Skip to main content

The Validity of the MBTI Personality test

Destiny is an avid researcher that specializes in the more controversial and sciency topics.


The MBTI personality typing system has gotten really popular over the years and is still steadily gaining more audiences. From just between friends looking for a fun way of knowing more about themselves to large businesses using it to distinguish the different types of employees for work, it would seem that the psychology test has come to stay. But should and can it really be used to show how a really important part of one’s life; their personality, is?

This article breaks down what the test is all about, problems about it and why it is still useful to a significant degree in the various aspects of a person’s way of seeing the world.

How did it come about?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test was created by the mother and daughter duo, Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers in 1942. It was initially developed to help people better understand themselves in order to choose better jobs. Cook, who was an avid observer of people and how they act, was inspired by Carl Jung, a great psychologist, and his theories which played a vital role in developing the test.

How does it work?

The test is made up of questions that, when answered, attempts to classify people as a personality type from 16 others. These types are made up of 4 different trait choices that can come together to give the specific type. They are

- Introvert (I) or Extrovert (E)

- iNtuitive (N) or Sensory (S)

- Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)

- Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

Scroll to Continue

So, that essentially means that when one completes the assessment and submits, they will be assigned a collection of four of the traits selected from between each two. For instance, one can be ‘INTJ or ESFP’.

Most often, on the different websites that gives the tests, after one has been given a type, they can then proceed to read about all of their traits and most probable habits they display more often.


Shortcomings and Advantages

Some psychologists have criticized the test from being too inaccurate to provide any significant insight about the personality of an individual. With people getting different types after being tested the second or third time (Sometimes even very different from the first), It is no wonder that its validity would be put into question. But as is other personality and psychological tests devised to bring into light the workings of the core of an individual, some problems are inevitable.

The human mind is a very complex place and personalities can change between either a short or long amount of time. The MBTI test tries to break down how someone is likely to behave and make decisions in different contexts whether inside a person’s head or outside of it. Though, it cannot fully explain a person, I think it does a pretty good job of giving insight (Extraordinary enlightenment in some cases) to how you really are. This is especially true for heavily misunderstood people. Some online communities have even been made to allow the people with the more uncommon types (i.e. INFJ), to understand and improve themselves better. Reports have been made in these communities on increased mental health and confidence in such people.

Some companies are even known to use such tests to classify their employees into the most effective area of work to ensure the most returns from their jobs. Bridgewater Associates, a multi-billion-dollar company in assets, also uses them. With a former employee reporting, although, the test never seems to be fully able to label a person, it does a good job in “reconciling the gaps between what the test results tell us, and what we know to be true about ourselves”. The test can therefore serve as a starting point in understanding oneself.

For some people, the need to know more about themselves leads to more research and understanding of the traits in a deeper sense. Later psychologists used the MBTI test to create a more insightful way of using the test. They came up with the use of functions which are the extraverted and introverted forms of the intuitive/sensory and thinking/feeling traits. These opened up a deeper way of learning about the different types. Here’s an article providing a more in-depth guide to functions:

Cognitive functions guide

All-in-all, the MBTI test, though not too accurate, is a very useful way of beginning the journey on understanding oneself and seeing how they can improve themselves in lacking areas of their life. But you’ll still need to get up and produce desired changes from the knowledge acquired!

© 2022 Destiny Oseh

Related Articles