Myers-Briggs: How Useful is it Really?

Sometimes in my free time, I enjoy reading articles written on Thought Catalog. Thought Catalog, like other blog sites, hosts a variety of writers as they share their take on the world. A recent trend I have discovered is the constant mention of Myers-Briggs as a topic of interest. “What Each Personality Type Does in Order to Avoiding Breaking up with You,” “How to Approach a Conversation with each Myers-Briggs Personality Type,” “The Myers-Briggs Personality Types when Something goes Wrong.”

The Myers-Briggs is a test that assigns a result from your answers to 1 of 16 personality types. The questions usually ask how you would behave in a scenario or how you perceive a situation. There are four different traits that are accounted for and two variations within each trait. An individual can either be: extroverted or introverted, intuitive or sensing, feeling or thinking, and judging and prospecting.

Despite the commotion around the test, how effective is it really? If one wants to use the test to determine all the tendencies and preferences of an individual purely based on which one of the 16 personality types they were assigned to, then it would not be considered as successful. Each of the four traits of the Myers-Briggs is a spectrum, from one variation to the other. Two ENTJs will usually differ; perhaps one is 95% extroverted while the other is only 51%. Additionally, many people forget to consider that people are fluid, and personality types can differ throughout time or even with different specifications and questions in the test.

However, if the Myers-Briggs is used as a supplementary tool to better understand that people behave and respond to events differently, then it can be an effective way to teach empathy. The concept of empathy is to consider the viewpoints of others, despite not being able to experience the same feelings. I do believe that the effectiveness of the Myers-Briggs test is overhyped, but it does not take away from the fact that the test has value in helping people better understand how to work with others.

What do you think? Comment below if you have any thoughts to share.

By: Sharon Chiang