Is the MBTI® Accurate?

Is the MBTI accurate? As someone who has dedicated the last 10 years of my life to working with this psychometric instrument, this question comes up a lot. People want to know how much weight to give their type results.

“Is this as accurate as a Buzzfeed questionnaire?”

MBTI Farce

“Is there any scientific evidence for the MBTI®?”

“Is this the same thing as astrology?”

With that in mind, I set out to answer the questions around accuracy; and I’ll continuously update this page as I get new information.

Not sure what your personality type is? Take our new personality questionnaire here. Or you can take the official MBTI® here.

This article contains Amazon Affiliate Links. If you click on a link and purchase a book then I get a small kickback that I can use to keep my site running and pay for hosting fees. I only recommend books I truly love.

First off, what is the MBTI®?

The MBTI®, or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, is a psychometric assessment that works to understand your personality preferences. When you take the assessment, you’re given one of 16 potential personality types as your best-fit type. This personality type is meant to showcase the way you see the world, take in information, and make decisions.

Development of the MBTI®

The MBTI® was developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, during the mid-20th century. The aim was to make Carl Jung’s theory on psychological types more accessible and practical. Katharine and Isabel weren’t just interested in theory, though; they aimed to use this knowledge to help people better understand themselves and others. They sought to create a tool that would help individuals identify their natural preferences and, subsequently, make more informed decisions about their careers and personal lives.

The MBTI® was rigorously tested and refined over the years. Today, it’s widely used by corporations, educational institutions, and individuals as a tool for self-discovery, team building, and career planning. Significantly, eighty-nine companies out of the US Fortune 100 make use of it for recruitment and selection, and two and a half million Americans take the test yearly. This widespread adoption underscores the value and validity many see in the MBTI® as a tool for understanding human personality.

My Own Experience:

It’s always exciting to be able to narrow down which personality type you have, or the type of someone you know. I am an INTJ and when I first read the description for my type I suddenly felt like I wasn’t a complete weirdo anymore. Well, maybe I did, but at least now I understood why! Many people have this kind of “aha!” realization after they discover their type.  I’ve since become a certified MBTI® practitioner and love to talk to people about their personality and the amazing nuances that make them unique from everyone else!

Okay, it’s fun – but is the MBTI accurate?

I totally understand this question. Along with loving the idea of the test, I’m also a skeptic. I’m pretty leery of subscribing to any particular belief or system that I can’t 100% verify as logically sound. Personality typing has its critics and its die-hard fans. Initially, I was skeptical of the test and read various arguments against it trying to determine where I stood. I decided in the end that the MBTI® tool isn’t perfect, but the theory and research behind personality type checks out and is extremely useful.

There’s scientific evidence that backs up the Myers-Briggs® theory and the Isabel Briggs-Myers Memorial Library has hundreds of case studies on file that show the research behind the validity of the MBTI® instrument.

Neuroscience expert Dario Nardi has conducted brain scans on individuals to test Jung’s theory of cognitive functions. He was able to see how the Myers-Briggs personality types showed up uniquely in his brain research. You can see a video of a talk he did for Google about this below:

Every time I’ve used the MBTI® with people it has given me huge insights into how their minds work, how to relate to them, and how to communicate with them. I am able to be more accepting and appreciative of others because I’m able to admire their strengths while being more patient with their weaknesses. For example, I know that my husband (an ESTP) likes to live in the moment and move through life with a spontaneous sense of adventure. When it comes to making a decision, he thinks through things one step at a time and doesn’t think about step C till he’s completed steps A and B. As an INTJ, I like to jump way ahead to the future and then fill in the pieces in an out-of-order fashion on my way there. Knowing these things about each other really helps us in our relationship to be understanding and work with each other’s way of thinking.

Type is easy to get wrong

A lot of the arguments I’ve seen and heard against the MBTI® have to do with individuals getting inaccurate results on similarly styled tests available online. Another argument has been that after taking the test, some people re-test six months later and get a completely different result. The accuracy of the test relies completely on the test-taker answering the questions correctly. I know that sounds odd for a personality test, but it’s true.

How do I take the MBTI® correctly?

You shouldn’t answer the questions based on the feeling of the moment (feelings change), on what you think is the morally ‘right’ answer, or what you want others to see you as. You have to answer the questions based on what your most natural response would be. Think about your lifetime, not just this moment, and be honest. Try to think of how you would answer the questions without any outside pressures or influences. Don’t think of what you’re like at work or what you’re like as a parent. Think about how you function in your most natural state, the way you prefer to be.

Secondly, there are a lot of very inaccurate tests available online for free which are not at all in line with Myers-Briggs theory. The official MBTI® Instrument is something you have to pay for, but with the right information, anyone can determine their type without having to spend the money. I used to take the free tests and think that they were fine, but after really obsessing about researching the personality test I’ve realized those tests are often false and you really need to understand the cognitive functions that Jung originally described to get the right result. The best way to understand your type is to study the 8 cognitive functions or speak to a certified MBTI® practitioner.

If you want to take the official MBTI® you can do so here.

Other Articles You Might Enjoy:

Family Dysfunction and Personality Type

Here’s What Your Myers-Briggs® Type Will and Won’t Tell You

Can Childhood Trauma Impact Your Personality Type?

What Are Your Thoughts?

Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any insights to share? Let us know in the comments!

Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type,  The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic,  The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer, and The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist. You can also connect with me via FacebookInstagram, or Twitter!

Still not sure about it?

Check out part two of this series here.

Check out my blog post Debunking the Major Arguments Against Personality Typing!

Is the MBTI® actually accurate? What scientific proof is there to support it? Take a look in this two-part series.

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  1. Hi Susan, Loving your site. Finally getting around to learning about this subject which I’ve been aware of for 20 years but not got around to digging into.

    I thought you’d want to know that the link above “Check out my blog post Debunking the Major Arguments Against the MBTI®.” points to the wrong place.

    Looking forward to putting some of this into practice
    Kind regards

    1. Hi Alex! So sorry I am SO late in getting back to you! Thank you for letting me know about the link that didn’t work, I just fixed it. Again, so sorry I am so late in responding to your comment! For some reason or other I didn’t see it until now!

  2. I enjoy Psychology Junkie. Before I retired, I participated in at least 10 Myers Briggs workshops with over corporate project management teams and found it improved relationships and productivity significantly. I know the assessment tool to be highly accurate and my own profile was consistent every time I took the assessment.

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