11
   

A Psychometric Instrument Better than Myers Briggs.

 
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 09:02 am
@firefly,
Everything you've said makes sense.

Again, I'm not the MBTI evangelist, so you don't need to convince me that the MBTI is prone to being misused. (I said that on the precursor to this thread, in fact.)
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 09:10 am
@firefly,
Quote:
Psychologists are not generally concerned with predicting behavior, a notion which does have an aura of crystal ball gazing. The emphasis in psychology is on understanding and measuring behavior. How psychometric test results are actually applied can be very misused, which is one reason that most of the widely regarded psychometric tests are only available to qualified professionals, and should only be interpreted by qualified professionals. Test results can be misinterpreted and misused by those without proper training.

The misuse of tests by lay persons may occur when test instruments, such as the Myers-Briggs, with low reliability and validity, are used by human resources personnel as part of a hiring process. These tests, and the inferences drawn from the results, may be quite unfair to job applicants. But apparently, the test remains used in such contexts despite such drawbacks.


Thank you Firefly.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 09:21 am
@ebrown p,
Too bad you didn't say that, then you might have some credibility left.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  2  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 10:33 am
@ebrown p,
DrewDad, I didn't think you and I were in any basic disagreement.

ebrown p, I hope you also noted that a good deal of what I said in my last post is at odds with many of your comments in this thread.

You started this thread by implying that the acceptance (and alleged validity) of the Myers-Briggs test (or any psychometric test for that matter) has to do with whether those tested agree with their test results. But test validity, and "usefulness" of a psychometric test, has absolutely nothing to do with how those tested evaluate their scores. As has already been mentioned in this thread, by several people, the various measures of validity used in test construction, have nothing to do with whether those tested agree with the results.

You further stated that personality tests are easy to construct and validate by scientific "experiments". You are confusing apples (psychometric tests) and bananas (experiments), and I addressed this in my last post. These tests are not easy to construct or validate, otherwise psychologists would have devised highly reliable and valid tests of personality a long time ago, and that is not the case. There are tests which do provide trained clinicians with useful data, which is then generally combined with other information about an individual, and which is interpreted in the context of all available information about that person.

Your contention that the Myers-Briggs test may be no better than a horoscope just doesn't make sense. Again, you are trying to compare unrelated entities, and such comparisons are meaningless. A horoscope is not based on anything to do with an individual's behavior--it is based on factors external to the individual, such as date and time of birth--and is sometimes used to apply to groups as well as individuals. The Myers-Briggs test is based on behavior (test responses) which are specific to the person taking the test, and these responses are scored to reflect personality characteristics along several dimensions or continuum. Since Myers-Briggs is purporting to measure specific personality characteristics, issues of validity and reliability become very important in evaluating the test itself, as well as attempting to apply the results to real life situations. The fact that Myers-Briggs might raise issues regarding reliability and validity does not mean that the test is completely useless or worthless, it simply means that the results should be regarded with extreme caution.

If your main gripe is the use of the use of the admittedly fallible Meyers-Briggs test as part of a hiring procedure, then why did you confuse the issue with so many other asides and inaccuracies about psychometric testing in general?

Would conclusions drawn from the Myers-Briggs test in such employment situations be any less accurate than the subjective judgments formed from the interview procedure with a job applicant? Couldn't a potential employer use the test data simply as additional information about the applicant, without making it the determining factor in whether someone is hired or promoted? Might it not have some practical usefulness in such situations?



ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:07 am
@firefly,
Quote:
You started this thread by implying that the acceptance (and alleged validity) of the Myers-Briggs test (or any psychometric test for that matter) has to do with whether those tested agree with their test results.


No I did not-- in fact it is quite the opposite. DrewDad is making claims such as that Myers-Briggs can "predict human behavior"-- my point is that claims like this can and should be tested before they are asserted as fact.

Quote:
You further stated that personality tests are easy to construct and validate by scientific "experiments".


