigid and intransigent, I became intellectually focused and discerning. My type hasn't changed at all, despite traveling through India, experimenting with psycho-active drugs, and working for soul crushing corporations.
I'm supporting your statement that it isn't necessary, because it isn't. At all. However, is it useful? Fun even? Yeah. It is.
I view Astrology in a similar light. Your "sun sign" is just a "blueprint" upon which your living of life molds and evolves (another discussion though).
Introverts are people who tend to think before acting (which makes them more shy), and extroverts act before thinking (which makes them less shy), but those aren't the only factors in social adeptness. A polite introvert who can make good jokes will have more friends than the extroverted class bully.
The main value of MB is that it's value free. It's easy to talk about introversion-extroversion, sensing-intuition, thinking-feeling or judging-perceiving; it's hard to say people are lazy-hardworking, boring-interesting, smart-dumb, or brave-cowardly.
However, a good M-B test will also provide a degree of strength or clarity of your various dimensions. So it can be useful to see where you deviate from the norm.
Personally, though I'm INTP, the only dimension that is particularly pronounced is the N (88). And that does say something about me. While in all the other dimensions, I can't see a clear preference in myself, I can say that I do live primarily in the world of abstract thought over sensory data.
Typically, it is assumed that a typing represents the whole of the Self; I tend to use it only as a generalization of the Self.
Coming from a Jungian background, the psyche is composed of multiple (if not many) complexes. Each complex being an autonomous psychic entity but a component of the psychic Self.
Each complex can have its own typing. The Anima (feminine complex) could very well be an ESTJ and the Animus (masculine complex) could be a INSJ. The compound result of all the complexes results in the dynamic and volatile nature of the psyche.
This multi-faceted nature of the psyche produces a (to me) accurate view of the psychic Self; a person can too have a type that generally dominates the whole of the their psychic Self as well (ie: I'm an INTJ, my Animus is more of an ISTP and my Anima is an ENFJ - don't forget there are other complexes).
Also, MB typing is not value free. If something were value free it would not be of value ;) The difference between "introverted" and "boring" isn't in the value of each term, it is in the interpretation of the value of each term.
One could consider boring and introversion to both be an inward psychic motion. Boring - to bore - going within; is uncomfortable for many people because within their psyche they must experience their complexes as opposed to projecting their complexes and experiencing them outside of the psyche (with other people, things, etc...). Hence why "boring" is imbued with bad or un-associative thought.
Introverts tend to be internally focused and rarely engage in the projection atmosphere commonly seen with large groups of familiars or extroverted (to different degrees) people. When a person is not engaging in a projection that another wishes to engage in, the person not engaging is typically considered "boring" or "serious" or "anti-social".
Please note, neither extroversion nor introversion is better or worse than the other. Claiming and accepting the complexes of the psyche within leads to both a happier introvert (that is more extroverted) and a happier extrovert (that is more introverted). Just like claiming and accepting the feminine or masculine self leads to a more balanced individual; it just happens that one is already dominated by the other and finds it to be a natural setting. The above paragraph was using familiar language to convey a point, but was limiting in its scope.
All things have value, even if that value is unit value (or 1). Value is provided by the human mind and subject to valuing meme levels (context dependent).
The majority of Hacker News readers are in a mix of systemic (computers, systems) and entrepreneurial (startups, ambition) valuing memes. The Hacker News reader typically values the experiences they have within their life at this stage based on those memes.
You seem to have a more rigorous and holistic understanding of the psyche than I do. I have a set of intuitions built from this framework. It seems you have understandings of additional surrounding frameworks, and probably a more clear understanding of MBTI itself than I do.
Do you have a reference (ideally a published book or books) that could help me expand my understanding of MBTI and the enveloping aspects of the psyche?
Read Carl Gustav Jung's work, his psychoanalytic process and framework is very powerful. Particularly his works on the shadow self, symbols and the psyche, and alchemy as a transformative psychic tool.
I also pull quite a bit from Claire Grave's work on Spiral Dynamics. Ken Wilbur is also known for taking his work and expanding upon it (a simple Google search will turn up some good resources). Here's a blurb I've got copied on it:
Here is a link to my present understanding of the spiral dynamics: http://antiquatis.info/tool/vmeme
The test does not claim ANY kind of "absolute quantifification". That would be claiming that there are only 16 personalities in the world, which, as you note, is absurd. It is merely an attempt to define a few of the dimensions that make up a human personality, and provide a framework for talking about how those different dimensions interact.
If you aren't interested in this, it's your business. But you should really reflect on where the attitude of "this is too nebulous and volatile" a subject to study and try to quantify, and decide if that's really how you want to react to things that are too big and complex to be immediately understood.
