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Responding to Type Criticism—Is the MBTI® Tool Too Positive?

Responding to Type Criticism—Is the MBTI® Tool Too Positive?

A critic of the MBTI instrument wrote recently that the tool wants everyone “to be happy,” implying, I guess, that the Myers-Briggs® tool is not negatively critical enough of people’s individual personalities. While it is true that the tool is about helping people understand what qualities they bring to the table, it also provides insight into what potential blind spots they have, as well. People who don’t understand that maybe shouldn’t be writing about this instrument. Wow…that was blunt. If you know me, then you know I’m not usually that blunt.

My preferences are for INFP. I know these preferences help me in many situations. I tend to understand and stick to my values when I’m making decisions and get energized by brainstorming possibilities. I also know that during times of stress I can overuse my preferences. This has resulted in getting on my “high horse”—where only my values count—and getting too easily distracted by all the possibilities around me. Sometimes I might even appear a bit more blunt than usual.

One question I like to remind myself, especially during times of stress: Do you use your preferences, or do your preferences use you? I suggest that we each consider asking ourselves this question more often. In times of stress we can overuse or exaggerate our preferences. For people who prefer Extraversion this might be expressed as an outward exaggeration. For those who prefer Introversion, it could be expressed as a general withdrawal from everything and everybody.

–          To be continued     –

If you enjoyed this post, also check out a recent blog post by Jeff Hayes, President and CEO of CPP, Inc., which includes a response to a recent criticism about the MBTI assessment.


  1. I like the MBTI. I don’t like what some people write about it. Specifically, in my opinion, in the last 3 or 4 years, “function-mania-gone-wild” seems to have nearly completely taken over most website and blog discussions about MBTI. Nearly gone are the 4 letters anymore. Now, it’s all about introverted thinking, extroverted intuition, extroverted sensing and on and on. I suspect a large part of this goes back to someone in youtube going under the name of “Dave Superpowers” who was critical of Myers-Briggs. Whoever he is (does he have credentials?), he seems to have caught on by making alot of videos. IMO. For myself, I have enjoyed the books: Type Talk, and also, Life Types,and Gifts Differing. Functions are there, but they seem nowhere near as emphasized as what is the current fad now. Anyone who may want to reply/contact me on twitter @Crouton40. PS–when blogs start goung on and on about actors and superheroes who are this or that type, or preaching endlessly about about how it s “ok to be who you are” (translation: nobdy has any faults), then it’s no wonder people think MBTI is too positive.

  2. The “Affective” part of our mind speaks to our desires, motivations and wants. The “Cognitive” part of the mind is about our collective skills, knowledge and experience. The “Conative” part of the mind tells us how we will most naturally take action to complete a task or solve a problem. Only when we understand all three parts of the mind will we receive more of the answers we seek.

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