This is a misstatement of my position. I am questioning that the relevance of the personality tests to predict human behavior, or their ability to predict success in certain careers.

My point out that if personality tests could really do these things... it would be easy to confirm this with objective scientific experiments.

Quote:

Would conclusions drawn from the Myers-Briggs test in such employment situations be any less accurate than the subjective judgments formed from the interview procedure with a job applicant?


There is no reason to suspect that conclusions drawn from the Myers-Briggs test are any more accurate then picking random classifications from a hat.

Why shouldn't claims that Myers-Briggs has any more value then random classification to predict employees success be subject to objective science research. This question is pretty easy to set up experimentally, you get two research groups-- give on "real" Myers-Briggs results, and the other random Myer-Briggs results and the measure success in the job.

There is no objective scientific evidence being offered here (wikipedia implies that there is some independent research that fails to show any benefit of Myers-Briggs over random classification)

Quote:

Couldn't a potential employer use the test data simply as additional information about the applicant, without making it the determining factor in whether someone is hired or promoted? Might it not have some practical usefulness in such situations?


If there is practical usefulness, then it should be demonstrated with objective scientific research. Right now all we have is a marketing pitch.

This is exactly what bothers me. There is no way to know what practical usefulness it may have (if it has any practical usefulness at all) unless you measure what effect you think it has in an objective scientific way.

The idea that someone could lose a job based on something that is no better then a random "assessment" pulled out of a hat bothers me.

But the real issue here is science versus pseudo science. I get the point that personality is difficult to measure and all that. I am backing off my argument that everything of value can be measured. But concrete claims and practical uses for a product can and should be measured.

But when you are making concrete claims about what Myers-Briggs (or any system of assessment) can do, you can and should back this up with objective science experiment. When you want to sell Myers-Briggs for a practical use, especially one that impacts peoples lives, you can and should measure its effectiveness with objective scientific experiment.

If claim to have something that can "predict human behavior", I certainly want you to back this claim with objective scientific experiment.

DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:14 am
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
DrewDad is making claims such as that Myers-Briggs can "predict human behavior"

Sure it can. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. If we can record and/or measure what your past behavior has been, then we can offer predictions about your future behavior.

Since the MBTI is a self-report measurement, though, it depends entirely on the cooperation of the person taking the test.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:20 am
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
But the real issue here is science versus pseudo science.

There you go begging the question again. You've start with your conclusion, that the MBTI is pseudoscience, and then turn around and say that because it's pseudoscience it can't be real science.
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:25 am
@ebrown p,
You are really arguing against your own straw man. The Myers-Briggs test is meant to measure personality factors, not predict behavior.

Quote:


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions...

The results of the assessment should not be used to "label, evaluate, or limit the respondent in any way." Since all types are valuable, and the MBTI measures preferences rather than aptitude, the MBTI is not considered a proper instrument for purposes of employment selection. Many professions contain highly competent individuals of different types with complementary preferences...

...the MBTI measures preference, not ability. The use of the MBTI as a predictor of job success is expressly discouraged in the Manual. It is not designed to be used for this purpose.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator


People, like employers, using the test inappropriately, for reasons other than its intended use, does mean that the test itself is worthless when properly administered and interpreted. It may well be of value in helping people to consider their career options.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:29 am
@DrewDad,
No DrewDad, let's try this gain.

I am providing a definition of pseudo-science. Then I am showing how the claims about Myers Briggs meet this definition.

Pseudo-Science is when you make specific claims about the usefulness of a product for a specific purpose, or its ability to make reliable predictions that aren't backed by objective experiment. (Note that the experiments need to test the specific claims being made-- the number of unrelated "studies" doesn't count.

You are making specific claims about Myers-Briggs, including that it can "predict human behavior" that are completely unsupported by any objective scientific experiment.

So, here are the assertions I am making.

1) You are making claims that can be tested by scientific experiment.
2) You are asserting them as true even though they are not supported by scientific experiment.
3) This is the meets the definition I proposed as pseudo science.

