Myers-Briggs Test Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Continuing our series on personality tests this post focuses on one of the most popular of them all, the Myers-Briggs Indicator or MBTI

 

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

 

Are you an ENTP or INTJ or ESFJ? Now, before you think we at Brainpundits have lost our, well, brains, these are some of personality type tests that MBTI has to offer. MBTI or Myers-Briggs Indicator is one of the most popular personality type tests out there. Around 2 million people around the world take it annually. It is estimated that around 89 of the Fortune 100 uses this test to hire and manage employees.

It has also inspired various quizzes online based on characters from popular culture like Game of Thrones, Harry Potter etc. But despite its massive popularity and usage among the various organization around the world, the overall psychology community do no deem it to be scientific at all.

This article will trace the origins of the test, explain what is it about and also show the controversy behind it.

Origins

In order to tell the story of this test, we will need to go back to one of the major figures in the field of psychology, Carl G. Jung. In 1921, Jung published one of his famous books Psychological Types. In this book, Jung tried to give a formulation of personality types based on his observations. He argued there may exist two personality attitudes: Extroversion and Introversion, and four functions or orientation: Thinking, Sensation, Intuition, and Feeling.

In 1923, one of the contributors to test, Katharine Briggs found this book and made it her gospel. Katharine Briggs was a stay at home mom who had studied horticulture. Jung’s book made a remarkable impact on her and she thought of using the ideas from the book and implementing them in day to day life. A couple of decades later, her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, an aspiring fictional writer, with help from a management consultant Edward N. Hay and her mother debuted the test in 1943.

What is the Test about?

Katharine and Isabel expanded Jung’s original conception into 16 personality types with four binary categories.

Extroversion – Introversion; Intuition – Sensing; Thinking – Feeling; Judging – Perception

The original test had 93 questions, which haven’t changed much in today’s times, and based on the questionnaire, the test groups people into 16 discrete personality types. The details of these types can be seen in the image below.

 

 

The Controversy

While it sounds all hunky and dory but when you start scratching the surface cracks start to appear. The problem arises with the test that is there is no scientific validity for the test. A study showed that around 50 percent of the people end up having different results on the test, the second time they take it, that too after just a few weeks later.  Other studies have also argued that the test is indeed ineffective in predicting how certain types maybe successful at different jobs.

Interestingly, all the major scientific journals of psychology have no research published based on this test. Whatever few articles that are available on this test are there to point out to the flaws that it has. While on the issue of the Rorschach test, as discussed in a previous article, the scientific community was divided. But on Myers-Briggs Test Indicator, they seem to be united in agreement that this test does not have any scientific validity.

 

Why is it Popular then?

 

Then you may wonder if this test is not scientifically valid and the majority of psychologists do not use this, then why is it so popular? The answer lies in a phenomenon called the Forer effect and effective product management by then Edward Hay. After its debut, the test was effectively marketed by Edward Hay, who had connections with General Electric, Bell Telephone and most importantly National Bureau of Statistics. Through his connections, the test got employed in early major corporations. Now, as mentioned earlier, the test is not only employed by various private companies in the world but also various government organizations.

The Forer effect, or the Barnum effect, refers to the psychological phenomenon where individuals are prone to believe that personality depictions apply specifically to them, but in reality, the descriptions are for everyone. A perfect example of this is your daily horoscopes. That is why most descriptions of the personality in Myers-Briggs Test Indicator are positive in their nature. So, one can even say this test – and different inspirations from it – is for entertainment, which is absolutely fine.

MBTI Personality Test

To Conclude

 

The dilemma comes, as Merve Emre argues in her new book argues, that in theory there are clear ethical violations how CAPT and CPP peddle this test without having any scientific basis as reliable; but in practice, many of the companies and organizations that use this test clearly have different definitions of ethics.

