There are four bipolar preference tendencies in MBTI, and the MBTI codes are produced by combining these tendencies.
/Chart made by Kang Da-hyun
“What is your MBTI type?” The MBTI test, which allows people to find out their personality through simple questions, fascinated the public just like the blood type personality theory trend that boomed in the past. Asking each other’s MBTI type has become a common topic of conversation among friends. Playing “MBTI Bingo” and sharing the results through Instagram Story was a fad among people in the early days of this wave. On Social Network Services (SNS) such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, contents about analyzing MBTI have sprung up. In addition, MBTI-related products can now be easily found. Nowadays, MBTI is not just a psychological test, but a culture. What is the reason for this new trend? Also, where can we find a culture that uses MBTI in our daily lives?
What is MBTI?
MBTI is an abbreviated word of “Myers-Briggs Type Indicator,” which came from the names of Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, who developed this test. MBTI is a self-reporting personality index based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality types. This personality type indicator consists of four bipolar preference tendencies: extraversion (E) and introversion (I), sensing (S) and intuition (N), thinking (T) and feeling (F), judging (J) and perceiving (P). During the test, the tester chooses one from two indicators that he/she prefers for each of the four preference tendencies. Based on the results, the person’s MBTI type code will be produced by combining the four alphabets from the preference tendencies. There are 16 types of MBTI code in total.
MBTI is a good opportunity to learn about oneself
The MBTI test may have been just a fad, but now almost every person knows his/her MBTI. Also, it turned out to be popular enough to earn its place as a culture. Then, is there any reason for this new trend? Yu, a freshman of Dongguk University, expressed her opinion. “MBTI test gives people an opportunity to find out their personality that they did not recognize, and makes them check whether their attitudes were influenced by MBTI or not.” She also pointed out that the MBTI test can help people pay attention to others’ personality types, feel friendly, and bond together. Meanwhile, Instructor Lee Eun-ji, Ph.D. of Dharma College of Dongguk University, talked about the reason why MBTI is so popular among people from a psychological aspect. “Maybe it started with a desire to know about oneself and others. MBTI is more interesting than blood types or constellations because it explains human personality in a variety and persuasively. Most of all, it is designed based on “psychology theory” and used in schools and workplaces. I think this made MBTI more attractive and credible to the public." She also added, "The test process of recognizing oneself can be a fun factor, and the fact that you can easily identify yourself and others with minimal effort is also interesting.”
MBTI is everywhere on media
Since MBTI is so popular among people, it is easy to find it on media. In the early days of the MBTI trend, many videos that analyze the MBTI types were uploaded on YouTube. Now, in addition to those contents, there are videos that show responses by people of different MBTI codes depending on the situations or observing a conversation between people with different or identical personality types. Also, many YouTubers conducted the MBTI test and uploaded videos sharing the results. Meanwhile, Naver Webtoon has launched a cartoon series titled “2020 Favorite Characters’ MBTI.” In this cartoon series, various cartoonists draw a cartoon that analyzes their cartoon characters’ MBTI. Readers responded through comments that the personality types described by the cartoonists are right and showed great interest. MBTI is also used in music. Park Moon-chi, a singer, released a song titled “MBTI” in August. She wrote MBTI-related lyrics, such as, “You like to play, are you an I, or an E?”
MBTI is also applied to relationships. Just as there used to be blood type chemistry, the chemistry chart of MBTI has been released, and it became common to find out compatibility among friends based on this chart. This is also used in dating. “Romance ability test,” a test made by a dating application named “Glam,” helps people to find out their dating style through a test based on MBTI. When you answer a total of 12 questions, it will tell your dating style and level of your abilities which are crucial in dating, such as sense and display of affection. Also, this test informs you of other MBTI codes that fit your personality type well or do not.
Even television programs follow the MBTI trend to attract viewers. Talk shows and comedy programs tend to use this a lot. Just like the YouTubers who shared their personality type test results, popular TV programs like “Hangout with Yoo” and “Master in the house” showed the casts conducting the test. In MBC’s “What is Study,” experts made actor Lee Chang-hoon’s daughter try the MBTI test, analyzed the pros and cons of ENFJ, her personality type, and recommended methods of study that suits her nature well. “I am crazy for MBTI,” a new corner of JTBC’s “Just Comedy,” which was aired on August 22nd, covered Ko Moon-young’s MBTI type in the drama “It’s okay to not be okay.” Moreover, MBTI is now used in drama, too. “Twenty Twenty,” a web drama, wrote the main characters’ MBTI in the character introduction section. Also, JTBC’s drama “Was it love?” used MBTI codes and descriptions of that personality type in the promotional photographs of characters.
