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  1. #1
    Senior Member musttry's Avatar
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    Default Validity of enneagram and MBTI correlations

    I have been pondering correlations between the enneagram and MBTI that are very popular in personality typing circles. I wonder how valid these correlations are.

    My main argument is that I have a hard time seeing how a system like the MBTI, which is about "cognitive functions" (brain) and the enneagram, a much more "existential" viewpoint (experience), can be associated with any kind of validity. On a theoretical level, the postulates of either have very little to do with one another. As such, the only valid association made between the two is simple observation of the frequency of certain types of one system belonging to types in the other.

    The prime example I have for this is the fact that INTPs and ennegram 5s are often seen as being near equivalents. However, I fail to see how INTPs who are suppose to mainly think rationally, and e5's, who have learned to retreat, observe and gather information in order to deal with experience are part and parcel. I would argue that any intuitive, sensor, thinker or feeler that has learned to deal with life in this fashion could be a 5.

    Or, how about an ISTP (artisan), who might be brutally honest about their feelings and has a need to express their individuality through their creativity, like a 4, because, say, they were a middle child and had a hard time being seen.

    I believe that trying to associate the two systems is a disservice to those who wish to use them for self-understanding because the archetypes of the one are often erroneously transferred to the other.

    PS. I can already poke holes in my argument. However, I'd like to hear what others would have to say about this. I am aware of my own personal bias since I type myself as an INFJ (NiTiFeSe) 5w4 sx/so. Any insights into this would be highly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    I think they are completely different systems but I do think it's pretty likely that there is a correlation between frequency of the two types being associated with each other. It doesn't make sense to say that two are equivalent at all. However, it would not surprise me that there are a lot of ENFP 7s, or INFP 4s, for example.

    I question some of the statistics out there though - don't know the sample size.

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  3. #3
    garbage
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    They can be said to correlate if there's a relation between MBTI type (or Jungian cognitive function, or dichotomy) and Enneagram type. Correlation does not indicate absolute similarity. Although, it can provide a hint that two descriptions are at least somewhat related or that they are talking about similar things.

    The reason we seek unity through these correlations is that it would provide an elegant understanding of personality. At the very least, in some cases, familiarity with one system may more readily translate into familiarity with another.

    Naranjo's book (which is my new favorite, as of, like, yesterday) employs this a lot; he attempts to 'liken' his Enneagram types to types in other systems, including the DSM III. Type 5 is said to be akin to schizoid personality disorder, the INTP personality type, and both Fi and Ti. Type 6, on the other hand, is said to be akin to Ti, but the counterphobic 6 is related to ENTJ. This, oh no!, presents an apparent inconsistency because we normally associate ENTJ with Te rather than Ti--but the apparent contradiction is assuaged if we don't try treat these correlations as overly tight.

    So, to the extent that we can say that Type 5 is 'kind of like' INTP--great; an understanding of INTP might give us an understanding of 5. The danger is in taking this too far and assuming that the two are equivalent.

    It'd be great to get a statistical understanding of these correlations rather than an explanatory or theoretical one, though.

  4. #4
    brainheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by musttry View Post
    I believe that trying to associate the two systems is a disservice to those who wish to use them for self-understanding because the archetypes of the one are often erroneously transferred to the other.
    Totally agree. I've pretty much reached the conclusion you can't for sure figure out other people's enneagram types for this very reason. It's too easy to spot their MBTI and assign those qualities to an etype but that's not how the enneagram works. I believe the enneagram is entirely about internal drives that are really hard for others to notice. Similarly, you can share an etype with someone but not an MBTI type and they will seem different so it's easy to think, "Oh, they can't be the same etype as me..."

    Personal example: When I first started getting into the enneagram I figured my husband, an ESFP, was a seven because that's the sort of energy he exudes. He read the enneagram blurbs I handed to him and he said the 1 was "totally him." Externally he seems nothing like the descriptions of the 1. Similarly, he typed me as a nine while I am a four. I just give off some sort of nine-like energy to him, being an IXFP who tests highest on perceiving vs judging, and that's what he picks up on.

    I think so often when people type people instantly on behavioral characteristics, mannerisms, etc, what they're really seeing is their MBTI type, not the etype.
    Last edited by brainheart; 03-08-2012 at 11:44 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member musttry's Avatar
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    I do agree that there seems to be some type of correlation (not using the statistical term here by the way, you can't have statistical correlations between non-metric values) between certain types of both systems, as suggested by some of the numbers out there. However, I'm on the same page as you, Brainheart, similar behaviours may stem from different etype motivations and different behaviours may be provoked by the same motivations. E-type is therefore a much better tool for self-understanding than typing others.

    However, Gurdjeff seemed to be able to spot these internal motivations, meaning that there might be something that we can notice in others in order to try to pin down their etype; I'm just not sure what it could be since we can't base the typing on observable behaviours.

    Have you figured out what things should be watched for when trying to find someone's etype?

    As a side note, I went through a particularly difficult time a few years ago and my reaction was to get involved in a million things (like a 7) all the while becoming extremely anal retentive about my performance in personal organisation and work. Anyone at that time could have pinned me down as a 7, a 1 or a 3. I know now that I was very unhealthy and reacting to an incredible amount of fear about not being "good enough" to compete in the world right after completing my degree.

