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  1. #1
    Senior Member Snowey1210's Avatar
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    Default Extraversion as a choice?

    I understand that the MBTI is used to measure ingrained preferences (Such as Perceiving/Judging etc.), but I can't help but escape the notion that essentially all the behaviours we make, feel, do are the result of a conscious choice.

    We could argue that the things that we do are pre-programmed by our biological imperatives, however I truly believe that what we do is the result of free will/environmental pressures.

    Now taking that into consideration, I argue that Introversion/Extraversion is extremely malleable, and too context specific to really be included in a personality inventory. Sure we can practice introversion by keeping to ourselves 99% of the time, but in the end we are fundamentally making a choice to do so. The door is open we can choose to talk to others anytime we like, thus building neural pathways, and experiences that may alter who we fundamentally are. It is in this manner that Extraversion/Introversion is predominantly a conscious choice.

    On the other hand an aspect of our personality such as Perceiving/Judging is deeply imbedded into who we are. We don't choose to perceive, and we don't (most of the time!) choose to judge but ultimately we unconsciously do so regardless. I could labour over work assignments for days on end, but it wouldn't be something that I would be consciously wanting to do. Thinking/feeling, and intuition/sensing seem to have similar characteristics.

    Now despite this argument being very presumptive at this stage, I just don't see the E/I axis of someone's personality as being vital indicator of who they are. Yes, it does show how they are reacting to the environment at a particular point of time, but it does seem to fluctuate so much as to be unreliable.

    Any thoughts on the matter? Alternatives? Ideas? etc.
    Good Dog Nigel

    Arf, arf, he goes, a merry sight,
    Our little hairy friend,
    Arf, arf, upon the lampost bright
    Arfing round the bend.
    Nice dog! Goo boy,
    Waggie tail and beg,
    Clever Nigel, jump for joy
    Because we're putting you to sleep at three of the clock, Nigel. -John Lennon

  2. #2
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Can it be that E/I does not make much sense to you because you are E ?

    Just a thought.

  3. #3
    garbage
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowey1210 View Post
    Now taking that into consideration, I argue that Introversion/Extraversion is extremely malleable, and too context specific to really be included in a personality inventory. Sure we can practice introversion by keeping to ourselves 99% of the time, but in the end we are fundamentally making a choice to do so. The door is open we can choose to talk to others anytime we like, thus building neural pathways, and experiences that may alter who we fundamentally are. It is in this manner that Extraversion/Introversion is predominantly a conscious choice.

    On the other hand an aspect of our personality such as Perceiving/Judging is deeply imbedded into who we are. We don't choose to perceive, and we don't (most of the time!) choose to judge but ultimately we unconsciously do so regardless. I could labour over work assignments for days on end, but it wouldn't be something that I would be consciously wanting to do. Thinking/feeling, and intuition/sensing seem to have similar characteristics.
    If you look at it from a cognitive function standpoint, "choosing to be extroverted" is merely concentrating on your extroverted functions. Depending on your type, your stronger extroverted function could be either judging or perceiving, and then thinking/feeling or sensing/intuition. In this sense, concentrating on the outside world is concentrating on some function that is characteristically S/N or T/F.

    If you look at it from the standpoint of the "classical" definition of social extroversion/introversion.. well, I don't think that it "belongs" with S/N, T/F, and J/P, either. With it included, MBTI becomes a "measure of one's preferences in how they perceive and deal with information, and also how social they are." I mean.. really?

  4. #4
    Shaman BlackCat's Avatar
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    E/I matters a LOT. It changes people a lot as well, depending on what they are. Plus, it's a biological thing, you can't really change it.
    () 9w8-3w4-7w6 tritype.

    sCueI (primary Inquisition)

  5. #5
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    To speak the truth on my end, I've grown to take the word "preferences" to mean an initial response in very early childhood will genetics already decided, and then a longer change in life sequence. I think what "preferences" means is that we chose those four dichotomies, but other than that we don't have much of a choice as to these behaviors, like thinking judging etc. The other four preferences, for most people of a regular type, are just too uncomfortable. And I think that is because the idea of personality goes far enough to estimate those differences between us, and a lot of those things we won't quite change simply because we have automatic responses to who we are (and these change on a very lengthy basis). To chose otherwise would be to go against ourselves, and we can do that if it's really worth it. I mean, people do change.

    Consider this chart:



    Say this line represents Intuition, and it is very high up. There is more chart below it. For some people, this is their inuition level over their life. It fluctuates minimally over time, up and down. What it doesn't show too well is, usually the lines will get either lower and lower, or higher and higher up, and we are changing that way. It takes a while though.

    Consider an average of numbers:

    38
    33
    36
    41
    43
    37
    35
    46

    The average will change once we add more numbers to it, and we'll keep getting numbers, like how we gain knowledge over our lives. There will eventually be a noticeable difference in the average amount before us and the of the current. Say there were 100,000 numbers there, like a genetic code and representative of the basics learned at childhood. If we get only 1 or 2 thousand new numbers a year, the change will seem very minimal, but the number can be slightly larger in value or lower in value to our liking, each time. This is where growth takes place, and we start to notice a difference in the average eventually, and we come off differently, like an extremely introverted girl who becomes an extroverted mom of 5 children. So seeking new behavior takes a while to come into affect, and in order to change, you have to truly understand that change.

