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Obviously, plenty of factors can make individuals who share personality preferences differ from one another (the MBTI never claims to account for the whole of personality, after all), but it seems to me the effect of Neuroticism (the Big 5 dimension without a clear analogue in the MBTI) might be of particular interest. If we accept that examining combinations of preferences (e.g., SJ, NT, EF, ITP) can provide worthwhile personality information - for example, if the difference between an ENFP and an ESFP is more than just what S/N alone suggests (or what Se/Ne alone suggests, if you're inclined to view type in that way) - then presumably, the difference between, say, a T type with high neuroticism vs. one with low neuroticism, might be worth considering also.

So then, what effect might we expect neuroticism to have on each of the preferences (function-attitudes also, I guess)? Given P types are said to be "casual", "easygoing", &c., how might a tendency towards anxiety interact with those traits? If S types "trust experience", then would a person with an S preference and high neuroticism typically come to trust in a highly pessimistic view of the world, where a similar person with low neuroticism would not? How, in general, does Big 5 Neuroticism interact with the various aspects of the MBTI theory?
 

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IMO, Neuroticism isn't really a personality trait. It's just a mental state.

So in MBTI, Neuroticism is more about whether one's cognitive functions are healthy of not. It doesn't have anything to do with being S/N/T/F
 

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I'm sorry StunnedFox if this only answers your question in partial. I hope you don't mind me posting it here

I've been reading up on something which might be useful. If we were to look at the personality of a perfectionist vs. a personality of strong procrastination. Perfectionism is usually positively correlated with conscientiousness and also high neuroticism (both appear to be somewhat necessary). Procrastination with low conscientiousness and similar levels of neuroticism. (there are several journal articles I've read that in).

From this, I make a weaker kind of claim: Individuals with "P" and higher levels of neuroticism are likely to show the "stereotypical" traits of what makes a P than those Ps who score lower in neuroticism and conscientiousness do. Individuals who are also high on neuroticism and conscientiousness might come off as more "stereotypical Js" than individuals lower in neuroticism?
point: I think being high in neuroticism might put a stronger emphasis on leaning towards stereotypical P or J (with the acceptance that high conscientiousness = J, which not everybody takes seriously). But of course, who's to say that one can't be a perfectionist and procrastinate? :p lol. Though it fits for me personally: I'm both high on conscientiousness and neuroticism.

And then another thought, but I don't have much other input
E + high neuroticism : more likely to engage in impulsive behavior.

Maybe being high in neuroticism leaves an individual with a general sense of doubt and makes it harder for them to determine their type?
 

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This is my speculation on how it would interact with each dimension:

I/E: there's a mild correlation between neuroticism and introversion, so perhaps neurotic extraverts would seem more introverted because they're potentially more nervous and awkward.

S/N: I'm not sure on this one, but your point about a pessimistic view of the world is interesting. I suppose a neurotic SF, especially with strong neuroticism and a mild S preference, might have something of a soulful/melancholy streak causing them to mistype as NF. Perhaps some neurotic Ns would be more likely to consider an ISJ type for themselves because they relate to the "catastrophising" that's normally associated with inferior Ne.

T/F: a neurotic T might mistake the emotional sensitivity associated with neuroticism for a feeling preference, because they wouldn't relate so much to the "emotionless" T descriptions. I also think neuroticism might make for a softer personality, in some ways.

J/P: a neurotic P might see themselves as more J because they're less carefree and possibly more serious than P descriptions suggest, but on the other hand, the anxiety might make J types less decisive, making them think they're Ps.

I'll probably come back and expand on these as the discussion continues and as more thoughts occur to me.
 

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J/P: a neurotic P might see themselves as more J because they're less carefree and possibly more serious than P descriptions suggest, but on the other hand, the anxiety might make J types less decisive, making them think they're Ps.
I score high in both Neuroticism and Percieving. I could never confuse myself for a J-type because I couldn't plan if my life depended on it (I prefer to just "wing it"), I don't make lists, I prefer when things are open-ended, ect. Planning and making to-do lists are more stressful to me. I'd rather just jump in and do it. I often put off attending to things until the last minute because that way the nervous energy will energize me to get it done.

