Dec 16, 2006

Myers-Briggs Function Mix-up?

I am referring to the Wikipedia article on "cognitive functions."

I found the charts interesting for two reasons. One, some Jungian authors apparently have begun to speak of "shadow functions" - in other words, functions No. 5-8 that mirror functions 1-4 but have the opposite "vertness," as they say in socionics. This probably reflects a tendency to make the Myers-Briggs system more logically consistent; or, it could have been influenced by a superficial acquaintance with socionics.

Secondly, I am surprised by the ordering of the functions in the chart "The cognitive functions according to Isabel Myers." Here, all the introverted types have dominant functions that do not correspond to the judging-perceiving dichotomy. In other words, the dominant function of the ISTJ is introverted sensing, which is a perceiving function according to Jung, yet the "J" in the type name means "judging." This looks like simply a logical oversight by Myers and Briggs that was continued by their associates (the charts below all have the same "mistake").

I would like to know the reasons for this inconsistency. Perhaps the appearance of socionics on the western typology scene will pressure the Myers-Briggs typologists to reform their theory?


Anonymous said...

I see no-one has answered your question yet: the reason for this inconsistency is that the cognitive functions as described by Jung (and all theories that are derived from it) do not really exist, but instead are merely theoretical constructs (without any empirical evidence) that are improvised, introspective and speculative attempts at explaining behavior and attitudes observed in real life. Both MBTI (and offspring) as well as Socionics are wrong when it comes to cognitive functions: all phenomena explained using cognitive functions can also be explained by means of regular normal and abnormal psychology, which does not only describe the behavior (as is the limitation in MBTI and Socionics), but also its underlying physical, psychological and social causes and possible treatments once they have become pathological.

Rick said...

Actually, the inconsistency is due to the fact that Myers and Briggs decided that introverts' rationality or irrationality was defined not by their leading but by their auxiliary function. I found this out after I wrote this blog entry.

I disagree with you that psychology has better explanations than socionics for "socionic functions." If this were the case there would be no need for a top-down theory of information interaction.

Zero-11 said...

"The extraverts best process tends to be immediately apparent. With introverts the reverse is true. The dominant process is habitually and stubbornly introverted; when their attention must turn to the outer world, they tend to use the auxiliary process. ...
The result is a paradox. Introverts whose dominant process is a judging process, either thinking or feeling, do not outwardly act like judging people. What shows on the outside is the perceptiveness of their auxiliary process and they live their outer lives mainly in the perceptive attitude."

Rick said...

Here we see a conceptual difference between socionics and Myers-Briggs/Jungian typology. In socionics a person can interact with the "external world" using an introverted function. All information aspects are present in external reality, not just extraverted ones. If a person is doing something and saying something visible to other people, in socionics that does not mean that they are using an extraverted function.

I think it is more productive to think of functions as states of mind. A person in a Ti or Si state of mind, for instance, does not necessarily have to be not interacting with the outside world. The state of mind can be discerned by their actions, the kinds of things they say and their reactions to things.