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Becoming a successful scientist - Is it possible for an INFJ?

I've heard from a lot of sources that INFJs who have a well developed tertiary function (Ti - Introverted Thinking) can match the scientific ability of our "T" counterparts. But mostly because success in science related areas is due to a well developed intuition function (Ni) and not necessarily Ti. Regardless, I still feel uneasy about going into neuroscience (Yes..even though a big chunk of it is psychology which is right up the INFJ alley) and pursuing a career in research. Anyone have some encouraging piece of information or advice? :rolleyes:
 

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Funny you say that. In the MBTI test I took, it said I have 100% Ni, and I suck royally at the sciences. (Every year, I get As in every subject except science, in which I get a B. Never fails; doesn't matter how much harder I work in science.) And I don't think my Ti can be that poorly developed, considering I got 25% Feeling. Hmmm. So maybe it's not that related.

I say go for it. I know INFJs who love scientific research and that kind of stuff! Why should being an INFJ slow you down anyway? If you love it, just do it.
 

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As said above, if you want to do something, don't let your personality "type" hold you back. Those four letters don't define you nor should they hold that much weight on your decisions. I've always loved science but I was never able to cut it personally. Still, if you're set on it an passionate about it, there's no reason you shouldn't strive for it. Do what makes you happy.
 

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I'm an INTJ "scientist" and I suck at science classes and am not looking to go into any science related fields. Just because your MBTI suggests that you are good at A, B, and C doesn't mean that it's true. MBTI is a theory. That's it. It's simply one interesting perspective on personalities and not meant to limit one's abilities. Use it to your advantage and prove people wrong. You can be anything you want as long as you're willing to put forth the effort. Personally, I suggest doing something your absolutely love because then you'll never dread waking up to go to work in the morning and you'll love every second of it. That's exactly what I'm doing. Also, I think the science field could use a little INFJ perspective. Science is all about eliminating bias to discover truths. Why should the field be biased towards Ts?
 

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Anyone have some encouraging piece of information or advice? :rolleyes:
Yes, INFJ's can go into science. You need to be bottom-heavy in your functions to do well, I think.

That means Ti but also Se. Se plays a key-role in grounding us to reality, which is important in science.

I would also just interject, having a strong Ti and Se can be mentally unhealthy for an INFJ. Yet if you seem to be wired this way; there's not much to be done about it. It's just important to remember that an INFJ should not let Ti completely overshadow Fe.
 

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If research in the neuroscience field is what you want to do, definitely go for it. I am currently working in research in a neuroscience lab even though my Masters is in biochemistry. I've certainly never had any trouble working in science/research, at least not with the work. As long as you're passionate about it, you'll be fine. The only thing I've struggled with (especially when we have seminars with the clinicians) is that I sometimes feel like I could be doing something "more" - that what the doctors and clinicians do has more "meaning." Research takes a lot of time, and most of your time is spent chasing ideas that don't pan out.
 

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Depends how math heavy the field is. Anytime you move beyond statistics and towards engineering and pure maths, the stuff tends towards mental gymnastics as new theorems/proofs generate all sorts of messy contradictions of what you thought were valid interpretations of past knowledge. Function pairs like Ti + Ne's visual component help a lot.

Ti-Se is what you need to use as Fe blocks the other direction. Developing the Se is the trouble tho.
 

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I would also just interject, having a strong Ti and Se can be mentally unhealthy for an INFJ. Yet if you seem to be wired this way; there's not much to be done about it. It's just important to remember that an INFJ should not let Ti completely overshadow Fe.
As an INFJ who has been there, I concur. Good advice.

I've also read that INFJs who pursue the sciences have an edge over more thinking types because, really, it's intuition, not thinking, that's most important in making new discoveries and reaching understandings. As an INFJ with a math degree, I agree. All the theory-heavy classes gave me a headache, but I still always just understood things better than my geekier classmates. They could do it, but I could understand it, even when I was kind of lost in the theory. It's hard to be in that position, but if you understand how your mind works differently than the minds around you, how you learn differently and see things differently, and don't expect the same things of yourself as you see in them, you already have a huge advantage. I say go for it!
 
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Well, i suppose INFJ can be a successful scientist. But you should be prepare for a very stressfull life. Last year I've completed a master's degree in astrophysics, the last 6 months being an intership in a lab that almost burned me out...

I drown in too many detail and i suppose i just lost "the big picture" . But i don't regret it, i've learned so many things, and i could have been succesfull if i was more balanced at that time. Maybe someday i'll try to get a phd in that field...

If you know how to manage your stress level, you already got your significant one taking care of you or simply that you are balanced then you should be able to be a great scientist!
 

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I've read numerous sites that have stated INFJs often do extremely well in science fields, and often match the quality of work of their INTJ counterparts. I've read a forum post that INFJs in the science field are often mistaked for INTJs.

The most important thing is to get into a field you LOVE to do. You might be a bit behind the curve when it comes to INTJs or INTPs (that can manage to get out of bed and go to classes...sorry!) But if you like and believe in what you are doing, that passion (Fe) is going to drive you through all the rough patches, and the stereotypical INFJ humility can lead you to seek help when you need it and get up to speed.

Really, I think MBTI has very little to do with what/where people can be successful with.


And I realize I may be wrong, but I just want to debate the point that being bottom heavy in your functions is unhealthy. I think developing your lower functions and rounding them out will make you a well-balanced, well-functioning individual overall. When you access all four of your functions equally, you are pulling SO MUCH MORE information than people who only have their top two developed. Your decisions, your interactions, everything will be much better informed and understood.
 