Even marketing strategies are influenced by MBTI
Since MBTI is so popular among people, enterprises are using this in marketing strategies. From April 13th to May 3rd, Kakao operated an MBTI special exhibition and provided a gift recommendation service based on personality types and tastes. For example, an eco-friendly bucket bag or an endangered animal notification bracelet was proposed for NF type people, who aim for a worthy life. Athis, a diffuser brand, identified that ENFP and INFP are the top two personality types of their consumers through in-house research. After identifying the preferences of these two types, Athis released a tailored diffuser for ENFP and INFP. In August, Oak Valley resort conducted the “MBTI Summer Event.” In this event, “MBTI” stands for “My Best Trip Information,” rather than “Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.” Based on the MBTI test, this event was designed to allow guests to enjoy experience, relaxation, and leisure, depending on their tastes and interests. For example, the event for extroverted activists consists of outdoor activities like quiz contests on the green grass square, family recreation where family sports can be enjoyed, and a photo spot challenge in which guests can visit designated photo spots and take unique photos. For introverted people, morning yoga and meditation programs were prepared, since they usually like to be alone in peace.
Recommending travel destinations based on MBTI is another MBTI marketing trend you can find. Busan Tourism Organization (BTO) conducted a similar event in September. It was titled “Where are some travel spots in Busan that suit me well?” At this event, employees of BTO with different personality types recommended traveling spots in Busan that are likely to satisfy the interests and tastes of people who have the same personality types as theirs. For instance, an employee with an ESTP personality type recommended Hoedong Catchment Basin to those who have the same personality as hers, since she prefers unique traveling spots.
MBTI is also used in general merchandise. Sunmi, a singer, released the MBTI goods she showed on the reality entertainment show “RReal World” through Marpple shop, and held an event from June 27th to July 22nd, where people could receive Sunmi’s MBTI goods by drawing lots if they commented on the event page of Marpple shop’s official website. At this event, T-shirts, cushions, mugs, pin buttons, and phone straps were made into goods. Kakao Makers also sold MBTI goods. They produced T-shirts and phone cases with MBTI codes. The MBTI T-shirt has a large printing of the personality code, and a red box containing a single word of English defining the personality type. As for the phone case, there is a QR code engraved on, which is linked to a web page that contains the characteristics of the personality type when a person takes a picture of it. Also, a percentage of how many people in the world have the same personality type with the consumer is written on the phone case.
People have various opinion about MBTI
Most people showed a positive response to the MBTI trend. Yu said, “Since so many people are interested in MBTI and feel familiar to it, I think the formation of the MBTI culture is natural. Especially, using MBTI in marketing strategies seems competitive, as people are so used to MBTI now.” Also, Kim Ha-eun, a freshman of the Department of IT Convergence Business of Bucheon University, said, “I think the psychology of wanting to define oneself seems to be reflected in the MBTI trend these days. As the MBTI test is a simple one you can do for fun, it would be nice to view the MBTI trend as fun, too.”
However, not all people think positively about this MBTI trend. Kim Yeo-jin, a freshman of the Department of Sports and Healthcare of Namseoul University, said, “I cannot understand why people are so obsessed with MBTI these days. Not all MBTI test results fit people’s real characteristics. MBTI is a superstition, just like the blood type personality theory.”
MBTI, which used to only play the role of a psychological indicator, has now become a culture that gives people various pleasures. As long as this trend continues, MBTI is expected to develop and be used in more diverse areas. However, instructor Lee Eun-ji warned against blind faith in MBTI, citing that it would fix human personalities to a particular type and make us evaluate others in a prejudiced way. She also said, “There are many other tests beside MBTI that measure human personalities. Therefore, MBTI should be used as a reference to understand oneself and find out the difference between you and others. If you use MBTI wisely as a reference, I think it will help you not only in understanding yourself, but also in personal relations such as friends or romantic relationships.”
Kang Da-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
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