You might have heard some of your friends talk about their personality types using four letters and wondered what those mysterious letters mean. What your friends were referring to is their personality type based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is commonly known as MBTI. Well, what is the MBTI, and what are some commonly asked questions?
MBTI is a psychological self-reported personality test, which is currently trending. It is used by more than 88% of Fortune 500 companies in 115 countries, and more than two million people use the test every year. Even celebrities in Korea used it on TV shows to represent their personality. However, most people have a superficial knowledge of the test, only being aware of its existence and the meaning of their own results if they took one. I was in the same situation not because I was uninterested, but because there were not enough reliable resources. None of my friends I asked had a thorough understanding of it. This esoteric test and the indecipherable test results further spurred my curiosity about the MBTI. This motivated me to interview Dr. Jeeyong Seol, chairman of the public promoting committee at the Korean Academy of Psychological Type (KAPT).
|[Interview with Dr. Jeeyong Seol, chairman of the public promoting committee at the Korean Academy of Psychological Type(KAPT). Photo courtesy of Jiae Kim]|
MBTI is a self-answered test consisting of 93 questions related to the person’s natural preference and habits. Each question, or statement, has choices that the person can choose to what extent he or she agrees or disagrees with the statement. Hence, people need to know themselves well for accurate results. However, not everyone, such as children, has a firm preference that helps them to precisely answer some questions like whether they ‘rely on other people to be the ones to start a conversation’ or not. I asked Dr. Seol the age group which is applicable for the test. He answered that “the MBTI is suitable for high school students and adults”. For younger students who want to know more about themselves, there is a form called “Child and Adolescent Type Indicator (CATi)”, said Dr. Seol.
Many people encounter the test online and usually take it using a popular website from England. As I was taking the test, I wondered whether the online results are reliable. After all, MBTI is a professional and approved test, and providing these resources for free made me doubtful. “It is not an official MBTI test.” said Dr. Seol. According to Dr. Seol, the test most people take is based on another theory. However, because the letters of the results are similar to the actual MBTI test, people often mistake it as an authentic one. The MBTI test has a validation process that takes a lot of time, money, and effort. Dr. Seol believes that the online test is free because it did not undergo the validation examination.
|[Jiae Kim taking the free online personality test. Photo courtesy of Kangjoo Lee]|
One of my friends’ common questions about the MBTI was whether the test results could define everyone. Dr. Seol answered my question by asserting that MBTI results cannot define us. Additionally, it is not correct to “label” someone by their results. “Everyone is different, so even though you have the same MBTI result as others, you may not have the same personality.” says Dr. Seol. The test helps us know ourselves better, but it should not be used further than that purpose. However, this does not indicate that the test is unreliable. He says that every personality test shows different aspects of a person’s traits. None of them can entirely embrace his or her personality. He reinforced the fact that the test is “only a tool to know oneself better.”
After the interview, I gained more knowledge about the MBTI and how to perceive the results. Although the MBTI certainly has limitations of measuring one’s personality, there are great outcomes from taking this test. I personally thought that the MBTI helped me accurately learn about myself, as it provided reliable and detailed explanations about my personality. Not only that, after taking the test, I was able to understand better and accept my actions as well as others. Dr. Seol recommends this test to people who want to understand themselves better and love the way they are. By using the MBTI, people will hopefully get to know better about themselves and share this interesting test with others.
Tashkent International School
Jiae Kim firstname.lastname@example.org
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