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The Popularity of MBTI: How Many People Has It Helped?

You may remember that this society had very clear preferences for different personalities.

For example, introverts have been at the bottom of the contempt chain for a long time.

Many introverted children have probably heard words like “This child is not cheerful and is not good” more than once.

Similarly, if a person always seems to be unorganized in his work, likes to meet deadlines, or the room looks messy, he may inevitably receive the comment “I’m really immature” or face the question “How will I live my life in the future?” worries.

And those who love fantasy and love without boundaries must have thought about whether they want to change, whether they want to “become more down-to-earth.” Because labels and judgments such as “not realistic”, “nonsensical”, “can you speak human words”, etc. are really everywhere. And those people whose ideas are particularly practical usually rarely worry about “should I be more of a fantasy person?”

In the past, if a person was unfortunate enough to have such a low-profile personality, it might mean a life of constant self-verification, constant adjustment, and constant self-doubt.

But in the past two years, the situation seems to have changed.

After MBTI suddenly became popular, the above three types of people suddenly found their niche: I people, P people, and N people.

After MBTI became popular, My personality was confirmed

When sharing her experience of growing up as an introvert, the up owner of station b “Peng Chunhua herself” also mentioned –

This process of internalizing external prejudice into self-doubt often appears in the lives of so-called P people and N people.

“I used to have to finish my work every time, and I couldn’t advance the progress in an orderly and step-by-step manner. I always wondered whether my work ability was abnormally weak. There is probably no worse working person in the world than me. 」

“When I was studying, I was always criticized by my teachers for writing essays that went off-topic and for speaking in a confusing way. I always liked to talk arrogantly when chatting with my classmates. For a long time, I suspected that there was something wrong with my brain and thought it was a flaw. I never thought it was just my characteristic.”

This kind of internalization of negative evaluations from the outside world can easily involve people in this vortex – they want to change, but they can’t, and then they become helpless, unable to be themselves or others. Finally, you may end up with low self-esteem or even depression.

But the problem is that many personalities do not need to be changed and are difficult to change.

The generation of personality comes first from genes and heredity, and then from the interaction of acquired family education, class, living environment and other factors.

Personality psychologists believe that personality is relatively stable across time. For example, a person who was introverted in the past will be introverted now, and will probably still be introverted in the future. Unless he encounters some particularly major events, personality generally will not change qualitatively over time.

For those with unpopular personalities, this can seem like a dead end, as if they are forever trapped in a personality cage with no windows, each thinking they are a unique freak.

The popularity of MBTI is a bit like breaking down these prison walls and allowing everyone to see each other.

According to a 2018 statistics, MBTI can be said to be “the most popular personality test in the world”. It is widely used in corporate training, career consulting, personal growth and other fields, with more than 2 million people taking it every year around the world. test.

After MBTI became part of popular culture, the groups represented by each letter also recognized each other through the Internet.

Now on Douban, every MBTI personality has more than one group, and various personality labels are used on different social platforms. If you just click on it, you can find many I people and P people.

More importantly, in the MBTI system, whether you are introverted, extroverted, concerned with reality, or willing to imagine, this is just a letter on the personality spectrum. All personalities exist in parallel here, some are good and some are bad.

MBTI has a simple and beautiful system. The 16 types of personality are divided into four categories with different bright tones. Each personality has a carefully designed image and name, accompanied by a detailed interpretation. Each personality’s interpretation includes A detailed discussion of the advantages and limitations, and different historical celebrities as icons to endorse it.

As a result, people have a romantic and open imagination about each personality, instead of the simple and crude “this is good and that is bad” in the past.

INFP people are probably one of the biggest beneficiaries. If you look carefully at the personalities represented by these letters, according to previous sayings, these people are introverted, impractical, and unorganized, and they do not look like popular people.

The “MBTI Manual” describes it this way:

“Idealists are loyal to their own values ​​and the people they value. Pursue an outer life that is consistent with inner values.

Curious, quick to see various possibilities, and able to accelerate the implementation of ideas. A desire to understand others and help others develop their potential. Adaptable, flexible, and often tolerant of others if it does not conflict with their values.

Their ideal job is one that contributes to the growth and inner development of themselves and others. Their goals in life are more than just a paycheck.

The most important thing for INFP types is to clarify their own values and maintain the unity of knowledge and action. “

After reading this discussion, it is not difficult for you to understand why there was a time when everyone seemed to be proud of being an INFP, and there was even a “INFP per capita” meme on the Internet.

