Myers-Briggs inaccurately labels people’s personalities

As the Myer-Briggs MBTI personality test is gaining popularity, some are questioning the true accuracy of the tests. There are many limitations to the 16 types have that can’t completely correspond to one’s personality.

Harum Taha

As the Myer-Briggs MBTI personality test is gaining popularity, some are questioning the true accuracy of the tests. There are many limitations to the 16 types have that can’t completely correspond to one’s personality.

Harum Taha, Staff Writer

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test has been taking social media by storm on platforms like Instagram and Tiktok. Many creators dedicate accounts to posting relatable content corresponding to these personality types for people who enjoy learning more about themselves. However, contrary to popular belief, there are an awful lot of limitations to these personas, and their descriptions can’t always be applied to real-life interactions. 

“I think the MBTI test can be relatively vague,” senior Kaitlyn Pham said. “It’s impossible to categorize millions of people in a few types with perfectly accurate descriptions because everyone has a different set of values that can’t always correlate with their types.”

It’s impossible to categorize millions of people in a few types with perfectly accurate descriptions because everyone has a different set of values that can’t always correlate with their types”

— Kaitlyn Pham

Psychologist Ronald E. Giggio had people take the MBTI test on multiple occasions in which their type would change with each administration. According to his results, one person might score intuition (N) in their first test, but after changing only two answers to the questions, they would get an opposite result compared to last time. Results shouldn’t be drastically affected by such a small number of questions or else they appear unreliable. 

“I do agree that the scores on the MBTI test can be inconsistent,” senior Brandon Espinoza said. “Some of the questions can revolve around what state or mood you are in. If people change some answers because their mood has changed, you get completely different results than what you had before, which I think causes confusion on what type you really are.” 

The New York Times has discovered that even Carl Jung, whose work inspired the test, acknowledged the limitations to these types, especially where people lie in the introverted/extroverted spectrum. He believes a person’s involvement in a social group may differ depending on the people who are in the group, so one cannot be a pure introvert or pure extrovert as external factors play a role in sociability. It is impossible for someone to lean exclusively towards being an introvert or extrovert when it comes to their social skills, which makes the MBTI test inherently inaccurate. 

“I think there is a line between the two traits, also known as the ambivert,” Pham said. “I don’t think people can be categorized with just two distinctive groups since I’ve met a lot of people who can be a mix of both, but that solely depends on who they hang out with so not everyone can be either-or.” 

According to Vox, Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs were the ones who adapted Jung’s principles into a test, but they never had formal training in psychology, even though the MBTI revolves around it. To learn techniques for test-making and statistical analysis, Briggs worked with businessmen such as Edward Hay to understand the concept rather than focus on personalities’ contribution to the people themselves. Because the Briggs did not have training in psychology, a complete understanding of how the brain works and how personalities develop were not factored into the test, meaning the statistical analysis was incomplete.

“Knowing that the creators behind the test never had proper training when it comes to psychology, which plays a role in the types and their cognitive function, makes me question the test a bit,” Espinoza said. “Humans are very complex beings, so the limitations are obvious, but understanding the true psychology of the types possibly could’ve made the test more accurate and reliable for people to use on a real-life basis. That being said, there’s more to you than the functions that apply to you.”