Kempton Warr considers the Myers-Briggs personality test so accurate that it reveals his personality in an "almost freaky" way.

The Utah resident, who was shopping at the Mall of America recently, said that since he was 18, he's taken the Myers-Briggs Types Indicator (MBTI) five times. Now 24, he's taken the test twice this year alone, even though the results are always the same: He's an ENTP.

That puts him in conflict with his dad, who's an INTJ. In fact, Warr's whole family is into it. "I feel like it helps us figure out why there are things about my dad that annoy the crap out of me," he said.

The MBTI test isn't anything new. It's been around for decades, going in and out of vogue. But for some reason, the test with the catchy, four-letter result is peaking in popularity once again.

Developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers in the 1940s, MBTI groups individuals into one of 16 personality types, based on four characteristics: extraversion/introversion (E/I), sensing/intuition (S/N), thinking/feeling (T/F) and judging/perceiving (J/P).

The test, offered for free on some sites such as and, has become a craze in East Asia. On Xiaohongshu, a Chinese version of Instagram, more than 393,000 posts are tagged MBTI. Some bars in South Korea have even divided seating sections by MBTI type.

It's also become a phenomenon in the United States. According to, more than 134 million tests have been taken in the United States on its website, one of the many websites that provide MBTI-like personality tests.

Tenzin Tashi, a Richfield High School student, discovered the test on TikTok during the pandemic. For her, it's a helpful tool for making friends on social media. "A lot of people have it in their TikTok bio," she said.

Fun over function

Why this 80-year-old test has suddenly become the equivalent of Zodiac signs in the 1970s is anyone's guess.

"I think people yearn to understand themselves ... and seek out social identities that offer them a space of belonging," said Joan Ostrove, a professor of psychology at Macalester College who specializes in psychology and social structure.

Knowing your Myers-Briggs type is, she said, "a shorthand to figure out how to make connections with people."

Yet despite its pop culture popularity, MBTI has a relatively poor reputation among psychologists.

"The MBTI receives no respect in the scientific community," said Deniz Ones, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program. "Everybody knows that it is not sound in terms of decision-making and for prediction of work behavior."

Its creators, neither of whom were trained psychologists, didn't follow standard procedures to develop the MBTI questionnaire.

It "doesn't agree with known data and facts about personality," Ones said. "It is theoretically out of step with the times, out of step with empirical facts, out of step with where personality science has come."

Nanami Chensen, a sophomore at Macalester, likes to guess the personality type of people she meets for the first time.

"I am not completely reliant on it," she said, but she does use it to steer her to jobs that have skills identified in her ENFP personality.

But while the tests can be fun, they can also be misleading. Ostrove cautions against using them to make important decisions.

Focusing on anything that classifies or categorizes people puts you in risk of "relying on stereotypes that might end up showing judgment or bias or prejudice," she said. "In a good way, [personality tests] help explain who you are and how you are in the world, but in a bad way, it can constrain who and what you are."

Ones agreed. The 16 personality categories in the MBTI "cannot capture the entire diversity of human experience," she said.

In the workplace

According to the book "Psychology Applied to Work," personality assessment is one of the fastest-growing areas in hiring.

However, some young people are concerned about companies using it as an evaluation tool.

"I feel like [personality assessment] could make for a familial and friendly work environment that everybody gets along really well and really appreciates each other," said Paisley Durkin, a student at Minneapolis Community & Technical College. "But to people who couldn't get a job at a company because they didn't have the right personality for it, I think that's not necessarily fair."

While numerous personality inventories are used in the workplace, the MBTI is not recommended for hiring, according to the Myers-Briggs website. The company's president, Jeffrey Hayes, said in a 2014 blog post that the test is not intended to predict performance but to lead to an increased sense of self-awareness and understanding of others.

Ones suspects that said traditional personality questionnaires like the MBTI will likely become obsolete with advances in wearable technology, like smartwatches, and AI. But she cautions that truly understanding another isn't an easy undertaking.

"Remember, [personality] encompasses this whole spectrum of things, behavioral tendencies, feelings, intellectual processes and desires," she said. "Think of individuality as an impressionistic painting that is made up of all these dots. By the time that you fill all the dots in, you will get a very good picture of who this person is."