The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), one of the most well-known personality tests in America, has come under fire in the media recently because a significant body of evidence indicates that the test’s results are largely meaningless. This is a classic case of the popular press (belatedly) catching on to something that has been a virtual consensus among academic psychologists for a long time. And yet the MBTI continues to be widely used by companies and college career centers across the globe.
Following up on the discussion I started last time about the Big Five personality traits, I want to provide a little more context on the Big Five and how they relate to the field of personality testing as a whole. The Big Five are personality dimensions that describe the ways in which an individual reacts to other people and to the world around them. For example, the Extraversion/Introversion dimension describes the extent to which an individual is more or less outgoing, gregarious and in need of social stimulation. If a personality test determines that an individual is in the 65th percentile for "Extraversion," this means that the individual is more extraverted than 65 percent of the individuals in the norm group.