You are free to disagree with any one of these points, But, there is nothing circular here.



0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:30 am
@firefly,
Quote:
You are really arguing against your own straw man. The Myers-Briggs test is meant to measure personality factors, not predict behavior.


No I am not, DrewDad made the claim (which he is still supporting in his last few posts) that the Myers-Briggs test can "predict human behavior".

Quote:
People, like employers, using the test inappropriately, for reasons other than its intended use, does mean that the test itself is worthless when properly administered and interpreted.


I agree with this.

Quote:
It may well be of value in helping people to consider their career options.


Again, if it is any more useful then a classification picked randomly out of a hat, why shouldn't (or couldn't) this be supported by objective scientific experiment?

Any time a product is marketed to me, I want objective evidence that the product is effective for its intended purpose.
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:31 am
@DrewDad,
Quote:
Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. If we can record and/or measure what your past behavior has been, then we can offer predictions about your future behavior.


No, that's not really true. Both past and future behaviors can be affected by many situational factors. These situational factors can significantly alter behavior. That's why psychologists generally avoid predicting behavior.

ebrown p, wouldn't you agree with this statement of mine?

Quote:

People, like employers, using the test inappropriately, for reasons other than its intended use, does mean that the test itself is worthless when properly administered and interpreted. It may well be of value in helping people to consider their career options.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:46 am
@firefly,
I think I answered that above. I agree with the first part.

I think the second part can and should be tested with objective scientific research to see if it is any better then randomly selected classification. It shouldn't be marketed for this purpose before it has been tested (see above for a clearer statement of this).
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:47 am
@ebrown p,
Quote:
Any time a product is marketed to me, I want objective evidence that the product is effective for its intended purpose.


It does have some reliability and validity in terms of measuring personality factors. The results are not entirely random or attributable to chance. But the results have to be viewed with caution--they are not set in stone.

If you don't think the Myers-Briggs test has convincing validity, don't purchase it and don't use it--just as you would do with any other product.

The intended use of the Myers-Briggs, as stated in the test manual, is not to predict behavior.

Lots of medical test results have to be viewed with caution too. Medical tests can yield false positives and false negatives. They often have to be interpreted, in context, by a trained professional. This is true of psychometric tests as well.

That laymen, like employers, choose to misuse the test, has nothing to do with the test itself.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 11:57 am
@firefly,
Quote:

It does have some reliability and validity in terms of measuring personality factors.


What does this mean practically? Is there research to back this up in any real world way? (The studies DrewDad provided were simply saying that most people gave similar answers after a period of time, but didn't correlate these results with anything outside of the test.)

Even if this is true (either scientifically or otherwise), it doesn't apply to the specific use to help choose a career path.

Don't you agree that if using the Myers-Briggs during career counseling has a real positive effect in my success in a successful or happy career-- it would be measurable by an objective science experiment? It is pretty easy to outline how this experiment can be done (and Wikipedia suggests something like this has been done with negative results).

In my opinion, if they are selling the Myers-Briggs product for this purpose, and using it with real people, they should support this claim scientifically.

The medical products I use have all been subject to independent scientific tests that back up the claims they are making about its effectiveness. I even was able to look up objective scientific research on the speech therapy a child I know is getting. These things are important to me-- and should be available to people who are impacted by any medical product.




firefly
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 12:37 pm
@ebrown p,
Quote:
Don't you agree that if using the Myers-Briggs during career counseling has a real positive effect in my success in a successful or happy career-- it would be measurable by an objective science experiment? It is pretty easy to outline how this experiment can be done (and Wikipedia suggests something like this has been done with negative results).


No, I don't agree.

If I take the Myers-Briggs test, and it gives me some info about my personality characteristics, that's only one factor I might use in deciding on a career path. The same is true for all the other people who take the test. There is no way for controlling all of the variables that go into career selection, so it would be impossible to isolate the Myers-Briggs results as the main (or even one main) variable linked to later career success or happiness. The same is true for all the components that go into a happy or successful career, making these also somewhat impossible to measure because they are multi-determined and may alter over time.

