Title page for ETD etd-06062008-171223

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Greenberg, Stuart Elliot
URN etd-06062008-171223
Title Differential item functioning on the Myers-Briggs type indicator
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Harvey, Robert J. Committee Chair
Foti, Roseanne J. Committee Member
Gustafson, Sigrid B. Committee Member
Hauenstein, Neil M. A. Committee Member
Markham, Steven E. Committee Member
  • Sex differences (Psychology)
Date of Defense 1992-10-15
Availability restricted

Differential item functioning on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was examined in regard to gender. The Myers-Briggs has a differential scoring system for males and females on its thinking/feeling subscale. This scoring system preserves the 60 % thinking male and 30 % thinking female proportion that is implied by the Jungian theory underlying the Indicator. The MBTI's authors contended that the sex-based differential scoring system corrects items that subjects at a certain level of a latent trait either incorrectly endorse or leave blank.

This reasoning is the classical definition of differential item functioning (DIF); consequently, the non differentially scored items should exhibit DIF. If these items do not show DIF, then there would be no reason to use a differential scoring system.

Although the Indicator has been in use for several decades, no rigorous item response theory (IRT) item-level analysis of the Indicator has been undertaken. IRT analysis allows for mean differences in subgroups to occur, independent of the question of DlF. Linn and Harnisch's (1981) pseudo-lRT analysis was chosen to test for the presence of DlF in the MBTl items because it is best for tests of relatively small length. The Myers-Briggs subscales range from 22 to 26 items, which is relatively small by lRT standards. lRT analyses conducted on N=1887 subjects indicated that no items on the thinking/feeling subscale showed evidence of DIF. Out of 94 items, only one extraversion/introversion item and one judging/perception item showed evidence of DIF; no Thinking/Feeling items showed DIF. It is recommended that sex-based differential MBTI scoring be abandoned, and that the distribution of type in the population be examined in future studies.

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