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Health and Sanity

Valentina Nicolae
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piqer: Valentina Nicolae
Tuesday, 30 April 2019

What Can A Personality Test Tell Us About Who We Are?

This episode of Hidden Brain takes on the subject of personality tests—tools which tap into people’s desire to understand themselves and others around them and their need to find a place in the world.

For some, these tests work miracles, meaning that once they’ve found out they are extroverts not introverts, or that they are driven by thinking, rather than by emotion, it becomes clearer why they act the way they do and how they can work with what they have.

For other people, however, the results of such evaluations can feel like an unjust label they’re stuck with forever. Such is the case of a technical director at a theatre, interviewed for the show. Once he was “diagnosed” a certain way by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) during a team building retreat, his work colleagues started seeing and treating him as this “artsy-fartsy, head-in-the-clouds guy who couldn't get anything done, who really just needed to have a pottery studio and sit around and smoke pot all day.”

To make matters even more serious, there are companies in the US who use Myers-Briggs in order to decide who should get a job or who to fire. The problem with MBTI, as well as with other personality tests, is that they lack peer-review published data and fall short of validity and reliability standards (two variables essential to tests being considered scientific).

"Sometimes, our beliefs lift people up – make them run harder, reach for more. Other times, our expectations attach leaden weights to wings and keep dreams from taking flight. I can't say I have much confidence in personality tests. But I've come to understand there is huge power in the faith we have in them.“
What Can A Personality Test Tell Us About Who We Are?
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