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Discussion Starter #1
What do you think about people influencing your innate personality type so that it is actually covered up? Here's my issue, and maybe this is something that many people have faced with others influencing them. For example, people struggling with knowing if they are an introvert or an extrovert because society pushes extroverted behavior onto them but they like to have time to reflect and recharge...but can't! So over 6 years I have changed from an INFJ to an INFP and back to an INFJ this year. My initial test was in college in 2004 an the results were INFJ. Later on in 2005 my results were INFP. But I'm wondering if it's because I went through a lot of life experience and believed that I should change my thought process and open to ideas etc. (Which is healthy.)

The following article is much of an interest of mine that basically started this whole thread...

Can Your Myers-Briggs Type Change?/Neuroplasticity: The Adaptable Brain | AnnHolm.net

So here are some examples from my life about my behavior and the way that I think..

That my first impression of a person may not be correct (I learned this and regretted typing a person right off the bat once I got to know them).
My habits of organization concerning my room is fairly organized I guess. I make sure I kept all my receipts...I sort them etc. There is a filing system in my room and I keep a 4 month calendar. When I was younger (say around 8 years) I had my life planned out when I was going to move out of my parents house and what age I'd be when I was going to get married. Before I went to college I had gone to their open house 4 times!!

I do enjoy being spontaneous once an a while but most of the time I already have plans!!! So there is no room to be spontaneous. If I'm hanging out with people and something doesn't work out, I'm open to doing something else. Ie/ movie theater ran out of tickets...so lets go play some pool.

Ok now I'm going to try to learn something. If I'm off, please help me. I'm trying to understand this as people are saying that the J and P aren't really the deciding factors but it is Cognition? Anyways, I really want to learn more about what this is etc...but before I educate myself and ruin the results...I like to think the less I know about a subject the less I'm able to manipulate the output...

Here are my results from Keys 2 Cognition:

Cognitive Process Level of Development (Preference, Skill and Frequency of Use)
extraverted Sensing (Se) ********** (10.3)
unused
introverted Sensing (Si) ****************************** (30.6)
good use
extraverted Intuiting (Ne) ****************************** (30.6)
good use
introverted Intuiting (Ni) ********************************************* (45.7)
excellent use
extraverted Thinking (Te) ********************************* (33.7)
good use
introverted Thinking (Ti) ************* (13.3)
unused
extraverted Feeling (Fe) ************************************* (37.6)
excellent use
introverted Feeling (Fi) ************************************** (38.6)
excellent use

INFJ
Dominant- Ni- 45.7
Auxiliary- Fe- 37.6
Teriary (less developed) Ti- 13.3 (unused)
Inferior(less developed Se-10.3 (unused)

The results said:
"If these cognitive processes don't fit well then consider these types: ENFJ, or INTJ. If these results are different from what you know of yourself, you might consider why your developmental pattern does not align with your expectation. You might also consider exploring this result as a possible better fit."

INFP wasn't even something that they suggested...I know that there are people who have been on this site for quite a while and can probably lend me some insight into this little dilemma of mine... Groans. I'm wondering if Shadow functions have a play in this as I'm a social anxiety sufferer and Shadow functions "not naturally inclined but which can emerge when the person is under stress."
 

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What do you think about people influencing your innate personality type so that it is actually covered up?
Hi there,

I read about type for 20 years before finally accepting INFJ. After spending time here looking at the posts from others I have little doubt as to what feels the most natural to me. You may or may not be an INFJ. Here are some suggestions and some ideas that go along with your link.

Neuroplasticity is a very real thing. Our brains do change over time and will alter in response to many factors such as injuries, illness or even education. For instance during childhood your brain makes a lot of connections that help with socialization. In adolescence those connections unravel as the brain undergoes a number of structural changes. This combined with hormones is why teenagers can seem like they've completely gone off the rails from that gentle child they were just a couple years earlier. Another example is when there is brain damage and the brain has to find new connections to compensate.

Lenore Thomson is a researcher who has done a lot of work on where the functions are associated with regions in the brain. If you search for MBTI Brain Map you will find some articles. One of the things that helped me understand type better - and to be more settled on my type - was when I learned about the role that hemispherical connectivity plays in type. There is no diagonal connectivity in the corpus callosum. It only connects the hemispheres laterally. This contributes greatly to the directionality of the functions. And that is really what Introversion / Extraversion are about. It is about the directionality of the functions.

