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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On his Personality Junkie site, Dr A J Drenthe writes,
For the remainder of this discussion, I wished to evaluate one aspect of Myers-Briggs personality theory, generally referred to as “Type Dynamics.” Type Dynamics entails a hierarchical ordering and prediction of the various personality Myers-Briggs functions based on which function is said to be dominant for each personality type. For instance, an INFP’s dominant function is said to be introverted feeling, which is followed by three other functions in descending order of preference (i.e., extraverted intuition, introverted sensing, and extraverted thinking) . Recently, this theory has come under serious scrutiny, from none other than researchers publishing in the Journal of Psychological Type, the primary journal associated with the Myers-Briggs taxonomy. (1)
This suggests one of two broad alternatives. Perhaps Drenthe is posting wrong information to his site (whether out of ignorance or malice). Or perhaps the MBTI community including here is going around spouting a bunch of theory without any empirical backing over several decades.

Does anyone have an opinion, well-founded or not, on which alternative is the true one?

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(1) Reynierse JH, Harker JB. Preference Multidimensionality and the Fallacy of Type Dynamics: Part 2 (Studies 4-6). Journal of Psychological Type. Issue 11. Nov 2008. Article downloaded from CAPT: Training, Books, Research for MBTI, Archetypes, Leadership, Psychological Type. (obtaining this article may require a paid subscription to the journal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Wow. As often as this stuff gets thrown around by M-B fans, I would think someone could just point me to some decades-old journal citation or something.

I love the four dimensions and 16 types, but I'm starting to get the impression that the type dynamics theory is a bunch of hooey (by which I mean, unsubstantiated theory).
 

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♀ INTP; Strategic, Ideation, Learner, Input, Intellection
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On Type Dynamics Skepticism

I'm skeptical as well ... As I wrote in another thread:

http://personalitycafe.com/blogs/sosayssunny/my-personality-test-scores-1799/
Here are my scores on a cognitive functions test (and true to my experience):
INTP ... INFP
43% Ti. . . 1 . . . . 8 !
38% Fi. . . 8 ! . . . 1
34% Te. . . 5 . . . . 4
31% Ne. . . 2 . . . . 2
29% Se. . . 7 . . . . 7
26% Ni. . . 6 . . . . 6
21% Si. . . 3 . . . . 3
19% Fe. . . 4 . . . . 5
Either way, my top two include what is supposed to be my worst function! Any idea how to make sense of that?
Additional personality scores
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ah, thanks. Glad to know i'm not the only one.

Yeah, i get that just going by my own experience of myself is a sample size of N=1. But it seems like everyone who accepts this theory with no empirical backing is also going by their experience. What makes their experience more predictive than mine?

Essentially everyone's just taking it on faith by authority of Jung and Myers, which isn't supposed to be how science works.
 

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It isn't science. It's not supposed to be. It's a way of categorizing the world to make sense of it. I'd elaborate, but seriously, do a search here. There are fifty some threads on this topic and variations thereof already.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@lirulin

It isn't science. It's not supposed to be.
Wow. So you don't believe psychology is a science? Or you don't believe MBTI type dynamics to be a psychological theory?


I'd elaborate, but seriously, do a search here. There are fifty some threads on this topic and variations thereof already.
Before posting i skimmed the search results from the term empirical -- I believe i also skimmed type dynamics -- and didn't find anything obviously relevant.

Since there are 50+ threads on the topic, i must not be using appropriate search terms. Could you suggest some better ones?
 

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It is a classification system. Not really experimental, not really based on experiments at all. Mainly just observation and introspection. A way of organising data. It doesn't really postulate cause. As far as I have heard, mbti in itself never claimed to be 'science.' It can be used in scientific studies, but in itself is just a classifying theory. 'INTJ' is just a classification label, not something that exists in any way you can test without the system. You can judge how accurate it is in seeing people of similar types behave and think similarly - but since their behaviour and thought patterns are how they are classified in the first place, that is not really taking it beyond its descriptive purpose. Empirical data supporting that is, again, not making it science, since that same data is what was used to designate people with the label in the first place. You can do some studies to show behaviours are correlated according to type, but how to prove, for instance, that Ni "exists" when it is merely a way of describing thought and not postulated as 'existing' as a neurological function or anything for which there can be a more empirical metric? That's not really what its designed to be. Science, at basis, is falsifiable - mbti isn't really. You can judge it as useless (or useful), but it isn't falsifiable in the true scientific sense.