If you really think the test is bullshit, then why am I, and the vast majority of the respondents on the previous poll (linked above/below) NTs, also know as Rationals? Seems odd, considering the figure I've heard quotes Rationals as 10% of the US population. Unless, of course, these results are revealing something specific about this population in particular?? Hmm.
Personality is indeed a complicated thing, and MBTI respects that. It's understood that only the person in question can decide what their type is, since so much about it is below the surface of what another person can observe. It's only a tool for analyzing and understanding certain parts of your own personality that most people share, that can vary widely, and that tend to face one of two directions.
Knowing my type (INTP) has been pretty valuable to me. It's given me a clearer understanding of the preferential basis for some of my attitudes and behaviors, and it helped me accept my introversion as a natural part of who I am. Looking at the previous HN poll (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=204240), there's a strong presence here of types that are uncommon in the general population. At the very least, that correlation is pretty interesting.
I don't know what this means, and to be frank, it sounds like a lot of gobbledy-gook. The whole point of categorizing is that the categories should convey some information about the thing categorized. The point I'm making here is that these personality categories don't even come close to this. The problem is that personality is an extremely complicated concept, and one that is prone to constant change. I seriously doubt that you could say something meaningful about a subject's personality with 10 axes, let alone four.
To illustrate this, ask yourself two basic questions of these test results:
1) Are the conditions and results repeatable?
2) Can you use them to make any meaningful prediction of behavior?
It seems you're saying that a categorization system that doesn't describe its subjects in complete, full, everlasting detail is worthless. I'd have to disagree.
Look at the poll right now, or its predecessor. INTP has a higher tally than all the other types, which is particularly interesting considering its relative rarity in the general population. You could therefore conclude that an INTP is more likely to vote in a poll on HN than, say, an ISFJ. That's information. Useless information perhaps, but information nonetheless. If MBTI didn't actually indicate anything, then the tallies would more closely fit the type distribution in the general population.
Your concerns about the test's reliability are valid, but any attempt to categorize something that we don't completely understand is going to have its inconsistencies. It's a far leap from there to useless.
No, what I'm saying is that a categorization system that doesn't say much of anything about its subjects is useless.
INTP has a higher tally than all the other types, which is particularly interesting considering its relative rarity in the general population. You could therefore conclude that an INTP is more likely to vote in a poll on HN than, say, an ISFJ. That's information.
You're using INTP in conjunction with a hacker news poll to draw a conclusion here; not INTP itself. The reason for this is that it's not possible to draw any meaningful conclusion from the INTP result itself. And even this conclusion is very vague: what does it tell you exactly that the incidence of scoring INTP is higher on HN than the general population? What prediction can you make from this fact?
Couple that with the mentioned fact that the entire four set of rational types is less than ten percent of the general population and I can't see how you couldn't find that just a little indicative that perhaps they're onto something.
A categorization system that could make accurate predictions about how a person may act or be or feel would be far more complete than MBTI. I think we agree on that. But I don't think that's what MBTI claims to be. What I've gotten from it is an improved vocabulary for describing my personality in general. My type didn't tell me much I didn't already know. What it did tell me was that my lack of meatspace organizational skills and my well-structured code (or meticulously organized music library) may share a source in my preference for introverted, abstract thinking. Which is to say, it highlighted an aspect of myself of which I was dimly aware and caused me to relate it to the way I behave.
Ultimately MBTI is a personal tool for limited reflection. Any larger conclusions about a population should be avoided or qualified with "generally speaking."
Also, as with many of these things: "the map is not the territory". Use any insight it gives, ignore what it doesn't.
Everyone is a combination of these things. The most introverted person in the world is sometimes extroverted, and the opposite as well. My wife is introverted around friends but extroverted at home; I'm extroverted with friends but introverted at home. You're answer "it depends" is absolutely valid and yet doesn't invalidate any part of Meyers-Briggs. You don't like to be pinned down and that's fine, but you have preferences, and that's all it's asking. You may be able to write with both left and right hands, but which one do you sometimes prefer? And if you prefer that, you might also prefer 'x'.
If you give it a chance, you might be surprised to learn something new about yourself.
A basic problem with this kinds of tests is that it's too easy to interpret the results to fit a very wide range of personalities - just like a horoscope will fit just about everyone who believes in them.
But they're still fun, and might give a hint about some general tendencies.
above vs http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=943884
So no, not scary accurate like a horoscope. :)
There's also the aspect of giving the "right" answers to achieve a desired result. It's not very difficult to e.g. get an inrovert or extrovert type, and everyone knows that "real" hackers are introvert, so...
Basically it's not science, definitely not in this form.
[edit: I would have expected more extroverts in the results here, since the target audience is entrepreneurial hackers. Maybe it's the proggit exodus that's showing?]
