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Should we be suspicious of personality tests?

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For a few days now, the HBO Max channel has been offering a documentary dealing with personality tests. However, these would have significant biases and their use could have certain consequences. The director of the documentary mainly tackles the famous Myers-Briggs test.

Clearly targeted MBTI

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) psychological assessment tool determining the psychological type of a subject among 16 different types. Dating from 1962, this test is used to assess the psychological dominance of people working for example in the management field. Since March 4, 2021, the HBO Max channel has been broadcasting the documentary Persona: The Dark Truth Behind Personality Tests whose director Tim Travers Hawkins tackles precisely this kind of tests. The media Refinery29 decrypted this same documentary in an article from March 6, 2021.

Remember that the MBTI is based on four axes, namely the direction of energy, the preferred way to gather information, the preferred treatment for decision-making and the mode of action. The first is characterized either by extraversion (E) or introversion (I), the second by sensation (S) or intuition (N) and the third by thought (T) or feeling (F) . As for the fourth axis, it is characterized either by judgment (J) or perception (P).

Rather popular, the MBTI is often used as a benchmark, so it is not uncommon for people to show up mentioning their own results without taboo. Tim Travers Hawkins’ documentary explores the consequences of this type of testing, the results of which can make you smile when it comes to personal achievement. On the other hand, there may be a question of discrimination in the context of use in the world of work.

Credit: IMBD

A discriminatory test

In the event that a company subjects a potential future employee to such a test, it is not only a question of measuring their level of intuition or their degree of extroversion. In deciding whether or not to work with this person, the company seeks to compare their personality traits with those of its best current elements. However, the fact is that these tests are subject to significant biases. It must be said that at the origin of these tests, we often find men of white color, of middle class (or upper) heterosexual and valid. Unfortunately, these individuals do not integrate the domination mechanisms governing our society current.

For example, the MBTI fails to take into account a very important detail. Indeed, speaking, social interactions and participation in projects can be very different whether the person is disabled or is female. The same goes for people with a different skin color or another sexual orientation.

The documentary specifies, however, that this type of test can shed light on certain mental disorders such as bipolarity, for example. However, the fact remains that these same tests are not used to carry out medical diagnoses but to give leads to human resources managers. in the context of recruitment operations.



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