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Things to consider about MBTI® theory (Part 2)
18 February 2007

by Sergei Ganin

After the initial publication of the "Things to consider about MBTI® theory (Part 1)", I approached some experts in Jung and MBTI theory in order to clarify this confusion around Judging/Perceiving preference and here is what happened:

"Linda V. Berens, Ph.D. is the Director and Founder of "Temperament Research Institute", which provides organizational consulting, training and MBTI qualifying programs. She is the author of "Understanding Yourself and Others, an Introduction to Temperament", and co-author of "Working Together, a Personality Approach to Management" as well as numerous training materials. As an organizational development consultant, she applies systems thinking and understanding individual differences to solving organizational problems. She is licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Educational Psychologist, and has over twenty-five years experience using temperament and type with individuals and teaching these theories to professionals. Linda is recognized internationally for her contributions to the field of psychological type, for integrating temperament and Jung's typology, and for developing user friendly training materials for practical application of those theories."

"...You are right. It certainly does lead to confusion! Myers used those words to designate which kind of function one prefers to use in the external world. So in Myers' model the J on the end of the code does not mean that one is a Judging type in the same way Jung meant it. It merely means that person's preferred judging process (T or F) is oriented toward the external world and implicitly this means that their preferred perceiving process is oriented toward the internal world. The dominant function is then indicated by the E or I at the beginning of the code. Thus, ENTJ, ESTJ, ESFJ, ENFJ, INTP, INFP, ISFP, and ISTP are all judging types which is consistent with Jung.

What confounds the problem is that we use similar words in two ways and, more importantly, the tendency to attribute the word "type" to the presence of a letter in the code. When in actuality "type" stands for a pattern of processes (functions). If you want more on this, I recommend you get my booklet "The Dynamics of Personality Type, Understanding and Applying Jung's Cognitive Processes" You can order it from us by e-mail through our website or call 800-700-4874.

Thanks for your question. I enjoyed trying to figure out how to answer it!

Linda Berens

It appears to me that Myers definition of Judgement/Perception was constructed for the test she was developing and ONLY the test. She was thinking in terms of its practical application and she was right to think of a definition reflecting our daily routine towards the external world. Since what we do in the objective (external) world is generally more obvious than what we do in the subjective (internal) world, so shifting the J/P definition towards the external world would have served practical purpose i.e. J/P identification via a questionnaire. Whether or not Myers J/P definition does exactly that is another question.

In order to make a practical application, one has to translate theory into practice and this inevitably "cuts corners" of the theory. In fact the more successful practical application is, the more theoretical corners are cut. However, if you were to take a practical application and try to reinstate the original theory it came from, you are likely to end up with something different than the original theory. This is what happened with the MBTI model. The model is purely based on MBTI definitions rather than on Jungian type theory, which Myers had initially used.

To make matters worse, the MBTI model is not just incompatible with Jungian type theory, it is also only partially compatible with the MBTI test itself. Although sadly, there are plenty indirect indications of it, there is no hard data proving or disapproving the above statement. As the typology is developing there will probably be such evidence in the future, hopefully it will be just a matter of time.
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