Personality Cafe banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

571 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was thinking a bit about the dichotomies presented after taking the test (for example 16 personalities) and whether the percentages make a difference. With Myers Briggs, when determining type, I understand it is important to recognize the functions, especially since the tests are not foolproof and are generally surface level generalizations. However, I can't help but thinking that there is some role in the various percentages. As we know, it's not black and white. Just as we know that no two INFJs are exactly alike, despite having the same four levels-- I was wondering if percentages could tie in just as enneagrams tie in.

To back up- what got me to thinking this is that I recently started dating an ENFJ. (side note: they are wonderful) But I had also dated an ENFJ in the past. These two ENFJs are very alike, but different in more than a few ways. This makes sense since individuals are all unique and although may process information similarly, different factors like environment, friends, family, enneagram all play a role. But what about percentages?

I asked him to take the test because he was uncertain of his type and initially he got ENFJ-- however the balance between S and N was very similar- something like (51/49). I've noticed that he is *very* in tune with his "sensing" side-- something that wasn't as noticeable with my previous relations with ENFJs. His highly acute memories, attention for fashion, decoration, and detail, practicality, sentimentality etc-- all traits that would seem to relate to Si.
However his thinking is so clearly Fe/Ni, and after having long discussions, it is clear he is an ENFJ-- just with this highly developed side to him. It confuses me because the above description doesn't describe Se, which is part of the ENFJ function stack, but rather Si. However, he exhibits all of the other functions related to ENFJs. Which makes me want to believe in the 8-function theory-- that we each express each of the eight functions but just in different percentages. It's interesting the shades of grey within each type.

So I suppose, after my ramblings, I should ask a question--

What were your type percentages? And do you feel that plays a role at all? Do you feel we only have four functions or do you believe in the 8-function theory (that we use all 8)? Shadow functions? Subtypes? Any and all thoughts are welcome.

7,973 Posts
I think it must be true that we use all 8 functions. MBTI is somewhat about development and there are certain tasks that require functions that are outside of our comfort zones or "norm" and when you are doing them you are developing functions outside of what is thought to be our stacks--- I have been thinking I need to read and seek out more about this topic, but it's just got to be true. Shows why especially younger people don't always know their type and also kind of makes me wonder if there are people who fit no type because one of their lower functions is in a different arrangement. Like sometimes you meet INTPs who have a very well-developed and caring side. My sister is such a one. I also THINK (not sure) that I see INTPs with caring sides in the INFJ forum-- but I see the Ne in some of them. So maybe it's INFJ with some development in Ne?
I have what I think is an interesting example in my life.
I'm a ENFP diabetes educator and dietitian. My co-worker is an ENFP diabetes educator and nurse. When she worked on the floor in the ER she told me she used to test as a ESFP-- she said she HAD to develop that side of her, had to do tasks like clean wounds and quickly figure out where to place IVs, place tube feedings, etc. She said it wasn't easy, but she had to learn the sensing stuff.
Her Ne is good-- she makes correct connections quickly. She follows my thinking perfectly. She teaches devices like insulin pumps very well (I have difficulty with devices, especially at first). She is more extroverted than I am and can draw a crowd like none other.
Me, my Ne is research trained and driven, and my introverted sides are stronger than hers. I can develop teaching tools better and tailor information to the individual better. My aesthetic side is highly developed, so I think I may have some Ni going there? I cannot watch the movies she recommends-- they are crap! She has no taste-- but that's just my opinion, I guess. lol I'm not sure-- I'm not sure what to call that or what area of me that is, but I'm kind of a film and literature analyzer. She doesn't analyze-- maybe from years of developing her sensing side.
Both of us are research and people driven. We will find the right skills and research we need in order to do our ultimate best for our heart-- our patients. We have both developed our counseling skills over years of practice. Both of us are very spiritual. We absolutely love each other and together adore our patients. I am SO lucky in my job with her.
But yeah... it seems like it must be.

3,670 Posts
People do say mbti is not recognized in the psychology field...
I think it is a good starting point for understanding yourself and others.

Just yesterday actually I took a career-based personality test, one that I hadn't taken before. I didn't get a result because it said I am too close to tell, between extrovert and introvert. And even F/T.
Though personally I know I am IxFx

One of the statements was that introverts like quiet places. However in a work environment, that is not totally true for me. I love being in a lively (and beautiful) place. Just that there must be some glass or wall between me and people. That's a bit of a personal quirk I guess. The external does energize me(this is an extrovert trait on the test).
Another quirk is that I do like to socialize, even with strangers. But not in groups. This is a known thing for introverts; however the test did not have this idea in their list of traits.
There is probably a bunch of other stuff.

