INFP

…the go-it-alone mentality

image“Implicit in this worship of individuality is the assumption that the best way to find yourself, to control your destiny is on your own”  (Vudin, 2015).

Recently, I came across an article online titled “The Psychological Cost of Being a Maverick”,  Essentially, this article cites research which debunks a common American myth of individuality as the key to personal freedom and control.  Since I was curious, I decided to download the research paper this article referred to (Greenway, et al, 2015).  After reading it, I felt is was worthy of a blog post on two unique fronts.  Firstly, in a older post I discuss the notion of personal identity as a hot-air notion.  In this post, I question the notion of identity as an abstract construct that exists as a self-fulfilling prophecy:

“From a symbolic interactionist perspective, the self’s Achilles’ heel is the constant possibility of losing trust and self-confidence. We are blown-up balloons and it is always possible for the air to come out….It’s [an] emperor-has-no-clothes problem. Culture in general, selves in particular, are based on ‘hot air’ – shared belief.” (Wiley, 2003, p507).”

After re-reading this post, I feel there is much more to say on the subject if identity.  Where are the grains of truth? What role does identity play in our lives?  By doing this I hope to achieve a second goal and expound upon a comment I made about my sister in the last post, the nature of belief systems:

“ISFJs are usually stable, certain, reliable…But if unbalanced, they are likely to treat any point of view other than their own with a kind of cold dismay, and if pressed hard will tend to shut out the existence of problems caused by others differing attitudes…(personalitypage.com, n.d.a.).”

…and the pot calls the kettle black

As an INFP personality type, I have found it useful to use extroverted intuition independently.  I call this the “devils advocate stance”.  Seeing the world from a perspective that is uncomfortable & unfamiliar is much like the build-up of anticipation before someone rips off a band aid.  As the initial sting subsides and the shock wears off, a renewed sense of calm takes over.

After completing the last post, I decided to go back to personalitypage.com and read the description of INFP areas of growth. I couldn’t help but notice the parallels in the description when compared to my sister’s.  So what things do I do that annoy others????

COMPLAINT #1:  I am stubborn….

“The main driver to the INFP personality is Introverted Feeling, whose purpose is to maintain and honor an intensely personal system of values and morals. If an INFP’s personal value system is threatened by external influences, the INFP shuts out the threatening data in order to preserve and honor their value system. This is totally natural, and works well to protect the individual psyche from getting hurt. (personalitypage.com, n.d.b.).”

COMPLAINT #2: I am a freaky oddball…

“However, the INFP who exercises this type of self-protection regularly will become more and more unaware of other people’s perspectives, and thus more and more isolated from a real understanding of the world that they live in. They will always find justification for their own inappropriate behaviors  (personalitypage.com, n.d.b.).”

COMPLAINT #3:  I am selfish…

“If the INFP uses Extraverted iNtuition only to serve the purposes of Introverted Feeling, then the INFP is not using Extraversion effectively at all. As a result, the INFP does not take in enough information about the external world to have a good sense of what’s going on. They see nothing but their own perspective, and deal with the world only so far as they need to in order to support their perspective. These individuals usually come across as selfish and unrealistic, (personalitypage.com, n.d.b.).”

My sister is a pragmatist, who prefers to think along the lines of conventiality.  In contrast I have always been an individualist with a natural aversion to conformity.  Underlying these differences are surface which mask a deeper truth.  We appear to be engaging in very different forms of identity formation.  This insight is best summarized in the following quote:

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The benefits of being a “crowd-follower”

With this long-winded preamble out of the way, I’d like to touch upon some insights from an article online titled “The Psychological Cost of Being a Maverick”,  Essentially, this article reviews research which shows that following the crowd can increase one’s perception of control.  The research paper it refers to is titled: “From “We” to “Me”: Group Identification Enhances Perceived Personal Control With Consequences for Health and Well-Being.”  This research shows that group identification and social identity increase an individual’s level of happiness and well-being.   Additionally, a perceived increase in “control” is associated with greater well being due to group identification.

Underlying theory: “a looking glass self”

According to various theories on social identity, when we identify with a group, part of our self-perception becomes interwoven in group affiliation.  Our social identity becomes a shared construct as we “shift from thinking in terms of  ‘me’ to ‘we'” (Greenway, et al, 2015, p. 1).   In this sense, the self is a byproduct of how understand ourselves. through identification with others, (Greenway, et al, 2015).