People can then, of course, use science to see if they can make predictions about people's behaviour using it as a basis for dividing their experimental subjects and as a basis for these predictions, and test the validity of those predictions - the obvious example is 'best careers for your type,' and as far as I know there is some data that shows it a better predictor than chance over large groups, but still not great. But the development of the theory itself is more explanatory than predictive. It's not like you can do any valid study to "prove" that "INTJs really exist" since it doesn't work like that. It exists only as a classification model and there is nothing in tangible reality that is the "essence" of INTJ that can be accessed by empirical evidence.

As for search terms - there's a thread every month or so all 'how can you guys be such sheep and believe in this! mbti isn't real! mbti is pseudoscience!" and so on. Be creative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Are you overlooking the point that i'm not even questioning the 16 types or just ignoring it for rhetorical value? My question is entirely about type dynamics.

Why would i "be creative" in finding threads that aren't even on-topic to the question of empirical validity of type dynamics?

It's not like you can do any valid study to "prove" that "INTJs really exist" since it doesn't work like that.
Certainly you can. You can take the verifiable predictions of the theory -- that INTJs* will have certain characteristics in common that they won't have in common with other types -- test them in a sample, and draw inferences about the population.

People do that kind of research all the time. It's called social science. Although psychology is not my field, i'm astonished to hear that it's not considered science.

*EDIT: I should be a bit more precise here. That INTJs will have certain measurable characteristics, as revealed through the assessment instruments, which will then prove highly correlated with other measurable characteristics. Of course you'd need to measure the second set of characteristics to do the research, but those would be stuff not generally measured directly on MBTI assessments. Although the "existence" of a type as such is indeed theoretical, the direct implications of the theory are very testable.
 

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Wow. As often as this stuff gets thrown around by M-B fans, I would think someone could just point me to some decades-old journal citation or something.

I love the four dimensions and 16 types, but I'm starting to get the impression that the type dynamics theory is a bunch of hooey (by which I mean, unsubstantiated theory).
Like Lirulin has indicated, the MBTI was developed based on observations of Jung's which proved useful for categorization. However, the individual MBTI preferences (I/E, N/S, T/F, P/J) correlate highly to the scales on the Big 5 System, which was empirically developed. You might have better luck there, as that test is held in higher regard in most psychology circles than the MBTI.

Studies of specific types don't seem to happen that often (INTJs do X, ESFPs do Y). Studies of traits and factors seem to happen much more frequently (Introverts prefer X, Extroverts prefer Y).

Cognitive function test results do not correlate well to MBTI test results, as the tests are measuring two different things. The first measures 8 separate preferences, the second measures 4 dichotomous preferences and THEN applies modifiers to determine extroversion and introversion of dominant preferences.
 

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As mentioned, MBTI is really just a classification system. In a similar way, you can observe different shades of hair color & assign some brown & others blond, when really, there is no clear line & its very much based on perspective. Of course, the clearer you define the terms, the easier it is to come to some kind of consensus on what is what. MBTI is a little muddy in some ways; especially when it comes to layman's terms vs. Jungian terms, there is confusion.

So you can "observe" aspects of personality, and MBTI seeks to indicate which label may suit a person best. This is why aspects of many MBTI types may apply to you, but there's usually one best fit. Since the "observations" which group these personalities are mostly intangible indications of mindset (or at least Jung's were; Myers sought to bridge that gap - with the P/J dichotomy especially), it's no wonder so many drawn to the theory test as "intuitive", or people who tend to focus on intangible implications over concrete data. This causes confusion when certain theories really type behavior over mindset, such as Keirsey. Really, you have some Jungian inspired typologies typing different aspects of personality, but using the same terminology. So there is no one true way to use this theory; the function order models are just popular ideas with no empirical evidence. Jung barely ventured to identify a person's cognitive process preference beyond the dominant one, and while Myers created a model for the top 4 (ie. INFP is FiNeSiTe), the 4 letter code for each type really only refers to the dominant & auxiliary (ie. INFPs use F to judge & N to perceive, & they are introverts, but their perceiving process is extroverted, which implies they prefer Fi+Ne).

