Problems with MBTI and Jungian Personality Types (Introversion Vs Extroversion)

How Typology got lost along the way

The most notable starting point to create the Personality Pandemic was the Profiles illustrated by Katherine and Isabelle Briggs.

With their common understanding of Jung’s functional system they began to categorize and sort the people around them into personality groups. They observed common traits displayed by those with the same functional personality types as illustrated by C.G. Jung. 

Their goal was to create a simplified system of personality to better the quality of life through further understanding of the self. A universal system of personality that could be understood and applied with ease.

They then fashioned the MBTI test using the data they had acquired from their personal observations of type. These questions were very simple and worked on a sliding scale basis.

We would imagine they initially used this test in conjunction with their own vast knowledge accumulated through years of research and first hand observation. The test used in conjunction with a trained professional who is knowledgeable in the functional backbone behind the personality profile would help ensure the validity of an accurate type diagnosis.

The MBTI type indicator, at best, does nothing more than determine a persons perception of their own behavior. While the MBTI test does, at times, provide accurate results, we do not find this overly impressive.

Considering many people get a different result when taking the test on more than one occasion, it is reasonable to assume that mood and other factors have considerable weight in the type diagnosis.

With an accurate type diagnosis (and in turn functional order diagnosis) using the MBTI type indicator, one could easily throw the entire system of personality aside after reading the associated profile if it doesn’t fit their own actual unique personality.

Just because the indicator correctly types a person does not mean that the individual will reflect the corresponding observational profile written by Myers and Isabel Briggs in the 1940s.

These profiles focus primarily on behavior exhibited as the result of functions instead of focusing on the functions themselves. This presents us with a tremendous flaw not only in MBTI but also most typology in general.

We like to consider personality, not as the functional order we are born with, but as the unique character we develop as we grow, mature, react and interact with the world that we live in.

The very essence of functional order is a set of tools that we are born with. Our functional order depicts our brain type. We are born with a certain set of functions that allow us act and react with the world in a predetermined way. Someone who is naturally genetically built for endurance and speed (a long distance runner) V.S. someone who naturally puts on muscle with ease (a body builder). These things have long been proved as genetic yet we cannot assume that just because someone has the ability to perform athletically, that they would choose to do so simply because they can. The same applies to our functional brain type. A person with extroverted thinking would possess a natural advantage in the field of concrete maths, yet we can’t assume that this same person would even consider mathematics an enjoyable activity.

We like to consider personality, not as the functional order we are born with, but as the unique character we develop as we grow, mature, react and interact with the world that we live in.

We see the MBTI profiles in much this way. We view them as a snapshot in time. A compilation of overlapping behaviors as witnessed and documented for each personality profile. We do not live in the same world that Isabel and Katherine Briggs resided in back in the 1940’s.

In the 1940’s there weren’t a lot of career choices available. People often did what they were raised to do. If they grew up on the farm, they learned to work and make a living on the farm. They did what their parents did and as their parents before them had done for generations. Men went to work and men went to war, and for the most part women kept the home.

Understanding functions and the way they operate helps us truly appreciate how unique and special every human being is. A beautiful mix of genetics, that dances with an infinite number of variables.

The functions are trained by personal choice. The functions are reactionary in the sense that each function must rely on either data received directly from the external world or data regurgitated from the internal. The surroundings are the first variable involved. Without the world around you, there would be nothing to experience. With your functions you experience the world in many ways but what you make of this data is completely up to you.

In the realm of Sensation, actual physical involvement with the world you receive information in one of two ways. 

Introverted Sensation takes in information directly and intimately from one or more of touch, sight, sound, taste, or smell. If you use direct sensation you receive information in an extremely rich and concentrated manner. You experience your surroundings by interacting directly with your senses. We could guess that those who experience direct sensation may enjoy warm baths, but it would be foolish to state that Introverted Sensors enjoy warm baths.

As this is up the individual and how they personally deal with the data they receive from the experience of a bath. Many more variables are involved than the sensation itself. 