….and the question which naturally arises in my mind is, why would anyone hand this power over to others?  Greenway, et al, (2015) indicate that group affiliation provides a sense of “meaning, security, comfort purpose (p. 2)”, and self-efficacy.   As a result we feel more in control of our lives.   As this article describes the concept of social identity, I’m reminded of Cooley’s notion of the looking-glass-self:

“social reference takes the form of a somewhat definite imagination of how one’s self…appears in [others] mind[s]….A social self of this sort might be called the reflected or looking glass self (Cooley, 1902).”

“a perception of personal control”

As a result of a series of studies Greenway, et al, (2015) state:  “The findings reveal that the personal benefits of social groups come not only from their ability to make people feel good, but also from their ability to make people feel capable and in control of their lives. (p. 1)”   With these findings in mind, it is worth noting how they define control:

“We define control as the perceived ability to alter events and achieve desired outcomes” (Greenway, et al, 2015).”

In other words, the control they speak of is a personal perception of control: subjective feeling.  Whether they actually have more control, as a matter of objective fact, is another story.  The point is they feel empowered….

“Groups are a potent source of agency and control. Where an individual may have no hope of accomplishing a goal alone, interdependent action by a group of individuals can overcome obstacles and achieve otherwise impossible ends (Greenway, et al, 2015, p. 3).”

In this respect, social identity is the glue which binds us together.  It seems what this study suggests is a symbiotic relationship.  Societies and groups benefit through the commitment and participation of its members.  Individuals are able to meet their needs through group identification in a social world…

My Sister’s Successes Are My Greatest Personal Failings…

imageWhen I read this insight I was immediately reminded of our childhood. My sister was the popular girl in high school. She had lots of friends.  Elements of her temperament were naturally conducive to this sort of success.  It is in this sense that the above description of social identity is clearly beneficial.  I didn’t experience social identity in this normative fashion.  For an array of reasons to long to list here, I was literally the girl with the cooties.  I had no friends after my best friend Ruby Stricker moved away in sixth grade.  From this point on, social identity was like a horrific hall of mirrors.  Consistently distorted messages of a person I didn’t recognized filled all my interactions.  Ironically, in time I embodied them.  In this respect, my emotions betrayed me: the hurt was overwhelming….

These early experiences have had a profound impact on every element of my life – often more than I’m willing to admit.  To this day, I struggle with insecurity when it comes to opening up to others.  Maintaining and establishing friendships, are not areas I’ve experienced great success in. My skepticism of the benefits of social identity can be explained by this personal history. If the complete ostracism I experienced was a social death, how does one factor this into things?  Is there a way of understanding my experiences and my sister’s from a bigger picture perspective???

Getting the bigger picture…

78HThe American Peychiatric Association (2013) defines identity as an “experience of oneself as unique, with clear boundaries between self and others (p. 823)”.  Additionally, while it reflects ideas external to ourselves, we experience it as an internal subjective impression of who we are (Greenway, et al, 2015; Vignoles, et al, 2006; Vignoles, et al, 2008).  In other words, while identity is a created as social construct, (in a “looking-glass-self” sense), it is experienced as a psychological construct.   Identity is the tie which binds us to the social world.   The symbiotic relationship created by society and its members appear to start at identity construction, (at least to some degree).

What I want to understand now is the structure and function of identity in a general sense.  How does it drive our existence in life? Admittedly, the specific content can vary according to individual experience, temperament, and even sociocultural background (Vignoles, et al, 2006; Vignoles, et al, 2008).  How do these messages gravitate from our social world into a “sense of self”???

Identity Motives…

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As a graduate student, I have tons of research articles downloaded on my computer.  When I searched them for the term “identity”, two interesting articles popped up.  The first one I’d like to discuss is titled: Beyond Self-Esteem: influence of multiple motives on identity construction.”  It describes identity motives as key components in the formation of our identity:

Identity motives are, “pressures toward certain identity states and away from others, which guide processed of identity construction (Vignoles, et al, 2006, p. 309)”.