So, even though the Myers-Briggs Test Indicator has had a controversial stint with the scientific community. It still enjoys the support of the people at large. And it cannot be denied that this test still remains one of the most popular ones out there.

rorschach test

The Rorschach Test

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Continuing our series on personality tests this post focuses on one of the most culturally famous of them all, the Inkblot test or the Rorschach Test

 

The Rorschach test is one of the most famous and also one of the controversial tests that the field of psychology has produced. Once touted as the X-Ray of the soul, the test is now a part of cultural history as it has become a reference point in various shows and movies. There’s even a comic book character based named Rorschach with an inkblot as a mask. If you haven’t heard of it or know little of, not to worry as through this post I will enlighten you about it.

 

Origins

 

Hermann Rorschach (1884-1922) was the mind behind the origin of the test. He was a young psychiatrist from Switzerland and was hailed a prodigy. He had worked along with Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung during his early years.

The idea of the test came to him from a children’s board game called Klecksography, a collection of inkblot cards. He published the test in 1921, sadly though Hermann Rorschach died less than a year before he could witness the popularity of his test.

 

What is the test about?

 

The test is a strange and a very open-ended test, in which there are 10 cards with strange markings in them. They don’t have any specific pattern to them and there is no expected answer to these inkblot cards. It’s a visual task which aims at self-projection.

Which basically means when you respond to one of these cards you are projecting your unconscious thoughts. It is a form of, what psychologists call, a projective test. By telling what they see in the inkblot, people actually telling about their views, their personality and how they project meaning and perceive reality.

 Rorschach TestImage Source – Wikipedia

 

Example of an Inkblot

 

In the image, you see an example of an inkblot card from the test. Predicted answers to this inkblot range from animal skin or skin rugs. The card signifies, according to psychologists, a threatening figure in order to elicit a sentiment of authority.

There are nine other inkblot cards like these and each is shown in a particular order according to the requirement of the test.

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Supporters of the Test

 

The test, however, is not without controversy as it has divided the whole community of psychologists. Some support the test as an important asset for a psychiatrist while the critics question its very validity.

The supporters argue that the test gives you a remarkable insight into an individual’s personality and may uncover hidden malice.

For example, on IQ tests or other standardized tests most troubled people can keep it together but studies have shown that the inkblot test reveals a different side to them.

Some psychiatrists have argued that while other tests may fail to reveal much but the Rorschach may be able to raise some red flags. For them, the 10 inkblots are sensitive and accurate tools to map how the mind works. Various researchers have used the Rorschach test to see early onsets of Alzheimer’s, which is a remarkable study.

 

Critics of the Test

 

The critics, however, question the very validity of the test. The question of validity rests with the idea what answers are reasonable, and more importantly, who decides what is reasonable. This is at the heart of the arguments against the usage of this test. The critics consider the test pseudoscience which should not be used in any kind of examination.

Other points of criticism are the implicit bias of the testing psychologist who may, unconsciously, project his/her beliefs in the responses. Some have questioned the very nature of the methodology involved measuring the personality. Finally, some have argued that the test not reliable for example, two different testers might end up getting two different personality profiles for the same individual.

 

In Conclusion

 

Despite various controversies and critics of the test, the Rorschach test is still one of the most popular tests. It is still considered valid in the court of law, various medical insurance companies in the West considers its results valid. The test is also a cultural reference point. For example, Andy Warhol, on the creative geniuses of the 20th century, created a painting based on the test. Other examples include the comic book character from Watchmen, mentioned earlier.

So, suffice it to say the Rorschach test has made a cultural mark on the society and even though it still polarises the psychiatrist community, it is still one of the most influential personality tests out there.

In the next series on Personality tests, I will trace the origins and the story of another popular personality test, the Myers-Briggs Indicator. Till then be cheers and keep exploring yourself at Brainpundits!

Jobs and Skills of the Future: The Future of Employment – Part 2

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In the previous article, I had outlined the rising anxieties with regard to the rise of A.I. and automation in various sectors of employment. As discussed earlier, there are various jobs that may get redefined in the wake of the automation revolution. But what are the jobs that will remain safe? Also, what are the new skills you may need to acquire to get you ready for an uncertain future? In this article, I will try to answer your questions.

