In "Against types," Drake
Bennett discusses the
spread of personality
testing into the courtroom,
the workplace, even online
dating services. Do tests
like the Myers-Briggs and
the Minnesota Multiphasic
give us useful insights
into our ourselves, or do
they give a dangerously
and unfair picture? Should
and other organizations
continue to rely on them?
I find the article inflammatory and extremely broad brush. Please consider what you are asking people to answer - - - akin to asking do you like black or white when maybe the truth is I like gray. I think that Myers-Briggs is simply another tool that can help us to communicate. I do believe, especially under differing situations, that how an idea is presented has significant impact in how it is received. I believe it will be received differently by different individuals, many times not based on content, but on style. One comment, please, on Steven Reiss regarding MB and Jung - - - "So it's based on bad science, but it actually works". I think that is a highly intuitive response (I'm an ENFP with strong intuition), but it sounds like a back handed slap to Jung and I wonder why. I find Carl Jung to be extremely thoughtful.
I work with parents who are are in custody and visitation disputes. The use of these tests determine who will have custody, the abusive parent, or the one struggling to protect the child. The Family Court Judge will order the parent trying to protect the child to have the tests performed by a professional paid by the abusive parent, yielding a biased interpretation. The protective parent then faces an uphill struggle to protect the child from judicial orders for the abusive parent to have unsupervised visitation and eventual full custody as the protective parent fights to protect the child. For the judge has used Richard Gardner's defunct "Parental Alienation Syndrome" to remove and place the child with the abusive parent.
No, they're absolutly silly. What they to do is provide revenue for the companies that administer these tests. Also, they give people something else to talk about besides the zodiac when it comes to figuring out what type of person you are. If you buy this stuff then you are a sucker.
Using any tool to the exclusion of other evaluative measures runs the risk of making assumptions based on partial data. Although one's personality may be static to a great extent environmental factors do influence known strengths and weaknesses. Used as a guide, personality tests have the ability to give information to individuals that if kept in perspective could maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses. PTs should never be used to pigeonhole individuals into cemented groups.
Denise, Winthrop Maine
These tests annoy me because I could invariably choose either answer, depending on how I imagine my circumstances. Q: Do you prefer a bath to a shower? A: Depends entirely on how pleasant and clean my options are, how much time I have, and my mood. Q: Are you fascinated by fire? A: Define your terms! Are we talking about a cozy fireplace in winter, the lit end of a match, or a major house fire down the street? And what do you mean by "fascinated"? Do you mean for an hour or a lifetime? My favorite question on the MMPI was, Q: Do your thoughts sometimes turn into insects and fly away? A: Um, do you a secret desire to make horror films instead of personality tests?
absolute nonsense. just another excuse for people to look at paper instead of having real, true interactions with others. our society is becoming more cowardly all the time, and looking for excuses to not do the hard work. Its also another excuse for HR goons, you know who you are, to pigeon hole prospective employees and push friends and relatives into prime openings.....it happens.
There is a slow but steady movement in this country to pathologize all differences. If we continue in this trend, all creative thought will be stifled and all creative thinkers will be labelled "ill" and drugged into a stupor. The psychiatric profession itself is directly resposible for the notion that different thinking equals mental illness, and Americans are being drugged at a much higher rate than people in any other country in the world as a result. Is this really what we want - a "Brave New World" in which we are all alike, all blandly happy and conforming to a narrow range of societally approved activities?
J Star, Watertown, MA
Two words: Junk Science. As a society, we seem to be relying more and more on these shallow ways of determining who we are as people. We want to be entertained, and personality tests somehow "validate" this need for entertainment. The statement made about the intellectual content being comparable to a fortune cookie was right on. Everyone gets hundreds of these offers in pop-up ads, as if they hold the key to our identity and purpose for being. These tools always prompt the most ridiculous questions in job interviews. There are far better questions to ask when interviewing for hiring, court cases, etc. Get real!
As part of my interview process for a job at a large corporation in 1995, I had to take 3 different personality tests. I never believed they had much validity or accuracy, but actually do find them somewhat entertaining. All three tests' results indicated I was a good match for the company. Talk about just plain dead wrong. My personality couldn't have been more of a mismatch for the culture of that company and the personality of any of the people with whom I worked daily. I stayed for only 8 months, and left with my opinion of these tests proven.
The problem is that the questions generally leave much to interpretation. How I'm feeling when I take the test means everything in terms of how I choose to interpret the questions. I've taken some of them several times and, without consciously trying to, have gotten widely varying results. In many cases, the results are equally vague anyway, which returns one to the ultimate conclusion that multiple-choice tests are probably not the soundest of personality assessment techniques.