A Theoretical Critique of Everyone’s Favorite Assessment

We have thus far argued that, despite its popularity, the MBTI theory does not represent a suitable framework for understanding personality. But this is an incomplete assessment of why people like MBTI.

Randy Stein & Alexander Swan

In this article, Stein and Swan wisely avoid rehashing the many psychometric limitations of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to focus on its theoretical shortcomings. They do an admirable job of demonstrating that type theory doesn’t agree with known facts, lacks internal consistency, and makes claims that cannot be falsified.

In the closing sections of the paper, Stein and Swan acknowledge that their new theoretical critique will probably be as useless in changing the minds of MBTI enthusiasts as the previous psychometric critiques have been. They also briefly discuss some explanations for the MBTI’s ongoing popularity.

I created a podcast episode about this topic, but I feel another editorial coming on… – Ben

Read Evaluating the validity of Myers‐Briggs Type Indicator Theory: A Teaching Tool and Window into Intuitive Psychology in Social and Personality Compass (Free Access).

About the Author

Ben Butina, Ph.D.
Dr. Butina, who hosts the Department 12 Podcast, is an industrial-organizational psychologist with interests in training, leadership development, talent management, and positive psychology in the workplace.

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