Retaking the MBTI & Big Five Personality Tests

By February 25, 2017 No Comments

As I head into another year of questionable decisions and self-discovery, I thought it would be very thematic, if not symbolic, to reevaluate a very important aspect of myself – ✨my personality✨

It’s generally good practice to retake personality tests once in awhile, especially after any drastic changes in your life. Or maybe, if you just haven’t taken one in awhile.

The two most reliable ones are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Big 5 Personality Test. They both come from different fields of thought in psychology, so I’ll be sitting for both and discussing them today.
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BIG FIVE PERSONALITY TEST

Let’s start with the Big Five since it is by far the simpler test. It only measures you on 5 factors – Openness (to new experiences), Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Or as we psychology students are taught to remember them, OCEAN.

I quite like the Big Five test because it measures its traits in dimensions. For example, you could be moderately extraverted and another person highly extraverted; and they would mean completely different things! In that way, it is more detailed than the MBTI where you are either one thing or the other.

I showed either moderate or high ratings for all the factors; high scores being pretty self-explanatory, while moderate scores indicate I’m in a mid-way point between two ends of the spectrum.

Kind of like ambiverts whom are both extroverted and introverted at the same time, people who have moderate scores get the best of both worlds, so to speak.

I think my Big Five results reflect my personality pretty well, but the truth is, it’s slowly reaching the end of its relevance. That is because, when the test was first conceived, it ran on the assumption that a person’s behaviour directly reflected their personality. However, behaviour doesn’t necessarily translate to attitudes.

To you, those two words may mean the same thing but here’s the difference:

‘Behaviours’ are external actions that are highly dependent on the presence of others, whereas ‘attitudes’ are purely internal. Just because a person may act a certain way (and hence, respond to the Big Five in that way), doesn’t necessarily mean their internal reasoning reflects that. Especially not with the type of questions the Big Five uses.

For example: Saying that you vote for liberal candidates earns you more points in Openness and Extraversion, but in reality, doesn’t necessarily mean you are extroverted and open to new experiences. It’s just a political alignment; what gives, Big Five?
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MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR (MBTI)

The MBTI, on the other hand, doesn’t measure things in dimensions. That makes it less detailed, but also, more consistent than the Big Five. Like I said earlier, you’re either one thing or the other when it comes to this test, and that leaves much less room for change to occur.

Currently, there are 16 possible personalities you can get when taking the MBTI. They all come in the form of 4 letters, each representing one cognitive preference.

I’ve been a stable INFJ for the longest time, but now… I’m not longer special, lol.

Instead of Judging, which is characterised by a preference for a planned, organised approach to events, I have begun to show more liking for Perceiving, which is a preference for a more flexible and spontaneous approach.

As you can see, however, the ratio is pretty even for both, which means I could shift my preferences back to Judging at any moment… or not. We may have to revisit this one again.

As for the rest, they have remained the same as always. I am Introverted, indicating my propensity for the inner world of ideas (e.g. introspection) and also where I derive my energy from.

I am Intuitive, which means I focus more on the future and possible happenings, rather than concrete information that is present.

And lastly, I am filled with Feeling, which shows that I base my decision making on values and subjective evaluations as opposed to logic.

Despite the slight change, I think this MBTI still suits me well. Of course, that could be due to the test’s infamously vague interpretation of results. Because there is no concrete meaning to each cognitive preference, that allows most people to take what they like and run with it.

CONCLUSION?

So, we’ve looked at both tests, my results, and their flaws. I’m sure, after this, you’ll be able to piece together a pretty good picture of my personality. And hopefully, yours as well!

Even with their flaws, both tests still far outclass all others that exist currently. Just, take the results with a pinch of salt. The one who knows you best is yourself, after all.

Until the next post,
Nathalie

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