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ENFP, ISFJ, ESTP… These days, four combinations of alphabet letters are everywhere. Those letters refer to MBTI. The fever of MBTI testing, started by the 1020 generation, is also sweeping the broadcasting industry. Some variety shows conduct MBTI tests to the casts, and some celebrities post their MBTI tests on Instagram. The Sungkyun Times (SKT) will now look at what an MBTI test is, how MBTI tests gripped the people in Korea, and some things to be careful of with MBTI tests.

What Is MBTI Testing?

Definition and Purpose of MBTI Tests

An MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) test is one of the most wellknown psychological tests around the world. As the name suggests, it is a self-report inventory to check personality type, which was designed by Katharine C. Briggs and her daughter Isabel B. Myers. An MBTI test is based on the personality type theory by renowned psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. Jung’s theory is an indicator that the preferable way of an individual is fundamentally different in gathering information from outside (cognitive function) and making a decision about how to behave (judgment function) is basically different. The purpose of the MBTI test is to understand the difference between the basic psychological preference of oneself and others by nding out the individual preference of everyday cognition and judgment. Also, to get help in people’s daily lives by predicting how that individual preference works separately and collectively. MBTI tests have been used for counseling and psychological therapy, and, from the 80s, many companies were getting good results by utilizing MBTI tests in Human Resources Development and Human Resources Management.

Super Simple MBTI Test (visualdive.com)

Understanding MBTI Tests

MBTI testing suggests 16 kinds of personality types by defining four preference index measures divided into an extreme. For example, there are ENFP and ISTJ. Let’s take a look at the four preference index measures one by one.

1. ‘E’ or ‘I’: The first alphabet letter refers to the direction of mental energy. ‘E’ means extraversion and ‘I’ means introversion. A person who has ‘E’ becomes energetic around people but a person who has ‘I’ recovers energy through being alone more.

2. ‘S’ or ‘N’: Cognitive function, including gathering information, divides into ‘S’ and ‘N’. ‘S’ from sensing focuses on actual experience and present, but ‘N’ from intuition is future-oriented and focuses on probability and meaning.

3. ‘T’ or ‘F’: Function to make decisions based on the information from cognition gets the third alphabet. ‘T’, thinking, has an interest in the fact and loves to analyze and think logically. ‘F’, feeling, has an interest in relationships and people.

4. ‘J’ or ‘P’: ‘J’ and ‘P’ is about an application of cognitive function and judgment function into real life. “Judging” types follow the clear objective and directions, so they like plans and systems; “perceiving” types like flexible plans and systems that go with the ow because they are more impromptu than Judging types.

There are other representative personality tests like MBTI, including OCEAN and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2). OCEAN also called the Big 5 personality test, is a personality type test just like the MBTI test. It shows a result of five indexes and each has a percentage number while the MBTI result has four indexes with one alphabetic letter. MMPI-2 is for estimating psychopathological states but can get personality types as well. The way to get an answer, a self-report, is the same with MBTI and OCEAN, though the analytic system is very scientific. MMPI-2 is widely used across the world because psychology academia approved MMPI-2 as the most powerful test.

Why MBTI Testing Is Famous?

Easy Accessibility

Since 2012, Seoul city has placed a career coach at schools, who have counseling certification as well as MBTI test certification, to help students find out their future careers. As many middle schools and high schools use the MBTI test during career class, the 1020 generations will have no doubt come across MBTI testing. Simple test results of four alphabet letters and a small number of personality types also contributed to higher accessibility. In the case of OCEAN, people have to remember five indexes and the percentage number of each index. Moreover, only a few people who have a psychology certification or have an education in MMPI-2 after majoring in psychology can buy the questionnaire of the MMPI-2. In addition to simple test results, the MBTI result is easy to understand. In the explanation of the result of the MBTI test, few academic characteristics are used. They do not use complex terminologies in the commentary, so the public can understand well. Also, people can nd more commentary about their types on the Internet.

Who Am I, Who I Am?

1020 generations desire to know about themselves. Since the MBTI test is a great way to get a detailed interpretation of their type, MBTI could be the craze. According to Univtomorrow 20s lab that studies the tendency and trends of the 20s, 5.5% of people in their 20s said, “I agonize and explore to know myself.” Through the result and commentary of the MBTI test, people can get to know themselves better by knowing their inclination and understanding their innate behavior. Also, university students worrying about their careers and aptitude use MBTI as a tool to search and understand more about themself. According to Job-Korea and Alba-mon’s research in 2019, 15% of 941 university students who decided their future careers said the standardized psychology test was helpful. Also, Baek Jong-woo, a professor of Psychiatry at Kyunghee University, said, “There are three kinds of me. The Me that I know, the me what people think, and the me in my unconsciousness so that I do not know.” People upload MBTI content, such as the feature of INFJ and Bingo for INFJ and try to let others know, “I am this kind of person.” Besides MBTI testing, a lot of online type tests were the trend on SNS: Plant my own flower, What is a matching major of mine? and Who is the leader that matches with me? It’s not because people believe it is true. They just want to make a relationship between their friends and let others know who they are and what behaviors they hate.

Who I Am (news.chosun.com)

Diverse MBTI Content

MBTI testing is a hot trend not only in Korea but also all over the world. Diverse MBTI content is being produced across the world. A lot of content such as Chemistry between MBTI types, Factual attack to MBTI type evoke sympathy and become humor content on SNS. People also guess the MBTI type of a celebrity or character and get pleasure and intimacy. Recently, over those memes, there is interview content like Most frequently heard nagging between MBTI types, and a web-drama on YouTube. In particular, people spend more and more time enjoying those kinds of online content due to the coronavirus disease of 2019. The increase in time spent at home also affected the popularity of MBTI tests. People can understand and respect others who have different MBTI types more through this content.

Things to Be Careful About MBTI Tests

A free MBTI test is not a real MBTI test

Many people use a free online MBTI test site to conduct the MBTI test. This online site, however, is not an official MBTI test site. According to Assesta, a Korean psychological assessment service company, this free testing site is made by an uncertificated England company, and they are stealing MBTI codes. In fact, there is not a single word suggesting, “It is an MBTI test” on that free online test site. They are getting out for copyright by adding an ‘A’ or ‘T’ code after the four letters of MBTI. So, it is good for people to be aware that the free MBTI test on online is not authorized and just consider it as a semi-test result. If Kingos want to take an authorized real test, then ask at the SKKU Counseling Center.

Do not immerse in it too excessively

Surprisingly, several companies have started to request the MBTI test and some people have blind faith in MBTI testing. There is a risk of breaking relationships easily by thinking, that people always think and act based on the characteristics of their MBTI types. Or it could be a stereotype to think about the type of person. People have to be aware that MBTI testing only shows the tendency and preference of a particular personality. So, it is impossible to totally judge a person from their MBTI types. Kim Jae-hyung, a research director of Korea MBTI research center also said, “MBTI is just a tool to know yourself from a psychological and scientic point of view. It cannot be a tool to regulate others.” In addition to that, Jung’s personality theory that is grounded theory of MBTI testing is the theory of the 1940s. Modern psychology academia excludes that theory because it is not based on examination or data.

It is hard to spend a week without facing MBTI things. Even some stores are selling T-shirts printed with MBTI types. Nowadays, people think MBTI testing has become simple expedient to make people buy something; however, people still enjoy talking about MBTI. It is a great measure to understand themselves and others, and also it is something to talk about! I assume that MBTI testing will last pretty long as entertaining content. It may be so, … but NEVER IMMERSE TOO MUCH!

MBTI T-shirts (edaily.co.kr)

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