I have an interest in psychology in general, but anyone who reads my blog knows that I have particular love for all things Jung (specifically Jungian typology as it was more fully developed with Myers-Briggs). I came to MBTI through my studies of Jung and esoterica. I was studying Tarot and noticed some correlations people had made between the card suits and Jungian functions.
However, like Jung, my interest in the esoteric is rooted in my desire for truth and so I’m not content to look at pretty diagrams of possible correlations. So, I’ve studied the theoretical and scientific side of it well enough that I have a broad grasp of all the details and different viewpoints.
Anyone who has been on a type forum or checked out the variety of info available on the web quickly will realize that there is much debate and disagreement.
There is Myers-Briggs versus Kiersey, and then there are Berens’ Interaction Styles that attempt to bridge the two (also, Berens based her model on that of DISC which is something entirely else). There is Beebe’s function roles which puts the functions in one order versus Thomson who puts them in another order. Then there is the Russian field of Socionics which (mixing in some other theories) interprets Jung entirely different than Myers-Briggs (and some of the Socionics supporters claim that Kiersey fits their model the best).
The real interesting debate, though, is those who claim that the MBTI isn’t scientific and that Trait Theory (the favorite Trait Theory being FFM, aka the “Big Five”). It’s this last area of disagreement that I was just now considering in some recent web-searches, but it’s something I’ve considered off and on these last couple of years. I would gladly give up MBTI if it proved entirely or mostly false an unuseful, and so it’s an important to determine what is presently known.
There are several criticisms often stated:
- Limited peer review research
- Bimodal theory is disproven by trait research
- Unreliability because of low incidence of test result repeatability
- Neuroticism is excluded
Well, I don’t plan on answering all of those criticisms. I’m not an expert and so my opinion isn’t all that important, but I am a very curios cat. I will say that I doubt at present any absolute conclusions can be made. These are worthy criticisms to consider, but further research is required. Also, even if the MBTI is imperfect and requires improvement, that isn’t a reason to scrap it. Research improves theories and so thinking of MBTI as a static belief system is far from helpful. Furthermore, Jungian typology goes beyond just the MBTI (in more than a half century, numerous theories and tests have been created, and some of these are based on different premises such as not forcing bimodal results).
Here are some things that I found interesting which support various aspects of the MBTI: