Personality tests are pseudoscientific and unnecessary

Have you ever wondered what kind of french fry you are, which Marvel superhero you are destined to be with or the reason you can’t hold a stable relationship? A variety of quiz-taking sites claim to tell you the answers to these questions and many more. At their best, personality tests can give a fun insight into your identity and are a fun way to kill time. But personality tests use pseudoscience and create unnecessary false dichotomies between people. 

One of the most popular personality tests right now is the Myers-Briggs 16 personalities test. The Myers-Briggs test separates people based on four attributes of their approach to the world. A person is either introverted or extroverted, sensory or intuitive, thinking or feeling, and perceiving or judging. They are then assigned a four-letter label based on what characteristic they identify most with. This four-letter label claims to be able to analyze one’s relationships, employment, family dynamics and every other aspect of the test taker’s life. 

But people are not able to be simplified into strings of letters based on four personality attributes. Our personalities change within our environments, with the people we are around and as we mature. No one makes decisions based 100 percent on logic, nor do people make decisions with 100 percent emotion. It doesn’t make sense to put these heuristics opposite each other as two distinct personality types. Logic and emotion inform each other and depend highly on the situations of a decision. 

Many people’s Myers-Briggs test results change often, within days, because each day we feel differently, react differently and view the world differently as we grow and change. Important decisions such as employment, family, relationships and school should not be informed by a pseudoscientific online quiz. 

The language on the Myers-Briggs website paints it as a highly scientific and psychological assessment, quoting psychologist Carl Jung. In fact, neither of the creators of the test had any psychological training and Jung’s theories on personality types have yet to be proven. 

While the Myers-Briggs and other personality quizzes can be fun and might prove practical for certain people, it has no scientific or psychological basis and should stop being portrayed as a fix-it-all solution for every life problem. As people, we are much more nuanced than any personality test could try to portray. You are not one of 16 totally separate personalities; you are a distinct and multifaceted human being.