The MBTI

19 03 2013

In General Psychology, we are covering personality. One measure of personality is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). We watched Chris Ladd’s excellent film “i” (previously covered here) in class today which briefly mentioned the MBTI.

The Guardian (UK) has an interesting piece about the MBTI and its use in business and industry, and the fanatical following it has developed, despite its scientifically unsound development and its weak psychometrics.

There are many possible reasons why the MBTI is so entrenched in workplaces and promoted so enthusiastically. There’s the expense and training involved, mentioned above. It may be because everyone uses it, so people conclude it must be reliable, and thus its success becomes self perpetuating. Also, any personality type you get assigned is invariably positive. There is no combination of answers you could give on the MBTI which says ‘you’re an arsehole’.

Link to the article at the Guardian.




The Romance of Neuroticism

1 04 2012

THis week in class we’ll be talking about the Big Five trait model of personality, and one trait is “neuroticism.” An article in today’s NY Times talks about neurosis and the decline of the use of the word neurotic. Check it out here.

Over all, scores on those kinds of questionnaires have not changed much in adults in the United States since the 1950s. But recent studies have found that, among college students, neuroticism levels have increased by as much as 20 percent over the same period.




Why we ask each other about musical taste

24 08 2011

In our first Social Psychology class, I asked students to write something unique about themselves on an index card (as a way of getting to know them). I then asked if they had

Used under Creative Commons license, from Flickr user mikedefiant

any questions about me. I was asked about what my favorite concert was, a question I enjoyed answering.

A recent article in the Huffington Post covers some research by Sam Gosling and colleagues showing that knowing someone’s musical taste gives us some pretty decent information to guess their personality (link to the PDF of their Psychological Science article). It also covered some recent research that shows it tells us whether we might like the person.

we often ask people about their musical preferences because musical taste serves as an easy indicator of whether we are likely to be similar to new people in ways that will influence how much we like them.