My point was that the constant claims that these categorisations were qualitatively indistinguishable from the zodiac are patently false, and there's the evidence.
"You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic."
People who write sales letters that are mailed a few million times, or who write copy for the 30 minute infomercials - use MBTI constantly. Before writing down a single word, they do research:
Step 1: Which MBTI profile dominates this particular products usage? (For HN - it would be NT)
Step 2: What do these people look for - to make a decision?
Step 3: How do we give this information to them?
When millions of dollars are spent on persuasion, people bet on writing for specific MBTI profiles - and not for the general audience. They realize that MBTI is not perfect. But it is a good framework none the less.
Its like being left handed or right handed. Being left handed doesn't mean you won't use your right hand at all. It just means that you prefer using your left hand for most tasks. And so it is with MBTI. Finding your specific type doesn't mean you don't have other types in you. It just means that you prefer one type over 15 others for most things. And it would be smart of me to focus on that one type to persuade you.
INTJ - 2.1%
INTP - 3.3%
ENTP - 3.2%
ENTJ - 1.8%
Total - 11.4%
So this small percentage of the overall public dominates about 75% HN, as the votes tally up. People here are about 7x more likely to be of the intuition not sensing and thinking not feeling personality types. Also, if you look at all the NT's on the right side of that link, males are about 2x more prevalent than females to be NT's.
Anyway, this kind of voluntary response poll would have exactly NIL value in answering the question that appears to be asked here, which is, what Myers-Briggs types are there on HN? The people who come forward to answer the poll are not a random sample of the tens of thousands of people who read HN.
If we presume that the prevalence of polls of this sort has increased here at HN, and we presume that attitudes toward polls correlates to personality type, what would the results have looked like for an earlier HN? Is there possibly a type that drools only for accurate data? (one-tenth smiley)
INTP - 207
INTJ - 188
ENTP - 76
ENTJ - 57
INFP - 41
ENFP - 30
INFJ - 27
ENFJ - 16
ISTP - 12
ESTJ - 11
ISTJ - 11
ESTP - 4
ESFJ - 3
ESFP - 2
ISFJ - 2
ISFP - 2
So, the question seems to be finding out if you like to do stuff on your own, rather then going to a party, but it mentions something specific: a book
My answer: Well, no. I don't like reading books that much. However, I prefer reading hacker news, rock climbing, programming, designing, working on some music, etc.... But I wouldn't read a book over going to a party.
In a well administered test though, one of these questions shouldn't significantly impact the final outcome as other questions with different wording will also be used to help gauge your disposition.
As a general indicator, sure - it confirms our own self-conceptualization, and can give general guidelines to others as to how we'll respond to stimulus. But the stress is on /general/. Its predictive ability leaves much to be desired.
That's not my experience. The INTP description fits me almost exactly. Change one of the indicators and the description is partially accurate but with clear discrepancies; change two or more and it's not even close.
With such a lot of intellectual suspicion, I'd guess you're an INTP or similar ;)
If you're pretty add 1, otherwise add 0.
If you're smart add 10, otherwise add 0
If you're kind add 100, otherwise add 0
Result of the test: if you have accumulated 111,
you're known among your friends as a beautiful,
You could also group people according to eye color, and tell people with blue eyes that they probably have light-colored hair, but it wouldn’t necessarily be helping them understand themselves better.
(I’m undecided about how useful these tests are. Just trying to clarify why people might dismiss them.)
"i am large. i contain multitudes."
as with a horoscope, you're more likely to agree with an assessment than disagree. i'm both shy and outgoing, a follower and a leader, logical and emotional--depending on the situation. the complexity and variety is amazing. i expect nothing less of humans.
Just read about its history and development. You don't need to read the criticisms to see it's bunk.
Also, going from "genetic" to "immutable" is a non sequitur, and is not supported in any way by twin studies. It sometimes turns out that genetic features (such as hair color) are not so hard to change after all (e.g. with dye).
Your implication that it's disingenuous that the layman's definition differs from the scientist's definition... is dumb.
And again, I didn't say that personality was immutable. I said that part of it was. Longitudinal studies show that a correlations of personality across an individual's lifetime is about .83, which is pretty damn high. http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev....
There are a billion and a half studies on this, and heritability estimates range between 20-45% for different personality traits being tested. http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0070366055/student_vie...
Whether a person does change their personality is a different issue than whether it could be changed (possibly requiring some new knowledge, or possibly simply requiring a change in preferences). So that correlation study doesn't provide evidence of immutability.
I know there are a lot of studies on heritability. Now, if you are interested in an open discussion, cite one study that you stand behind, and state the definition of heritability it uses, in your own words or quoting from the study itself.
I'm not really sure what you wanted me to get out of that blog post. I did cite a study- I linked to it. And the definition of heritability is still the same.