Since motives represent our reason for doing something, they can be thought of as a precursor to action.  They act as a guiding force in the construction of our identity.  These pressures function unconsciously as byproducts of our interactions with others (Vignoles, et al, 2006; Vignoles, et al, 2008).  In this article is a list of six identity motives (Vignoles, et al, 2006):

  1. THE SELF ESTEEM MOTIVE – We are driven by a desire to feel good about ourselves. (Vignoles, et al, 2006).
  2. THE CONTINUITY MOTIVE  –  We are driven to create an identity that is consistent with our life history, “across time and situation” (Vignoles, et al, 2006, p. 310).
  3. THE DISTINCTIVENESS MOTIVE –  This motive “pushes [us] toward the establishment & maintenance of a sense of differentiation” (Vignoles, et al, 2006, p. 310.
  4. THE MEANING MOTIVE  – This existential drive urges us to seek a deeper purpose from our lives.  (Vignoles, et al, 2006).
  5. THE BELONGING MOTIVE – We are driven to feel a sense of acceptance and validation from others, (Vignoles, et al, 2096).
  6. THE EFFICACY MOTIVE –  Reflecting a desire of perceived control, this motive urges us to experience a sense of competence, (Vignoles, et al, 3006).

As a result of their research, Vignoles, et al, (2006), state that our identity has cognitive, behavioral and affective components.  Identity motives play a different role in these domains:

Cognitive Domain of Identity

The cognitive domain of identity describes those characteristics that play a central role in what we think about ourselves (Vignoles, et al, 2006). “Self-esteem, continuity, distinctiveness, and meaning” (Vignoles, et al, 2006, p. 1167), influence the cognitive domain and provide a form of  self-verification regarding who we think we are.

Behavioral Domain of Identity

The behavioral domain, pertains to the research earlier on perceived control, (Greenway, et al, 2015).  This domain of identity reflects how we are acting, on a moment-to-moment basis.  Since it pertains to the external world, feelings of efficacy and belonging exist as central motivating factors (Vignoles, et al, 2006; Vignoles, et al, 2008)

Affective Domain of Identity

The affective domain reflects how we feel about ourselves. In this study, participants reported feeling better about themselves when they satisfied the motives of “self esteem, continuity, efficacy, and meaning” (Vignoles, et al. 2008, p. 1667).

Actual & Possible Selves…

Finally, in another article published just a few years later, Vignoles, et al, (2008), follow up with another concept, “desired and feared possible future selves” (p. 1165),  He defines this concept as follows:

POSSIBLE FUTURE SELVES: “[a person’s] concept of who they might become, and who they are afraid of becoming, (Vignoles, et al, 2008, pp. 1165-1166).”

This concept is an estimation of possibility based on interpersonal interactions, cultural perspectives, personal values and temperament.  It is a byproduct of interactions in the social world and guided by a desire to maximize the chance we feel good about ourselves, and minimize the possibility we feel like shit.  Vignoles, et al, (2008) state: “desired and feared selves…directly reflect motives to maximize self-esteem…meaning and…continuity, (p. 1189).”  Belonging, on the other hand only affects our future predicted self indirectly (Vignoles, et al, 2008, p. 1191).  The mediating factor underlying these indirect effects, is self esteem…..

So what insight best pertains to my childhood as an explanation for it???

Group identification is beneficial because helps us adapt to the social world (Greenway, et al, 2015).  As a result we feel more in control of our lives.  Of relevance to my own life story, is the fact that belonging & efficacy greatly influence the behavioral domain.   These motivational factors are useful in assessing the utility and effectiveness of our efforts in the social world.  On the other hand, belonging only indirectly influence our future predicted selves (Vignoles, et al, 2008; Vignoles, et al, 2006).  I find this last fact interesting.  While it reflects normative identity development, it doesn’t resonate with my own life.  When you’re bullied and socially ostracized as a kid, not belonging is an overarching concern over all other matters.

In my case, belonging was a primary identity motivator throughout my preteens and high school years. My self-esteem acted was an emotional radar that picked up on all these blows to my sense of self.  I received a consistently negative message of “who I was” through this experience.  I responded by isolating myself.  This self-imposed isolation was a form of survival.  As it pertains to Eriksons Psycosocial Stages, I was definitely “role confusion”.  Unable to find a place for myself, I belonged nowhere.  My self-esteem was shattered and all other elements of identity development were at a standstill.  I’m definitely an “outlier”, for exactly this reason (((More on this later)))

