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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Default Are MBTI types generational?

    Just an idea I was playing around with that I thought I'd open up to the board:

    OK, I'm going to ask this question in two parts - the first is just sort of the backdrop for question 2 and is based on the defining (or at least stereotypical) characteristics of different generations in recent U.S. history; the second is based on the relative importance of the functions in a changing world.

    1. Hard to tell if these are accurate, or just the lasting impressions created by the media. Most likely, a bit of both. Generational quirks are probably magnified in pop culture (not everyone in the 20s was a flapper, not everyone in the 60s was a hippie...), but magnified or not, the quirks existed.

    The generation that came of age in the '30s and '40s ("The Greatest Generation") seems to be quintessential SJs. This is the duty generation.

    The '50s into the early '60s still had some residual SJness, but this also seems like an NT decade. Technological advances exploded, Ayn Rand was writing about the "New Man," and there was a lot of optimism regarding the future.

    The later '60s and '70s saw the generation gap between the SJs from The Greatest Generation and their more hedonistic, less duty-bound SP children. The New Age and hippie movement had a very NF feel to them.

    The '80s strike me as very SPish. Wheeler dealers on Wall Street, pop music on the radio, bright colors were in style.

    The '90s had the obvious NT technological boom, but kept a bit of SP style as well (remember the foosball tables in dot com offices trend?) On television, family shows were decidedly out of style, and shows about groups of friends lounging around were all over TV. Most seemed to combine the introspective self-awareness of the NF temperament (think Dawson's Creek) with the aimlessness of SPs.

    Anyway, I think it's too soon to type the current decade, but you get the general idea.

    2. Do generational realities actually change the percentages of of MBTI types - sort of an evolutionary process regarding type? Certain functions get more practice, children are raised in a world with different needs, etc...

    If so - two more questions: first, given the world we live in (technologically, globally, economically...) which types would likely become more numerous, and which types would we likely see less of? Second, think that would be evolutionary or cyclical?

  2. #2
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    Maybe the question should be something like: "How different types get media attention". I don't believe that any of the tags given to generations tell much about them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Grace's Avatar
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    I was actually just thinking about this. For instance, if you had to type each generation, what would you type it? I don't know if this should be a different thread or not, but I defintely agree with a lot of what you were saying. I also think nolla had a point about a lot of it being what the media covered in a given decade. But, if I had to type certain decades, a few come to mind.

    1950s: ISFJ
    1960s: Maybe ENFP. I think NF because if I had to generalize hippies and such I would say they would be idealists. Although I do understand how you could get SP as well. Maybe ISFP.

    I don't know, maybe I should start a new thread? I'm not trying to digress from your original post, so I apologize if that's what I'm doing.


    As far as your second question, I think perhaps you could look up information to see if there have been any shifts in percentages of certain types since MBTI was first introduced. That would be an interesting thing if it actually did occur.

  4. #4
    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    It's funny applying one vague generalisation on to another vague generalisation.
    Act your age not your enneagram number.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Grace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinlan View Post
    It's funny applying one vague generalisation on to another vague generalisation.
    That's what we love to do here!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinlan View Post
    It's funny applying one vague generalisation on to another vague generalisation.
    Well, that's what we call science!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Well, in fairness, I did say that a lot of the generational stereotypes are media creations. I still don't buy that they're entirely fictional though. Same as when people talk about "the good 'ol days..." Even though the 'good ol' days' aren't as ideal as they likely remember, it also doesn't make sense to dismiss that nostalgia as hallucination. I think there is some truth to the memory.

    There's a book called Generations (full disclosure - I haven't read the book, just read about it) that basically suggests that generations flip back and forth between the Duty generation and the Freedom generation - eg the generation that came of age at the turn of the 20th century and again in the 40s were Duty generations, those who came of age in the 20s and the 60s were Freedom generations [There's a lot more to it, but that's one of the theories].

    Anyway, I was thinking about it, and it seems that we've had 3 consecutive Freedom generations (those who came of age in the '60s, the '80s and today), and haven't had a Duty generation for quite a while.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grace View Post
    I was actually just thinking about this. For instance, if you had to type each generation, what would you type it? I don't know if this should be a different thread or not, but I defintely agree with a lot of what you were saying. I also think nolla had a point about a lot of it being what the media covered in a given decade. But, if I had to type certain decades, a few come to mind.

    1950s: ISFJ
    1960s: Maybe ENFP. I think NF because if I had to generalize hippies and such I would say they would be idealists. Although I do understand how you could get SP as well. Maybe ISFP.

    I don't know, maybe I should start a new thread? I'm not trying to digress from your original post, so I apologize if that's what I'm doing.


    As far as your second question, I think perhaps you could look up information to see if there have been any shifts in percentages of certain types since MBTI was first introduced. That would be an interesting thing if it actually did occur.
    You're not digressing at all - it's an interesting thought.
    I don't know of any way to look up shifts in percentage type (especially since even the current ones seem so far off the mark and rarely even in agreement with each other), but it would make sense that it occurred. Lots of other basics have changed (average height, average IQ...) between generations.

  9. #9
    Badoom~ Skyward's Avatar
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    Seems to me that it's almost random. Many people here are Ns who are in an all Sensor family, while I have two NF parents (Both INFJ) and my sister is an INFP. My brother is the black sheep and an ES-something, but I wont rule out him being an N. I know him too well to be sure of his type.

    Maybe it's that certain types get more focus during different generations. Post WW2 (50s) it was a very 'cul-de-sac and neighborhood homeliness, and apple pie on the sill.' and the 60s were a rebellious decade when all the heavy music started cropping up (When people started adding more distortion onto their guitar in a band). The 80s might be ESTP? I didnt live them so I wouldn't know. I just think of bands like Motley Crue and Guns N Roses when I think of the 80s.

    The 70s might have been more INFP.

    Just my thoughts in typed form, take it or leave it.
    Last edited by Skyward; 11-13-2009 at 03:06 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    There's a book called Generations (full disclosure - I haven't read the book, just read about it) that basically suggests that generations flip back and forth between the Duty generation and the Freedom generation - eg the generation that came of age at the turn of the 20th century and again in the 40s were Duty generations, those who came of age in the 20s and the 60s were Freedom generations [There's a lot more to it, but that's one of the theories].
    The duty generation was during and after the war. This is when there was a big mission for the people. It was same here in Finland, the land had to be rebuild and the people united to make this happen (but this was after the second WW). That kind of generation is not media hype, I'm pretty sure. But I think the other kind of generations are. Because, they don't have anything important to do. Fighting a WW and building a country is pretty damn important. The other reason for this to really be the time that really corresponds with it's image is because the SJs are the heroes of this time. The hero is from the majority. In other times the media heroes don't correspond with the majority, as the majority is always SJs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    Anyway, I was thinking about it, and it seems that we've had 3 consecutive Freedom generations (those who came of age in the '60s, the '80s and today), and haven't had a Duty generation for quite a while.
    Yeah, that is because there is no big mission. Well, now there is going to be. Once the people see as their duty to save the planet, we'll have a long row of duty generations. That is btw an NF-inspired SJ-generation. The idea of saving the planet comes from NF but who is going to make it happen.

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