So something to keep in mind is that an "I" may not be a wallflower. For an INFJ our first letter is I because our leading function is Introverted Intuition [Ni]. Our second function is Extraverted Feeling [Fe]. With Fe in play we can be quite social, when circumstances are right.

When you feel social pressure to conform, to go against type, it will put you under stress. The shadow may be invoked yes. But - not all changes in mood, demeanor or what have you are the shadow at work. As you age and mature your access to the functions matures. As time goes on you should be able to use them in increasingly sophisticated ways. Some of our INTP friends have put up an article about The Many Faces of INFJ. If these descriptions remind you of anything - it may be that you're an INFJ who can tap into those functions in a very flexible way.

Look at the functions. Look at the directionality of the functions. When you use N is it Ni or Ne? Think about it in those terms.

Hopefully that will help.
 

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Any time you take the MBTI, KTS, or other similar assessment, it is a snapshot of your perceptions about yourself as of that moment. However, keep in mind (like Runescribe mentions) that the MBTI only measures strength of preference for each of the letter combinations. So it's not measuring Fi and Ne versus Ni and Fe - it's measuring F versus T, and J versus P. If you are trying to be more accommodating or are just very relaxed when you take the test, and have a weak to moderate preference for J to begin with, you may test as P.

And my experience is that many INFJs go through a period of time where they think they are INFP. I thought I was INFP after first encountering the MBTI for a few years, until I really read the INFJ description. Then I waffled for awhile. Then I identified/met some INFPs, and there was no longer any question. :happy:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Response to Runescribe and Introspiritual

(Note: First off I just want to say that my only doubt I have about my type is whether I am an INFP or INFJ. I've always been a INFx.)

Lenore Thomson is a researcher who has done a lot of work on where the functions are associated with regions in the brain. One of the things that helped me understand type better - and to be more settled on my type - was when I learned about the role that hemispherical connectivity plays in type. There is no diagonal connectivity in the corpus callosum. It only connects the hemispheres laterally. This contributes greatly to the directionality of the functions. And that is really what Introversion / Extraversion are about. It is about the directionality of the functions.
Hmm pardon my lack of understanding/comprehension but I don't know what you mean by having no diagonal connectivity in the corpus callosum and exactly how that works. I've taken psychology classes so when you talk about Human Development and the changes that happen in the brain as we develop I understand. But I guess I'll have to read up about the different ways of connectivity with the corpus callosum. Does Lenore talk about this research or was this someone else? Does the direction influence Introversion and Extraversion or other aspects of personality types?

20 years of trying to find out if you are an INFJ is quite a long time!!! I really don't know if I could handle not knowing for sure for such a long time!! I suppose within that time you've done a lot of research and have lots of information that just comes naturally to you.

When you feel social pressure to conform, to go against type, it will put you under stress. The shadow may be invoked yes. But - not all changes in mood, demeanor or what have you are the shadow at work. As you age and mature your access to the functions matures. As time goes on you should be able to use them in increasingly sophisticated ways. Some of our INTP friends have put up an article about The Many Faces of INFJ. If these descriptions remind you of anything - it may be that you're an INFJ who can tap into those functions in a very flexible way.
There is so much I need to learn about how the shadow works and even functions!! I know what the 16 types are etc...but beyond that I feel like I need to learn so much. I've noticed how informed and casual people on this site are able to talk about their dominant functions and how they are aware of it.

And when it comes to stress...I have Social Anxiety. ha ha I mean it's not a laughing matter. But I finally have time off of my University Classes and I'm trying to dedicate August to really understand myself and get intune with who I am.

Look at the functions. Look at the directionality of the functions. When you use N is it Ni or Ne? Think about it in those terms
Directionality? Are you meaning laterally or diagonally? or what do I tend to lean towards? I'm going to have to learn more about functions before I can answer that question. But for now...the results from that test I did will have to do. But I think it would be really good for me to read more about each type. I'll be sure to look up what you suggested and get back to you on it when I have more questions.


And Introspiritual....thanks!
It's not measuring Fi and Ne versus Ni and Fe - it's measuring F versus T, and J versus P. If you are trying to be more accommodating or are just very relaxed when you take the test, and have a weak to moderate preference for J to begin with, you may test as P.
What do you think about the Test that I provided that showed the Functions? It wasn't really asking about the perceiving or judging questions that I'm use to they were asking questions what pertained to Ni and Ne...etc coming to the conclusion that I feel under an INFJ.