The second type of sensation is Extroverted Sensation. It takes in information from all your senses at once to build a whole and complete picture to experience in the moment. If you possess the whole Sensation function you might enjoy fast and dangerous activities where the moment is full of bustle and excitement but as witnessed firsthand while watching a younger sibling with Secondary Whole Sensation this isn’t always the case. 

Sensation is just a small part of how we interact with and quantify our life experience. Our conscious and subconscious work together to help build our worldview. This happens from not only our surroundings, and sensate experiences but also from the conscious judgments, thoughts and feelings that only we are in control of.  Once we understand the entire picture and how our functions work together within our conscious and subconscious minds we are able to manipulate nearly every aspect of experience and for the first truly gain full control of our own destinies.

With 16 different personality types and infinite choices for each individual, at nearly every turn there are literally endless possibilities in life.

It’s the norm in the majority of books that detail personality, to simply elaborate on the original outdated MBTI profiles.

It’s baffling and frustrating to have witnessed the progression and dilution of the personality type system more and more with time. The MBTI system started with the right idea as they used Jung’s functional order to categorize personality type in a way that they personally observed. They left out functional order as they wanted their system to be universal and easily understandable.

As the MBTI system became widely popular it developed a cult following and focusing on the product of the functions instead of the functions themselves. Many of the avid followers of the MBTI system never come to learn of Jung or functional order. They relied solely on using the patterns found in the psychological profiles to seek out more patterns in the people that they type (and often mistype) around them.

The masters of the corrupt system of personality, created through compilation and elaboration have pushed typology to evolve into something that we feel more resembles Astrology than Psychology.

Many personality type books are written by those who have recognized the patterns by reading the MBTI and other typology profiles and made a sport of typing those around them.

These books, mostly reiterations are detailed with behaviors observed by the author first-hand.  Without knowledge of functional order the observations of type could easily be observations of a completely different type altogether that the author simply feels fits into a given set of behaviors for that type without knowing the how or why of the behavior is occurring.

The incredible spectrum of behavior displayed from all functional types could really lie in any numbers of the profiles found in personality type books.

Without understanding the surrounding circumstances or using the very specific tools we have to determine actual function, interpersonal observation is nothing more than simply guessing.

We personally find it difficult to make bold statements about an entire functional brain type’s behavior in a general fashion.

We see the personality type profiles in much this way. We view the personality type profiles as a snapshot in time. A compilation of overlapping behaviors as witnessed and documented for each personality type that was then compiled into a profile.

The MBTI profiles were written in the 1940’s and the 1950’s. A considerable amount has changed since then. We no longer reside in the same world as Isabel and Katherine Briggs . We can safely assume that the common sets of shared behaviors have expanded and evolved with the world around us.

The functions exist in essence as our guide to navigate our way through reality. Our personalities reflect the unique surroundings in which we reside.

In the past when the expectations were set for you by circumstances beyond your control, the development of personality would most likely take a more natural course. Choice allows the functions more room to breathe. In the past the strict social guidelines would have dictated a very clear picture of acceptable behavior.

The social convention of religion would close many doors that are now open and concerning for many people. In the past it was essential to stay focused on maintaining resources, which are now easily accessible to nearly everyone in the modern world. Being forced to live within these guidelines would have set the personality on a very definite track dictated by the circumstances.

The required level of physical participation in life, before the development of many of the modern conveniences we take for granted today, would leave much less time for building complex personality adaptations. Today as we witness so many different cultural norms within our mass culture it allows us the ability of imagining endless perceived social requirements.

The social pressures of today’s society leave many people feeling that they have no other choice but to fight the natural instincts and desires they possess. They feel they must adapt to appease the value systems of their schools, churches, families and communities. Often more than one of these value systems is conflicting with one another causing moral dilemma, identity crisis and pressure for further adaptation.

Adaptation is possible by rearranging the brain’s functional preference in order to fit in or impress others. Other times, the desired behavior is not possible by means of natural functional ability. Then functions must adapt to behave in a manner that compensates the functional abilities they do not possess.

These personality adaptations may have been present to a much lesser degree in the past when the behavioral rules were strictly outlined and community specific.