References…

American Psychiatric Association, (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.  Washington, DC: Author.
Cooley, C. H. (1902). The looking-glass self. O’brien, 126-128.
Greenaway, K. H., Haslam, S. A., Cruwys, T., Branscombe, N. R., Ysseldyk, R., & Heldreth, C. (2015, May 4). From “We” to “Me”: Group Identification Enhances Perceived Personal Control With Consequences for Health and Well-Being. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology.
Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000019
personalitypage.com (n.d.a.). ISFJ Personal Growth. Retrieved from: http://www.personalitypage.com/html/ISFJ_per.html
personalitypage.com (n.d.b.) INFP Personal Growth.  Retrieved from:  http://www.personalitypage.com/html/INFP_per.html
Vignoles, V. L., Manzi, C., Regalia, C., Jemmolo, S., & Scabini, E. (2008). Identity Motives Underlying Desired and Feared Possible Future Selves. Journal of Personality, 76(5), 1165-1200. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2008.00518.x
Vignoles, V. L., Regalia, C., Manzi, C., Golledge, J., & Scabini, E. (2006). Beyond self-esteem: influence of multiple motives on identity construction. Journal of personality and social psychology, 90(2), 308-333.
Vudin, D. (2015, July, 4). The psychological cost of being a maverick. Retrieved from: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-psychological-cost-of-being-a-maverick/
Wiley, N. (2003). The Self as Self‐Fulfilling Prophecy. Symbolic Interaction, 26(4), 501-513.

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Understanding Extroverted Intuition…

Since this post is part of a series, read these posts first…

As an INFP, my dominant function is introverted feeling and my auxiliary function is extroverted intuition.  Together these two cognitive functions depict fairly accurately how my mind works.  Introverted feeling is a judging function which acts as an internal compass.  It has allowed me live a life on my own terms by listening to my “inner voice”.  My auxiliary function, is extroverted intuition (Ne) according to the MBTI.  As a perceiving function it describes how we become aware of people, things, events and/or ideas (Myers, 1962).  A person’s perceiving function falls on a continuum between two sssextremes: intuition or sensing (Myers, 1962).  Sensors utilize the senses to take in information in concrete and literal terms.  Intuition, in contrast, is much more difficult to pin down.  Isabel Myers (1962), states it is “[an] indirect perception by way of the unconscious…much too interested in…possibilities…to notice actualities” (p. 51)”.  This reflects fairly accurately my own personal experiences.  My mind is naturally drawn to big-picture, far-reaching possibilities.  I seek awareness of systems of meaning underlying the veneer of appearances.  Regarding extroverted intuition, Jung states the following:

“He has a keen nose for things in the bud pregnant with future promise. He can never exist in stable, long-established conditions of generally acknowledged though limited value: because his eye is constantly ranging for new possibilities, stable conditions have an air of impending suffocation. He seizes hold of new objects and new ways with eager intensity, sometimes with extraordinary enthusiasm, only to abandon them cold- bloodedly, without regard” (Jung, 2014, p. 27-28).

definitive qualities of Ne…

What follows is my best attempt at describing extroverted intuition.  Keep in mind, as an INFP, my experience of this function, is as an auxiliary support for introverted feeling.  In other words, while introverted feeling (Fi) accurately describes my inner world, extroverted intuition (Ne) describes how I make sense of the world around me. As I’ve matured, personal growth has entailed learning to utilize this function independent of the needs of introverted feeling.  This has allowed me to see the world for what it is not simply what I feel it “should be”.

Boundless curiosity

imageMy favorite questions as a child were “Why?” And “How come?”  Rather than taking the experiences of daily life as they appeared I wanted to understand why they were that way. This desire for explanation goads me forward as I try to make sense of why things are as they are. My boundless curiosity produces a sweeping awareness of history not bound by the present.  I look to the past to understand why today is as it is.  I look forward to develop an understanding of what’s beyond the horizon.  Easily bored by the details of daily life, my mind is elsewhere.  Driven by introverted feeling, all things pertaining to humanity’s existence capture my imagination.  Asking me to focus on what’s in front of me and take the facts as they appear feels like prison.  I become constrained by a narrowed focus that prevents me from examining the possibility around me.

Big picture orientation.

imageI like fitting the pieces of life into a puzzle that provides a greater understanding of things. My mind is naturally drawn toward the endless task of seeking patterns woven throughout life, as a hidden paradigm.  In the area of communication, this means digging deeper.  Rather than taking things as the seem, I notice hidden meaning & unspoken motives.  As it pertains to society, others’ play by the rules, I ask who made them, and why it applies to me.

