Members in the Media
From: Fast Company

Why Everyone’s Favorite Personality Test is BS

Myers-Briggs tests have a persistent hold on many of us. Employers administer them to new recruits. Singles put their results in dating profiles, next to their astrological signs. And, to my dismay, the test was even featured recently in a Fast Company article about remote work and personality types.

Why, you might ask, was I dismayed by this?

For that, we have to dig into the field of personality psychology a bit more.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, is an assessment that was developed in the early 1940s by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, based on the writings of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and his discussion of personality archetypes. The assessment is based around four dimensions, and individuals taking the assessment are classified along each of those dimensions.

Read the whole story (subscription may be required): Fast Company

More of our Members in the Media >


I agree with the author that MBTI is psychometrically weak, and that it should definitely not be used in personnel selection. (I am not sure that personality testing should be part of candidate evaluation in general, except perhaps for well-defined and validated selection for particular traits — certainly not things like “leadership potential”, for example.) Where the MBTI can be useful is in settings like group training, where issues like the advantages of personality diversity in a group, or personal traits and how they function can be discussed. When framed in terms of the “types”, people are often less threatened by examining “less-developed or neglected sides” of themselves than by seeing them as weaknesses or defects. Like any test, the MBTI is a tool. When used for the wrong purposes, of course it becomes BS.

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.