MBTI: Why Does MBTI Matter Over Other Personality Assessments?

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Pictured above: My spirit animal.

Hey, do you know what color your soul is? How about what your mythical creature counterpart is? I bet mine is a dragon or something. Do you care? No? I don’t get why not, finding that stuff out would explain so much about you. Sarcasm!

What about your Enneagram? Or which of the Big Five your personality best fits with? No, not into that either? Well, neither am I! Of course, if you wanted to, you could take all those “tests” also and maybe learn something else out about yourself, but what will it do for you? Here’s a brief examination of why MBTI is not only the preferred personality assessment on this site but also how one should be enough.

It’s not an argument over “Who’s is better? My way or yours?” That’s a waste of time and chances are, if you’re on this site at all, you weren’t looking for anything other than MBTI (As far as profiling goes). But the vastness of information that is the internet, you’re bound to come across some of the other methods of explaining why you are the way you are. And just to be clear, no, I’m not actually comparing actual theories of personality to some quiz you’re invited to take on Facebook about what type of car you’d be.

Sooo...does this make me really cool or really lame?

Sooo…does this make me really cool or really lame?

But when it comes to personality, I’ve found that MBTI, at times, can be insufficient in its explanation of my behavior or actions. It doesn’t get me to a tee and it doesn’t fully explain everyone else either. People seem to be very happy with choosing what they like about a type over what they actually are…and that’s to say they’ve gotten the proper results in the first place. On top of all this, there’s only so far a theory can go in describing a person anyway. Everyone is their own individual and a simple design of questions and results can’t possibly say everything their is to know about each one of us.

None of them can, right?

For example, The Big Five, as its called, which stands for the five major aspects of our personalities, is often more accepted in Academia much more so than Type Theory. It relies on specific facets of everyone’s personalities that we all carry and put simply, are as follows:

Openness- This factor is the part of your personality that keeps you open to new experiences. There are six degrees of this, with people who score highly in this area tend to be very open to new things and those scoring low tend to be closed off from new experiences. Prefer the novel and exciting.
Conscientiousness- People who score highly here are known to be dependable and dutiful. Scoring low means you’re laid-back and possibly even lazy.
Extraversion-  You can figure this one out. Scoring high on this would mean you tend to be outdoing and energetic, with a love of social interactions.
Agreeableness- Dealing in cooperativeness, scoring high here would mean the test taker is trustworthy as well as trusting in others. Scoring low may mean you’re difficult to get along with and maybe untrustworthy. Agreeableness is the helpful side of your personality.
Neuroticism- Scoring high here is actually more of a negative thing. Scoring high on neuroticism may mean you’re too sensitive and the more negative emotions come all to easy and scoring low may mean you’re more emotionally stable.

This guy? This guy has made a career out of scoring high on Neuroticism.

This guy? This guy has made a career out of scoring high on Neuroticism.

How do these all fit in together? Well, as in Type Theory, you have all of these traits, it’s just a matter of the order they come in. What’s my problem with this system? I’ll explain.

Scoring high on Neuroticism, as mentioned, would make you a touchy person. And scoring high on this would make neuroticism your defining trait. And though their are varying degrees of it, ultimately, changing your attitude and routine in life is the way to make other traits your dominant ones.

So you can change yourself in the long run. While people scoring high on neuroticism can be happy to hear that, what we’re dealing with seems to be a system that just as likely to place you in a group that you could just as soon get out of. The helpfulness of this seems limited. It’s like putting on a red shirt only to realize you want to wear a blue one. But then that green one looks nice too…

And just never wear this shirt, ever.

And just never wear this shirt, ever.

Many have expressed issue with Type Theories placing as well. The fact that being typed as an ESFJ for example, means that you are not and cannot be, an INTP. While some argue that you can change your type over time and even the founding father himself, Carl Jung agrees with this, not all types had been clarified in his time; much like how he asserted that there is no “How-to” guide for interpreting dreams which we have an abundance of in the present day, thanks largely to Jung’s own work.

But changing type would defeat the purpose of type in that being sad today might make you an ISFJ, but being a proud leader that persuades others easily over time might turn you into an ESTP. This just isn’t the case. An ISFJ is an ISFJ, an ESTP is an ESTP. Your general mood is not determined by your type, no matter how common the stereotypes are.

Where am I going with all of this? In essence, for whatever problems people find with Type Theory, analyzing it properly will lead to the most fruitful results. Being a type you’re not happy with means you’re simply not happy with yourself or being analyzed in the cold light of day, it does not limit you to only doing things that the particular type is usually known for doing. Are you a neurotic ISTJ? Well, you can better yourself and it doesn’t change your type because that’s your type…but your neuroticism, agreeableness,etc. is all up to you. Your type doesn’t define you, much less a trait.

