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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I found an interesting site that questions the validity of cognitive functions and type dynamics, here:

Cognitive Functions and Type Dynamics - A Failed Theory? | Oddly Developed Types

I've just recently started learning about cognitive functions and type dynamics and would like to know what you all think of this.


Edit: I'm including the intro and first few points of the argument...

'Many of us are familiar with the cognitive functions (Fe, Fi, Te, Ti, Se, Si, Ne, Ni) and how they are ordered for each type, i.e. type dynamics.

But questions have been raised over whether cognitive functions and type dynamics actually exist. Researchers have pointed out the following:

1. There is no empirical evidence for the existence of type dynamics, which were described by Myers in 1962. Type dynamics are still purely anecdotal after all these decades. Why?

2. Almost no research has been done on whether or not there is such as thing as a tertiary or inferior function. Who knows if they exist, or what they might be? At this point their existence is purely speculative, and while there are three different models explaining them, none them have any proof.

3. Cognitive functions appear to rest mainly upon the authority of Myers' original writings, which were based on the authority of Jung's original writings. Although the writings have taken on the status of canon, this does not mean that Jung was right to begin with. In addition, what he wrote was different from what Myers came up with. Historical precedent does not constitute proof of the cognitive functions' existence any more than it can prove that the Earth is flat. The fact that everyone has always believed something does not make it correct.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The website you linked to is a good summary of the available research regarding the MBTI vs. cognitive functions. Despite the fact that type dynamics is a failure, allegiance to "function talk" still persists here online. It's a shame, really.
Are you saying that you think that "function talk" is incorrect?

I've heard people here say the only way to determine type is by the arrangement or combination of functions but if cognitive functions or type dynamics aren't accurate then doesn't that negate a lot of the information posted here?

I don't mean to be overly critical but I'd like to understand the process if I'm going to give it value.
 

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Are you saying that you think that "function talk" is incorrect?
I prefer "dimension talk" to "function talk", if you're asking for my personal opinion.

I've heard people here say the only way to determine type is by the arrangement or combination of functions but if cognitive functions or type dynamics aren't accurate then doesn't that negate a lot of the information posted here?
Yes, you are correct, it does negate the usefulness of much of what gets posted online about personality type. A lot of people here believe things and say things that have little to no basis in fact. If you were asking earlier if "function talk" is incorrect in the sense of "not matching up with what we know, scientifically, about human personality" then the answer is yes, function talk is incorrect.
 

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I'll agree that many parts of the theory are unproven (e.g. the idea of having 4 main functions and 4 shadow functions, the link with MBTI). However, do take a look at this thread. I found it thought provoking.

http://personalitycafe.com/cognitive-functions/128709-nueroscience-personality-dario-nardi.html

He found that the cognitive functions talked about in MBTI circles are present in the brain as distinct patterns of activity, giving people a natural inclination towards certain skills and behaviors.

The cognitive functions, as a set of preferences, do therefore appear to exist (and he links them to type in his experiment if I remember correctly) as shown by Dario Nardi and his brain scans. This may give the cognitive function theory a little support.
 

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I think a lot of this information applies only to MBTI, but not to socionics.

While MBTI drifted away from Jung's depictions of cognitive functions and substantiated the existence of it's four dichotomies with decades of empirical research, it also substantially modified the definitions of the dichotomies themselves in a way that no longer resembles Jung's original work. This is fine, because theories ought to be modified to suit facts.

Which is precisely what Socionics did with the functions themselves. What MBTI did with the dichotomies, it appears Socionics has done with the functions. If you study Socionics you will notice that the modern definition of each "information element" as they are called, do not bear much resemblance to Jung's original conceptions of the functions. For example, although some of his sentiments are echoed, the definition of "introverted thinking" under Socionics departs a great deal from what Jung described it to be, and this is to reflect decades of it's own research that Socionics has undergone in Russia. Every single one of the Socionics function definitions has been greatly modified to reflect what has been empirically observed in people.

I would highly recommend everyone keep this in mind, and note that while it is clear that the type dynamics described by MBTI is almost certainly false, that does not necessarily mean that the type dynamics described by Socionics is false.
 

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Unless you can analyse the human brain through very powerful electronic material, you will never be able to get any proof that cognitive functions are real.

They are only deemed as right for the time being as they are the most accurate prototype given for personality overall.

To say that MBTI cognitive functions is bullshit would be exactly the same as saying that the big bang theory is false. We don't have any proof about it, and we don't have the tools to check it. But it is the one that is the most accurate and realistic, given the tools that we have at the moment.

To sum this up: Can the MBTI be wrong? Absolutely. Does it mean it is wrong? No. Does it mean that the whole MBTI is crap? Absolutely not.

