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Each of the typologies we discuss on PerC contain types and concepts that are very similar to something from another theory, such as INF (or Fi) and Enneagram type 4, INT (or Ti) and type 5, the social instinct and Fe, or any of the cognitive functions and their corresponding IM elements in Socionics. A lot of people on the forum respond to those similarities by saying that each theory deals with a different aspect of personality (Enneagram is about motivations while MBTI is about information processing, for example). But I've been wondering whether there are cases where the theories are describing essentially the same thing.

There are plenty of threads around the forum about, E.G. which MBTI types correlate with which Enneagram types. That's not really what I'm asking. Rather, I'm asking: if certain MBTI types tend to correlate with certain Enneagram or Socionics types, or types in any other theory, is it because each theory is essentially tapping into the same aspects of temperament, so that any particular type might reasonably be treated as equivalent to a corresponding type in another theory? Or would it be more accurate to say that most type profiles fail to adequately describe the distinctions between the theories so that, for example, most type 5 profiles include INT characteristics along with the type 5 characteristics, and that if the tests and descriptions were corrected, the correlations wouldn't be as pronounced? If the latter, what exactly are the differences between the aspects of human personality each theory is describing?

I think that, in many cases, the different theories are essentially describing the same thing, although I'm interested in the subtle differences in the ways they approach personality traits, which is part of the reason why I'm opening this up for discussion. I'm trying to figure out whether it would be possible to combine all the most useful and insightful parts of each theory into one typology, so I've been thinking about where the theories overlap, and whether there might be certain aspects of human personality that are only described by one theory, which other theories might benefit from including.
 

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I think that, in many cases, the different theories are essentially describing the same thing, although I'm interested in the subtle differences in the ways they approach personality traits...
You are right in this. There is a tendency within MBTI, Socionics, Enneagram, Instincts, Some Other Unnamed Typology to extend themselves over their limits and attempt to encompass various kinds of personality traits that sometimes have little to do with the said typing system. This results in a numerous overlaps in type descriptions, additional confusion, poor typing methods, and finally people giving up on typology and sticking around forums like this one purely for social purposes.

I've seen this being addressed in numerous threads in the past, but they aren't never very informative partly because there is difficulty with outlining what type is, what is MBTI type? what is enneagram type? and without delineation of basic concepts like this it's impossible to figure out their extent and implications.
 

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There is a tendency within MBTI, Socionics, Enneagram, Instincts, Some Other Unnamed Typology to extend themselves over their limits and attempt to encompass various kinds of personality traits that sometimes have little to do with the said typing system.
I can't disagree that it's pretty common to read internet forum posts that contrast two or more personality typologies — Jung vs. MBTI, MBTI vs. Keirsey, MBTI vs. Big Five, MBTI vs. Enneagram, etc. — and take the position that, on top of whatever other differences there may be, the typologies are really, in effect, operating at what you might call different levels. Jung and/or the functions are about how you think and the MBTI is about behavior. The enneagram is about motivations and the Big Five is about traits. Jung/MBTI is about personality and Keirsey/temperament is about roles. And so on.

But I think framing the various typologies in that way is mostly a mistake. My view is that there are a limited number of actual human temperament dimensions — and by "temperament" I mean the aspects of personality that tend to be (not saying they're totally immune to change) relatively stable through a person's life — and that every personality typology that's worth my attention is tapping into some or all of them, each in its own imperfect way. When all is said and done, I think everything that's worthwhile in each of them will end up lining up with (and/or usefully supplementing) what the other typologies have to say about those real underlying dimensions.

You object to personality typologies that "extend themselves over their limits" — but why would you want any personality typology to artifically limit itself to only certain kinds of personality characteristics? If a particular, real, underlying human temperament dimension tends to produce A, B, C, M, N, O, W, X and Y personality ramifications, what's gained by having that personality cluster split up among two or three (or more) different typologies?
 
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