Friday, June 27, 2008

Weird or Common? Valid or Nonsense?

I go back and forth over whether the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator amounts to anything more than a horoscope that replaces iffy animal and mythological archetypes with iffy terms from clinical psychology and Jungian typology.

The balance was tilted toward the skeptical earlier today, when two people in a group of six offered that they are INFPs, which happens to be the same thing I am.

First, INFPs (as one of them mentioned) are supposed to be extremely rare, and second, INFPs are supposed to be the sorts of people who would be loath to offer their Myers-Briggs type unless pressed to do so, and it took no pressing to get this out of those two.

While the other two are certainly odd carrots, they don't seem very introverted to me. I wanted to say: You want introverted? I'll show you introverted! but being a true INFP, I kept this to myself to avoid any confrontation, hemmed and hawed over it for several hours, and then discussed it in writing.

As I said, I'm not sure there's anything to this stuff. That a group of six would turn out to be 50% INFP seems to require an explanation if there is anything to any of it. I wonder if the web-based assessments are, in some way, biasing people toward the INFP category?

Whatever the case, please let's not be confrontational about it unless there's a dear principle at stake.


Laura said...

Well, as you know, these indicators are extremely accurate in predicting behavior, intelligence, strengths, and alcohol ingestion tolerance. I'm pretty sure the US military uses them, or even developed them. (I just finished watching "Lions For Lambs," so I'm a little paranoid right now.)

(I'm also wondering if I can make this an all-purpose comment, and if anyone would notice.)

Dale said...

Laura, that's the best idea I've heard in ages! Yes, definitely -- make that comment all over the place, spread it far and wide. Let me know how it goes.