It’s a common misconception to mistype oneself as the personality of a mother or a father that one has tried desperately to impress. The mistyped adapts many of their personality traits, to mirror or reflect the behavior of the parent.

MBTI MESS

Illustration of the inconsistencies in the MBTI system is a hearty goal to adopt. The inconsistencies are many, and when one is versed in The System, become glaringly obvious. Attempting to illustrate these inconsistencies to those lacking knowledge of typology, or native to the MBTI system, is a difficult task. There are several concepts that must be understood to see the rich fallacy woven throughout the Meyer Briggs Empire.

The MBTI test is constructed upon a sliding scale. Seemingly structured, the test results supplied by Meyer Briggs appear to make logical sense.

All questions are posed to determine preference between eight options, in four separate areas. Each potential result is labeled with a Character, which aligns with a corresponding personality category. Each category is described in detail by the institution.

Each character is assigned by possessing a score of over 50% (out of 100) in one of the four specific areas. Meaning that, a score of 51% and 91% will both lead to the same result.

Tallying results from all four quadrants will supply the test taker with a four-letter abbreviation that assigns their personality type, which in turn, directs them to their corresponding type profile.

The detailed test results are displayed on a set of four linear lines. Each set personality preferences has it’s own line. The opposing personality characters exist together, on opposite sides of the same line. A marker is placed on each line to depict the percentage of each trait you possess. In turn insinuating the possibility of personality types existing in-between types.

In the many online MBTI communities, it remains a commonly accepted notion that scoring differently on the test on subsequent occasions, means that you may possess multiple personality types.

It is also a recognized phenomenon that type evolution, or migration occurs. As an individual’s personality develops, it is believed that type is able to change or evolve over time. We attribute this theory to the nature of the test itself, and not err in those receiving the misleading results.

As the test is heavily dependent on subjective questioning, we can logically assume that several other factors, separate from personality type are reflected in the results that are received.

It is the nature of the questions themselves that allow the test results to vary to such an extreme degree. The questions being “true or false” and “multiple choice” often forces the test taker to pick the “one best answer” or the answer which is “most like them” at that given moment. Potential issues must be explored, that may result from relying this type of test for determining personality type.

The questions are dependent on not only the mood of the test taker, but an infinite number of undefined variables. We have selected a random test question to illustrate our point. We urge you to do this on your own and attempt to view each question from varying viewpoints to get a better perspective of the actual subjectivity of the MBTI test.

MBTI example test question: You like to be engaged in an active and fast-paced job

Example Reactions: “You like to be engaged in an active and fast-paced job”

John) I work manual labor, it’s boring and repetitive but it’s the family business.

If it was up to me, I would have an active fast paced sales job! A job involving lots of intuitive brainwork would allow me to stay sharp and on my feet!

I’d love the challenge of dealing with many different people and the urgency involved when working the phones completely energizes me.

Chris) I’ve been working in car sales for years now. I deal with lots of people all day, but with the exception of test drives, most days I barely leave my office. I don’t find it active or fast paced.

My parents worked on the farm when I was a child. They’d wake up in the morning and go, go, go until sunset. That kind of manual labor would be exhausting!!! Working on an assembly line would fast, but equally terrible. I’d hate to have an active fast paced job.

Introversion or Extroversion?

The Briggs simply state, that introverts and extroverts are two very different types of people with opposing needs. Determining if you are an introvert or an extrovert requires nothing more than uncovering your natural preference.

The questions answered in the MBTI test, aim to establish if it is the act of extroverting, or the act of introverting, used to re-fuel mental resources.

Simply put, if you enjoy the company of people, more often than not, you are an Extrovert (or E). If you prefer to be alone, you an Introvert (or I). A score of more than 50% in either preference will earn you a diagnosis as well as the first letter used in discovering your MBTI type.

An even score between the two preferences is open to interpretation. It is often online represented by an X following the other three letters. For example, an STP that failed to uncover their preference in these two areas  would label themselves an xSTP. Where, the X stands for “unknown” or “undecided”.