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i am an INFJ who has always had a deep interest for science related topics. from a very early age. i wish i had pursued some type of science related field for a career but i chose business and now work as an accountant (hate it) and also own my own business (like it for the most part).

i great up with an NT father and brother so i believe my T is more developed and this may be the same for you. if you have a deep interest, pursue it. as a much older person, i know that the decision to choose a career is not something that is set in stone. there's plenty of time in one's life to pursue different interests.

also, just because we are feeling, doesn't make us weak in intellectual pursuits or even business pursuits. i enjoy running my own business albeit there are areas that i find extremely challenging but what career won't provide challenges? i do hope to use my business background to study and get involved in economic development in developing countries but until the opportune moment arrives, i'm content with what i am doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Some great advice. It really is difficult not to overplay all of these personality theories, especially after reading your personality description and going "No way, this describes me perfectly down to the last detail!" :laughing: I don't think I'm the only one who for a while used the portrait of an INFJ as a "bible." Even though it's all accurate and was developed by brilliant men and women, people's mind's are amazingly complex and their talents cannot be wholly represented by 4 objective letters....although they help to give you a general idea about the style with which you prefer to think with
 

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Like it's been said already, interest is a much better indicator at how well you'll do at something than your type. Even if an INFJ wanted to get into athletics or dancing (which would probably be more of a challenge I would think because of our "inferior Se") I'm sure they'd find a way to do really well at it, because that's what they want to do. If something interests you deeply enough, you're going to mull over it and become a sponge for any kind of information that you can glean on that subject.

Being Ni dominant, too, kinda makes INFJs very very versatile when it comes to what we're good at, especially when it comes to whatever academic subject might interest us, because Ni is all about gaining enlightenment, and understanding things more deeply; I believe the Ti helps to analyze things and how they work, so both functions together can be used to learn or understand a great number or subjects, or skills, from humanities to engineering, to complex mathematics, to neuroscience.
 

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I personally believe cognitive functions aren't things you actually use. It's not like changing gears in a car. When I'm at the office filling in corporate tax returns for large concerns, arguing about the facts of a case and/or the interpretation of the law with a tax inspector, or explaining their fiscal position to a client, Fe does not apply at all. That's because the work I'm doing is all N and T.

My functions are Ni (dominant function, which means either INTJ or INFJ), Fe/Ti (this means I have to be INFJ, regardless of which of the two 'function-attitudes' is more developed), and Se. Seeing as I'm a Ti-'user', I'll approach anything requiring logic in a subjective way (all introverted functions being subjective). As with anything, my ability to do so will improve with practice. Because there's absolutely zero use for F-functions in my field (tax law specifically, this doesn't necessarily hold true for other types of law), I've become far more proficient at evaluating things based on logical considerations than on humane/ethical considerations.

The only reason an INFJ would possibly make for a less gifted scientist (not taking any other factor than MBTI type into consideration) than an INTJ or INTP, is the amount of practice/experience they would (in theory) have with the application of logic. INFJs with a 'normal' function order will generally favor making decissions based on humane/ethical standards. Fe here is preferred over Ti, causing the INFJ to naturally become more adept at making decissions in that manner. An INFJ with an 'abnormal' order of preferences (favoring Ti over Fe, possibly because they're interested in certain fields) would develop differently.

Consider this: INFJs aren't born as gifted orators, writers, counselors, etc. Nor are INTJs born as gifted scientists. It is, however, somewhat natural for them to become skilled at those things because their preferences are prompting them to develop in such a manner. I just don't think it works the other way around. If it did, my skills would be distributed quite differently. Yet I'm an INFJ since I'm a Ni-dominant person preferring Ti over Te (by a lot) and Fe over Fi (quite a bit).

Also, consider your enneagram type. I'm a type 6w5: both the main type and the wing are thinking types. This naturally influences both my interests and my preferred way of evaluating things.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
And I realize I may be wrong, but I just want to debate the point that being bottom heavy in your functions is unhealthy. I think developing your lower functions and rounding them out will make you a well-balanced, well-functioning individual overall.
When you said you think being "bottom heavy" is unhealthy, were you referring to people who use their lower (tertiary or inferior) functions excessively or more than their higher functions? Jw
 

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It is possible!!! haha I feel that I was born to be a scientist, (it's not just a dream, I actually am successful at it :p) and I'm pretty darn sure I'm INFJ too.
 
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As you said, psychology tends to be right up the INFJ alley. But with the discoveries that are being made every day in the field of neuroscience, we now have a neurobiological basis that establishes the foundation for many of the issues that are discussed within psychology. In my opinion, I think neuroscience would be a field that anyone who's knowledgeable about psychology would shine in. I'm thinking of becoming a neurologist (and psychiatrist), but I also want to conduct my own research in the field of neuroscience.

I look at it this way. My purpose for being a doctor/researcher of any sort is to help my fellow human beings. Because of my zealousness to take away other people's pain, I lust after all of the potential medical "cures" that I could have a hand in detecting through neurological study. Thinking of how such medical breakthroughs will make it possible for people to no longer suffer from bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, or Parkinson's Disease, Cerebral palsy, or Autism, fuels my desire to know all I can, and do all I can to figure out the intricate scientific principles that will allow me to bring an end to these insufferable neurological/mental diseases. Surely these are the traits that help individuals to become successful scientists?
 
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When you said you think being "bottom heavy" is unhealthy, were you referring to people who use their lower (tertiary or inferior) functions excessively or more than their higher functions? Jw
Sorry I missed this.

I don't think it's unhealthy to be 'bottom heavy' in your functions, it was debating a point that @Razare had in his post. I think it's easier to "feel" unbalanced after a long period if you aren't used to thinking really heavily or just looking at something and purely trying to get information based off that, but I think it's healthy. You're going outside of your comfort zone and stretching your potential which is good to do for everyone.
 
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