Who knows what life could add to me. I am currently around predominantly sensing types, even at home. Or ST types. My way of functioning is so different from my past. Can you imagine, it would be believable that a person changed being in such an environment for so many hours. It can ingrain itself... especially if you want to succeed where you are.
And recently I met some intuitive types in person, and I admit I was quite frazzled by them. Even the intj-- they talk so long on random topics... though, when the NFs arrived, the topics of conversation hit closer to home :redface-new: Sounds a bit scary but I really would attribute my change to these sensing types. One of the thoughtsI had with the Ns was that in an environment with them I really could indulge in all my fancies. My current environment has simplified so much. I'm almost ascetic, to be dramatic. I am happy and at peace though I do question whether I might already be at peace in my old self justbeing in a different environment.
I cannot completely change. I know when I sense an NF in the vicinity they feel a bit like a fairy or something. And it makes me giggly. So I mean to say I miss them... (I won't go into that more, different topic x) )

2,564 Posts
I tend to take percentages as likelihoods - 63% S meaning "13% likelier for you to be a Sensor than an Intuitive".

10,454 Posts
Yes, I do believe in the 8-function theory. I believe you can be strong in certain function yet value other functions more. If you're relying too much on cognitive functions that you don't value as much and using them as a main approach to life, this will probably lead to problems since you're not living in alignment with your true self. But sure, the ones you value less can often come in handy and a lot of it is dependent on environmental factors and how much effort the individual puts towards developing these things. Your ENFJ could be an ENFJ with fairly strong Si or an ESFJ with fairly strong Ni.

As for the rest, this should answer your questions on what the tests measure and everything else:

1. Why Tests Are Inaccurate
The MBTI uses a letter coding system to represent personality type and includes a series of questions for assessing the likelihood of being a particular type. While the test has achieved some mainstream popularity, academic researchers in psychology have questioned its scientific validity and reliability (though such criticisms are not necessarily applicable to Jung’s original theory because of differences in qualitative versus quantitative research goals). While people generally agree that the type categories correspond to real differences in personality, the test itself is not considered a scientifically reliable or accurate measure of those categories.
Therefore, test results only tell you, very roughly, what types you COULD be, that is, they only measure probability and provide you with a good starting point for analysis. If you are familiar with psychology and how researchers use psychometric instruments, you will know that tests are never the final answer, rather, they are mainly used to point professionals in a general direction or to narrow down options. If you want to assess yourself, it is incumbent upon you to investigate the personality types in more detail to ensure that you have typed yourself accurately. Unofficial tests, like fun online quizzes, often yield inaccurate results when they are constructed by people who have very limited knowledge of type theory.
Tests involve self-reporting and require people to answer honestly and accurately, which can sometimes be difficult to do. For example, some factors that can potentially affect the validity of the test results include:

  • Misinterpreting the questions: Sometimes people can have difficulty with understanding the questions because of issues like low reading comprehension skill or misunderstanding some of the vocabulary/terminology.
  • Pressure to conform to (perceived) expectations: Sometimes people answer according to what they think is expected by others such as parents, a spouse, or the work environment. In employment or team situations, a person may suspect that the results could be used against them and then answer in such a way that they will be judged positively. Sometimes people answer according to their own preconceived or implicit notions about which personality traits are considered desirable or frequently praised/rewarded by society.
  • Biases or stereotypes: Some people believe, rightly or wrongly, that certain personality traits are correlated to gender, culture, or other social identifiers. For instance, due to gender stereotypes, women are more likely to be perceived as Feeling types and men as Thinking types. This can create pressure for people to answer questions in relation to social role rather than the truth.
  • Unusual life circumstances: People possess low self-awareness for a variety of reasons, which can affect the accuracy of their responses. Sometimes younger people (<16) have not developed their type preferences to the degree that can be reliably captured by test questions. Sometimes a person simply does not know themselves well enough to understand their own patterns of thinking and behavior. When in personal crisis, experiencing stressful periods, suffering from mental disorders, influenced by drug abuse, or experiencing transitional periods of life (e.g. adolescence or retirement), people can express personality preferences that are unusual or out of character, thereby altering self-perception in such a way that they cannot answer questions coherently.
2. Addressing Myths & Misconceptions