And my experience is that many INFJs go through a period of time where they think they are INFP. I thought I was INFP after first encountering the MBTI for a few years, until I really read the INFJ description. Then I waffled for awhile. Then I identified/met some INFPs, and there was no longer any question.
Identifying someones type is something that I'll learn. I mean sometimes I can get an idea but it's not like I'm going to ask them to take the test. How do you come to figure who is who? Just out of curiosity.
 

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Directionality of Functions

Hmm pardon my lack of understanding/comprehension but I don't know what you mean by having no diagonal connectivity in the corpus callosum and exactly how that works. I've taken psychology classes so when you talk about Human Development and the changes that happen in the brain as we develop I understand. But I guess I'll have to read up about the different ways of connectivity with the corpus callosum. Does Lenore talk about this research or was this someone else? Does the direction influence Introversion and Extraversion or other aspects of personality types?
I have some graphics I created that help explain this. I will post them up for you when I can but I don't have easy access to them at the moment.

There are several things to understand about the directionality of the functions - where the cognition of each occurs - and how to determine which you are leading with. Some of this is based on Lenore Thomson - some of it is my own. But it is how I believe things work. It's lengthy so I beg patience but I promise it does speak to your quandry.

First it is important to realize that when Jung was coming up with his theories of cognition and personality he was limited by the technology of his day. There did not exist in the 1920s such tools as PET scans or MRI which we can now use to image what is happening in the brain when we do certain tasks. What he was doing was coming up with a taxon for different types of cognition - which when used in a preference order formed patterns of thought that would express themselves as a "personality". The innovation that is available to our understanding of type theory now, has been most completely explored by Thomson but there are others looking into it.

One of the things that Jung predicted was that certain functions are antithetical to one another. They are polarized against one another. Introverted Intuition and Introverted Sensing would not occur with equal preference in the lineup of your first functions. You're going to be an "N" or an "S" in terms of which function you use most often. but directionality - whether a function is introverted or extraverted - is actually the key to (1) Why the polarity exists (2) The difference between J/P (3) How the "shadow" works in terms of cognition as opposed to a verbal analogy. ---- I'll address why this happens a little further on.

Jung didn't understand Why these functions were polarized. He only understood that they Are polarized. Now we know why, thanks to our ability to image the brain. There are actually two ways the functions are polarized. The first break point is to understand the hemispherical division of labor in the brain.

You are probably familiar with the idea that "right brained" means more openly creative and "left brained" means more decided or "buttoned down" one might say. This is true in terms of both biology and behavior. The second matter is the directionality of cognitive functions. The functions that are processed in the rear lobes of either hemisphere are "Introverted". In contrast the the frontal lobes are very much involved in functions that are "Extraverted". The two hemispheres are connected to one another by the corpus callosum. It's like a turnpike that allows the two hemispheres of the brain to "talk" to one another. But the communication is only lateral. The rear right lobe can talk to the front right directly, or it can talk to the rear left laterally through the corpus callosum - but it cannot talk to the front left directly because there is no direct connection between the two. The corpus callosum only works left/right not diagonally.

The result of this is that the physical plumbing isolates both the functions and their directionality. Introverted Feeling which occurs in the Rear Right of the brain must be polarized with Extraverted Thinking which is in the Front Left because there is no direct wiring between the two of them. They must communicate with one another through intermediaries as a fact of biology.

So if things are in these nice quadrants - where does the Shadow come in?

The "Shadow" is a useful metaphor that is also grounded in biology. It's a trick of mother nature that she set aside overlapping regions of the brain to do different jobs. This is part of why we are able to rewire ourselves if we survive a traumatic brain injury, and it also predicts some of the neuroticism we experience when invoking the shadow.

For example: Introverted Sensation and Introverted Intuition are both processed in the Rear Left portion of the brain. If you are an INFJ you Lead with Introverted Intuition. It is your primary function. Since it occurs in the Left Rear portion of the brain it follows naturally that this part of the brain is usually preoccupied with Ni - it doesn't have many cycles available to process Si. So Introverted Sensing is going to take an extreme back seat. It becomes a shadow function. But you still have to 'process' Sensing cognitively* - so as an INFJ you wind up with Extraverted Sensing by default. And because Se is processed in the Front Right portion of the brain it automatically sticks it in the inferior position in your Four Letter Lineup because the lack of diagonal connectivity prevents your leading function of Ni from accessing it without an intermediary.

(*This means the Volitional processing of Sensing. The involitional processing of it is part of the autonomic functions of the brain and central nervous system. Autonomic sensing was Not what Jung was referring to with Sensing. He was talking about the volitional cognition of sensory data.)