  6. #6
    Was E.laur Laurie's Avatar
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    Maybe you are more middle ground than some other people so that seems normal to you. I'm extremely extroverted, it's not that I'm awesome socially, I just really need people. I have an extremely introverted friend (INFP) who likes to call extroverts vampires because we suck our energy from other people. Neither of us can change our basic build. On the other hand, I do know people who are more between the two.

    My sister's husband is very middle ground E/I - I can see where he would think it could be manipulated. People who are middle ground with J/P might feel the same way about it that you feel about E/I.

  7. #7
    Let's make this showy! raz's Avatar
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    E/I is biological...

    You can't change how your body gains and regains energy. Yes, you can make the conscious choice to force yourself into more introversion or extraversion than you want either intentionally or just by life dictating its needs from you. I can't help the fact that I reflect a lot more than I act. I had an exchange with someone close to me last night that lasted 10 minutes, and I spent 2 hours dissecting it in my head afterward.

    Saying that S/N, T/F, J/P are more ingrained than E/I is an infantile notion. The former can fluctuate much more depending on our situation. E/I will always stay the same because it has biological foundations. Read some introvert books or look at some studies.


  8. #8
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    One of my best friends is ISFP. He is literally 50/50 E/I. I have known him for 20 years, but did not know his MBTI type until a few months ago. Knowing his E/I ratio, it now makes sense to me that over the years, there have been periods where he and I were ravaging our hometown during our maniacal youthful antics, and then there have been periods of time where he was around not so much, and kind of into his own space.

    I think if you are really at the distal end of the E/I spectrum, it is not a choice for you, but if you truly are more toward the middle, then you could bery easily oscillate between the two, either by subliminal impetus or maybe even conscious choice.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elaur View Post
    Maybe you are more middle ground than some other people so that seems normal to you. I'm extremely extroverted, it's not that I'm awesome socially, I just really need people. I have an extremely introverted friend (INFP) who likes to call extroverts vampires because we suck our energy from other people. Neither of us can change our basic build. On the other hand, I do know people who are more between the two.

    My sister's husband is very middle ground E/I - I can see where he would think it could be manipulated. People who are middle ground with J/P might feel the same way about it that you feel about E/I.
    This certainly is a common phenomenon.. good point

  10. #10
    Senior Member Snowey1210's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    Can it be that E/I does not make much sense to you because you are E ?

    Just a thought.
    Valid point, but I was under the impression that Extraversion/Introversion fluctuates regardless of who we are. An Extrovert still draws upon introverted functions at times and visa versa. I'm quite sure I've experienced introverted thinking before.

    Quote Originally Posted by raz
    E/I is biological...

    You can't change how your body gains and regains energy. Yes, you can make the conscious choice to force yourself into more introversion or extraversion than you want either intentionally or just by life dictating its needs from you. I can't help the fact that I reflect a lot more than I act. I had an exchange with someone close to me last night that lasted 10 minutes, and I spent 2 hours dissecting it in my head afterward.
    I disagree with this, yes I believe that E/I is subject to baseline biological starting point, however you can change how your body gains and regains energy over time. Any behaviour whether it be skiing, talking, memorisation, or self-concept can be developed through educative experiences. If for instance I practice memorising objects for long and hard enough, I will eventually develop a skill for doing this by the construction of new neural pathways in the brain. Extraversion/Introversion I believe is developed similarly. I may be born an introvert, but if however I choose to think in an extroverted manner for a great period of time I will eventually develop the capacity, and even inclination to consider it as part of who I am.

    Quote Originally Posted by raz
    Saying that S/N, T/F, J/P are more ingrained than E/I is an infantile notion. The former can fluctuate much more depending on our situation. E/I will always stay the same because it has biological foundations. Read some introvert books or look at some studies.
    There is a great book out about this phenomena titled "The brain that changes itself", that discusses neuroplasticity with regards to how we think. It suggests that the brain itself is malleable, and as such the choices we make determine what we are. Perhaps I'm naively optimistic about the application of the notion of "free-will" ultimately determining our personality traits, however I do believe that this must be instrumental in some facet of who we are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mercy
    So seeking new behavior takes a while to come into affect, and in order to change, you have to truly understand that change.
    Excellent point, I was just curious where do your thoughts like in regards to it being a conscious choice?
    Good Dog Nigel

    Arf, arf, he goes, a merry sight,
    Our little hairy friend,
    Arf, arf, upon the lampost bright
    Arfing round the bend.
    Nice dog! Goo boy,
    Waggie tail and beg,
    Clever Nigel, jump for joy
    Because we're putting you to sleep at three of the clock, Nigel. -John Lennon

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