MBTI, Strengths and Weaknesses

By Gerri Inamura

The MBTI is the world's most popular personality test. In spite of the fact that it has existed since 1943, the MBTI is still going strong. Recently, newspaper criticisms have tended to accumulate, calling the MBTI no better than random Facebook quizzes. These criticisms are uninformed.

It is true that the MBTI has its weak points. Like everything in life, the MBTI is not perfect. But the idea that the Big Five test should somehow be able to replace the MBTI seems like wishful thinking on behalf of academic psychologists who want to "smash the old icons."

In spite of the fact that the Big Five construct has been around for 35 years or more, it is not at all close to replacing the MBTI. Ordinary people tend to find the Big Five boring and confusing, and conversely, they tend to intuitively "get" the MBTI.




So certainly, the MBTI is not without its weaknesses. It is not a comprehensive instrument and should not be taken to say everything about a person's personality. Nonetheless, it is the only known psychometric instrument that is universally accessible and which consistently manages to win hearts all over the world. Thus, the people who come on strong, with their various newspaper criticisms of the MBTI, should rather think about how to create an instrument that will emulate the unique strengths of the instrument, rather than just banging away at the MBTI while offering nothing to replace it. For the day they offer us something similar-but-better than the MBTI, the fans will migrate, all by themselves.

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