One interesting point you brought up is intriguing. You say (and it is true) that "There is no empirical evidence for the existence of type dynamics, which were described by Myers in 1962. Type dynamics are still purely anecdotal after all these decades. Why?". It is simple. We don't have the tool to confirm it. For now, we'll have to stick with a purely anecdotal and abstract system that the MBTI is, because it is (for both good and bad sides) the best out there, given the knowledge we have.

"
Almost no research has been done on whether or not there is such as thing as a tertiary or inferior function. Who knows if they exist, or what they might be? At this point their existence is purely speculative, and while there are three different models explaining them, none them have any proof." It is, once again, deductive logic and not empirical data. Some might claim that there are only 2 functions or none at all. By my own experience, we have 4 and they all work differently when put in a certain order.
 

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Unless you can analyse the human brain through very powerful electronic material, you will never be able to get any proof that cognitive functions are real.
This isn't necessarily true either though.

Psychology doesn't need to meet the same rigorous standards of something like physics in order to prove substantial or useful. We can show, via statistical representations, that within a reasonable degree of certainty something is "true" or not. To that extent, extensive data points collected that involve written testing of a very large random sample over an extended period of time which is designed to systematically remove the potential for bias can be extremely indicative of the existence of something at work in human cognition.

That exact kind of research is in fact what substantiates the existence of the four MBTI dichotomies, as well as the Big 5 dimensions. Nobody has really done any brain scans, because nobody needs to. It's fairly obvious from statistical data points that these dimensions exist.
 

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This isn't necessarily true either though.

Psychology doesn't need to meet the same rigorous standards of something like physics in order to prove substantial or useful. We can show, via statistical representations, that within a reasonable degree of certainty something is "true" or not. To that extent, extensive data points collected that involve written testing of a very large random sample over an extended period of time which is designed to systematically remove the potential for bias can be extremely indicative of the existence of something at work in human cognition.

That exact kind of research is in fact what substantiates the existence of the four MBTI dichotomies, as well as the Big 5 dimensions. Nobody has really done any brain scans, because nobody needs to. It's fairly obvious from statistical data points that these dimensions exist.
It doesn't change the fact that it would still be guesses. You cannot say they are true or false as long as you don't have any scientific proofs, no matter the amount of data, as we are entirely subjective as human beings. Unless you have a magic wand, I fear that none of what has been said here can be confirmed or declared as false. As thus, I believe the best is to go with what you believe, through your understanding and your criteria, is the best.
 

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It doesn't change the fact that it would still be guesses. You cannot say they are true or false as long as you don't have any scientific proofs, no matter the amount of data, as we are entirely subjective as human beings. Unless you have a magic wand, I fear that none of what has been said here can be confirmed or declared as false. As thus, I believe the best is to go with what you believe, through your understanding and your criteria, is the best.
1) There's a big difference between a "guess" and decades of statistical evidence that all seem to indicate something exists. The dichotomies of MBTI and the dimensions of the Big 5 are not just wild hunches. They are empirical theories grounded in over 50 years of accumulated facts and data points.

2) Scientific proof varies depending on the field of research. Within the field of psychology, substantial statistical evidence counts as scientific proof that something is true.

I'm just repeating what I already said, and I apologize, but you didn't really address the main point I was making with your response. You seem to be particularly invested into your beliefs, and I as well into mine, and we appear to find ourselves on opposite sides of a fence here. It may be best if we just agree to disagree, because I can tell you I am not really going to budge, and I doubt you are going to either. I used to think the same thing as you, but I got over it when I decided to learn more about the standards of science in practice, versus my own philosophical-epistemological instincts about what made sense to me or what ought to make sense to others.
 

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Most of these arguments with this article by James Hillman that puts all this nonsense into perspective. The idea of type was never supposed to be empirical in the first place. So if you're trying to prove something as empriical that was meant to be a representation you're going to run into problems. I can understand why certain people are more dichotomies guys because that can be more easily corroborated with other metrics, cognitive functions are an idea. A heuristic and as such were never meant to be turned into this madness. The MBTI should not exist in the first place (at least not with respect to cognitive functions in an explicit way).

http://www.compilerpress.ca/Competitiveness/Anno/Anno Hillman Egal 1.htm
 

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Two points on this:

Point 1: Dario Nardi didn't intend his experiment to "prove" the cognitive functions in a concrete way. I have been using his word "triangulate" a lot to describe how to deal with the shortcomings of single type theories - it's a philosophy that claims that the best way to understand type doesn't depend on strict mechanics of a single system. Instead, you look at many systems and find a common denominator across them, and align bits and pieces from each to form a cohesive frame of the person's general personality. Not all type systems are 100% relevant at all times.

