I’ve been getting several video requests asking me to talk about things like whether MBTI is a scam, the reasons I like it, and how it has changed my life. There’s no shortage of people who will claim that Myers-Briggs is a scam, unscientific, false, fake, disproven, or whatever. Is this really true? I’ll share some of my thoughts about the Myers-Briggs system.
Is MBTI a scam, discredited, or unscientific?
One of the complaints that I’ve noticed about MBTI is that it is unscientific. First, you have to realize that most theories in psychology are labeled as “unscientific” because they are not falsifiable or because they contain subject observations. That’s not only true with MBTI but much of psychology.
MBTI haters love to put MBTI down, but in many cases, they’re promoting some other theory. One MBTI hater commented on my channel a couple of months after I started it, and they ranted about 5-6 paragraphs long about how MBTI has been discredited and that it’s all about the “scientifically proven” Big Five personality theory. I ended up deleting their comment because it was irrelevant to the video topic (and obnoxious).
My response to MBTI haters is this: MBTI is popular, and it’s probably not going anywhere anytime soon. MBTI is to personality type as PC is to the computer market. It’s probably the most popular and well-known system for typing people, in my opinion. It’s used by companies, individuals, religious organizations, and more.
Nevertheless, “Haters gonna hate.” If you don’t like MBTI, then quit trolling forums and YouTube channels about MBTI. I don’t care about the Big Five personality theory, but I don’t go and rant on other people’s channel about it. It’s annoying when people do that.
Seriously, even if someone COULD disprove MBTI, what would they do next? Would they move on to the Easter Bunny, Loch Ness Monster, flat earthers, or Big Foot? Who cares! Why not spend time talking about things you find interesting, rather than wasting time ranting and trying to disprove everything you dislike?
My goal on this channel (or website) is not to “sell” people into the MBTI system, nor is it to “prove” that MBTI is accurate. My channel assumes that people accept MBTI and want to learn more about it and discuss it. So, if you’re an MBTI hater, you’re in the wrong place!
However, regarding the claims of MBTI being unscientific, here’s what MBTI says about itself:
“The best reason to choose the MBTI instrument to discover your personality type is that hundreds of studies over the past 40 years have proven the instrument to be both valid and reliable.”
As far as research and studies, there are plenty of them. For every study you find discrediting MBTI, I’m sure you can find one or two that validates it. In the MBTI Manual alone, they have all sorts of graphs and data, which is based on the four dichotomies. So, research and studies do exist to help validate MBTI. However, I’m not terribly concerned with those things, because my interest centers on observations of the different temperaments, which I think MBTI (and Jungian theory) does well.
The second big criticism is that people get different assessment results or have trouble finding their type. This is sometimes true. However, it doesn’t mean that MBTI is invalid. There are many reasons why people mistype.
- People don’t understand the questions.
- People don’t understand their preferences.
- People can have an idealized version of themselves that does not match with their true personality, so they will answer questions based on this idealized version and not their true personality type.
- People may be tempted to distort some answers on an assessment because society tends to value extroverted traits and devalue introverted traits.
- People may be stoned, depressed, on suffering from some disorder the first time they took it.
- Your functions develop over time, and sometimes it can take longer for some people to develop their functional preferences.
How MBTI Has Changed My Life
First, the whole reason I even discovered that I was an INTJ was because I was going through a period where I felt like I didn’t know myself. I couldn’t understand why I struggled so much with social interaction, why I appeared to be so different from other people, why I hated most jobs I had, etc.
I had no direction in life, and I was just trying to understand who I was as a person. I had looked at things like astrology, but I’ve always been skeptical about it because I never really felt like the descriptions fit me well. My wife and I are both Virgos, by the way, and we’re very different (I’m an INTJ and my wife is an ISFJ). However, my INTJ nephew is not a Virgo, yet we are much more alike. I would also advise Christians to avoid astrology per Deuteronomy 18:10-14 (and other passages of scripture).
I’ve also taken other personality assessments before the MBTI stuff, and I was always skeptical because I felt like they would ask you these questions such as, “I like to read: YES or NO.” Then, after you take it, it regurgitates your responses. Therefore, the results would say things like, “You like to read.” I would think to myself, “Duh, I just told you that.”
However, when I took the personality tests online that are based on the MBTI/Jungian theory, it was different. The test told me things I had answered, but it also told me things about myself that I didn’t reveal to it. In addition, it was more accurate than anything I had ever taken in my life.
This intrigued me, and I began to lurk around INTJ forums or search for some of my own quirks. I’d see INTJs talking about the same struggles, the same things that I was dealing with, and that resonated with me.
Reasons I Like MBTI
Here are some reasons I like MBTI:
- MBTI has helped me learn more about myself, feel more comfortable in my own skin.
- I find that MBTI helps me get a general idea of how other people will operate. It’s helped me have more perspective when dealing with people of opposing functions.
- My biggest attraction to MBTI is not so much the cognitive functions or the theory behind it. Some people who like MBTI love cognitive functions, whereas some people will dismiss them completely. I think David Keirsey, for example, was once quoted as saying that he didn’t find much of a use for cognitive functions, and he relied more on field observations of the 4-letter dichotomies. I like the functions, but I’m not a fanatic about them (at this point, anyway). My biggest attraction to MBTI has never been the theory behind it, but rather, the observations that have been made about our type.
In conclusion, there are some MBTI haters, but I like the system. It doesn’t tell you everything about a person’s type, but it has some startling insights that can help people understand themselves and others better.
I routinely get comments from people saying things like, “I’ve watched your videos, and they are spot on.” Or “I thought I was the only one in the world like this!” I think MBTI is very helpful for the rarer and more introverted types. In fact, I believe that the types that are most attracted to MBTI are probably INTJs, INFJs, INFPs, and INTPs, because we feel very misunderstood.
The biggest takeaway when considering MBTI is this simple fact: Not everyone thinks like you think. Because I grew up living inside my own head, I naturally assumed everyone perceived the world and made judgments in the same way that I did. Wrong! These differences in preferences cause people to exhibit different personality traits. That, to me, is the big takeaway from MBTI.