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Thread: Problems with the MBTI

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    Board philosopher or bored philosopher? jason_m's Avatar
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    Default Problems with the MBTI

    My problems with the MBTI are similar to my problems with socionics:

    1. Theories that have no supporting empirical evidence. First, it is assumed that because Jung said the auxiliary function is different "in every respect" from the primary function, that the auxiliary function has to be extraverted. If that's the case, why didn't Jung explicitly state that it's extraverted? Since what he said is ambiguous, the best way of verifying what he said would be to develop a test that measures the functions, and then determine if there is a trend as to which function is auxiliary. Otherwise, you would have to observe a large number of people, and infer that they exhibit this characteristic from their behaviour. Since they don't tell us how they came to their conclusions, we don't know if what they're saying is empirically true.

    The second problem is that it's assumed that, for example, INTP = . Why couldn't INTP = ? It's explained that Katharine C. Briggs, who developed this theory, looked at the outer lives of her "meditative friends", and they all showed extraverted characteristics in their outer life. It says that she further verified that that an introvert with a dominant perceiving process has an auxiliary judging process, and vice versa. Finally, she says that she found that the auxiliary function gave way to the characteristic judging/perceiving behaviour What isn't stated is how she discovered much of this. Looking at the lives of your friends is hardly an accurate way of supporting a theory. Once again, it doesn't seem that any empirical testing was done to verify this. And, in fact, www.socionics.com seems to promote the opposite view. Surely, the people at that site must have some reason to believe what they believe. Without evidence of empirical verification, how can we say who is right?

    2. There is no explanation of how a type uses all eight preferences. I don't believe that everyone doesn't use four functions at all. For example, if someone had no access to Fi, it seems to me that they wouldn't have any internal values. The only people who are like this are probably sociopaths or someone with brain damage. I think, in this sense, socionics is superior to MBTI theory. At least socionics can account for how all eight functions are used.

    3. The last problem doesn't have to do with the system itself, but how people apply it. A lot of people tend to apply the rules in black and white terms. For example, some will tell you that since thinkers make more logical decisions than feelers, thinkers almost always have an easier time thinking logically than feelers. While there might be a correlation between these two factors, it shouldn't be treated as a rule. Consider this thread on an INFP forum: http://infp.globalchatter.com/messag...er=asc&start=0. While thinking types might tend to score higher, there were still people who scored 9 or 10 out of 10 on the test, and quite a few people did well; the trends don't apply to everyone.

    People also have a tendency to think that the MBTI can explain any relevant behaviour. Sure, in general, thinkers might have an easier time with logic, but wouldn't someone's IQ be a better explanation? I don't believe that a feeler with an IQ of 150 would get a low score on that test. Therefore, IQ is probably a better explanation of someone's logical abilities, and while there is a very slight correlation between IQ and thinking, I've seen statistics that show that there are many feelers with high IQs.

    Jason

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    Quote Originally Posted by jason_m View Post
    First, it is assumed that because Jung said the auxiliary function is different "in every respect" from the primary function, that the auxiliary function has to be extraverted. If that's the case, why didn't Jung explicitly state that it's extraverted?
    There are Jungians who believe that you can have, for example, introverted thinking as your primary function and introverted intuition as auxiliary function. Maybe Jung thought that himself. There are some indications that perhaps he could have thought that about his own type. Jung's own ideas are not as rigid as Socionics or MBTT.

    Quote Originally Posted by jason_m
    Since what he said is ambiguous, the best way of verifying what he said would be to develop a test that measures the functions, and then determine if there is a trend as to which function is auxiliary. Otherwise, you would have to observe a large number of people, and infer that they exhibit this characteristic from their behaviour. Since they don't tell us how they came to their conclusions, we don't know if what they're saying is empirically true.
    The existence of the 16 types is unproblematic and is confirmed by empirical observations. We can come up with any theoretical explanation we find useful in explaining the types. We can define the functions as we prefer, and we don't even need functions. We could described the types in a more Keirseyan way too. The types are the same anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by jason_m
    The second problem is that it's assumed that, for example, INTP = . Why couldn't INTP = ?
    It is not assumed that INTP = , it is assumed that INTP = TiNe -- and that is something entirely different. The functions are not identical in Socionics and MBTT. And, as a matter of fact, INTP = . What you must try to understand is that = TiNe(MBTT).