In this manner, I see the bigger picture and play with it as a toddler with a new toy.  In order to make sense of life from all facets, I flutter between multiple perspectives in a game of “what-if”.  The one rule of this game: a momentary suspension of disbelief that requires one to hold a perspective without prejudgment.  This illuminates a hidden truth that was previously unknown.  With this expanded awareness I’m suddenly goaded further to move ruthlessly toward other vantage points in a never-ending quest for understanding.

“The Healer/Empathist” – understanding others

imageI like Kiersey’s label for INFP’s as healers, it fits us well.  As an INFP, extroverted intuition focuses upon what best captures the interests of my empathist mindset.  Guided by Fi, I start first with an natural empathetic drive which is not ignorable.  My mind gravitates toward the grain of truth in a person’s point-of-view and tries to acknowledge the feelings which result from them.  When guided by Fi, Ne seeks to develop a bigger picture to aid in the journey.

I’m an emotive sponge. My walls are thinner than most others.  The inner world of those I encounter echo in my mind.  In my family of origin, I have to play chameleon for this reason.  I see where they are coming from.  I alter my communication to meet their needs. As a person speaking a foreign language, I translate my thoughts into something they can grasp.  The goal is getting myself heard by speaking in a way others understand.  The process is exhausting….and often a one way street.

Harmony & social justice for the underdog…

imageAs an INFP. I naturally empathize with the underdogs of the world.  Driven by a desire for harmony and cooperation in my environment, I fight for inclusion & equality.  I hate arguing and avoid it like the plague.  With introverted feeling taking the reigns, I’m hyper-aware of the social injustices of the world.  As an INFP I have an strong internal drive for independence and individuality.  I desire to live life on my own terms, remain authentic and gain acceptance for who I am.  I have a strong distaste for blind conformity and close-mindedness.

Shortcomings of Ne…

I love the metaphor of a food log since it describes so succinctly insights of the MBTI.   It provides a convenient assessment of our innate cognitive preferences.  For example, I hate cucumbers and watermelon.  I love sushi.  Nothing you can do will change these preferences, they’re kinda written in stone…Mind you, I’m not saying this gives us free reign to be as we are and forego effortful self improvement.  Instead, I believe that while we should accept these preferences as innate drives, we can also engage in self-responsibility. In light of this, what follows are a few shortcomings of this cognitive function, in my experience…

Difficulty with pragmatism

As an INFP, my imagination is my favorite plaything.  I can get lost within it.  Thats largely due to the fact that extroverted intuition is bored with the pragmatics if daily life.  Taking things as they appear without digging deeper feels like running into traffic blindfolded.  I have difficulty remembering details.  I’m an absent-minded professor who’s too lost in her thoughts to bother with the present moment.  Consequently, I suck at planning and have difficulty solving problems by working thru facts.  I lived my youth as a reformed fuck-up: making rash decisions with no basis in logic to their often ubsurdist conclusions….

Bored with everyday details

My mother is an ESTJ.  She was telling me a strange story one day of her long bus trips to school while a college student living at home.  How did she spend her time?  She would take a mental snapshot of the passing scenery and see how much she could remember.  Her other favorite was the alphabet word game using road signs.  Honestly, I’m sure there was a point to this story, but I don’t remember it.  I only recall this snippet because it seemed so odd to me.  My mind literally runs in opposition to hers.  I’m usually too preoccupied with my thoughts to even notice such details.  I can never remember where I last left my keys.  I have to keep a bullet journal to keep myself organized…. And still I manage to miss a few details here and there.

Lost in a world of imagination

When you take the world as it is, based on surface appearance, you’re missing so much.   There’s a deeper truth to be found by simply asking “why”.  More importantly, I firmly believe the solution to many problems in life can be solved by looking at things differently.  Oftentimes we are so intertwined within the problem, we can’t see a solution – until we step back and look at the bigger picture.

Big on ideas without the follow-thru

Yup.  This is a big shortcoming of Ne.  This very blog is a superb example.  I’ve wanted to create a blog for over five years.  I have a big plastic bin in my hallway closet filled with ideas.  Creating this blog is a big step in a new direction.  I’m setting aside plans and pulling the trigger.  Nobody may ever read this, but that’s really “not the point”.

How do you “unsee”???

In defense of my shortcomings, as an INFP, I simply ask this question: how do you “unsee” something?   If you notice something that is plain & clear, but nobody else is paying attention, should you ignore it?  Does that mean it doesn’t exist?  Is reality a majority rules concept? What if you try to point out what you see, but nobody listens? Are they ignoring you in favor of blissful ignorance over bitter truth?  What do you do?

