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Why everyone’s favorite personality test is BS

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Myers-Briggs tests have a persistent hold on many of us. Employers administer them to new recruits. Singles put their results in dating profiles, next to their astrological signs. And, to my dismay, the test was even featured recently in a Fast Company article about remote work and personality types.

Why, you might ask, was I dismayed by this?

For that, we have to dig into the field of personality psychology a bit more.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, is an assessment that was developed in the early 1940s by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, based on the writings of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and his discussion of personality archetypes. The assessment is based around four dimensions, and individuals taking the assessment are classified along each of those dimensions. The dimensions are:
• Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)
• Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)
• Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)
• Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)

You have probably seen people highlight their “type” using a code like ENFP.

This all sounds good. A simple classification system for understanding people’s personality ought to be a great tool for people to understand themselves and for managers to get to know their reports. Anything that helps people recognize the ways in which their motivations differ from those of the people around them should be useful in resolving conflicts and influencing........

© Fast Company

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