You'd never guess I was high in neuroticism if you were going by the way others in my life describe me ("laid-back", "easy-going", "good-natured", "calm", ect.); but internally I'll experience plenty of anger, anxiety, worry, hurt feelings, and longing on any given day. I guess you could say I'm internally neurotic, but externally stable.
 

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@Octavarium
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@StunnedFox
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The struggle is real. (Stunnedfox, I'm sorry to see that the thread you made in hopes you getting a better grasp of your personality type has only further confused you and seemed to have snapped that thin string which was holding you on to INTP)
 

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@Mizmar - interesting perspective, and a clear internal/external divide is probably one of the simplest ways to reconcile the "calm"/"easygoing" P descriptors with the contrary aspects of neuroticism. I wonder if any particular preference would be more likely to involve "external" neuroticism?

@Octavarium - thinking on it, I imagine high neuroticism generally would correlate with increased pessimism, and a neurotic N type is probably no less prone to that than a neurotic S type; the difference would be more in whether the reasons are grounded more in theory or experience. The point about "catastrophising" makes sense - could it be generalised, even, so that descriptions of inferior functions seem more relatable to people who score higher on neuroticism? Still, the "negative possibilities" side of ISxJ descriptions probably does so more than most...

@O_o - I guess it depends on how "perfectionism" and "procrastination" are being defined, but I'd definitely consider myself, at least, capable of both (perhaps the latter moreso... hard to say; my conscientiousness scores tend to stratify very clearly into two groups of three sub-facets, so that might make my evaluations more difficult here too). Though notably, both procrastination and perfectionism are liable to detract from completion, which would tally with the idea of neurotic J types being less decisive... I would be surprised if "increased doubt", including over type, weren't at least somewhat correlated to neuroticism. (Re: my typing thread, I think the link probably needed to be severed; whilst I always remained aware of the issues with the theory's veracity, I'd now add to that that there simply isn't sufficient clarity as to the system being worked within for me to confidently assert even a best-fit type under it - though the INTP profile in Introduction to Type still definitely seems the most relatable...)
 

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@Octavarium - thinking on it, I imagine high neuroticism generally would correlate with increased pessimism, and a neurotic N type is probably no less prone to that than a neurotic S type; the difference would be more in whether the reasons are grounded more in theory or experience. The point about "catastrophising" makes sense - could it be generalised, even, so that descriptions of inferior functions seem more relatable to people who score higher on neuroticism? Still, the "negative possibilities" side of ISxJ descriptions probably does so more than most...
It's been a while since I read descriptions of inferior functions, so I can't comment on that point in detail. It sounds fairly plausible, though, but as you say, would especially apply to the negative possibilities side of inferior Ne. I think it's true that neuroticism correlates with pessimism. I've been described more than once as "negative", but I don't think that comes from either theory or experience; it's more about avoiding disappointment. If I'm always prepared for the worst, I'll rarely be disappointed, but I'll sometimes be pleasantly surprised. Even where I think there are good theoretical reasons to be optimistic, and I accept those reasons on an intellectual level, there's a part of me that doesn't want to believe it, again, so that I can avoid disappointment.
 

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I score high in both Neuroticism and Percieving. I could never confuse myself for a J-type because I couldn't plan if my life depended on it (I prefer to just "wing it"), I don't make lists, I prefer when things are open-ended, ect. Planning and making to-do lists are more stressful to me. I'd rather just jump in and do it. I often put off attending to things until the last minute because that way the nervous energy will energize me to get it done.