OK - fine and good Rune -- how the heck is this supposed to help me figure out my type?

Well that's a matter of extrapolation. You can see how this arrangement will allow the strength of preferences to vary. They will vary significantly between members of the same "Type" because real brains aren't even so neat and trim as our example above. The way to determine the best fit for your type is to look at what variety of a function you are using the most. This is how I was ultimately able to settle on my decision for INFJ.

INFJ = Ni - Fe - Ti - Se

Ni: Introverted Intuition is pattern seeking, dimensional cognition that occurs in the left hemisphere of the brain. Being physically isolated from the Front Right portion of the brain means that it is exclusive in directionality from Extraverted Intuition and must be informed by innocent Extraverted Sensing through intermediaries. The result is that Introverted Intuition is extremely abstract. It is the intuition of forms, of symbology, of the internal imagination. It is the intuition of language, elements, principles. - It is wholly inferior to extraverted pattern seeking. So the intuition of an INFJ is focused on the inner world of the mind - whereas the Extraverted Intuition of the ENFP is focused on the outer world. If you are satisfied you are a member of the NF tribe, then directionality is key to understanding your complete type.

Fe: Extraverted Feeling occurs in the front left. It is our social side and the filter for feedback on the morality of our decisions. It is the second most accessible function to us. Since Feeling is our executive function (the one we use for decision making) and it is directed externally - it follows that we would tend to be more decisive in action than an INFP whose Feeling is introverted. INFJ can appear self-absorbed when in thought, but social otherwise. INFP can appear self-absorbed in more general ways since their feelings are internalized. -- So which kind of feeling do you use - Social or Internal? This is the directionality of "F"

Ti: Introverted Thinking is the tertiary function for an INFJ. Our logic is applied to forms that are internal. It is more abstract than Extraverted Thinking which when combined with Introverted Intuition accounts partly for how otherworldly we can seem at times.

Se: Extraverted Sensing is the inferior or fourth function of an INFJ. It can be seen as indiscriminate or innocent cognition of sensory data. We accept the qualia as they are when we experience them in real time. Though it matures later in life than for an ESTP it is part of our SP Wannabe face. When we combine Se and Fe in our later maturity we can do athletic things that may not have been as easy for us when younger. It is where the aesthetic ability comes into play for the INFJ artist as well. By comparison Introverted Sensing or Si is more discriminatory. Which kind of "S" do you think you use? This points to J/P as well.

I know this is probably too long and maybe too confusing in the way that I describe it. But if you can figure out which "variety" of a function you are using i.e. Introverted vs. Extraverted Intuition, Feeling, Thinking & Sensing - then you can more easily distinguish your type. Particularly J vs. P.

I'll try to post the graphics when I have access to them. Hope this helps.
 

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And because Se is processed in the Front Left portion of the brain it automatically sticks it in the inferior position in your Four Letter Lineup because the lack of diagonal connectivity prevents your leading function of Ni from accessing it without an intermediary.
Sorry - that should read that Se is processed in the Right Front part of the brain, not the left. Sorry for the mixup. (I was able to edit it above - so hopefully you read it after the fix)

Here is a helpful link with a graphic from Thomson.

MBTI Brain Types | Lenore Thomson Bentz
 

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Me personally, I rarely use or refer to tests that attempt to directly assess the strength of cognitive functions. They don't really correlate to MBTI, which is a derivative of Jung's work, but more to Jung's original theories.

Identifying someones type is something that I'll learn. I mean sometimes I can get an idea but it's not like I'm going to ask them to take the test. How do you come to figure who is who? Just out of curiosity.
I've found two different ways to do it...

1] Objectively - there's a 10-page or so writeup on it in a book called "Survival Games Personalities Play" by Eve Delunas. It's based on Keirsey's work, who believes that typing by observation is more accurate than taking the test.

2] Subjectively. I feel that INFJs have a built-in advantage here. :wink:

You can use Fe as "sonar" to find other Feeler-types. Fe - they're pinging you too, Fi - lots of "hits" but no return ping, T = no reply to a ping. This means in one step, you can tell if someone is xxFP, xxFJ, or xxTx. From there, apply temperament theory (SP, SJ, NT, NF - see #1 above) and you're normally down to just figuring out the first letter of anyone.

Note that this second one is my own method and not empirically verified or anything. And needless to say, either one will take some practice.
 
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