I agree that this leaves the lesser preferred cognitive functions greatly open to different models. The reason the Pe + Ji + Pi + Je model (in varying orders) is so popular is that it creates symmetry. Symmetry is frequently used in theories because its balanced & that seems logical. Of course, we all know that reality is not always so neat & perfect, and when it comes to people, rarely are we so symmetrical in any way. I think this does leave the theory open to "atypical" function orders & combos, which may not be so atypical. It's nice when those who act as an MBTI gestapo will let people explore these ideas :tongue:. Sure, within MBTI, something like "INxP" or "INFx" is not "possible", but outside that one theory, there is possibility for other systems which accommodate those who don't feel MBTI describes their personality well enough to align neatly with one type. It may be an issue of cognitive function order for some - maybe they are "atypical" according to most models.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@Introspiritual

Indulge me for bumping this old old thread. First of all, many thanks for engaging on the issues i've posted and not just opposing me with bluster.

I just noticed this point:

Cognitive function test results do not correlate well to MBTI test results, as the tests are measuring two different things. The first measures 8 separate preferences, the second measures 4 dichotomous preferences and THEN applies modifiers to determine extroversion and introversion of dominant preferences.
OK, but if they don't correlate well, then why do people on this site act as though they correlate? There must be a million threads of, "I'm INFP, so therefore i have my Fi that works like this and my Ne that works like such and such," etc. etc. If you're telling me they don't correlate, then i could just as easily be INFP using Fe, or Ni, or whatever, right?

So then, why do people talk about CFs and MBTI types as though they're related?
 

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@Introspiritual

Indulge me for bumping this old old thread. First of all, many thanks for engaging on the issues i've posted and not just opposing me with bluster.

I just noticed this point:



OK, but if they don't correlate well, then why do people on this site act as though they correlate? There must be a million threads of, "I'm INFP, so therefore i have my Fi that works like this and my Ne that works like such and such," etc. etc. If you're telling me they don't correlate, then i could just as easily be INFP using Fe, or Ni, or whatever, right?

So then, why do people talk about CFs and MBTI types as though they're related?
Because people mistake MBTI for psychology generally speaking. They don't realize that MBTI is basically an attempt at behavioral science. In a Jungian sense we would say that at best MBTI categorizes your persona (and in that way is just a less scientific version of the Five Factor Model). So people make psychological claims and tie them to MBTI in ways that are often inappropriate. This is why, for instance, some of the guys over at PerN make a point to differentiate between JCF (essentially Beebe, Quenk, Thomson, Nardi, etc) and MBTI (Myers). Even though the two basically come from the same idea one is much more psychologically oriented than the other.

It's a very grey area here because type dynamics has become the norm for modern type theory, but it's basically founded in the idea of balance. That in the most simplistic way if you have a Te as your auxiliary then your tertiary should be Fi and so on. But Jung's theory is much more complex, much more three-dimensional. His ideas, built on his research (remember these aren't just observations he was an actual well-trained analyst who attempted to present this as scientifically as possible for what it is) is more in-line with the CAPT article in asserting that there are actually two auxiliary functions that will support either the dominant or inferior function. Think of Yin/Yang where the large black area is dominant and the small white dot is 1st auxiliary and the large white area is inferior and the small black dot is 2nd auxiliary.

Jung's model is a lot less rigid and allows for more than just 16 rigid types, but these types will all be based primarily on the dominant/inferior relationship which is the most important factor typologically speaking anyway (again MBTI waters down and amalgamates all of Jung's ideas into cognitive functions and J/P which is probably too oversimplified).

But there is no hierarchy but rather a quaternary with the first three functions (lead by the superior function) and then the Inferior function which acts as the counterweight. A 3+1 model is closer to how Jung would envision it. I think this is also what the article is getting at as well. That Introversion is always met with a largely unconscious extraverted reaction (via the inferior function) and vice versa. The only thing that makes an Introvert an introvert is the preference toward introversion as the superior function but this does not mean there is also not a counterforce back outward. The introvert is just typically unaware of it that's all (so that Si-dom's Ne will play just as much of a role in who that person is as their dominant Sensation).

Additionally there are a lot of assumptions about type that we get from MBTI and believe, but we just assume these things as true because MBTI says so. You can't be an INFP with Ni, for instance in MBTI, but that's a possibility with Jung (of course you couldn't call that person an INFP, just Introverted Feeling type with Intuitive auxiliary). I'm always careful about people who go around saying "my x-function does this" (I'm guilty of it sometimes too) but in reality its never as cut and dry as people think especially as the functions decrease not in strength but in consciousness. An unconscious process might appear to be something consciously that it isn't really (like for instance one could call aspiring to be like someone else Extraverted Feeling in MBTI, but in reality it might not be Fe at all but rather a person's anima/animus complex).
 
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