For an example, you may prefer Fi Ne Si and Te, be an ENFP in MBTI because you are more talkative than the INFP descriptions, and even test CF strengths as Fi Ni Fe Ne Si Te Se. It's someone who fits the ENFP description more, but feels they "have more Fi" and "definitely uses Ni." This is what you see frequently on type fora.


Point 2: Do you see the issue with the above example?

Nobody here is so stupid as to think that a single type theory will ever be enough to explain every trait of the some 7.1 billion people on earth, but the very point of type theory is modularization of the pre-eminent. It isn't a buffet line where you pick and choose what you want and design your own type - type isn't about choice. You already are the person you are, and type is designed to track what already is. It doesn't create a new persona for you on demand.

Is it possible that someone prefers a function stack that isn't the same as one of MBTI's types? Sure. Does that mean that it's a good idea for everyone to toss existing structure out the window every time they notice something they do fits a non-traditional type? No. Why not? Because it is much more subtle point in development to realize when you are wildly associating description to behavior, and actually noticing real patterns.


In a sentence, sure, type dynamics isn't set in stone - but most anecdotal evidence against it isn't necessarily well-grounded itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm glad to read a lot of differing input on this, I can see it's a controversial topic.

I'm afraid I don't know enough about the subject to have an opinion but all the comments here have piqued my interest.
 

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I don't know if anyone shares this sentiment, but:



To be fair, I also agree that type dynamics, as it is considered - a strict model where a type is defined by the functions it has in a very specific way - isn't quite effective at helping people understand themselves and it gives margin to that shadow functions nonsense, which simply seems to create more confusion.

However, I don't think we should burn all the functions to the ground. I mean, being a "Introverted Sensing type with auxiliary thinking" opens up a whole new dimension on how I deal with my strenghts and shortcomings. It allows the understanding of the relationship with the neglected aspect of the ego, the inferior aspect of the type. And in my opinion, it has somewhat more value than being an "Introverted Sensor Thinker Judger".

I don't call out the merits of this way of typing. I definitely fall into what constitutes an "Introverted Sensor Thinker Judger".
 

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Just to kind of beat the drum a little bit, I would like to repeat that a lot of the objections in this thread to the type dynamics of MBTI do not necessarily apply to Socionics. While there is almost no reason to believe that the functions as described by Jung and MBTI exist or operate in the ways proposed by MBTI, it is for that very reason that Socionics researchers in Russia have substantially modified the definitions of each of Jung's functions into something which barely resembles their original Jungian conceptions. There may or may not be a great deal of unbiased statistical research in Russia to demonstrate the existence of the information elements that make up the type dynamics of Socionics.

Unfortunately, I do not speak Russian, so I have not been able to confirm or deny this. I'm just throwing it out there for the consideration of any readers who may not understand the very significant differences between these two systems, or even be aware of them.
 

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The website you linked to is a good summary of the available research regarding the MBTI vs. cognitive functions. Despite the fact that type dynamics is a failure, allegiance to "function talk" still persists here online. It's a shame, really.
What research exactly proves cognitive function theory to be a "faiure" ? Of course we shouldn't take Dario nardi's findings as 100% proof they exist, but who's to say they don't exist ? I mean all personality theories are speculation as far as I know.
 

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One point I want to make before replying to some specific things that have been said is that if you've got a good model (of anything), then it shouldn't be too difficult to see indicators of that model emerge even when you're not creating ideal conditions. This is the case with the Five Factor Model (and thus, to some extent, dimensional MBTI as well). Psychologists have gone back through the literature, found research that was done way before the Five Factor Model (FFM or "Big 5") was understood, and see that the results can be explained by the Big 5 model. This is evidence of the robustness of the Big 5 and dimensional MBTI. In contrast, function models of personality are hard to validate even when the research is being performed to do just that.

@Abraxas

In terms of objective evidence, the MBTI and Five Factor Model have literally decades of support, internally and externally, showing that they are good models of human personality. Repeated investigation consistently shows that basic human tendencies fall within about 5 underlying dimensions. This is the consensus among scientists familiar with the research. To summarize for MBTI/FFM: Lots of research done, lots of supporting evidence.

Jungian "MBTI-ish" function models on the other hand have had relatively little scientific investigation, and what little investigation has been done has essentially never supported the function model hypotheses, and often, a simpler dimension-based model ends up being a better explanation than a function model. To summarize for cognitive function models: Little data, most of it is evidence against rather than for function models.

To some extent, Socionics falls somewhere between "MBTI-ish" function models and the Enneagram in terms of its objective support. Basically no rigorous research has been done with Socionics, which I imagine is primarily due to language barriers, but secondarily due to the lack of any sort of agreed upon, established "Socionics instrument", or even something more basic that could be used as some sort of measuring tool.