Many people like to learn about their type online for free where there is quite a lot of unreliable information floating around, therefore, one must be careful about dealing with misconceptions. There are many reasons behind this proliferation of bad information:

  • type theory can get quite complicated (because psychology is complicated) and many people only possess a superficial understanding of the ideas, which can lead to some writers spreading misinterpretations or mere speculations
  • one reason why type theory is complicated and difficult to learn is that, as with any major theory, different theorists have put forth their own ideas, so disagreements often arise depending on which school of thought a person subscribes to (MBTI is but one of many subsequent interpretations of Jung’s theory)
  • type doesn’t explain everything: people sometimes misattribute certain thinking/behavior to type when other factors such as environmental influence, mental illness, or genetic aptitude/predisposition would be more appropriate explanations
  • since there is such a diversity of types, many writers have difficulty understanding types that are very different from their own, perhaps even displaying “typism” or harmful biases for/against certain type preferences (intentionally or unintentionally)
  • information on the internet is rarely taken down, so bad information lingers and spreads
The MBTI/Jungian type system is a type category theory of personality, which is different from a trait theory of personality (like the Five Factor model as an example).
A trait theory of personality focuses on behavior and measures the amount or how much of a trait you possess, usually along a scale or spectrum. For example, the trait of “openness” can be measured along a sliding scale from “open” at one end to “closed” at the other end. Traits are normally distributed in the population, which means that 1) most people fall somewhere in the middle and 2) extremes are of more interest because they generally indicate some dysfunction. What is considered “normal” depends on where you fall on the spectrum, therefore, higher/lower test scores tell you something important about how much of a trait you have and whether you are unusual or abnormal with respect to the bell curve.
A type category theory of personality does not measure traits along a spectrum, rather, it divides the population into categories that are distinct from each other, with no overlap between the categories, thus you cannot fall “in the middle” because there is no middle. Jung’s personality categories do not refer to behavioral traits but rather to cognitive processes. Personality is conceptualized as making choices between opposing cognitive processes. For example, “introversion” and “extraversion” are two distinct and opposing cognitive processes, therefore, the category you belong to depends on your default preference or natural dominance, as revealed by how often you want to make the choice to introvert or extravert. Each category of personality is respected in its own right, which means that 1) all categories are considered equal, with none defined as more or less normal, desirable, healthy, etc., and 2) higher/lower test scores have no real meaning except to indicate the likelihood of you being sorted into a particular category.
To sum up the differences, in trait theories:

  • variables measure the amount of a trait on a scale/spectrum
  • traits are normally distributed, with extremes being of more interest
  • you can define the “normalcy” of a trait based on the scale/spectrum point
  • high/low test scores can be interpreted as positive or negative
Whereas in type category theories:

  • each type category is qualitatively distinct from other categories
  • people are sorted into categories according to defined preferences
  • categories indicate comparative difference but none are abnormal
  • test scores are not positive/negative as they only measure probability
Therefore, test results should be interpreted by type category standards, not trait theory standards:

  • high score for a category does NOT mean you have “more” of it
  • high score for a category does NOT indicate that you are better/worse
  • high score for a category does NOT imply greater skill/maturity
  • no type category is considered better or worse
This means you should NOT assume that:

  • someone is the “right”/“wrong” type for anything
  • some types are more/less fit for any job or career
  • some type combinations are more “compatible”
  • some types are better than others
  • an individual will enjoy or be skilled at activities common for the type
Type category theory appreciates the diversity of human psychology rather than using a very narrow definition of what is “normal”, therefore, every type is equal in that each type has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses.
Type Fundamentals @MBTI-notes - Type Theory

2,734 Posts
My guess would be that your dominant and inferior processes should have a very clear gap in percentages (For instance, for INFJs it’s Dominant N/Inferior S. For ENFJs, it’s Dominant F/inferior T). Whereas your Auxiliary and Tertiary Functions, being closer together, would likely fall in a closer percentage range (INFJs would be Auxiliary F/Tertiary T, ENFJs Auxiliary N/Tertiary S).

For me personally, this holds true. Depending on the circumstances I take the test (dichotomy, not functions), my F and T take turns winning. The other three letters don’t wiggle around.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts