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Explaining the MBTI hype in South Korea & the science of personality tests Updated: 2022-04-22 05:51:03 KST

It's time for Dialogue This Week where we discuss culture, sports and trends with experts from around the world.
"What's your MBTI?" became one of the most asked questions here in South Korea over the past year.
Whether you are with friends, co-workers or even new acquaintances, asking their four-lettered personality type has become commonplace.
From horoscopes to blood type, there have been many such indicators of personality. Similar personality tests have often been criticized to be pseudoscientific.
The MBTI, or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator questionnaire has become more widely used over time in more official organizations, from universities and businesses to even the military it has become a commercial tool.
But here in South Korea, the hype has arguably been unlike anywhere else in the world, with everyone from K-popstars to politicians revealing their MBTI.
We discuss this explosive phenomenon and just how much we can rely on personality tests. For this we're joined by: Cameron Knott, Managing Director & Psychologist of Asia Pacific region at The Myers-Briggs Company; and Ronan McAlister, Assistant Professor of Politics at Sungshin Women's University

1. Cameron: The original versions of the MBTI are known to have been developed by an American researcher with the family name Briggs and her daughter. Now, that was back in 1940 First off, to get a little bit of background information, what was the original purpose of this test? And how has it evolved to the MBTI test that is used today?

2. Ronan: MBTI has been around for quite some time but why has it all of a sudden taken off as a trend here in South Korea?

3. Ronan: You teach about MBTI at your university what exactly does that entail?

4. Cameron: How is the "official" version of the MBTI test different from the free tests that anybody can take online?

5. Cameron: How scientific is the MBTI and how do you ensure it's accurate or stays valid over time?

6. Ronan: Before MBTI, many South Koreans enjoyed using blood types and zodiac signs as indicators of personality. What makes MBTI different?

7. Cameron: How do you see the usage and acceptance of the MBTI test in the Asia Pacific region? Is it as well-known and popular in other countries of this region?

8. Ronan: We all know how trends in South Korea spread like wildfire once they take off. How is this trend showing up in daily life (commercially, social interactions, dating, in employment)?

9. Cameron: As a psychologist, what do you see as being the biggest pros and cons of the MBTI test?

10. Cameron: To what extent do you think the MBTI is a useful tool in situations like school (to determine one's career choice) or work.

Reporter : osy@arirang.com
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