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Quiz? Test? Psychological Indicator? Holding Personality Assessments to the Highest Standard

Posted 23 Mar 2021 by Melissa, MBTI Marketing Manager
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How do I know if a personality assessment is scientific, valid, and reliable?

There's a high likelihood that the ‘Which Hogwarts house do you fall into?' quiz isn't scientifically valid.

And that's OK, because most people understand that it's just for fun and not to be taken seriously.

The problem comes when the free online quiz starts to make itself look like a valid psychological assessment. In the case of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® assessment, you can find things on the internet that look similar to the official MBTI assessment, and even give you a four-letter result and description. But they're not the scientifically valid instrument.

So how do you know if what you're taking is the real deal?

Look for evidence

There are a few things you can look for to see if what you're taking is a valid and reliable psychometric personality assessment.

The first thing to look for is a manual, manual supplement, or technical supplement by the assessment provider. All reputable psychological assessments will publish information like:

For the official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment (the same one you can take on MBTIonline.com), you can find ourmanual supplement information hereand ourtechnical briefs here. You can also purchase the full MBTI manual if you really want to dig into the statistics.

But everything you need for validity and reliability is contained in the supplements and briefs, which are free.

Or, if you don't want to read a manual supplement, take a look atthe infographic we created. It explains some of the information.

If you're taking a free online quiz and you can't find any information that the company has provided for evidence of their reliability, validity, or samples and norms, it's likely because that information doesn't exist.

Want to get more answers to common MBTI questions?Check out the MBTI Facts page.

Who sets the standards of a good psychological assessment?

Depending on what country you're in, there are a few different organizations that set standards for psychological assessment

In the United States, one of the biggest organizations to deal with psychometric testing and assessment is theAmerican Psychological Association, orAPA.

The APA sets recommendations for the validity and reliability information required to meet their scientific standard.

The official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment meets and exceeds the standards for psychological assessments set by both the APA and theBritish Psychological Society (BPS).

What about bias?

We look at every question (item) to assess for differential responding. To learn more about how we prevent bias in our assessments, take a look atthis 5-minute video.

In the latest version of the Global MBTI assessment, the representative sample has over 16,000 people from across the globe.

We provide these details in the technical briefs as well as the MBTI manual. You can find the technical briefs here (further down the page)http://bit.ly/MBTImanual.

At The Myers-Briggs Company, we're diligent in our maintenance and ongoing development of the MBTI assessment to ensure it's as neutral and bias-free as possible.

Is the MBTI tool used to hire people? Nope.

The MBTI assessment should never be used to hire people. It's unethical to use it for hiring or selection of any sort. The MBTI tool itself wasn't made to predict performance, or to filter people out of a team, or to choose who to hire for a certain position.

The MBTI assessment was designed to help people better understand themselves and the differences between themselves and others. But that doesn't mean that any one type, or any preference, is better or worse than another. They're different. And the assessment shows how.

Should I still take that Buzzfeed/Facebook quiz?

Sure. Just don't take the results too seriously.

There's nothing wrong with finding out which Hogwarts house you belong to or which Marvel character is most like you—it's a fun way to pass the time.

But watch out for assessments that appear more credible than they actually are. If you want to improve relationships, better understand yourself, and overall lead a more fulfilling life, make sure you're taking a psychological assessment that's scientifically valid and supported by official published data.