So What Jobs are Safe?

The types of jobs that are most secure are the ones that require the creative side of the human mind. Genuine creativity is one of the key things that will take A.I. or robots a long time to catch up to, so for now, humans are still the best at that. So, jobs like designing – graphic, interior, fashion – developing a new software or an app, or creating a new business strategy, are a safe bet, as they require unique human ingenuity.

The second area of occupations that will remain safe is those that involve building complex interpersonal relationships with people. For instance, jobs like building relationships in business with a client or another prime example are of nursing, as nurses have to build and maintain close relationships with the patients.

In fact, the Future of Employment report identifies certain jobs that are safe from automation. They are recreational therapists (be it in rehabs or other care centers), or mechanics and plumbers, as these jobs are based on contingencies that a machine may not be able to handle. Other jobs include social workers and occupational therapists.

Then there are jobs in the hospitality industry like waiters/waitresses, chefs/cooks etc. For a better mapping, look at the below figure based on the U.S. Department of Labour which predicted the jobs of which the demand would grow.

Source: Screenshot from a video by Vox on automation. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOT0GOyw2pY&t=11s

A recent report by E&Y suggests something similar is happening in the case of India, as it suggests that around 35% in the I.T. industry will face an existential threat in the next five years and various job profiles will be redefined to keep up with the changes that are happening. Not only the I.T. industry but various other industries, in the report, are identified that are in the process of redefining current job profiles, signaling a redefinition of the very skill sets that you may require.

 

 

Skills and Tips

So, how to counter these rapid changes and equip yourself to face these shifts? Well, the most important advice is to diversify your portfolio. In order to assure not only your survival but also growth in any job industry, you will need to diversify your skill set. For example, if you are a software developer in a company and know only one particular computer language, it would be better for you to learn different languages in order to maximize your contribution to your company.

Diversification can also come in the form of acquiring skills like writing, learning a foreign language, or getting tech savvy (for those who are technologically challenged), as all of these things ensure that you’re not a one trick pony and are also comfortable doing other things too.

Another important skill that you can work on is your emotional and social intelligence, as it can be discerned from most of the studies that jobs in the future rely most on interpersonal relationships. So, if you feel that you’re not comfortable around people or that you get nervous around social situations, then I think its time you hone your social skills in order to prepare yourself for the future ahead.

As even though the anxieties about future are fixated over automation and rise of the A.I., what is getting sidelined is the by-product of these changes, the increase of interpersonal relationships as an industry. Improving such skills will not only improve your chances at work but will also increase your social network.

Now, I can sense you wondering: What if I don’t know what type of person I am? How do I know if I am ready for this uncertain future? Well, don’t worry as I have a solution for all your confusion as we at Brainpundits are here to help you in every step of the way.

There are various psychometric tests that Brainpundits offer in order to help you know yourself better. All these tests will not only help you realize your true potential but also enable you to prepare for the future. So, what are you waiting for? Go to Brainpundits and start exploring yourself!

Till then cheers and be awesome!

Well, for now, robots aren’t taking over our jobs. Check how employable are you with the help of our free test series.

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The Robots are Coming! The Future of Employment – Part 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A spectre is looming over the future of employment in the world – the spectre of automation. In a much-cited study by the scholars at Oxford University, aptly titled The Future of Employment, predicted that in the next 20 years around 47% of jobs could be automated, i.e. smart machines would replace humans (2013). Another recent study by McKinsey and Company found that about 30% of tasks in nearly one-third of occupations could get computerised. In fact, famous entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Bill Gates, while worrying about the future, talked about how it could lead to mass unemployment. Bill Gates went as far as to suggest that a time may come when we’ll have to tax the robots!

 

Is the Hype Real?