The MBTI test is seemingly modeled after Jung’s Archetypes depicting functional order. Yet the test responsible for leading each type to their correct profile completely disregards this important tool in understanding the motivations for the observations collected in the MBTI profiles.

Jung focused on the underlying functions that motivated each type to display certain behaviors. He labeled each type either introverted or extroverted. He used these terms loosely, labeling types either (E) and (I) depending on the direction of their primary (most active) personality function.

The direction (I or E) was used to explain the manner each function reacted to the world. An introverted function focused mainly on manners relating directly to the individual. While the extroverted function works in a reactionary manner, highly dependent on the external environment.

A person with primary Extroverted Thinking would be Extroverted, while a person with primary Introverted Thinking would be Introverted. This is used for functional explanation only, and has nothing to do with the dictionary definitions of either extroversion or introversion.

MBTI has redefined the qualifying traits that determine the preference for (E) and (I) personality types. Blankly stating; Extroverts energize themselves through interaction with others while Introverts energize through introspection and time spent alone. While this may be true for a good majority of the types, it is not a consistent through the MBTI system.

The MBTI system lumps Thinking types together. This insinuates that the only differences between the Thinking types are the surrounding personalities of those who possess the personality trait. This is absolutely not true. Not only do introverted and extroverted thinking functions operate in a vastly different manner, they actually reside in different quadrants of the brain.

In MBTI; The ENTJ type is correctly typed as an extrovert. The ENTJ derives their energy from their primary function of Extroverted Thinking. This function acts in a reactionary manner. Extroverted thinkers possess a developed set of rote behaviors and react to the outside world by dealing with it directly.

When the Extroverted Thinker is talking, they are often hearing what they are saying out loud for the very first time.  The ENTJ derives their energy from Extroversion.

According to both Jung and MBTI, the INTP type is also an introvert.

But if you were to type the INTP using the MBTI guidelines, that illustrate how to determine the introversion or extroversion of an individual, the INTP would not be considered an introverted type.

The Introverted thinking function is the Primary function, and the most active quadrant of the brain for the INTP.

The introverted thinking function judges and sorts data based on the personal value system of the INTP. The nature of introverted thinking is detached and objective. It manifests itself consciously through a passive questioning inner-dialog. It does not supply energy or excitement to the INTP.

As you can see Introverted Thinking is extremely different from the fast paced reactive function of Extroverted Thinking that deals with external reactions to stimulus build off of a database of behaviors associated with type and experience.

The INTP’s first function does not have the ability to energize the INTP, so the INTP naturally resorts to their second Extroverted function (Ne) to not only supply them with energy and excitement, but also information for their Introverted Thinking to process. The INTP’s is extremely reliant on their Extroverted function.

If an INTP is able to step back from their Introverted Thinking (which they can use to orchestrate their speech before they talk) their Ne will relate to the world in a similar manner as the ENTJ. That is, in real time, where the INTP is witnessing their experience firsthand, in the moment, as it happens, in a VERY extroverted way.

If the INTP ignores their secondary function, they fail to energize and emote and they often end up fatigued and/or physically ill. If Meyer Briggs were correct in their assumptions the INTP would not need the frequent external  (often verbal) stimulation of their second function to derive energy from the world. They would be able to energize simply by the act of thinking itself.

As in every healthy type, the first two functions of the mind must work together if one expects to be a healthy and well rounded individual.

But Meyer Briggs stated all introverts recharge by spending time alone and drawing energy from within? 

The guidelines that MBTI explicitly details, show no scientific evidence that links their categorization system to the blanket explanation of acquiring energy from the external or internal, in relation to the functionally dictated Introversion or Extroversion across all sixteen types that is reflected in their 4 letter abbreviations.

Meyer Briggs seem to have adopted the attractive parts of Jung’s system of personality meanwhile throwing the guidelines that he created out the window, in order to create a neat and tiny system that would result in a universal understanding derived from simplicity. Simplicity that sacrifices a great deal of understanding and accuracy that is lost when categorizing type based on four distinct categories, instead of the eight functional categories that were originally intended.

Personal Development, Self Help, General Advice, Individuation, Disintegration, and JUNG / MBTI Personality type