Your options are limited.  You could ignore your own first-hand experience, and blindly appease others.  This would yield approval from others but result in hypocrisy and inauthenticity.  The other alternative is to play that role as the kid in that fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. Daring to live your own Truth may not yield approval. However this isn’t a reflection that you are wrong.  They may just not understand where you’re coming from…. And maybe in the end this doesn’t matter….

References…

Myers, I. B. (1962). The myers-briggs type indicator: Manual. Consulting Psychologists Press.
Jung, C.G..(2014) Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 6 : Psychological Types. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.

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INFP: “a food log for the mind…”

imageMBTI stands for “Myers-Briggs Type Indicator”.  Based on Carl Jung’s work “Psychological Types”, published in 1921, it was first developed by Isabel Myers (1897-1980) and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs (1875-1968) in 1943.   Utilizing Jung’s insights as a jumping off point, Myers & Briggs wanted to design an instrument that would allow individuals to develop an understanding of critical aspects of their temperament.   I’ve taken this test several times in my life, and find the results quite fascinating.  It has been quite useful for me in my academic pursuits, career aspirations, and personal relationships. As I understand it, the MBTI much like a mental food log.  It describes how we interact with our world, recharge our batteries after a long day, how we intake information, and what we do with it.  I’ve taken these results two times in my life, once in college and a second time when seeing a therapist.  I am an INFP, my sister is ISFJ, my father is INTP, my mother is ESTJ and my hubby is ESTP. When reading my own description I find it does function in describing well how I feed my mind and what I do with that information.  Additionally, studying temperament-based differences within my family has been helpful in understanding our relationship more fully.  In this post I provide an overview of the INFP personality type, based on my own personal experiences….

Temperament-Based Dichotomies

Introversion or Extroversion??? (recharging my batteries)

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In the MBTI Typology system,extraverts are naturally drawn of people and things whereas introverts are naturally drawn to their own inner world of thoughts and ideas (Myers, 1962).  In other words, as an Introvert, I recharge my batteries after a long day, by reading, blogging, or drawing.  At the same time, I can become quickly drained after an extended holiday visit with the extended family (where I have little time to myself).  Its important to note that this doesn’t mean I’m shy, antisocial, or unfriendly.  It just means that I need time to myself after a long day.   My mother in contrast, is an extravert.  She draws energy from the world around her and participates in an array of social groups and activities.  In her art, my mother analyzes the outer world in acute detail and tries to represent this as accurately as possible  I, on the other hand, utilize it is a form of self-expression.  My goal isn’t to strictly adhere to my senses.  Instead I hope to depict my unique way of viewing the world.

  1. Extraverts appear outgoing. Introverts appear quiet and reserved.
  2. Extraverts are comfortable working in groups, introverts work well alone.
  3. Extroverts have a wide range of friendships and know lots of people.  Introverts prefer to take time to know people well.
  4. Extroverts can jump into an activity with little reflection on underlying motives.  Introverts can spend too much time reflecting on motives and are delayed in moving to action.

Intuition or Sensing??? (perceiving the world)

ddThe MBTI Typology system, describes perceiving as a “process of becoming aware of things or people or occurrences or ideas” (Myers, 1962, p. 51) in our world.  We have unique preferences regarding how we prefer to take in information from the world around us.  This determines how we gather information from the world around us, and what tends first grabs our attention.  Sensors prefer to intake information through the five senses.  For example my hubby is an ESTP personality type.  As an ESTP, his primary function (more on this later) use extraverted sensing.   This means he lives fully in the present and is acutely aware of the physical reality of the world around him.  When talking with him, you get are acutely aware of how the world looks through his eyes.  He is concerned with what is actual, present, and readily discernible from the world, with the use if his senses.  At his best, this makes him grounded in reality and fully present in the “now”.  This is makes him the idea partner-in-crime as a key stabilizing force in my life.  At its worst, this function can tend to be short-sighted.  Only seeing readily observable factors from the senses, the less tangible aspects of experience do not exist until it smacks them in the face.  This has been a key source of frustration in the relationship with my sister and mother.

