Saturday, April 01, 2006

MBTI: Hooey or NOT Hooey?

I tend to be pretty skeptical. Astrology? Hah! Grapefruit diet! Bah! Fortune cookies? Maybe. :) That said, Myers Briggs leaves me puzzled. I know what Skepdic has to say about it, and I'm sure many of my skeptical friends will say "Bah!" or Hah!" or both. Maybe this is my skeptical Achille's heel.

Once I was a member of a private mailing list consisting of people from all walks of life and education levels. It was a self-selected group. There were about 35 of us. Collectively we decided to take a Myers Briggs test, and the proportion of us classified as ENTP and INTP was extraordinary large. The chances of it occuring in a random sample were worse than the chances of winning a lottery by orders of magnitude. It left me puzzled? Huh? What does it mean?

My classification is INTP, borderline on the introversion/extraversion, but slightly more introverted than extraverted. Maybe I'm really fooling myself, but I feel I've gotten quite good guessing people's classifications, especially INTPs and ENTPs, so I've started keeping track.

Yesterday, I had lunch with an old friend I hadn't seen in 15 years. Somehow we stumbled onto the subject of MBTI. My guess was INTP. I was right. So far, I'm 3 for 3 in guessing this. According to the the information I have found, INTPs are 1-4% of the population. Let's be generous and go with the high end 4%, which is 1/25. So far I've gotten three in a row.

Maybe I've got a nasty case of confirmation bias going on somewhere in my head. I can't help believing in the possibility that MBTI something interesting and useful about human personalities.


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