I Don’t Need A Psychoanalyst, I Have the Internet!
The Immense Possibility for Human Error while Answering 54 Questions about Yourself
“Hmmm”, he thought while he scanned his computer screen for the appropriate response to “You find it difficult to introduce yourself to others”. He recalled that last week at the company holiday party it was not hard to introduce himself to the countless investors and engage in further small talk, but he also remembered how it was painstakingly difficult to introduce himself to his girlfriend’s parents, who seemed to believe the notion that he is unfit for their daughter.
This was only the first question of the Myers Briggs online personality test and seeing as to the fact that he was already conflicted on which answer to chose, he felt an overwhelming feeling of defeat. However, after a while of contemplating, he finally chose the grey circle smack-dab in the middle of the disagree and agree sides, thus choosing to be “neutral”.
With regards to this, the homepage for this Myers Briggs test has 3 main things to keep in mind while taking the test: that it takes less than 12 minutes, that you should answer honestly, even if you don’t like the answer, and that you should try not to leave any “neutral” answers. On the subject of this, Leon F. Seltzer, a clinical psychologist and the author of Paradoxical Strategies in Psychotherapy, states in his article on why trusting our feelings can be dangerous, “if we feel something — especially if we feel it intensely — then it deserves to be seen as valid, or truthful. The adage “trust your feelings” has by now become almost axiomatic. But ultimately, how logical — or, how safe — is it to conclude that if we feel something strongly, we should both believe it and permit it to control our behavior?” (Psychology today.com). Meaning that unless you have an intense gut feeling regarding the validity of something, your feelings may be misleading. This can be applied to the MBTI because the questions that are being asked rely on true intuition for accurate results, and because it is not reasonable to infer that every examinee will have such feelings concerning every single one of the questions on the test, it is also not reasonable to infer that the results will always be accurate.
On the other hand, I have taken this test multiple times with little variance between results, the most common one being INTJ, a person who is described with dominant traits of being introverted, intuitive, and having a preference for thinking and judging. This personality type is known to be the rarest and describes the type of person who has noteworthy attributes such as “a natural thirst for knowledge that shows itself early in life” and “are often given the title of ‘bookworm’ as children” (16personalities.com). Although it is nice to feel like I have these amazing attributes and strengths, I have never been labeled as a bookworm with a natural thirst for knowledge nor do I believe this personality type reflects my pragmatic personality. But because I get this personality type every time that I take the test, I begin to question the accuracy of it.
The truth of the matter is, unless this test is being conducted by a trained psychoanalyst, the results will almost always be inaccurate. This specific test is giving too much responsibility to those who take it because the margin for human error is simply much too wide to guarantee 100% accuracy 100% of the time. The scenario mentioned earlier is just one example of where human error can occur, that being choosing to be neutral when a much better answer could have been selected.
Given these points, it is safe to deduce that a trained psychoanalyst would do a better job of finding a personality “type” that best aligns with your sense of self than an online test that gives all of the responsibility to the examinee.
“But He Has a GREAT Personality!” AlissaJean.com. 28 May 2011. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.
@PsychToday. “Trust Your Feelings? . . . Maybe Not.” Psychology Today. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.
“Free Personality Test | 16Personalities.” 16Personalities. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.
“MBTI Personality Type vs GW2 Main Profession (Results) • /r/Guildwars2.” Reddit. Web. 21 Nov. 2016.