 

So, is the anxiety real? Or is it just yet another exaggerated prediction about the future of jobs? In the past 60 years, according to one study, only one of the 270 jobs got eliminated due to automation: of the elevator operator. This overreaction towards the advent of new technology is called the ‘Luddite Fallacy’ where actually technology ends up creating new types of jobs.

Some of the major economists have argued that this sort of anxiety has always cropped up whenever there’s been any technological advancement but they all amounted to nothing. Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, while talking on the issue in a video, argues that automation does indeed displace workers but it doesn’t affect the total number of jobs in the economy because of the new opportunities that arise because of changes in technology.

But some argue that with the rise of intricate A.I. and leaps in machine learning, we may be witnessing a different beast altogether. Let me give you an example of Watson, which is a highly sophisticated computer system that is capable of answering questions in natural human language.

If you are thinking what’s that got to do with the future of employment, then think again as IBM’s machine is already creating a revolution in the field of HR as various employers have started using the power of Watson in future recruitments. In fact, in 2011, Watson managed to defeat two humans in the highly famous quiz game Jeopardy which announced to the world the future of machines is already here.

What is also different this time around is the rate of change in technological advancements which is staggering. Just to give a picture of what I am talking about, in 2004 two different studies assessed on the level of computing power, and the first one assessed the teaching computer to drive on the road is something that is unforeseeable (The Divison of Labour, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane, 2004), while the other study argued that human level speech recognition for computers will remain an elusive goal for the next few decades (Reddy, 2004). And then you think of Siri (introduced in 2011) or Google Assistant (2016) or Cortana (2016) or the self-driving cars we have been hearing about for some years now, which makes you realise how we may be just underestimating the speed of these changes. What may seem unimaginable today may be a reality in 5 or even 10 years.

 

So What Types of Jobs are at Risk?

 

According to Martin Ford, a futurist argues that due to further advancement in automation, certain types of jobs are at a higher risk, especially jobs which are repetitive and predictable in nature (2015). So, job profiles which follow a set pattern are most likely to be replaced by the machines in the coming decades. Going back to the Oxford study, for example, it found that jobs like telemarketing have a 99% chance of being automated. In the west, the trend has already stared where people are receiving calls from robots! Other jobs that the study predicts that are likely to get automated are the job of a loan officer (98%), a machine going through numbers and data to finalise if a person eligible or not for a loan, or a bank cashier (97%).

Even the legal industry is not immune to automation as the study predicts that the routine tasks of assistants to lawyers have a 94% chance of getting automated. According to a recent report by Deloitte around 100, 000 jobs in the legal sector have a high possibility of being automated in the next two decades. The Oxford study even puts the likelihood that the job of a taxi driver being replaced by a robot at a staggering 89%! And with the industry pushing towards advancements in machine learning and a smarter A.I., the feasibility of technological singularity doesn’t seem to be fiction anymore.

Okay, I know you must be thinking of numerous things like it’s not happening now and you should not be worrying about the robots taking your jobs. But it is happening and automation will change the way a workplace looks like. This also means the nature of employment will change, requiring new and different skills for a new work environment. But what sort of skills? What type of jobs of the future are safe from automation? And more importantly what are tips that you can know about thinking about your future. All of your questions will be answered in the next part of the article, till then cheers and be awesome!

Temperament Test: The Oldest Personality Test

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When one thinks about personality tests these days, the most talked about is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is almost a benchmark that most of the corporate world uses to assess future employees. There are also various pop-quizzes available online or on Facebook that seem to tell what colour are you or what celebrity you are. The essence of all these quizzes and tests are something that is innate in humans, which is the curiosity to know about oneself. And this is not a recent phenomenon as in this post I will talk about one of the oldest personality tests that we came up with. It’s called the Temperament test.

What is Temperament?