Peng Chunhua said that after studying psychology, she discovered that at least one-third of the people in the world are introverts, and she began to believe that she was normal. But most people will not study psychology in depth, and MBTI uses the face of popular culture to reach a wider range of people and tell everyone:

“No matter what your personality is, you are not a freak. You have your good and bad points. There are many people like you.”

Consultant Lu Meiju believes that MBTI has social psychological significance, because people are social animals and need to have a sense of belonging to a group. When you find that you have the same MBTI category as someone else, or even only one of the letters is the same, you can Brings a sense of belonging.

Using MBTI as a tool, Understanding between people is easier to achieve

The widespread interest in and discussion of personality has actually improved people’s metacognition of psychology – realizing that there are only differences in personality, no advantages or disadvantages, and that the previous ones are just stereotypes.

This has many benefits for both relationships between people and people’s self-understanding.

In relationships, it makes some understandings easier to achieve.

My friend is an F person, which is a type of person who has a strong ability to empathize. And her friend Xiaomei is a T person, which is a type of person who is logical in everything.

Once upon a time, my friend felt that Xiaomei was a bit unreasonable, otherwise why would she only follow logic in everything and not consider other people’s feelings. More than once, she couldn’t help but raise the issue to the level of this person’s personality, which seemed to be “not very kind”, and wanted to break up with her.

Later, MBTI became popular, and Xiaomei’s MBTI was ENTJ. My friend saw the description of “T”:

I like fields that focus on logic, pay attention to logical inconsistencies, and seek logic and solutions for most things.

Pursue fairness, feel that telling the truth is more important, sometimes ignore or deny the value of “people”, and may be regarded as too utilitarian, cold-blooded or indifferent.

My friend realized that although Xiaomei was indeed unkind, as the description said, she particularly pursued logic and truth. Continuing to read along the introduction, she saw her own “F”:

People-oriented, interpersonal communication-oriented, focusing on harmony, discovering things that are important to people, and expressing concern for people.

Pursue compassion and believe that instead of telling the “cruel truth”, it is better to speak more tactfully and appropriately. Sometimes seen as overly idealistic, sentimental, and straightforward.

She further realized that she was indeed a more considerate person, but at the same time, she was indeed unable to provide solutions to many problems and made things more complicated.

Xiaomei’s behavior may not be due to a problem with her character, but just her personality. This sex is not a bad personality. It has good and bad qualities. It’s just that before being reminded by MBTI, my friend only had a strong sense of the bad side.

In this way, MBTI smoothly helped a pair of friends who almost broke up to reach mutual understanding.

With MBTI as a bridge, this kind of understanding happens frequently. Person E, who was always unable to ask out person I, finally no longer suspected that the other party did not value this friendship: “Okay, person I is like this, maybe he needs to be alone more than we do.”

And people J who live an orderly life are less and less likely to think that person P lives a messy life because of lack of ability. Because MBTI has told us that P people like to have random whims and let everything go naturally, but at the same time, they are also more flexible and open.

Many J people have begun to realize that they always box their lives into a strictly sealed schedule, and they should indeed learn from the openness of P people.

This kind of understanding that occurs between relationships will eventually further allow people to see themselves in the understanding.

When we see someone who is different from us, behind his seemingly incomprehensible way of acting is a set of logic and values that we have never thought of. This is actually an opportunity for introspection:

“Is it possible for me to be like him?”

After the chain of contempt is eliminated and people stand together as equals, the ancient saying of Confucius will be verified – when three people walk together, there must be one teacher.

Ultimately, accepting that there are parts of other people’s personalities that are difficult for you to understand will also allow you to accept that you are not good at certain things.

Nowadays, a person seems to be less talkative than others in the workplace, unable to control things that require special planning, and rarely directly thinks that there is “something wrong” with him or her. Perhaps it is easier to think about: What if this job really If it’s not suitable for me, it’s because I’ve used my characteristics in the wrong place.

This may be the time when everyone can face their own personalities most relaxedly.

It must be admitted that MBTI has limitations

In fact, the psychological community has already had a lot of doubts about MBTI. We must admit that MBTI cannot help us understand personality scientifically and accurately.

MBTI is a personality test developed based on Jung’s theory of psychological types. The problem is that Jung’s theory has not been empirically tested, and there is no reliable evidence to confirm that these psychological types actually exist.

On the other hand, MBTI obtains results by asking test takers to score questions, and then divides personality according to the scores, using 50 points as the dividing line on the same dimension. There are two main problems with this model –

First of all, among the large number of questions in MBTI, a person may make different choices between several questions due to a slight difference in his current mood between the previous time and the next time, and this may cause a certain dimension to score from 49 It became 51 points, which resulted in different results from the previous test, which resulted in low test-retest reliability of MBTI.

