MBTI: Useful and informative, but untrue? | INFJ Forum

MBTI: Useful and informative, but untrue?

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by KazeCraven, Sep 18, 2010.

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  1. KazeCraven

    KazeCraven Graduated from Typology : May 2011
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    So, I think we can more or less all agree that MBTI captures some individual differences among people, but do you actually hold the position that MBTI is, well, truth?

    That there are 16 discrete types, as described by a basic function order preference, with people being exactly one of these types throughout life?

    Would you entertain the idea that these dichotomies are actually more dynamic? That perhaps there are perhaps several groups of people lumped into one category (say, S-type), that are being defined more by a lack of a trait than the existence of one?

    In other words, what I am suggesting is that the MBTI is an internally consistent system, which maps onto a certain type of variation among humans, but does not really capture the essence of how this variation really works.
     
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  2. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Of course. The MBTI classification system is completely fallible, and wholly unreliable. It can't be taken as truth, because every human being is unique and not two people will be the same. It's a decent predictor of things based on ones responses (if the person accurately classified him or herself) but it should never be taken to heart. The system's intention wasn't meant for that, anyway.

    The thing is, there is no way to "capture the essence" because no two people will behave entirely the same way towards the same set of circumstances. They may act similarly, but we won't say the exact same things or do the exact same things when presented with a problem or issue.

    The more we take it as gospel truth, the more we see it as a "clique" or "club", which it should never be.
     
  3. 88chaz88

    88chaz88 Back for a limited time only
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    There is truth to it but it's certainly not as rigid or structured as some believe. People have varying degrees of each part of the types and develop through others. Human psychology is still a very young science and we're nowhere near to understanding the most complicated object we've ever encountered yet.
     
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  4. mooseman

    mooseman Local Claviger
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    Putting people in boxes like this can definitely be useful for some puropses - to bring some structure to chaos. The big question I think is whether the theory of the eight cognitive functions really map to eight discrete mental processes. I'm not so sure about that. I have been struggling to identify them withing myself. It would be really neat if the theory was spot on correct, but I don't really know... I'm still waiting for some real understanding here, be it one way or the other.
     
  5. IndigoSensor

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    Saying MBTI is truth is a really bad notion. It can reveal some small truths within a person, but it by no means can be taken as infalliable. The theory itself does explain people as a whole pretty well. I mean, it wouldn't be as popular as it is if it didn't. It is able to predict what a person is like within certain limits. The reason is, is there definitely a corralation between thinking patterns (which is what MBTI predicts) and personality. However these two are not mutually exclusive and can and will be independent variables. From what I have seen though there is a decent overlap within the two for one to be able to understand what they are and who they are.

    It's very frusterating for me in some respects because I want everyone to be in a box in a sense. When I first started to look into MBTI I tried very hard to fit everyone into a box and make it into this concerete model through deeper understanding of the theory. However as I have looked into it more and more, I have come to realise that there are holes with the theory and it is not perfect. I still hold the notion that everyone can be fit to a type, however some people are much easier to fit then others and there in lies the problem with it. Its the variation of people, not the theory itself, that makes it have fallaicies to it.

    I use MBTI to understand people and help them understand themselves better (much more as a supplemental piece but still it's a big thing for me). I have my own theories, and theories I have seen elsewhere I have adopted to understand it further and "fix it" in a sense. However not everyone will agree with it so I do not always advocate the use of these fixes. Also because they are not fullproof either. I really think people should start to understand MBTI at it's core, then make it their own to make it work for themselves as well as the most people around them that they possibly can.

    MBTI is not perfect, and is not a entire truth. However it is certainly useful, otherwise it wouldn't be as popular, well used, and well known as it currently is.
     
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  6. Jonathan

    Jonathan Community Member

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    I kind of wish I could talk to the original creators of the MBTI. I think a lot of the inconsistencies with it have to do with each person's understanding of each of the functions. For example, a lot of people (including me), identified with the description of their type without really knowing how the functions work. I noticed that I thought of intuition, feeling and judging in a very different way than some others, which made me doubt myself and my understanding of my type. It wasn't until I found common ground from a number of sources that I began to form more concrete 'definitions' of the 8 type attitudes. I'm just thinking that as the information about MBTI passes from person to person and organization to organization, has the potential to change the way people understand the cognitive functions.

    What a lot of people do when they get conflicting information is to doubt its truth or infallability. I'm not saying MBTI is infallable by any means, I'm just saying that it's easy to get mixed infromation or information that has been changed by people's opinions or personal ideas/ misconceptions about temperaments. For example, many tests give a description of intuition, sensing, feeling and thinking, that are basic and all encompassing. I originally thought of intuition as extraverted intuition, and that made me doubt if I really was an intuitive, since my primary mode of thinking is actually introverted intuition. I agree with Indigo that to understand MBTI at its core. As for making it your own, I suppose there isn't really much wrong with that, as long as people aren't getting confused or being fed conflicting ideas.

    Recently, I've been starting to make MBTI my own by separating cognitive functions from other concepts that relate to personality, but aren't relevant or don't feel like they fit with MBTI; like cultural influences and attitudes, the family I was raised in, the people at school that happened to affect me, the personality of my hometown.... stuff like that. The bottom line I guess is that you almost need to make it your own and let it flow with what you understand. I'd be driven crazy trying to make it work. It's still incredibly useful and interesting despite it's many gaps and inconsistencies.
     
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