Biased Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Research Wanted


CPP, Inc., known formerly as Consulting Psychologists Press, announces that it is offering research grants for research on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

This may seem commendable, but their research-grant program is biased. Here are the facts:

  1. CPP makes money by selling MBTI implementations, consulting, and paraphernalia.
  2. The MBTI (Myers-Briggs) is widely discredited by researchers. It is considered neither reliable nor valid. For example, see Pittenger, D. J. (2005). Cautionary Comments Regarding the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 57, 210-221.
  3. The research grant program is biased toward research findings that support the MBTI. Here are some details:
    • CPP, a biased party, selects the grantees.
    • One of the criteria for selection is “advancement of the MBTI assessment.”
    • Money is distributed only for research reports selected by CPP for the “Best Paper Awards.”
  4. Instead of these regrettable procedures, CPP should form a body of unbiased reviewers, have criteria that don’t push toward a confirmatory bias, distribute money for good proposals not “favorable” results, and form an unbiased committee to select the best papers.

This Research Grant Program (as outlined in the publicly available materials produced by CPP) is clearly designed to produce results that support CPP’s financial interests and resurrect the flagging image of the MBTI. Statements in the proposal requiring researchers to “conform to the Americal Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists” do little to overcome the biases built into the program. As the materials make clear, the intention is to provide comfort to CPP’s clients. How else are we to interpret the following statement in CPP’s research-grant announcement?

“Abstracts from the papers will be used by CPP to communicate results with its customers.”

This type of biased research program is completely unacceptable. Not only does it have the potential to create biased information and lead to suboptimal or dangerous recommendations, but it also casts a shadow on fair-and-balanced research that might be used to guide learning-and-performance agendas.

If you’d like to share your thoughts with CPP, it appears that the person to write is available through this email address.