At work we’re being encouraged to take part in the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator questionnaire, in an effort to lay the ground work for better team working. I never know whether this is a form of quackery, like Scientology or Landmark, but since it came from the top, I agreed and spent a few minutes responding to a hundred or so repetitive questions. The results have now whizzed off to an expert MBTI practitioner employed by our training department, and I will no-doubt get the results in a few months’ time, just when I have forgotten all about it.
Anyhow, this piqued my curiosity, so I decided to do further reading into the cryptic field of personality analysis. Many professional psychologists, I gather, are deeply critical of the reliability of MBTI tests, and view the terminology used as very general and vague. Nevertheless, I couldn’t resist trying out another such personality test that promised instant results, without the need to register or part with cash. And, my word, the results felt just a little creepy: as if they’d nailed me down. Hmm, but then again, could it simply be that if you compose the explanation broadly enough, you will convince the reader that you are speaking to them directly? Could be that. If I read it again in a little while, will I begin to see holes in the result? Is it really just very general, speaking to broad accounts of human nature?
Perhaps I will attempt the questionnaire again, answering questions randomly, or the opposite of what I think… and then read through the results again. Will I equally see myself in their descriptions, and equally think: how uncanny, how profound, how creepy? Perhaps so. In short, is it all just claptrap? By which I mean pseudo-science, invented by the analytics and consultation industry? Or on the other hand, is there something to it — something deeper — of the like popularised by Abu Hamid Muhammad Al-Ghazali? Professional psychologists would probably call that drivel too. Who knows?