In contrast, I prefer intuition which Isabel Briggs Myers (1962), describes as an “indirect perception by way of the unconscious, accompanied by ideas or associations which [can be discerned from] the perceptions from the outside” (p. 51).  My father and I use our intuition, a perceiving function that is interested in attending to the underlying meanings and patterns that can be observed. As a future-oriented perceiving function, it is focused on possibilities.  In this respect, rather than observing sensory details from one’s immediate environment, it is big-picture oriented.

  1. Intuitives remember events more as an impression of what happened in terms of the underlying meaning that was most significant.  In contrast, sensors remember in excruciating detail a snapshot of the events as they unfolded based on what the senses told them.
  2. Intuitives solve problems by leap between possibilities while utilize underlying meanings and patterns, to determine on the most ideal alternative.  Sensors work through the facts and pragmatic details until they understand the problem
  3. Sensors focus on the present moment trust first hand experience.  Intuitives trust their impressions and underlying systems of meaning as a true reflection of what is going on.
  4. Sensors focus so much on the facts that they fail to understand future possibilities until the reality of their inevitability smack them in the face.  Intuitives focus so much on possibilities that the pragmatics of everyday life escape 

Thinking or Feeling??? (making decisions)

aaaIn MBTI typology, judging refers to a process of “coming-to-conclusions about what has been perceived” (Myers, 1962, p. 51).  Thinkers utilize a logical thought process to come at an impersonal and rational decision.  Feelers utilize values to bestow value on various options in order to produce a decision that is highly personal.   As a result, the decisions thinkers produce are derived on principles that can be thought of universal or basic truths.  They are impersonal, yet consistent and logical.  In contrast, a feeler’s decisions are based on points-of-view involved in the situation at hand.  In this respect, they are much more concerned with values and subjective points of interest.  My parents, for example are thinkers, and can be described as logical, objective, rational, critical, firm, rational, pragmatic, and impersonal in their decision making.  While their decisions have a universal level of understanding that can be understood by all involved, something critical is missing.  There is a failure to understand and respect personal values, or the emotions of those involved.  For all their wisdom as intellectuals with advanced degrees, they are unable to grasp a human intelligence that allows them to relate to others and appreciate perspectives outside their own.

  1. Thinkers enjoy the sciences, where logic prevails.  In contrast, feelers have a people oriented communicative perspective.
  2. Thinkers notice inconsistencies and seek a rational perspective.  In contrast, feelers are concerned with systems of value and are concerned with well-being and harmony.
  3. Thinkers make decisions with the head and believe the truth is more important than tact.  In contrast, feelers believe there is something to be said for how you communicate something and act on the basis of compassion.
  4. Thinkers fail to consider the feelings of others, and are sometimes perceived as indifferent or uncaring. Feelers are perceived as idealistic and struggle with logic.  

Judging or Perceiving??? (interacting w/ the world)

bbbPeople have two basic attitudinal orientations in their daily interactions with the world.  Judgers tend to utilize judgment as the MBTI typology defines it, in their daily lives (Myers, 1962).  As a result, judgers prefer to live in a predictable and logical world and are decided and judgmental in their interactions with the world.  In contrast, perceivers reserve their judgment for themselves and do not hold the world to the same standard.  They are open-minded and tend to take things as they come.  As a result, perceivers tend to be curious and exploratory in their daily interactions with the world.  It is also worth noting here, that according to this personality typology system our preferred judging and/or perceiving preferences guide this attitudinal orientation.  For example, I am an intuitive and perceiver, therefore, I utilize intuition in my interactions with the world, and tend to reserve my feeling function as a deciding function for my own life situation.  In contrast, my mother is an ESTJ.  As a result, she leads with the thinking function and utilizes this in her interactions with the world….

  1. Judgers are task-oriented and have a preference for control and pragmatism.  Perceivers are open-minded and take things as they happen, as a result they keep plans to a minimum. 
  2. Perceivers approach work as a form of play and are creative in their plans when moving forward.  Judgers are slow to make changes in life and create careful lists and detailed plans before taking action.
  3. Perceivers can tend to leave things for the last minute, while judgers opt for slow and steady progress.  

Click here for to learn more about an INFP’S dominant function = introverted feeling (Fi)…

Click here to learn about an INFP’s auxillary function = extroverted intuition (Ne)…

References

Myers, I. B. (1962). Theory on which the indicator is based. The myers-briggs type indicator: Manual (1962). (pp. 51-64) Consulting Psychologists Press. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.bellevue.edu/10.1037/14404-006

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