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J/P = problem
18 February 2007

by Sergei Ganin

Firstly, let's be clear about the very definition of J and P. As you already know J stands for Judgement, P stands for Perception. Jung in his works on psychological types has clearly described types, which dominant function was Thinking or Feeling as Judging or Rational types and the types, which dominant function was Sensing or Intuition as Perceiving or Irrational types. This is exactly how J and P types are defined in Socionics.

MBTI® theory on the other hand has slightly different definition of J and P. Judgement or Perception in MBTI theory is something else and is nothing to do with Jung definition. J or P in MBTI theory show which function of the two main functions (dominant and auxiliary) is extraverted. For example MBTI INTP is Judging type. Although it has got P at the end, it has introverted Thinking (Ti) as a dominant function, therefore it is Judging type according to Jung. At the same time MBTI INTP has auxiliary function, which is Intuition and which is extraverted (Ne), therefore according to MBTI theory it is also Perceiving type, since Intuition is a Perceiving function. Hence the letter P at the end of the acronym.

MBTI ENTP on the other hand has got extraverted Intuition as a dominant function, so it also has P at the end, but not because it has a Perceiving dominant function, but because the Perceiving dominant function is happened to be extraverted. It is just a coincidence that according to Jung, MBTI ENTP is also Perceiving type. In fact, all MBTI extrovert types have the last letter coinciding with Jung definition, and all MBTI introvert types have not. This has nothing to do with Socionics. In Socionics the letter at the end shows the Jungian definition of J/P.

Why would anyone want to complicate already complex definition such as J/P? Look at this: "INTP is Perceiving type but it is Judging type". It would have been ok if at least the same J/P flip was true for the extravert types as well, but it is not. So this makes a very big mess out of J/P. Socionics on the other hand has a consistency about J/P. So don't think it is Socionics that brings chaos into the type theory, it was there all the way.

Secondly, there are only 4 functions - S, N, T and F. Neither E and I nor J and P are functions. E/I shows whether the dominant function is introverted or extraverted. This one is at least consistent with MBTI theory, Jung and Socionics. In order to identify E/I you need to identify the preferred direction in which the dominant function works. This is not how MBTI test or Socionics Type Assistant or Keirsey or similar tests work. None of them test the dominant function directly, only indirectly. Indirect testing is fallible, and no surprise here that many people struggle to define whether they are E or I. You have to remember that the main objective is to identify whether the dominant function is introverted or extraverted and not whether the person is Introvert or Extravert. The Extraversion/Introversion is the result of the "vertness" of the dominant function and not the other way round.

The same thing happens with J/P. J and P are not functions. In fact J/P is pure artificially manufactured scale. You do not really need it. It was manufactured to presumably identify whether the Jungian dominant function is Judging or Perceiving. But the actual scale apparently tests something else as well as what it is designed to test. This is the cause for so called "Introverted Complexity No.47". One "Introverted Intuitive with Thinking" takes MBTI and comes out an INTP, another "Introverted Intuitive with Thinking" comes out an INTJ. This introverted complexity is not limited to these two types. All other introvert types too are affected by it. But what interesting is that extrovert types are affected by it as well, but not as badly as introvert types.

So the problem remains: If you took the MBTI test or any other similar instruments and came out INTP for example, what is your dominant function?
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