Protecting the Purpose of Personality Inventories
Berkeley Political Review

assessment, Big 5, classification, cognition, cognitive, culture, Fortune 500 companies, Jungian cognitive theory, MBTI, Myers-Briggs, personality, quantification, Socionics, workforce

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Socionics is MBTI 2.0. It pulls from the same source, Jungian cognitive function modeling, and improves upon MBTI’s understandings.

As our generation becomes increasingly more familiar with the boundaries and capacities of the technological advances of computers, our ability to quantify and objectively analyze society likewise improves. These innovations in research ability and data analysis, combined with the increasing developments in the field of psychology and neuroscience, will eventually pave the way for a more accurate personality inventory, in which individuals are sorted and divided into different behavioral categories useful for creating effective work environments and relationships. There are already existing forms of personality inventories in Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Big 5, and others, yet none of them are entirely accurate or directly applicable in their present forms. The chief problem that arises from the quantification of cognition is the formal usage of these highly advanced personality inventories within systems of people, for it provides a means of organization and division along cognitive lines. There is a less obvious justification for division along cognitive lines than other forms of discrimination. In coming years, these cognitive inventories will be increasingly powerful, which is why we should confine them to the strict purpose of descriptive analysis.

MBTI, the beacon of pop psychology, is a quick and easy personality assessment that measures one’s scores along four dichotomies (Extraversion/Introversion, Intuition/Sensing, Feeling/Thinking, Judging/Perceiving). It is, however, perhaps one of the most easily critiqued personality inventories: the dichotomy it employs is non-existent in actual data, the descriptions are explained by the Forer effect (descriptions are worded ambiguously enough that all individuals can identify with them), and assessment itself suffers poor test-retest validity. In scientific terms, it sucks.

Socionics, however, is MBTI 2.0. It pulls from the same source, Jungian cognitive function modeling, and improves upon MBTI’s understandings. Most present research focusing on MBTI and the cognitive functions is conducted through Socionics and it is one of the most accurate systems of cognitive functioning in development. Socionics is on the cusp of creating a system where one can categorize and organize individuals by their cognitive processing. Despite this potential breakthrough, Socionics is still only a theory; once this theory begins refinement will its transformative power be realized. It will be able to, effectively and accurately, predict individuals’ cognition. This has immense organizational power within systems of people.

Already, MBTI is implemented in the workplace; used to organize and predict relationships between different individuals. One of the most popular forms of personality assessment, MBTI, is utilized by eighty-nine of the top one hundred fortune 500 companies. Socionics, with more scientific credibility attached to the personality inventory, will revolutionize the way we organize systems of people. In education, for instance, students’ different forms of cognitive processing can and will prefer different mediums and styles of teaching.
However, as a consequence of causing divisions and boundaries with MBTI, society may attach stereotypes to the labels given. In essence, it has serious potential to cause discrimination rooted in science. In many of the online forums that discuss MBTI and derivative works, typism–stereotyping based on type–is already an immense problem. In creating different labels, individuals are divided into their respective camps. In introducing these divisions, we will be separating and stratifying the population on yet another characteristic–as if age, gender, and race weren’t enough!

Jungian cognitive theory is not a tool to manipulate and control others; rather, it is a lens of looking at one’s life, actions, and manners of thinking. Primarily and most notably, it is used to usher in self-improvement and explain the rationales behind individuals’ actions. It has the potential to explain a lot about human psychology and cognition–better than any current understandings out there. MBTI is the young child with immense positive and negative potential; it needs to be shaped in a way that will cause good rather than destruction. Therefore, it is absolutely paramount that in understanding these personality inventories, we understand they’re simply a tool to be utilizes–a descriptive and analytic tool–and not a box that explains all of human personality.

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Reference:
Hanna Haddad Protecting the Purpose of Personality Inventories.
How MBTI and Socionics need to be protected from abuse within systems of people // Berkeley Political Review. - April 11, 2015.

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