You'd never guess I was high in neuroticism if you were going by the way others in my life describe me ("laid-back", "easy-going", "good-natured", "calm", ect.); but internally I'll experience plenty of anger, anxiety, worry, hurt feelings, and longing on any given day. I guess you could say I'm internally neurotic, but externally stable.
Perhaps what I said there only applies to people who are close to the J/P borderline, or perhaps it doesn't really apply at all... it would be interesting to get some more responses to see if your experience is typical of neurotic Ps. That point mostly came from my own experience; I tend to have a lot of anxiety about getting everything right and not making mistakes, and I wondered whether that had made me see myself as more J than I really am.
 

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I think it would be good to have some more information on this topic. Two issues in particular I've been wondering about:
1. What is the impact of the neuroticism dimension on MBTI type? How does the calm version of each type differ from the limbic version? Do descriptions of particular types tend to apply better to one variant than the other?
2. Is the "calm" pole nothing more than the absence of neuroticism, or does it have associated personality traits of its own? Is there anything that can meaningfully be said about how calmness interacts with the preferences/functions/types?
 

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I think it would be good to have some more information on this topic. Two issues in particular I've been wondering about:
1. What is the impact of the neuroticism dimension on MBTI type? How does the calm version of each type differ from the limbic version? Do descriptions of particular types tend to apply better to one variant than the other?
2. Is the "calm" pole nothing more than the absence of neuroticism, or does it have associated personality traits of its own? Is there anything that can meaningfully be said about how calmness interacts with the preferences/functions/types?
I'd still be interested in any suggested answers to these questions. Anyway, I wanted to post some information on neuroticism, taken from a book on the Big Five, Daniel Nettle's Personality: What makes you the way you are. There's a whole chapter on each dimension, and here I've put together some interesting bits from the Neuroticism chapter, so it may not be a comprehensive description.

 
Neuroticism is to negative emotions what Extraversion is to positive ones. Recall the experiments where high Extraversion scorers show a big increase in good mood when they watch a funny film clip, or write about a great experience. When people are asked to watch a frightening or upsetting film, or write about a bad experience, it is their Neuroticism scores that predict how big the negative turn in their mood will be. We also know that high scorers are more affected by the hassles of daily life than low scorers. Neuroticism seems, then, to measure the responsiveness of negative emotion systems.

Neuroticism is not just a risk factor for depression. It is so closely associated with it that it is hard to see them as completely distinct. It is true that Neuroticism is a stable and enduring trait, whilst depression is a disease state that may be considered present at some times and not at others. However, depression tends to be recurrent. A person who has had one episode has a 50 per cent chance of having another within two years, and an 80 per cent chance of having another at some point. Moreover, even when the full-blown condition is in remission, people who suffer from depression show definite hallmarks in their emotional style. It is thus probably better to think of depression as the periodic, often reactive, flare-up of the effects of the underlying personality trait, rather than something that comes out of the blue and then goes away entirely. Depression can be thought of as that state where the negative emotions—especially sadness, if the depression is of melancholy type—become so aroused that they self-perpetuate, at least for a while, and, clearly, the more reactive they are, the more likely they are to hit that state from time to time.

Negative emotion is very often directed towards the self. The mechanisms we use to assess ourselves and our own worth are just as affected by negative emotion as those we use to assess the external world.

Coupled with low self-esteem is instability in the self-concept. The high Neuroticism scorer is constantly ruminating, wondering whether she has done the right thing in life. Presumably one of the dangers our negative emotions are designed to detect is the danger of taking the wrong path in life, and so when the negative emotions are active, we will constantly doubt this. Susan, like many of my high-Neuroticism correspondents, reports several changes of identity and goals, continuing well into mature life: ‘I often wondered whether I was doing the right thing in life’. Such correspondents often begin their accounts by saying how grateful they are for this opportunity to reflect on their lives, and try to sort out for themselves what they are trying to do. Low scorers don’t say this; they know what they are trying to do, and they probably write for my benefit rather than their own. The high scorers can write a lot, too, perhaps because I have given them a licence to ruminate.

Studies of writers, poets, and artists show that these groups have extremely high rates of depression, suggesting very high Neuroticism. Could their Neuroticism be helping them to achieve as they do?

