Re: Myers-Briggs LO2147

Peter Marks (
Tue, 18 Jul 1995 08:18:38 -0700 (PDT)

Replying to LO2143 --

Joseph O'Connor writes:

> Reading through the thread on MBTI, it reinforces my skepticism about such
> psychometrics. They seem only to be descriptive, and do not add anything
> else. So a bunch of behaviour = introvert. What is introvert? It's this
> bunch of behaviour. That bunch of behaviour may need some very much finer
> distinctions made.The argument is circular. The danger is that
> substituting the psychometric word label takes us any closer to
> understanding or changing (if appropriate) the behaviour.

This overlooks several things:

1. "bunch of behavior = introvert" is only part of the story, so the
argument really isn't circular.

First of all, the bunch of (mental) behavior in the primary definition
(depletion of energy in presence of others) is not the whole complex of
behavior associated with "introversion" - the relation is that when the
primary behavior is present, then there is a high correlation with the
rest of the complex.

Second, the MBTI itself is a test (indicator) which (claims to) point out
"objectively" to what extent a preference for introversion is present.
One can verify independently whether or not the indication seems valid by
introspection (for mental behavior) or observation (for overt behavior)
against the full complex of behavior.

2. Many have found that taking the MBTI in a group is useful for enhancing
mutual understanding within the group, as well as deepening each
participant's appreciation for the value of individual differences. This
is an empirical fact, regardless of what, a priori, "should" or "should
not" be the case.

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