You oversimplify the process of testing hypotheses, or believe it is much simpler to test hypotheses than it actually is.

The Myers-Briggs test is meant to yield information about personality characteristics, nothing more than that. Anything beyond that is misuse or hype. But it can yield some info about personality traits, and some who take the test might find that helpful.

Loads of products are marketed without "evidence" to back up claims--weight loss products, preparations to cure baldness, etc. Let the buyer beware.

And there are medications on the market, with the blessing of the FDA, with no proven effectiveness, or very limited effectiveness. Take a look at the claims for Aricept, which is heavily marketed to treat Alzheimer's, and compare those to some research studies on the drug's effectiveness (or lack of it). Glenmark has been selling nitroglycerin which has no proven effectiveness, yet the FDA is letting this product remain on pharmacy shelves for the next 4 months--a decision which could lead to possible deaths of those who take it for angina. That's a lot more serious than any possible validity or reliability problems with the Myers-Briggs test.

If people want to purchase and use the Myers-Briggs test, despite its limitations, they are entitled to do so. It is considered unethical to compel anyone to take the test.

Don't confuse the misuse of the test with the test itself. It is not intended to predict anything.

DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 12:45 pm
@firefly,
I certainly don't think that past behavior is the only predictor of future behavior, but it certainly a strong predictor.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 01:14 pm
@firefly,
Quote:
If I take the Myers-Briggs test, and it gives me some info about my personality characteristics, that's only one factor I might use in deciding on a career path. The same is true for all the other people who take the test. There is no way for controlling all of the variables that go into career selection, so it would be impossible to isolate the Myers-Briggs results as the main (or even one main) variable linked to later career success or happiness. The same is true for all the components that go into a happy or successful career, making these also somewhat impossible to measure because they are multi-determined and may alter over time.


What is wrong with a straight-forward double blind study? You control for variables with a significantly large sample and a control group.

You take 3,000 people or so and you randomly divide them into three groups. You give the first two groups the MBTI assessment. One group you give the "true" results, the the second group you give results picked randomly out of a hat. The third group doesn't take the MBTI assessment or receive any results.

Then based on these results, you give the first two groups career counseling based on their MBTI results (whether real or random). Of course neither the subjects nor the people giving the career counseling will know whether the MBTI results they are working with are real or random. The third group receives career counseling without the MBTI.

Then you go back to the participants in 1, 5 and 10 years to see if they are happy and successful (again using evaluators who don't know whether the results used in the counseling were real or not).

This is the way such research is commonly done-- and it is considered scientifically valid. Significantly large randomly selected groups in a double blind study is the way scientists control for a large number of variables.

Quote:

Loads of products are marketed without "evidence" to back up claims--weight loss products, preparations to cure baldness, etc. Let the buyer beware.


It is clear you understand where I am coming from. I feel the same way about many weight loss products or baldness cures.





DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 01:16 pm
@ebrown p,
How would giving people false career advice be ethical?

Are you aware of the hoops a study has to jump through if it includes humans?
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 01:24 pm
@DrewDad,
Quote:
How would giving people false career advice be ethical?


(Kind of ironic, don't you think? If giving people false career advice which is no better then pulling random assessments out of a hat is unethical, doesn't that strengthen my argument?)

These types of studies are done all of the time. You need informed consent... the subjects of the study need to understand that they might be given a "placebo". With informed consent, this is an ethical experiment.

Selling people an untested psychological instrument that may be no better then random is far more of an ethical problem.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2010 01:29 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
(Kind of ironic, don't you think? If giving people false career advice which is no better then pulling random assessments out of a hat is unethical, doesn't that strengthen my argument?)

It's ironic that you still don't understand "begging the question". You're still simply assuming the validity of your argument.

(In order to prove that the MBTI is random, we can give random advice, because the MBTI is random.)
 

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