“MBTI”: Personality Test Conquers the Dating World

“MBTI”: Personality Test Conquers the Dating World

“It’s like the whole of Seoul has a crush. Amidst the sea of ​​traditional Hangul characters as you stroll through the South Korean capital, you see the same four letters of the Latin alphabet: MBTI,” CNN wrote. On billboards, at games computer, Spotify playlists, beer cans and of course dating apps.

For the younger generation, the abbreviations of four seem to be a bit of what zodiac signs used to be. Pisces and Scorpio? No way. ENFJ and INTP? Better not. “I don’t think I would meet someone whose type isn’t compatible with mine,” said a young South Korean student, quoted by CNN.

A couple in a park in Korea

APA/AFP/Anthony Wallace Instead of asking about the zodiac sign, you’re probably asking about the “MBTI” result these days

“Job matching” for women in WWII

But not only in South Korea, but also in this country, personality codes, which were supposed to facilitate “matchmaking”, have long since found their way into the dating world. Originally, however, the typology was not about finding the right partner, but finding the right job.

“The test was developed by two American women who saw it as a way to assign jobs to women during World War II,” CNN wrote. They were writer Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter, political scientist and crime writer Isabel Myers. Together they published the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (“MBTI”) in 1944.

16 personality types

The test is based on a theory by psychologist Carl Jung, a former student of none other than Sigmund Freud. This divided people into 16 different personality types – depending on how they deal with the world.

From this, Myers and Briggs derived four personality dimensions: mind, energy, nature, and tactics. They attributed the attributes introverted (I) versus extraverted (E), intuitive (N) versus realistic (S), focused on logic (T) versus focused on principles (F), and planning (J) versus research (P).

16 personality types, 16 letter combinations, you get the idea. This creates profiles such as the strategic thinker, the quiet idealist, the devoted protector, and the charming artist.

Woman using a dating app

Getty Images/iStockphoto/FilippoBacci “Hot or not?” For some, not only looks but also the 16 personality profiles play a role in the question.

Popular for simplicity

It is mainly its “simplicity” that has made the test so popular, CNN wrote, referring to the great success it has had not only in aptitude tests for companies but also for colleges. The test reached its heyday in the 1960s and 1980s, before, in between, and after alternately going in and out of fashion.

The official test is still distributed by the Myers-Briggs Company. A company that, according to an article in the Financial Times (“FT”), earns US$ 20 million a year. However, competition is high: there are now numerous free “MBTI” tests on the Internet.

Increased testing in times of a pandemic

“The rise of ‘MBTI’ in the last two to three years has coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic,” said South Korean psychologist professor at renowned Dankook University, Lim Myoung Ho. “People have probably become more anxious and therefore need a place to psychologically support themselves,” said Lim.

“Of course, people are less afraid when they are united in a group,” the psychologist referred to group psychology. And: “In this society, it’s considered more efficient if you know in advance what kind suits you,” Lim said.

Do people of the same type hang out together?

However, everyone with grandparents probably not only knows the saying “like meets like”, but also its counterpart: “opposites attract”. The test is similar: If you exclude potential partners early on based on four letters, you could miss out on an “exciting relationship with a wonderful person,” according to CNN.

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ORF.at/16personalities.com Simply put, shallow, unreliable, unscientific – criticisms of the “MBTI” test are at least as old as the test itself

“One of the worst personality tests out there”

But this is by far not the only criticism of the typology. An article in Scientific American said the MBTI test is “one of the worst personality tests out there, for a variety of reasons.” The questions are confusing and poorly worded. And it is unreliable because the result can change from day to day.

Critics also complain about simplification. Instead of just 16, there are a wealth of different personality types in this world. Due to the strong “black or white” structure, it is superficial and meaningless.

Criticism of scientifically unfounded methods

The fact that many recognize themselves in the results is mainly due to the “Barnum effect”. This asserts that people find themselves in vague and general statements through their individual interpretation.

Furthermore, according to critics, neither the methodology nor the results themselves would stand up to empirical testing, nor do they correspond to contemporary scientific standards. How far scientific standards can help with something as irrational as love remains questionable anyway. At least that’s what ENFPs would think.