100% Identification?

December 28, 2015
Jihyun Woo  Whitney High   11th grade

By Jihyun Woo
Whitney High
11th grade

It may seem unlikely that the complexity of the human brain and innumerable types of personalities can simply be divided into categories. However, this is the underlying idea that is used to defend the legitimacy of the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator.

Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Myers, based their theory on the work of Carl Jung, an esteemed Swiss psychiatrist who was famous for his collaboration with Sigmund Freud and innovative work in psychoanalysis. According to their theory, everyone’s personality can be classified using four different categories: introversion vs. extroversion, intuition vs. sensing, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving. The possible combinations of the four categories result in sixteen distinct personality types.

Today, though its legitimacy is still shrouded in doubt and questions, the use of the MBTI is widespread. Some psychologists believe that the test can give insight into thoughts and interactions between people. As a result, the test is utilized in work settings for information about personality, ethics, and effective training. It can also be applied in career searches to determine the best fit for specific personality types and even in gauging romantic compatibility.

However, there is ample doubt that surrounds the Myers-Briggs theory. Though the simplicity and supposed effectiveness of the test are appealing, there is a lack of sufficient evidence and research that has been conducted to definitively assert the validity of the concept of 16 personalities. There is reluctance in the scientific community to incorporate Myers-Briggs in research because its legitimacy is questionable and its use in research could sacrifice scientists’ reputations. Unfortunately, this also means that it lacks a foundation for support from the academic elite.

Despite the controversy surrounding the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, it provides a clear-cut system of identification that makes people eager to discover their own and others’ type. Its undeniable straightforwardness and resulting widespread use make it unlikely that the MBTI will become obsolete.

One Comment

  1. kelly

    November 27, 2017 at 10:47 AM

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