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About the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator)

 ~ Personality explained in simple terms ~ 

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The MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) is a personality test developed in the USA. He assigns every person to one of 16 types. This makes it very easy and entertaining, but does not meet scientific criteria, more on this below.

An original Myers Briggs test is only available from certified MBTI consultants for a fairly high license fee for evaluation + advice. However, there are countless unofficial, free variations of the MBTI test in books and especially on the Internet.

On this page there are links to various tests, information about and criticism of the MBTI, as well as a comparison to the type test.

New version with 32 types

The type test personality test is a reinterpretation of the MBTI principles with 32 types. Based on current scientific knowledge and completely free of charge: 5 question test

Background information can be found in my book Knowledge of Human Beings - The Great Type Test. It explains the five basic personality traits in an easy-to-understand way, it contains a comprehensive, scientifically proven personality test, many tips and examples. ► Book on Amazon

 


Brief history of the original MBTI

The MBTI personality test is very well known in the USA and is often used for personal knowledge, career or partner counseling. In Germany, however, the MBTI is largely unknown.

The MBTI was developed by lay psychologists Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers on the basis of the theory of psychological types published in 1921 by the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung. The MBTI sees itself as a test with which the Jungian types can be determined.

The first official version of the MBTI appeared in the USA in 1962. The Myers Briggs type indicator only became really known in the 1980s through the books by David Keirsey, who simplified the MBTI. In the United States, the MBTI and its multiple variations are the most widely used and widely used personality test to date. This has less to do with the quality of the test and much more to do with strong marketing.

The MBTI has changed little since it was originally developed more than 50 years ago. Therefore it has no meaning in today's scientific personality research. The Myers Briggs test is still often used by laypeople due to the clear terms and the simple system. The MBTI is suitable with restrictions for entertainment and simple explanation of personality types, but it is no longer suitable for serious and more in-depth assessment of personality Not suitable for contemporary backgrounds. More on this in the review section below.

MBTI & type test

The type test is based, among other things, on the same basic principle of types as the MBTI. At first glance, both look quite similar, but there are still many clear differences in the details. Although the types are described similarly in the type test, the type test is no longer based on the 90-year-old theories of C.G. Jung - like the MBTI - but uses the latest scientific findings from the Big Five to bring the model of types up to date. The differences between the type test and the MBTI system in detail, the most important first:

  • In the type test there are a total of 32 types, which generally correspond to the 16 types in the MBTI, although there is an emotionally resistant and a sensitive variant of each type.

  • D.he type test is based on current scientific knowledge of the personality model of the Big Five - for more than 20 years the standard of personality research, and therefore describes the types very differently compared to the MBTI, since the type test is based on modern psychological findings.

  • The type test uses its own German designations to make the system easier to understand. The comparison table can be found further down on this page.

  • D.he type test is completely free of charge, while the original MBTI is only available through an expensive licensing system.

  • The type test includes the important fifth characteristic of neuroticism / sensitivity

  • In the type test, not everyone has to be a certain type: there are also intermediate types and many people who are in the middle - the balance - when it comes to properties, see blog article "Are there types?". With the MBTI, however, everyone is forced to one side or the other of a property.

  • The personality traits become clearer in the type test on the basis of the Big Five scales, and they are also defined differently from Myers Briggs in detail.

  • In the type test, there is a detailed test with multi-level answer options, the Type Test XL.

  • Unlike the MBTI, the type test is only based on the old principles of C.G. Young, but according to current scientific tests such as Hexaco or IPIP.

  • With the help of Big Five and other studies, a lot is scientifically explained, see e.g. in the type test blog.

  • In contrast to the MBTI, the outdated function system from Jung is no longer used in the type test, see blog article and functions according to Jung.

  • The strength of a personality trait, or whether one is close to the middle, plays a decisive role in the type test. Because the most pronounced trait is that in which someone deviates the most from the average (see article). In the case of the MBTI, the strength of the expression plays against it no Role.

 

Comparison of the properties & types in the type test and MBTI


Type test
German
 


MBTI
English
 

I.ntroverted - E.xtroverted

P.practical - Ttheoretically

Hkind - Kooperatively

S.pontaneous - Geplant

E.

S.

T

J

The guys


Books on MBTI and Co.

I recommend my book to anyone looking for a modern, up-to-date interpretation of the MBTI and Jungs type Knowledge of human nature - the great type test. It explains the basic personality traits in detail, it contains a scientifically proven personality test and many tips and examples that go far beyond the simple assignment of types. ► Book on Amazon

 

There are only a few German books specifically on the MBTI or the 16 types. This is how I am recommended! by Stefanie Stahl and Melanie Alt(That's how I am! Review). The other German books are unfortunately quite weak compared to the English originals. Because in America there are well over 100 books on the subject of MBTI and the 16 types, e.g. the bestsellers by David Keirsey, Barron-Tieger or Renee Baron.



