Sunday, July 29, 2007

MBTI, more on

One problem with the borderline cases is that the difference between two types is bigger than one letter might suggest. For example, just judging by the letters J/P it's easy to conclude that the difference between, say, INTJ and INTP is minor. After all, three letters are equal. However, that's not the case.

To really understand MBTI, one has to go beyond the individual letters and see what they mean in terms of functional analysis. For example, here's a comparison between INTJ and INTP:


Dominant function: Introverted Intuition (Ni)
Auxiliary function : Extraverted Thinking (Te)


Dominant function: Introverted Thinking (Ti)
Auxiliary function : Extraverted iNtuition (Ne)

(There are also a third and a fourth function, but I leave those, except to say that they, like the first two, are different in INTJ and INTP.)

So, being on the fence between J and P in this case means being on the fence between two completely different personalities, and not between two personalities that are 3/4 the same.

Some types are more similar than others. For example, INFJ and INTJ, as I mentioned, share the dominant function Introverted Intuition, so it makes more sense to be on the fence between these two than between INTJ and INTP (there are always exactly two types that share the same dominant function).

Though I might add that I don't think that MBTI is exact enough to really withstand this kind of analysis. It becomes speculation with references to theories rather than correspondence to reality.

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