"Hm. If that's true, than what have I been arguing about on all these type forums?"

“Hm. If that’s true, than what have I been arguing about on all theseType forums?”

And getting involved in multiple personality theories should only be researched so much. Aside from becoming a kind of religion in their own right, knowing your results in every assessment can only benefit you so much. After a while, they’ll all run together and you’ve stopped using them to better yourself and started finding ways to have some faceless psychologist validate your every word.

You can be any kind of person you want to be and your type doesn’t limit you; it’s only there as a basic guide on the foundation of your personality rather than an instruction manual that will cause you to break down if you don’t follow it implicitly. But what’s the point of a personality assessment if it can change the next day? In that case, all you did was find out what you’re mood was.

 

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8 Responses to “MBTI: Why Does MBTI Matter Over Other Personality Assessments?”

  1. Well-said! 🙂 I completely agree, and I think there’s so much more depth & complexity to this theory than people realize. (Particularly when you get into the cognitive functions as well – which many people don’t realize are actually at the core of it all. Gifts Differing, by Isabel Briggs-Myers, is a great read, and makes that quite clear!) 😀 Anyway – I fully agree with your assessment. I like the Enneagram as a somewhat supplemental theory, but I’m not nearly as interested in it as I am the MBTI. And the MBTI is a lot more fun. 😀

  2. Oh! It also bugs me when people discuss Keirsey or Socionics in conjunction with the MBTI without realizing some of the vast differences between them (particularly with Socionics, which I quite frankly can’t stand). But temperament theory is useful. 🙂 (It’s just that Keirsey had his own temperament ideas, and tried to make the MBTI fit his theory. And with a few types – like mine – he misses the mark a bit. I think a lot of ISFPs mistype as INFPs going strictly by Keirsey’s theory.) Okay, babble over. 🙂

    • Taylor Says:

      I haven’t looked into Gifts Differing but I think I will. Yeah, I use a pretty good bit of Keirsey on here but mostly for the names. I try to differentiate where possible what he did as opposed to Jung, Myers & Briggs. Babbling is cool.

      • 🙂 🙂 🙂 Yeah, I think Keirsey has done good work; it’s just like you said, a lot of times people don’t care about the difference (or aren’t nerdy enough to delve into it, haha). Nerds = awesome. 😀

  3. FlowenRain Says:

    Do you happen to know your Enneagram though, by any chance?

    • Taylor Says:

      7w8 from what I understand. I had some Youtube users telling me that’s what they think I am, I took the test(s), got 7w8. Haven’t really looked into it much though so I can’t say how accurate it is.

  4. This makes many good points, but as a psychology student (just finishing up a Bachelor’s in it), I would love to add my few cents.

    MBTI, Temperament Theory, whichever approach you take… All these models represent the FOUNDATION of personality. This is the element of personality that is unchangeable. Or, at least very difficult to change, and such an endeavour would be fruitless – you’d probably still be insecure with who you are, since insecurity of your type is probably just overarching insecurity. Generally speaking, you are with strong psychosocial predispositions, ingrained in you very early (maybe even at birth? My identical twin is ESFP, I’m INFJ, and that could be explained by any of epigenetics, probability, a more spiritual notion, etc.)

    But Enneagram, though, from my understanding, without the same support for its validity and applicability, it can be very helpful in understanding a higher level of personality – by that, I mean it is largely immutable, but more transmutable than MBTI. While MBTI focuses on the fundamental psychosocial inclinations one has, Enneagram represents how one is naturally inclined in terns of motivations – they may stem from MBTI, they may not. An ESFP may be very idealistic, artistic, or even scientific, depending more on the individual.

    Something like the Big Five, I have come to appreciate it. I used to despite this approach to personality, but I think you can accept it if you understand it’s place in personality. While these traits are largely consistent, I believe this more represents what Keirsey would call “character” – that which is less fundamental, open to change. One can change their neuroticism, their extraversion, etc., because it is less fundamental to the person (less innate), and more dependent on environment and experience.

    So, if we think of each person as a pie:
    The MBTI type is the crust – a necessary foundation for the development, largely unchanging between individual cases, but with some variety.
    The Enneagram is the filling – it is more customizable, but resting right on the foundation, and while it can change between individual cases, it is not strikingly different between each, though with more variety than the foundations.
    The Big Five traits, or traits of other similar personality theories, are like the toppings – this is what can change quite easily, even at a whim, and tends to complement the foundation and filling, though much less rigidly.

    Sorry if that causes SO MUCH confusion… and hunger.

    • Taylor Says:

      No confusion, I see where you’re coming from. And I see a lot of people on forums talking about enneagram, connecting it with MBTI and it seems to fit well enough. But not my interest though. At least not now anyway. Time for some pie…

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