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MBTI®/Jung: A bloody mess!
18 February 2007

by Tom

I don't really want to cause any fuss, but there are a couple of things I think are long due for some serious "clearing up". To put it simply, MBTI® Introvert types are incompatible with the C. G. Jung psychological types that they are supposed to be based on. Why? Because the dominant functions of all the "irrational" MBTI introvert types are RATIONAL functions! The dominant function of ISTP, for example, is supposed to be introverted thinking, which is a rational function! Supposedly, this is motivated by the theory that the irrationality or rationality of any type is manifested in his behaviour in the "real world" - therefore, while extrovert irrationals have a dominant extroverted irrational function, the introverts have a SECONDARY extraverted irrational function! And the "rational" introvert types like INTJ and ISFJ have an introverted IRRATIONAL function as their dominant! What a bloody mess! OK, for those still in doubt, here I present a brief comparison of the MBTI types (based on their descriptions) with the Jung types (presented in his book "Psychological Types", which everybody here really should read).

1. INTP's and INTJ's. Based on their MBTI dominant functions, INTP's should correspond to Jung's Introverted thinking type, and INTJ's to Jung's Introverted Intuiting type. Here are brief summaries of Jung's description of those types:

Introverted Intuiting - ineffectual dreamers, mystics, fantasizers. Sometimes end up as the half-wit wise men in "psychological novels". Incredibly bad with communication (other people simply can't understand them, and they can't understand why), though not necessarily unsociable. Often attacked from the unconscious by a primitive extraverted sensing function which results in obsessions with visual images, places, faces, etc. Further, in the section on Introverted irrationals in general, they are described as good teachers who teach not with words but with their life.

Introverted Thinking - cold-blooded strategists, loners, theoretics. Arrogant, unsociable, having a certain disdain for others whom they consider stupid. Seem to others to be constantly angry, almost hateful. Completely certain in their opinions, strong will. Sometimes shamelessly exploited by strong women. Attacked from the unconscious by a primitive extraverted feeling function which makes them take every criticism, even fair, very personally (and later makes them seek revenge).

Note that MBTI would have INTP's as the latter type and INTJ's as the former! Surely the mistake should be bloody OBVIOUS!

2. INTP's, INFP's and ISTP's. Which of the latter two is closest to the first? MBTI would have both INTP's and ISTP's together, since they both have a dominant introverted thinking function, while INTP's and INFP's only share the secondary extroverted intuiting function. Which of them do you think go best together (simply judging from their MBTI descriptions)? And shouldn't ISTP's go together with ISFP's? And INTJ's with ISTJ's, rather than INFJ's? Take ENTP's and ENFP's - everything says that they are the two most closely related types. Make them both introverts and everything turns upside down! See? Now, what one starts to wonder about is why such a glaring mistake has not yet been fixed.

Now, what we want to explain is why many (including me) initially believe that the Jung description which MBTI leads to, is actually correct. I think that this maybe so because unconsciously we actually would like to be the sort of person described. For example, INTP's admire ISTJ's, so they accept the "introverted thinking" tag proudly, ISTJ's admire ISFP's so they are willing to be called "introverted sensing", INFP's admire ISFJ's, and so on. Socionics actually describes this intertype relationship as one of "benefit" - one of the two believes the other to be a wonderful and admirable person, while the other considers the first to be rather usual and not particularly interesting. I've actually seen this sort of relationship work in real life, so I think that it might be the case here. Well, whatever is the reason, I hope this mistake does get fixed some time soon.

Tom (INTP and "introverted intuiting").
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