Where the Personality Tests Fail
Personality tests come in handy if you're bored or seeking validations about yourself. But should you really be taking the results too seriously?
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test is the most popular personality test today. In 1942, Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs started working on the theory of Carl Jung to sort different types of personalities.
Twenty years later, they published the test so individuals could find out their personality types. This test divides all the personalities into 16 categories by four pairs of parameters, such as introversion and extroversion, thinking and feeling, judging and perceiving, and sensing and intuition. One can get only one trait of each pair. If one gets sensing, they won't get intuition. Therefore, the test makes binaries out of human personalities, when in general personalities lie in a broad spectrum.
This is not even the main problem. Tests like Myers-Briggs, Big Five Personality Test, DISC, PCM, and Enneagram use self-reported assessments. One may have honest intentions while answering the questions, but how can one describe oneself without becoming biased?
For example, how do you respond to "You are very sentimental"? You might be sentimental and not consciously want to admit it, or you might not be as sentimental as you think. As these questions play a role in determining your personality, biased answers can lead to faulty results (assuming there are only 16 types of personalities in this world to begin with).
Every scientific discovery or theory must have reproducibility – these tests don't. A study shows that 50 percent of test takers get different results when taking the same test for the second time in five weeks. This again represents the problem of self-reported assessments.
These tests can't predict whether or not one will be successful in life. Success depends on more than just an individual's personality. Yes, introverts can also be leaders and no, not all extroverts are entrepreneurs. You being an INTJ doesn't mean you have the luxury to be critical about anything and everything. You must learn to acknowledge your mistakes instead of putting the burden on your personality type.
Many industries around the world use these test results to evaluate applicants. Some go far enough to buy the complete reports of their assigned types. It's a farce, really. Our hard-earned money is making personality testing a multi-billion dollar industry, just for telling us who we are.
These tests are yet to be proven by trials and applications. No one can be absolutely sure when it comes to humans because of our complex and ever-evolving nature. We're not computers, where you give an input to find a particular output. And we're not like quantum mechanics, where every input has two different outputs.
It's far more complex than that.
Sabiba Hossain is a Hufflepuff who plans to go into hibernation every winter but never succeeds. Send her fantasy book recommendations at fb.com/Sabibastro