There are several ways it might help. First, they may write as a form of therapy. This may be true, but they would still have to write something other people wanted to read. For this reason, high Neuroticism is not sufficient to be a creative writer. You need to be high in Openness too, and probably have further qualities as well.

Second, high-Neuroticism scorers feel that things (and this applies to both the things in the world, and things inside themselves) are not all right as they are, and so they want to change them. Thus you would predict that high scorers would actually be innovators in various domains, particularly those concerned with understanding the self and giving it meaning. Related to this, high scorers are afraid of failing, and this—as long as they don’t feel so awful that they can’t function—motivates them to strive.


I think the key point is that neuroticism is, at its core, about a propensity to react with negative emotion, I.E. A person with high neuroticism will experience more negative emotion than a low scorer given the same stimulus. Extraversion, meanwhile, is the equivalent for positive emotion. Extraverts get more of a buzz from getting things like money, sex, status, or whatever else might be exciting, And they have more desire to get out There and go for it. Compared to introverts, extraverts will take more risks for the same material rewards, because the psychological rewards are greater. If neuroticism is the tendency to experience negative emotions, it would make sense to think neurotic types would have more desire to avoid whatever they find unpleasant, because the psychological costs are greater.

If this is reasonably accurate, we can start to get a sense of how neuroticism might interact with I/E. There's also the theory, contrary to Keirsey, that the four temperaments correlate with I/E and neuroticism. Briefly:

  • Sanguine = extravert + low neuroticism: lots of positive emotion with relatively little negative emotion
  • Choleric = extravert + high neuroticism: lots of positive and negative emotion.
  • Melancholic = introvert + high neuroticism: lots of negative emotion with relatively little positive emotion.
  • Phlegmatic = introvert + low neuroticism: not much positive or negative emotion.
I'll leave it to anyone else who's interested, or possibly me in a later post, to draw out the implications a bit more.
 

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I'd still be interested in any suggested answers to these questions. Anyway, I wanted to post some information on neuroticism, taken from a book on the Big Five, Daniel Nettle's Personality: What makes you the way you are. There's a whole chapter on each dimension, and here I've put together some interesting bits from the Neuroticism chapter, so it may not be a comprehensive description.

 
Neuroticism is to negative emotions what Extraversion is to positive ones. Recall the experiments where high Extraversion scorers show a big increase in good mood when they watch a funny film clip, or write about a great experience. When people are asked to watch a frightening or upsetting film, or write about a bad experience, it is their Neuroticism scores that predict how big the negative turn in their mood will be. We also know that high scorers are more affected by the hassles of daily life than low scorers. Neuroticism seems, then, to measure the responsiveness of negative emotion systems.

Neuroticism is not just a risk factor for depression. It is so closely associated with it that it is hard to see them as completely distinct. It is true that Neuroticism is a stable and enduring trait, whilst depression is a disease state that may be considered present at some times and not at others. However, depression tends to be recurrent. A person who has had one episode has a 50 per cent chance of having another within two years, and an 80 per cent chance of having another at some point. Moreover, even when the full-blown condition is in remission, people who suffer from depression show definite hallmarks in their emotional style. It is thus probably better to think of depression as the periodic, often reactive, flare-up of the effects of the underlying personality trait, rather than something that comes out of the blue and then goes away entirely. Depression can be thought of as that state where the negative emotions—especially sadness, if the depression is of melancholy type—become so aroused that they self-perpetuate, at least for a while, and, clearly, the more reactive they are, the more likely they are to hit that state from time to time.

Negative emotion is very often directed towards the self. The mechanisms we use to assess ourselves and our own worth are just as affected by negative emotion as those we use to assess the external world.