    Quote Originally Posted by jason_m
    It's explained that Katharine C. Briggs, who developed this theory, looked at the outer lives of her "meditative friends", and they all showed extraverted characteristics in their outer life. It says that she further verified that that an introvert with a dominant perceiving process has an auxiliary judging process, and vice versa. Finally, she says that she found that the auxiliary function gave way to the characteristic judging/perceiving behaviour What isn't stated is how she discovered much of this.
    She didn't discover anything. She invented a theoretical explanation, and her suggested explanation was false. She observed the types correctly though. Correct observations of the real types is not the same thing as correct theoretical explanations of the real types. The real types are independent of the theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by jason_m
    Looking at the lives of your friends is hardly an accurate way of supporting a theory. Once again, it doesn't seem that any empirical testing was done to verify this. And, in fact, www.socionics.com seems to promote the opposite view. Surely, the people at that site must have some reason to believe what they believe. Without evidence of empirical verification, how can we say who is right?
    By studying all the relevant material and draw our own conclusions. There's lots of empirical verification of certain aspects of the types. We have all the MBTI test results, we have V.I., we have intertype relations, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    The existence of the 16 types is unproblematic and is confirmed by empirical observations. We can come up with any theoretical explanation we find useful in explaining the types. We can define the functions as we prefer, and we don't even need functions. We could described the types in a more Keirseyan way too. The types are the same anyway.
    I'm not questioning the existence of the 16 types. The 16 types have been applied through the MBTI and have been statistically verified, so there is a lot of evidence that they exist. The underlying theory for the types has not been scientifically verified in any way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    It is not assumed that INTP = , it is assumed that INTP = TiNe -- and that is something entirely different. The functions are not identical in Socionics and MBTT. And, as a matter of fact, INTP = . What you must try to understand is that = TiNe(MBTT).
    I was just using that loosely. I wasn't saying that socionics Ti = MBTI Ti.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    She didn't discover anything. She invented a theoretical explanation, and her suggested explanation was false. She observed the types correctly though. Correct observations of the real types is not the same thing as correct theoretical explanations of the real types. The real types are independent of the theory.
    See my first point above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    By studying all the relevant material and draw our own conclusions. There's lots of empirical verification of certain aspects of the types. We have all the MBTI test results, we have V.I., we have intertype relations, etc.
    But we have no scientific validation of the underlying theory. Also, I don't believe that V.I. and intertype relations haven't been scientifically validated, but I could be wrong.

    Jason

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    Don't forget the the thehotelambush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jason_m View Post
    I'm not questioning the existence of the 16 types. The 16 types have been applied through the MBTI and have been statistically verified, so there is a lot of evidence that they exist. The underlying theory for the types has not been scientifically verified in any way.
    It's not possible to statistically verify the "existence" of a type, and the MBTI types are different, besides. The only thing that can be verified is correlations between different traits and behaviors (such as between Fe leading traits and Ti dual-seeking traits).

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    ...been here longer than the fucking monarchy Ezra's Avatar
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    I knew Phaedrus' post was coming shortly after reading the first few lines, especially the stuff about INTJs being ILIs etc..
    Ideas don't determine who's right. Power determines who's right. And I have the power. So I'm right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezra View Post
    I knew Phaedrus' post was coming shortly after reading the first few lines, especially the stuff about INTJs being ILIs etc..
    I hope you read my reply, and that I wasn't trying to say that INTJs are ILIs. In my mind, represents Ti in general, not that socionics Ti = MBTI Ti.

    Jason

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    Quote Originally Posted by thehotelambush View Post
    It's not possible to statistically verify the "existence" of a type, and the MBTI types are different, besides. The only thing that can be verified is correlations between different traits and behaviors (such as between Fe leading traits and Ti dual-seeking traits).
    Why couldn't you test people and then verify how often the test results match up with one's view of which type description fits them?