Before I trace the origins of this test, you must have heard the word Temperament and may even have some vague understanding of it. The loosest meaning one associates it with is with one’s mood. But there’s more to it that meets the eye. Temperament, apart from being our attitude towards life, is an essential part of the overall personality that describes the initial state from which personality develops and links individual differences in overall behaviour. The study of temperament, Rothbart has argued, is old as Hindu Upanishads and as recent as studies on molecular genetics (Rothbart, 2006).

 

Greek Origins – Temperament Test

 

The origins of this test lie way back in the Graeco-Roman era. The Greek physician Hippocrates came up with the concept of four temperaments – Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric, and Melancholic (which I will discuss in detail in a bit), which was a part of his overall work on humorism. The theory relies on the balance of our bodily fluids and any dominance of one resulting in the overall health of the person. The four bodily fluids that Hippocrates talked about are – Blood, Phlegm, Yellow Bile, and Black Bile.

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Galen, a physician, further using these bodily humors and named the personality types according to their respective dominance.

 

  • Sanguine – Blood
  • Phlegmatic – Phlegm
  • Choleric – Yellow Bile
  • Melancholic – Black Bile

 

From this conceptualisation came the oldest personality test, the Four temperaments test. It has had an influence on later formulations of tests like Carl Jung’s inspired MBT. Now, let’s discuss each personality type in detail.

 

Sanguine – The Adventurer

 

As the bodily fluid dominant in this type is blood, signifying a desire for adventure, the people belonging to this type are usually adventurous, fun loving and always craving for people’s attention. Sanguine personalities are optimists, buoyant, carefree, and cannot tolerate getting bored. They constantly crave things to do and cannot sit idle.

This attribute means that a person with a sanguine personality can be a great artist. They are also great entertainers as they are the life of a conversation and of the party. The ideal activities for this type of person are travelling, going to social events, and also unplanned plans. They also love working with others so best career for them would be which where close connectivity with people is the norm. More concrete examples of jobs would be marketing, fashion and interior designing, and even sports

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Phlegmatic – The Social Butterfly

 

People with this temperament type are very social. They are a people person and love maintaining interpersonal harmony with them. They are also loyal and tend to maintain relationships – be it friends or family – for most of their lives.

Phlegmatic people would go to great lengths to avoid getting involved in a conflict. They also like to help other and indulge in charity work. They may usually like doing volunteer work during their free time. Examples of jobs for phlegmatic personalities include nursing, counselling, social work, and teaching.

 

Choleric – The Aspirant

 

Choleric people are goal oriented and love being organised. They are extremely pragmatic and straightforward when it comes to real life situations. Due to their high levels of pragmatism, they sometimes are not the best companions.

They love a challenge and are highly disciplined. They are able to think logically and do not let emotions influence their decisions. They love having meaningful conversations with like-minded people. Ideal work environments for them would be engineering, data analyst, programming, and also entrepreneurship.

 

Melancholic – The Thinker

 

Lastly, people belonging to the Melancholic personality type are reserved but very knowledgeable. They love working alone as they perform the best when they are by themselves. They are, as the name suggests, very thoughtful and considerate when it comes to problems of the people.

They are also very creative and self-reliant, as they hardly require anybody’s help in their work. The downside that may happen to these attributes is that one can get obsessive over little things which may have a negative influence on others. Ideal jobs for people like these are accounting, research analyst, writer, artist etc.

 

In Conclusion – Harry Potter and the Four Temperaments

 

Before I finish off, a quick example from the world of popular culture and how the four temperaments can still be considered relevant when it comes to personality types. In the book, and later in the films, students at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during initial orientation, as it were, are sorted via a magical hat. The magical hat divides the students into four houses. Each house can be considered the four temperaments here.

The Gryffindor house represents the people who are courageous and ambitious, signifying the Sanguine type. Students who are studious and love details represent the Ravenclaw house. Whereas house Slytherin represents students who are cunning and shrewd can be considered to represent the Choleric personality. And Hufflepuff house represents students who are loyal and trustworthy, which are similar characteristics of the Phlegmatic personality. So, think about it, which wizard house you belong to? The answer may surprise you!