Test-retest reliability is a key indicator of whether a test is reliable. It reflects the stability and consistency of the test across time.

The second problem is that from 50 points to 100 points, it is a long span.

A person may have an I score of 51, but in fact he may be more similar to an E with a score of 48, and not the same personality as an I with a score of 98. However, the MBTI will directly classify him as an I because he exceeds 50 points. I.

Such a classification is obviously too simple and rough, and in severe cases, it may affect the accuracy of a person’s self-perception.

Of course, if we look carefully at the MBTI measurement results, we will find that it is a spectrum that specifically presents the test taker’s score in each item. Even if you study MBTI further, you will find that in the original version, it will provide you with 2-3 results, telling you that it is “more similar to these personalities.”

But after all, such detailed details have been erased in the promotion to the public. People are now more accustomed to simply and crudely taking four letters as the final answer.

This has also led to MBTI becoming another representative of label culture.

As mentioned just now, an i person with a score of 51 and an i person with a score of 98 will be considered to have the same personality in the MBTI system and will be recognized by the same narrative. This granularity is obviously too coarse and too simple.

But this simple classification just caters to the human brain’s need for cognitive laziness and laziness, which is also an important reason why MBTI is so popular.

The result is that when we get to know each other through MBTI, we are left with only 16 ways of telling stories, while ignoring the inextricable differences and uniqueness in human nature;

When we understand ourselves through MBTI, we also smooth out many of our own possibilities. We use four letters to create an echo wall of self-understanding, constantly suggesting that we develop in the direction described by MBTI.

From the perspective of psychotherapy, Lu Meiju said that counselors generally do not like to label mental illness. This will lead to rigid and inflexible cognition, and it will be more difficult for us to believe in different possibilities, and the hope and expectation of improvement will be difficult. Not easy to happen.

If you use MBTI in a labeling manner, you may face the same dilemma. People will imply to themselves, “I am just like this, and there is nothing I can do about it” and refuse any efforts to change.

Wang Fang, a professor of psychology at Beijing Normal University, also pointed out in an interview with the media that when people with the same MBTI get together, it may lead to group polarization, that is, people who may have only a little similarity become more similar after constantly exchanging similar views. resemblance.

It is true that MBTI has made people understand that there are only differences in personality and no advantages or disadvantages. This is a very important step towards respect and understanding between people. However, if everyone rushes in the direction of labeling together, true understanding will not be achieved.

Take MBTI as the starting point for understanding yourself. rather than the answer

Perhaps, we should not only use MBTI, or any similar personality test or labeling system, to achieve true understanding of ourselves or the outside world.

As Professor Wang Fang said:

“From the perspective of self-understanding, MBTI can help us understand ourselves to a certain extent, because it has a certain theoretical basis and empirical evidence, although it is far from perfect. In fact, any tool can be used as a way to understand ourselves. Constellations are not impossible either.

As long as people consciously want to know and understand themselves, it is worth encouraging. But tools are only a starting point, and the question then becomes to what extent we trust and rely on them. “

Perhaps the greatest significance of MBTI is that it opens our horizons and allows us to use this as an opportunity to become interested in understanding others and our own personality, instead of simply and crudely classifying people into three or six categories using stereotypes.

It seems to answer our questions about personality in eight letters, but in fact, it is more like asking us a new question:

“There are differences in personality, what next?”

As the proposer of the theoretical basis of MBTI, in fact, Jung advocated that if you are a certain type, it just means that this type has the upper hand in your external behavior, and the other type that opposes it The other side is hidden in the subconscious and has not been fully developed. To achieve “self-individualization”, it is necessary to understand and develop the other side so that the two can be balanced.

Obviously, unlike many people nowadays who hold on to four letters and say “That’s just me” and then go further and further in one direction, Jung recommended that people use an open, accepting and trying mentality to understand more personality characteristics. .

The real thing to focus on is not the few letters in front of you, but to explore the letters you don’t own.

I think of the foreign company where my friend works. Years ago, before MBTI became popular, every employee was required to take the test when they were hired.

This test is not for screening employees, and no matter what the result is, it will not affect employment.

After employees join the company, based on the test results, the company will divide employees with different MBTI into a group for team building. In this way, each other in the company can better understand why different colleagues work the way they do, and the different people. , and is there anything I can learn from?

This openness may be a better attitude when facing MBTI.

In fact, there is probably no psychologist who can give you an accurate answer to “Who am I?”. It is already amazing to be able to provide us with a good opportunity and starting point for thinking.

As for how to arrive at the answer, we can only find it ourselves.