  6. #6
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    Naranjo's book (which is my new favorite, as of, like, yesterday) employs this a lot; he attempts to 'liken' his Enneagram types to types in other systems, including the DSM III. Type 5 is said to be akin to schizoid personality disorder, the INTP personality type, and both Fi and Ti. Type 6, on the other hand, is said to be akin to Ti, but the counterphobic 6 is related to ENTJ. This, oh no!, presents an apparent inconsistency because we normally associate ENTJ with Te rather than Ti--but the apparent contradiction is assuaged if we don't try treat these correlations as overly tight.
    To me, enneagram has less to do with cognitive functions and more to do with MBTI letters. Examples:

    ISXP correlates with 9
    EXTP correlates with 7
    INFX correlates with 4
    INTX correlates with 5

    I suppose this works for the same reason the 4 temperaments show commonalities in spite of the fact that some have completely opposing cognitive functions.

    Edit: I would also add that the standard 2 or 3 most common e-types for any MBTI seem to relate to multiple commonality crossovers. Examples:

    INFX = 4, and IXFJ = 1 so INFJs tend to be 1s and 4s
    INFX= 4, and IXFP = 9, and INXP = 5 so INFPs tend to be 4s, 9s and 5s.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  7. #7
    Secret Sex Freak Hazashin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    INXP = 5 so INFPs tend to be 4s, 9s and 5s.
    Eh, I'm not sure about that one. I think E-5 generally correlates with N and T, and usually introverted. Of course, I'm not saying it's not possible, I just think it's probably more likely that E-5's are more likely INTx's than INxP's. I know four INTJ 5s, but only two INTP 5s and no INFP 5s (in fact, I'm not sure if I've seen one).

    Here's what I view as the MBTI correlations with E-type:

    1: xxxJs and INFPs
    2: xSFJs and ENFx's
    3: ExxJs and ESTPs
    4: INFx's
    5: INTx's
    6: xSxJs and xNFPs
    7: ExxPs and xSxPs
    8: xNTJs, ESTJs, and xSTPs
    9: IxFx's and ISxPs
    MBTI: INFP
    Enneagram: 6w7, phobic
    Tritype: 6-9-2
    Instinctual Variant: Sx/Sp
    Temperament: Pure Supine
    D&D Alignment: Neutral Good
    Political Stance: Solid Liberal
    Religious Views: Atheist

    Fi > Ne > Ti > Fe > Se > Si > Te > Ni

    "Forgiveness means letting go of the past." ~ Gerald Jampolsky
    "I am justice!" ~ Light Yagami, Death Note
    "The choices people make tell you a lot about a person, but the reasons [...] tell you even more." ~ Albus Dumbledore (paraphrased)

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  8. #8
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazashin View Post
    Eh, I'm not sure about that one. I think E-5 generally correlates with N and T, and usually introverted. Of course, I'm not saying it's not possible, I just think it's probably more likely that E-5's are more likely INTx's than INxP's. I know four INTJ 5s, but only two INTP 5s and no INFP 5s (in fact, I'm not sure if I've seen one).
    @Seymour is a INFP 5. And supposedly Kurt Cobain and Vincent Van Gogh were also. I also know just how strongly I type 5; only slightly less than 4 (and on some tests it's more).

    Here's what I view as the MBTI correlations with E-type:

    1: xxxJs and INxPs
    2: xSFJs and ENFx's
    3: ExxJs and ESTPs
    4: INFx's
    5: INTx's
    6: xSxJs and xNFPs
    7: ExxPs and xSxPs
    8: xNTJs, ESTJs, and xSTPs
    9: IxFx's
    I agree with most. I don't think INXPs relate to 1 at all (except through integration from 4), and 6s I would consider a universal enneatype. I also know many ISTPs are 9s, albeit 9w8s - and I think people stereotype 9s too often as being all 9w1s
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  9. #9
    Secret Sex Freak Hazashin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    @Seymour is a INFP 5. And supposedly Kurt Cobain and Vincent Van Gogh were also. I also know just how strongly I type 5; only slightly less than 4 (and on some tests it's more).
    Well, I still think 5 applies more to INTx's than INxPs.

    I agree with most. I don't think INXPs relate to 1 at all (except through integration from 4), and 6s I would consider a universal enneatype. I also know many ISTPs are 9s, albeit 9w8s - and I think people stereotype 9s too often as being all 9w1s
    That's true. I suppose I thought INxPs for 1 because of the dominant Fi + iNtuition and I had just recalled Magic Poriferan being an INTP 1 on the spot.

    I'll have to change those.
    MBTI: INFP
    Enneagram: 6w7, phobic
    Tritype: 6-9-2
    Instinctual Variant: Sx/Sp
    Temperament: Pure Supine
    D&D Alignment: Neutral Good
    Political Stance: Solid Liberal
    Religious Views: Atheist

    Fi > Ne > Ti > Fe > Se > Si > Te > Ni

    "Forgiveness means letting go of the past." ~ Gerald Jampolsky
    "I am justice!" ~ Light Yagami, Death Note
    "The choices people make tell you a lot about a person, but the reasons [...] tell you even more." ~ Albus Dumbledore (paraphrased)

    Tatiana ♥

  10. #10
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazashin View Post
    Well, I still think 5 applies more to INTx's than INxPs
    Oh I don't disagree with you. I just saw a link of sorts
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

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