Till then cheers and be awesome!

 

 

References

Rothbart, Mary K., ” Temperament, Development, and Personality“. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2007: Vol. 16, pg. 207

what-is-education-by-brainpundits

What is An Education?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Have you ever asked yourself, what is an education? Many people will answer that education is a. going to school; b. getting good marks, and c. eventually getting a degree that would end up getting you a job.

That is usually the understanding one has of it, no matter where you live in the world. Parents and peers alike tell you, and at times coerce you, to follow this educational setup in the society. But what if I tell you that this understanding of education is a narrow one, confined to the walls of a classroom.

I will tell you the story of education that is beyond and outside these walls. An education where marks are not the only markers of progress but overall personality development is.

An education where degrees are not important but experiencing the varying dynamics of life is. An education where there is no notion of failing as each moment is a learning experience which helps you be a better person.

Failing Behind Closed Doors

I remember during my years throughout school, I used to dread the idea of failing an exam. It’s a dread that we all have, even though we don’t know why failing is seen as such a huge deal. And then I ended up failing my 12th exam.

Little did I know that failing that exam would change the way I look at life and how I came to know about an alternative understanding of education. I stopped going to school after that as I took a break from walled education. I started to explore myself and also started to explore life in the outside world.

 

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Education 2.0 – Beyond the Classroom

The years I spent outside the classroom, are the actual years that I really learned about myself, about people and about life. I traveled, read books, and also started expressing myself, be it through articles or conversations.

I met and talked to different people in my journey and saw myself getting transformed from a shy-boy, who used to get tongue-tied when talking to people, to a confident man who loves initiating conversations. My curiosity to constantly explore the world led me to new paths.

All these experiences made me more emotionally stable and also open-minded to different ideas and perspectives. These experiences also made me more confident about handling problems that life could throw at me.

A Symbiotic Relationship

I became more assertive about my ideas and my curiosity grew and it eventually led me back to the classroom. But this time not only I was prepared for it, but I also knew what I wanted to study about in life. I did not let other people dictate my choices anymore.

I started reading History in detail to learn about India and how it has reached so far. I also read English literature to know about the subjective experiences of people and their lives. And I also started studying Political Science, a subject I would do my higher studies in, which made me realize about the rules of the society and how they govern the overall functioning of the society.

My experiences outside the classroom actually enabled me to do well inside the classroom. I began linking my experiences, from outside the classroom, with concepts and facts that I started to learn inside it. This made me realize the sheer importance of synergy between the two modes of learning. This symbiotic relationship between the two, I feel, is very important for the overall development of an individual and his/her personality.

 

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Beyond Marks

The problem I feel with the mainstream definition of education lies with importance to marks, and they were the markers of someone’s intelligence. But these marks do not define or even help a person’s personality development or even intelligence.

In fact, many have started questioning the very famous IQ test as a reliable marker of a person’s intelligence. Many have now started advocating for overall personality tests that would help people understand their strengths and weaknesses so that they can have a better understanding about themselves, which will enable them to walk a more suitable path in life.

And in order to develop an overall personality, one has to first understand that there exists a realm of education outside the walls of a classroom, which is as equal as the one inside the classroom. They not only complement each other but excelling in both would lead to a more complete, well You! So, what are you waiting for?

Start educating yourself by going outside, meeting new people, traveling, and exploring in order to realize the full extent of your potential. And remember, there is no such thing as the failure but rather everything is an experience you learn from.

Now, I have talked a lot about personal development and some of the dimensions of it in this article but I can hear your asking, how do I know what traits I have? Am I an assertive person? Am I an open-minded person? Or Am I pragmatic or a romantic? Well not to worry, as Brainpundits has all the answers to your curiosity about yourself as it offers you various personality tests that you can take to fully explore yourself.

So Happy exploring yourself and be awesome!