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Things to consider about MBTI® theory (Part 1)
by Sergei Ganin

You have probably noticed that the types on this website have slightly different acronym: three capital letters followed by a small "j" or "p" instead of the traditional four capital letter acronym. This is because there is a slight incompatibility between the MBTI® and Socionics/Jungian type due to the ...
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Your Comments: 1+ 12+
C1 Outstanding article. A lot of the common misconceptions regarding the two systems are systematically deal with. Thank you for posting this! -- Anonymous
C2 I think you are not fully understanding the whole J/P issue, which is largely because the Myers-Briggs community has overwhelmingly misunderstood it. Jung talked about Perceiving functions and Judging functions. The Perceiving functions were obviously Sensing and iNtuition and the Judging funcitons were obviously Thinking and Feeling. As we know, everyone has a preferred Perceiving function (Extraverted Sensing, Introverted Sensing, Extraverted iNtuition, or Introverted iNtuition) and a preferred Judging function (Extraverted Thinking, Introverted Thinking, Extraverted Feeling, or Introverted Feeling). If one has a preference for an Extraverted Perceiving function (say Extraverted iNtuition), then they theory goes that their preferred Judging Function is Introverted (let's say Introvered Feeling). Let's say this particular individual's MOST preferred function is Extraverted iNtuition. Myers and Briggs had to figure out how to create an instrument that could identify one's type code. If they just did it by mental function (Extraverted iNtuition, Introverted iNtuition, Extraverted Sensing, Introverted Sensing, Extraverted Thinking, Introverted Thinking, Extraverted Feeling, Introverted Thinking), then 1) how would they determine which was dominant, and 2) what if someone picked two introverted functions (or two extraverted functions) as their most preferred? To solve this problem, they looked at Extraversion versus Introversion, Sensing versus iNtuition, Thinking versus Feeling, and Judging versus Perceiving. The Extraversion versus Introversion was ONLY for the purpose to discover the dominant function (NOT to decide whether or not the person is an "introvert" or an "extravert." (There's no such thing.) The ONLY purpose of the last letter - J/P Judging versus Perceiving - was to determine which of the functions was extraverted. THUS, what Myers and Briggs did was look at what Extraverted Sensing and Extraverted iNtuition had in common and made that the Perceiving part of the dichotomy and they looked at what Extraverted Thinking and Extraverted Feeling had in common and made that the Judging part of the dichotomy. THE ONLY PURPOSE of the last letter of the Myers-Briggs Type Code is to determine if the Perceiving function chosen (Sensing or iNtuition) or the Judgingn function chosen (Thinking or Feeling) is extraverted. That's it. Some practitioners try to create many more things out of it, but that was its sole purpose. -- Anonymous
C3 A2: That's actually the first time I've heard this argument. It would stand to reason that this was the intention, given that all of the J/P questions in the MBTI inventory deal with extraverted situations (though I am still not sold on the absolute validity of those questions). If this is the case, I wonder why Myers and Briggs did not also create a set of J/P questions aimed at the introverted functions, as a sort of double catch to really try and nail down the function directions. Quite fascinating, all the same. Thank you for posting that. -- Anonymous
C4 C2 I'm sure I've seen the similar explanation elsewhere on this website. However, I agree with C3 views about the J/P defined by extroverted situations according to MB => If you're orderly therefore you could only be orderly in regards to the external world. This is rather shallow thinking. What about your internal thought process? You can think in orderly way too, hence behave in orderly way. The questions of orderliness, for example, in the MB test do appeal to both worlds, even if they were initially intended only for extroverted situations. So unless there are exclusive extroverted situations only questions in the MB test, J/P questions as they are now indicate the J/P of the dominant function and NOT which *extroverted* function is J or P, even if MB people did not intend it that way. -- Anonymous
C5 exactly right -- Anonymous
C6 I am definated P preference. Despite me having many strong J-type qualities, I am very P inclined, pretty much every test showing this and I believe it to be true... Then why do I identify so much more with the INTP or INTj? I'm convinced that my primary function is Ti and my secondary is Ne; not Ni and then Te. You all seem very convinced that socionics is definately correct and Myer-Briggs is definately flawed on this matter... I'm very open-minded about it and if you can explain where I may be going wrong then I'm not going to be arrogant about it. Currently I'm inclined to believe that the MBTI is the more accurate so if you've got any information on this age-old INTP/J, then I'd be very interested in it. -- Jordan
C7 C6: If you're positive of having Ti Ne, then you likely prefer the creative function (Ne) over the dominant function (Ti). I have a close INTj friend who is virtually split 50/50 in his j/p dimension - he approaches things very intuitively (lack of attention to surroundings, excited by new possibilities), but yet his baseline operation is via his Ti (must wear a watch, must get up at the same time everyday, strives for closure). Introverts (and in my experience, especially intuitive introverts) tend to be only partially described with a j/p tag (this applies to both MBTI and socionics). More research is definitely required. -- Anonymous
C8 Oh right, so I was stuck with a doozey to begin with? I see. I guess I'll just have to look into it further then, perhaps with a subject (lol...) that isn't IN-. I would still be grateful to anyone able to clarify my uncertainty on the functions. As far as I'm concerned, the MBTI description of why I and E had an effect on the functions made perfect sense and rang true. -- Jordan
C9 You know what they say... "There is no Ti in MBTI" -- Anonymous
C10 Re: C2, C3, C4. Let me quote "Jung's Typology in Perpective" by Angelo Spoto, an excellent book. On page 176 he writes "However Briggs-Myers also did not feel that the information Jung provided on the introversion-extroversion polarity sufficiently expained the typological adaption that that both introverts and extroverts must make to the outside world; thus she went one step further than Jung by typologically characterizing that adaptation. She did this by extending the significance if Jung's perceiving-judging polarity as the main criterion for how one relates to the outside world." Thus Myers-Briggs introduces a P-J polarity which is not quite the same as Jung's P-J; it measures the perceiving-judging preference as it "relates to the *external* world." Spoto goes on to write: "Ultimately the person using Jungian typology will have tom decide first on the legitimacy of the MBTI innovation, then decide whether it is appropriate and useful in a particular case, and finally whether to employ the MBTI test." uee -- Anonymous
C11 [Ti] This article misrepresents a mere semantic difference between MBTI theory and Socionics as a contradiction in MBTI theory. The two theories differ on what they call Judging and Perceiving types. Using the terminology I learned from my father, who was a researcher of MBTI theory, what Socionics calls Judging and Perceiving types are known as Rational and Irrational types. The same distinction is recognized by both theories, and they differ only on what they call it. Furthermore, the distinction MBTI theory makes between what it calls Judging and Perceiving types is a valid distinction. First, when identified correctly, it is just as useful for determining a person's Jungian type as knowing whether the person is Rational or Irrational. Second, there is a real sense in which an MBTI I-P is a Perceiving type and an MBTI I-J is a Judging type. I am an MBTI INTP. I know from my own self-observation that Ti is dominant for me and Ne is auxiliary. Despite my dominant function being a judging one, my lifestyle is well characterized by the MBTI understanding of a Perceiving type. I keep my room and office messy and disorderly, I work flexible hours, and I'm adaptable to change. Whether the MBTI accurately measures the J/P difference for introverts is an empirical matter that doesn't impinge on the validity of the MBTI's J/P distinction. My personal experience with the MBTI is that it is a flawed instrument in this detail. But in understanding the distinction it makes between P and J, I do recognize myself as a P. I also recognize myself as a Rational type, what Socionics calls a -j, and there is no contradiction in being both. -- Fergus Duniho
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