    Jason

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    Quote Originally Posted by jason_m View Post
    Why couldn't you test people and then verify how often the test results match up with one's view of which type description fits them?

    Jason
    wouldn't that just be verifying the validity of the test (as a measurement instrument)? I don't quite see how this approach would verify the -existence- of types (I'm not even sure what "existence of types" refers to tbh)

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    Quote Originally Posted by hellothere View Post
    wouldn't that just be verifying the validity of the test (as a measurement instrument)? I don't quite see how this approach would verify the -existence- of types (I'm not even sure what "existence of types" refers to tbh)
    I'm not either, so I threw out my best guess to see if that's what they meant.

    Jason

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    Don't forget the the thehotelambush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hellothere View Post
    wouldn't that just be verifying the validity of the test (as a measurement instrument)? I don't quite see how this approach would verify the -existence- of types (I'm not even sure what "existence of types" refers to tbh)
    Yeah, there would be no theory involved. The description might as well say "Your favorite color is blue."

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    Quote Originally Posted by jason_m View Post
    I'm not either, so I threw out my best guess to see if that's what they meant.

    Jason
    so what kind of studies were you referring to when you said that there is a lot of evidence that 16 types exist?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hellothere View Post
    so what kind of studies were you referring to when you said that there is a lot of evidence that 16 types exist?
    I was just thinking that since the MBTI is scientifically validated, and has been used successfully for many years it is accurate. Is this bad thinking?

    Jason

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    Quote Originally Posted by thehotelambush View Post
    Yeah, there would be no theory involved. The description might as well say "Your favorite color is blue."
    Honestly, I haven't been able to follow your arguments about this. This doesn't mean that you're wrong. I might be able to understand better if you provide some justification as to why you think that you couldn't statistically verify that the types exist.

    Jason

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    Basically, Jason and I seem to agree on most things in this thread. There is nothing that I clearly disagree with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jason_m View Post
    I was just thinking that since the MBTI is scientifically validated, and has been used successfully for many years it is accurate. Is this bad thinking?

    Jason
    hmm I don't think its necessarily bad thinking, but where did you read that MBTI is scientifically validated?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hellothere View Post
    hmm I don't think its necessarily bad thinking, but where did you read that MBTI is scientifically validated?
    I didn't read it anywhere, I just assumed. However, here is some evidence: http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:...lnk&cd=4&gl=ca

    Jason

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    ...been here longer than the fucking monarchy Ezra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jason_m View Post
    I hope you read my reply, and that I wasn't trying to say that INTJs are ILIs. In my mind, represents Ti in general, not that socionics Ti = MBTI Ti.
    Yeah, what I meant was that Phaedrus will not stand for you shit, even if it is speculation. Anything beyond his system he cannot take.
    Ideas don't determine who's right. Power determines who's right. And I have the power. So I'm right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jason_m View Post
    Honestly, I haven't been able to follow your arguments about this. This doesn't mean that you're wrong. I might be able to understand better if you provide some justification as to why you think that you couldn't statistically verify that the types exist.

    Jason
    You can't verify, per se, the existence of things, like chairs or electrons. All you can do is verify the existence of correlations between various observations. Things are just a convenient way of summing up those various correlations, and the same goes for type.

    The question is, who cares whether test answers are correlated with self-description? Clearly both are just a product of what a person thinks about himself. But sociotype captures objective personal qualities (and correlations between them), so the primary ways of verifying it generally take more than self-perception into account.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post


    It is not assumed that INTP = , it is assumed that INTP = TiNe -- and that is something entirely different. The functions are not identical in Socionics and MBTT. And, as a matter of fact, INTP = . What you must try to understand is that = TiNe(MBTT).

    This doesn't really make full sense (though i know you tried and i have a good idea what you're trying to get at)

    This should be explained better...i don't know why half this article is in English and the other half in symbology language.....you might as well throw ukrainian into the mix....if you're gonna use english---use english!...lets not further complicate things...
    ENTP:wink:ALPHA

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