If you are generally interested in personality and the research behind it, and don't want to limit yourself to the MBTI, I recommend Personality - Why You Are How You Are by Daniel Nettle, that deals with the Big Five (My review on it).
 

Criticism of the MBTI

There are many ardent supporters of the MBTI who defend it against all doubts. However, there are also many critics and legitimate points of criticism at the MBTI. Above all, there is the point that with the MBTI, every person is a certain type GOT TO and intermediate types or people who are in the middle are not taken into account. Although there are very many of them, and science clearly shows that most people are more or less intermediate types.

The second major criticism is that Stagnation of the MBTI modelthat it has hardly changed since its development more than 50 years ago and therefore does not at all correspond to the current state of knowledge of personality research. For example, the important personality trait of neuroticism / emotional sensitivity, which has been known for more than 50 years, has not been properly integrated into the model to this day, or only incidentally in the form of a degree of stress.

In academic psychology and science, the MBTI is largely ignored and dismissed as horoscope-like (a good summary of this in the article What's wrong with the MBTI). Because since its first publication in the 1960s, the MBTI has changed only minimally. The questionnaire has been improved in detail, but otherwise not much has changed at the MBTI over the past 50 years. Current scientific findings from the past 30 years - such as the Big Five - have been almost completely ignored. Therefore, the MBTI model is still based today on the more than 90 years old, groundbreaking at the time, but now long outdated inspiration from C.G. Young.

There are many ways to improve the MBTI:

  • The realization that not every person corresponds exactly to one type and that there are also intermediate types, see "Are there guys?". This goes hand in hand with the recognition of the fact that not every person is e.g. exclusively extroverted or introverted, but everyone has both characteristics in themselves, most people are even close to the middle, and the strength of the expression thus plays a decisive role, see blog article here and here. Even Jung said more than 90 years ago that nobody is either 100% on one side or 100% on the other, but is somewhere in between. At Myers Briggs, however, this is ignored.

  • The revision and redefinition of the vague and often incorrect MBTI dimensions based on the scientifically recognized Big Five scales, or based on the findings of personality research over the past 30 years. For a listing of the errors in the MBTI properties, see the article The Errors in the MBTI Dimensions.

  • The abolition of the outdated and completely unrealistic system based on Jungian functions, see blog article.

  • Acknowledgment of the fact that the type / personality can change or fluctuate over the course of life. Not only in the test, but also in reality, see e.g. "How personality changes in the course of life".

  • The use of a multi-level scale for the test, as in the XL type test(= fits perfectly, - partially, - not at all, etc.), instead of simple either / or possible answers.

  • And much more...

    Studies and sources on these points can be found in the linked blog articles.

Ways to improve the

There are many Myers Briggs tests, but these are largely ignored by the official MBTI site. Instead of adapting to reality and current findings from personality research, the MBTI continues to insist on old, long-outdated patterns. Unfortunately, with the MBTI, reality is adapted to the test instead of the test to reality.

Because the MBTI is Not a scientific personality test that is used to research personality, but a purely commercial test. The license structure of the MBTI is also used for quality assurance, but above all it serves to make money. That is not objectionable in itself, but as long as it sells in its outdated version, there is no need to adapt the MBTI to current findings. The high fees are also one of the reasons why the MBTI has remained largely unknown in Germany.

Another criticism of the MBTI German point of view is the missing Germanization. Since the partly unclear English terms (see above) are also used in German at the MBTI, the system is difficult for Germans to understand. This is particularly incomprehensible when you consider that these English terms are originally translations of the German terms used by Jung at the time. This is also one of several reasons why the MBTI is so unknown in Germany and why the type test uses its own German terms.

Conclusion of the criticism: It is incomprehensible why the MBTI is not developing according to current knowledge.
 

Enough of criticism - positive things

It goes without saying that the MBTI and especially David Keirsey are to be credited for getting a lot of people to deal with their personality. In contrast to the Big Five, all properties and types are in the MBTI described neutrally and very positively. This makes the MBTI much more engaging and accessible than most scientific personality tests. It focuses on positive development, and there are countless official and, above all, unofficial books on the MBTI, which deal with the most diverse areas of life and offer tips for all possible life situations, see e.g. books and sources.

Even if I can find very clear words about the MBTI: all of the above points are neutral criticism. The MBTI isn't bad per se. His weakness is that he has never adapted to innovations or the current state of knowledge. Of course it is too Type testnot free from mistakes and criticism, e.g. one may or may not like one's own terms for the properties. However, compared to the MBTI, the type test is a non-commercial test, all of the content of which is freely accessible, and which endeavors to combine and improve the outdated typology with new scientific findings.
 

Related Topics: Reiss Profile, Professional test, disg, enneagram, Character strength test


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