A Defense of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The other day, on Twitter, I stumbled across this thread of people espousing their opinions about the Myers-Briggs personality profiler (or MBTI - Myer’s Briggs Type Indicator). Quite a few of the negative comments seem to be based on the belief that the origins of the type indicator are not scientifically credentialed enough. It is interesting to see a bunch of folks on Twitter who probably have no background in personality study attacking the MBTI for its humble origins in clinical observation done by CG Jung. Since I personally know multiple mental health professionals who swear by the MBTI, particularly in its application to relationship counseling, it strikes me as almost laughable to read these arm-chair tweets from people who consider themselves experts after say, reading a Vox article on the subject. While the indicator may or may not be ideal for determining vocational direction, that is not its only application. It works well as a framework for navigating interpersonal dynamics.

I’m not even sure the origins of the framework matter that much. Ultimately, is the way the test was developed the measure of its usefulness in practice? Blood thinners started out as rat poison, but practicing physicians would endorse their use for preventing clots. Validity and reliability may be considered low for Myers-Briggs within the psychometric community, but material real-work outcomes are observable in a clinical environment. If the test was truly as useless as its critics claim, wouldn’t those using it in practice toss it aside?

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