However, to the extent that Socionics attempts to model human personality by way of discrete elements arranged in hierarchical format according to a broader interaction of preferences (i.e., the inflection of a preference, such as S/N, with another preference, I/E), then it is very reasonable to expect Socionics to be an inferior model to the MBTI (interpreted as preference multidimensionality rather than functions) and the FFM. We have lots of evidence that human personality consists of traits that exist along continuous, normally distributed dimensions, not discrete bimodal ones, and we have plenty of evidence that the I/E factor is independent from other personality factors.

Again, there's basically no peer-reviewed research available on Socionics, but given what we do know about human personality, Socionics seems like a long shot.

@chaoticbrain

A good starting point in your readings on the topic of empirical support for function models is Reynierse, 2009. If you're looking for more, you can branch out to other articles in the Journal of Psychological Type. Reynierse and his colleagues have a number of studies showing that function models are inferior to dimension models. Robert McPeek and Charles Martin have a pair of papers (2012a, 2012b) addressing cognitive functions.

Of course, you could always go to Google Scholar and start searching for more published, peer-reviewed research. This notable article (McCrae and Costa, 1989) finds no evidence for a function-based interpretation of the MBTI, for example.

To interested readers wondering what comes next for the MBTI if we throw out the functions, I recommend the latest paper by Reynierse in the Journal of Psychological Type. He gives a very brief re-cap of previous findings and then goes on to outline a model that is empirically sound, biologically plausible, and can incorporate situational dynamics. This thread kind of turned into a discussion of his ideas and Preference Multidimensionality.

If you are interested more generally in the history behind the FFM and scientific investigation into personality, this article is a decent introduction.
 

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In terms of objective evidence, the MBTI and Five Factor Model have literally decades of support, internally and externally, showing that they are good models of human personality. Repeated investigation consistently shows that basic human tendencies fall within about 5 underlying dimensions. This is the consensus among scientists familiar with the research. To summarize for MBTI/FFM: Lots of research done, lots of supporting evidence.
http://personalitycafe.com/cognitive-functions/156603-type-dynamics-false-2.html#post3991962

1) There's a big difference between a "guess" and decades of statistical evidence that all seem to indicate something exists. The dichotomies of MBTI and the dimensions of the Big 5 are not just wild hunches. They are empirical theories grounded in over 50 years of accumulated facts and data points.

If you're going to try and teach me something I don't already know, I would appreciate you read the posts I make on the same page of the thread as you.

I'm calling you out because I get this like five times a day and it's really getting irritating.

And frankly, you know who I am, Teybo, considering our previous interactions in private, and other discussions we've both participated in involving other users discussing the same thing over and over, such as Reckful. We're at least on the same level here and you ought to know it, so there's no need for you to be condescending and talk down to me like I'm some kind of amateur so you can show off to everyone reading this thread and sound like a smart guy. In fact, I believe I know more about the subject than you do, and have been studying it longer than you as well.

However, I have no intention of going into this with you, as it's becoming a broken record. It really doesn't matter to me. People will, in the end, believe whatever they want anyway - as they should. All I can say is, good luck. No hard feelings.
 

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OK in so much as it seems clear Jung didn't intend to form a classification typological system of the form of MBTI or socionics that really pegs people as certain things in a well-defined rigid scheme, any vague offshoot of Jung the MBTI researchers made might as well be viewed in a similar regard -- not a rigid system but certain rules of thumb. This in place, I'm not even sure what is trying to be established in the first place when people say "type dynamics is false" or not.
First off, if it's false, one needs a way to measure the falsehood, which precisely seems to be lacking because that's the exact issue -- it's hard to measure these things systematically.

I'm sure people can quote me tons of evidence of various things, but I'm less inclined to click through all that if there aren't a few clear points made which really tell me something that might surprise me, which I am yet to see.

The main thing I gathered from reckful at least is that people pervert their understanding of type by trying to say things such as an INTJ has "nearly nothing in common with an INTP" because the functions differ, and an "ISFP is dramatically more similar", and I fully agree these are self-fulfilling prophecies created by certain narrow viewpoints as to what Fi-Se and this and that look like.
This tells me something I would have expected from the very start. Which is that when you know that the type dynamics model was one possible model for what an INTJ or INTP is supposed to look at, and you know P v. J scores can be similar rather than different, you're kidding yourself cold and ridiculously if you don't acknowledge the resulting type dynamics should also reflect this ambiguity. Reckful himself says that you might be an INxJ, or at least, that may not be the most unreasonable conclusion to draw because data seems to support the x being somewhat shaky to really determine and pin down -- not being a strong T, or strong F, or whatever.

It really is all in how you look at it.

As for attempts to make things scientific, we just have to judge them on a case by case basis.
 
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