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The New MBTI®: What Would Isabel Say?

Henry L. Thompson, Ph.D.
(Georgia Association for Psychological Type Newsletter, OCT 97)

Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc. (CPP), has targeted April of 1998 as the release date for the new MBTI Form M. The Form M is the result of extensive research conducted by CPP, reviewed and evaluated by a panel of MBTI experts, including Kathy Myers.

The purpose of the new Form is to eliminate some of the problems with the current Form G. For example, as we all know the Form G sometimes has difficulty sorting people around the mid-point. Many people come out very near the mid-point and, as a result, are unable to gain clarity about their actual preference. Sophisticated statistical techniques have been used to make the new questions more powerful in terms of being able to sort around the mid-point and, it is hoped, reduce the close scores. The questions have also been sorted or evaluated in terms of their predictability for the various preferences, gender preference and social desirability. With the new form, gender should not play a role in determining one's type.

All this sounds great, but what would Isabel Myers say about the revision? For starters, with this new analysis many of the original questions developed by Isabel have been modified or eliminated and new questions have been added. Form G has 126 questions. The new Form M will have only 93 questions. Obviously, some of the questions used for research have been eliminated which should not have an impact on the reported type. But, other questions which were developed by Isabel and actually used to determine the reported type have been eliminated. This might be okay if we have not lost the intent Isabel had in selecting those particular questions. Unfortunately, no one can say what her original intuitive reasoning was.

Another concern of mine is that we know that the Form G currently under-reports SPs. Stephanie Rogers, who is doing her dissertation on SPs, has hypothesized that many of the sensing questions on the current Form G are biased toward introverted sensing. As a result, her research indicates that extraverted sensors tend to select the intuiting responses rather than the sensing responses, therefore, creating the under-reporting of SPs. To my knowledge, the committee that developed the Form M did not take into consideration the function-attitude perspective. As a result, I am very concerned that the bias toward particular function-attitudes still exists.

The question remains is the Form M going to be better than the current Form G without Isabel's input? If not, we may all be in trouble in April of 1998 when the Form M is distributed, because Form G is scheduled to be phased out over the next twelve months.

(c) 1997-2006 Henry L. Thompson, Ph.D.

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