Coupled with low self-esteem is instability in the self-concept. The high Neuroticism scorer is constantly ruminating, wondering whether she has done the right thing in life. Presumably one of the dangers our negative emotions are designed to detect is the danger of taking the wrong path in life, and so when the negative emotions are active, we will constantly doubt this. Susan, like many of my high-Neuroticism correspondents, reports several changes of identity and goals, continuing well into mature life: ‘I often wondered whether I was doing the right thing in life’. Such correspondents often begin their accounts by saying how grateful they are for this opportunity to reflect on their lives, and try to sort out for themselves what they are trying to do. Low scorers don’t say this; they know what they are trying to do, and they probably write for my benefit rather than their own. The high scorers can write a lot, too, perhaps because I have given them a licence to ruminate.

Studies of writers, poets, and artists show that these groups have extremely high rates of depression, suggesting very high Neuroticism. Could their Neuroticism be helping them to achieve as they do?

There are several ways it might help. First, they may write as a form of therapy. This may be true, but they would still have to write something other people wanted to read. For this reason, high Neuroticism is not sufficient to be a creative writer. You need to be high in Openness too, and probably have further qualities as well.

Second, high-Neuroticism scorers feel that things (and this applies to both the things in the world, and things inside themselves) are not all right as they are, and so they want to change them. Thus you would predict that high scorers would actually be innovators in various domains, particularly those concerned with understanding the self and giving it meaning. Related to this, high scorers are afraid of failing, and this—as long as they don’t feel so awful that they can’t function—motivates them to strive.


I think the key point is that neuroticism is, at its core, about a propensity to react with negative emotion, I.E. A person with high neuroticism will experience more negative emotion than a low scorer given the same stimulus. Extraversion, meanwhile, is the equivalent for positive emotion. Extraverts get more of a buzz from getting things like money, sex, status, or whatever else might be exciting, And they have more desire to get out There and go for it. Compared to introverts, extraverts will take more risks for the same material rewards, because the psychological rewards are greater. If neuroticism is the tendency to experience negative emotions, it would make sense to think neurotic types would have more desire to avoid whatever they find unpleasant, because the psychological costs are greater.

If this is reasonably accurate, we can start to get a sense of how neuroticism might interact with I/E. There's also the theory, contrary to Keirsey, that the four temperaments correlate with I/E and neuroticism. Briefly:

  • Sanguine = extravert + low neuroticism: lots of positive emotion with relatively little negative emotion
  • Choleric = extravert + high neuroticism: lots of positive and negative emotion.
  • Melancholic = introvert + high neuroticism: lots of negative emotion with relatively little positive emotion.
  • Phlegmatic = introvert + low neuroticism: not much positive or negative emotion.
I'll leave it to anyone else who's interested, or possibly me in a later post, to draw out the implications a bit more.
I found this quite interesting.

My question, is neuroticism in life a static trait or one that changes? That is can someone go from high neuroticism to low neuroticism, and vice versa?

From my own life, Introversion has been quite consistent and I can say It does tend to have a dampening effect on positive emotion. Nothing is 'over the top' within myself. I do have a preference towards neutrality.

I have however noticed how I perceive negative emotion has not been consistent. This seems dependent on environmental stress. Generally I am a calm individual, but being placed under pressure much more often than I like has lead to an increase in awareness of negative emotions and being more affected by them.
 

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I found this quite interesting.

My question, is neuroticism in life a static trait or one that changes? That is can someone go from high neuroticism to low neuroticism, and vice versa?

From my own life, Introversion has been quite consistent and I can say It does tend to have a dampening effect on positive emotion. Nothing is 'over the top' within myself. I do have a preference towards neutrality.

I have however noticed how I perceive negative emotion has not been consistent. This seems dependent on environmental stress. Generally I am a calm individual, but being placed under pressure much more often than I like has lead to an increase in awareness of negative emotions and being more affected by them.
Everything I've read on the subject suggests that personality traits tend to remain fairly stable over time, although presumably that doesn't exclude small fluctuations. How much negative emotion you experience depends on both your level of neuroticism and the situation. If we wanted to know which of two people was the more neurotic, the question wouldn't be "which one experiences more negative emotion?" Rather, it's better to ask "which one would experience more negative emotion if put in the same situation?" So a fluctuating amount of negative emotion isn't inconsistent with a stable amount of neuroticism.
 
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