|Senior Jordan Carlson, who is double majoring in psychology and Hispanic studies, has worked with Assistant Professor Christopher Lake for the past two years on his Myers-Briggs research project.|
“It’s really nice to have two very motivated students working on this project with me. They’ve both made strong contributions to the project." - Assistant Professor Christopher Lake, UMD Department of Psychology
|The third research team member, senior Alexandra Rose, is majoring in psychology with a minor in organizational management.|
Assistant Professor Christopher Lake, in UMD’s Department of Psychology, is quick to admit that he wouldn't be as far along on his research project, if two enthusiastic students hadn’t asked how they could get involved.Jordan Carlson, a senior with a double major in psychology and Hispanic studies, came to the project about two years ago. “I was taking Chris’ Psychological Statistics class. He mentioned his project in class one day. I asked him if I could help out. I had no research experience, but I was interested in the fact that he said the test was popular but not reliable. I wanted to learn more about it,” Jordan said.
“What surprised me was that people in HR said that they prefer a test that is valid and reliable and not too expensive, but they thought MBTI is a good option. People don’t know its not good,” Jordan stated.
Chris, Jordan, and Lexa want to correct that. “We want to get the word out that the MBTI is not that reliable and that there are better alternatives.” Chris said. While name recognition and heavy marketing have helped to establish the MBTI as the personality test for many organizations, Chris intends “to spread the message” to HR professionals “that their perception of MBTI is out of sync with psychologists.”
The team presented their findings at the UMD Twin Ports Undergraduate Psychology (TPUP) conference. They have submitted a paper for possible publication. In November, Chris and Lexa will present their findings to the Society for Judgment and Decision Making conference, an interdisciplinary group consisting of psychologists, human resource professionals, and business people.
Jordan is working on a Capstone Honors Project as a requirement of the UMD Honors Program. “I will be focusing my project on the Myers-Briggs as a follow-up study based on our initial study. I am looking into the Big 5 personality tests and finding out what people like and dislike about the Big 5. Then I will use the information we gathered about the MBTI (pros and cons) and create some sort of test that combines the two and see what peoples' reactions are. It might be as simple as putting the MBTI logo on a Big 5 inventory and seeing if people give more positive feedback because of it.”
Next semester, Jordan will be studying abroad in Costa Rica and graduating in December 2015. Her strong research experience will enhance her graduate school applications as she pursues advanced studies in I-O psychology.
Lexa, who will also graduate in December 2015, is developing a UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Project) this summer. “Though I will be basing my research off the MBTI work, I haven't settled on a topic for my UROP quite yet. My goal is to research other tests that HR professionals might be using that aren't as valid or reliable that they think they are,” she said.
Recently, Lexa accepted a full-time position with Assessment Associates International in Minnetonka, Minn. “Now that I have a position with an I-O consulting firm, I will be asking for their opinions of interesting and relevant topics,” she reported.
Both students have thoroughly enjoyed working on the MBTI project. For Lexa, “the most interesting part of the project was getting involved in the research from the very beginning to the very end. Typically students commit to doing research for maybe one or two semesters. Chris, Jordan, and I were able to work together for almost two years – including summers. It was a great experience being able to get involved in every piece of the project,” Lexa said.
For more information about UMD's psychology major, visit the College of Education and Human Service Professions website.
Did you find what you were looking for? YES NO