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  1. #1
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Default Meta MBTI thread: Things to Consider

    There's several things which I'd like to address in a thread, figuring all of them to be linked and best considered as a whole I'm going to put them all in one thread. Feel free to respond to however much of the subject/s as you like.

    #1 Dynamic type.
    I've read this term in many books on the MBTI and though I'm not fully certain I understand it I think it's core to understanding the MBTI itself.

    What does 'Dynamic Type' mean to you?
    Does anyone have a full grasp of this concept yet? (I'd appreciate the insight)

    #2 Function order.
    There seems to be a lot of debate going on about this and the relative use of functions in typing. Personally I think it's linked to #1 in that precise function order is useful but it's going to flex with context.

    I think that's why they only list four functions. The others are presumably more prone to shifting with context and are therefore too fluid in their priority to list with any certainty.

    #3 Subconscious influences.
    Not sure if it's just me but could it not be said that the subconscious defines type as much if not more so than the conscious mind?

    Aren't ENTJs equally noticeable by how they respond in a submissive manner to certain things as they are noticed for their commanding presence?

    Should more attention be paid to these undercurrents?

    #4 Correct typing methodology.
    To my mind there should be some agreement of how to type people without recourse to tests and yet it seems that everyone has their own take on how to do it.

    From recent readings I'm thinking that the most effective method is to type in pairs NT, SP and so forth. So typing someone as an NT and then looking to see if they are E or I and by considering EJ vs IJ and EP vs IP and so forth.

    I'm not certain if this is the "official" technique but I'm beginning to think it is.

    Neatly linking into this is the idea of type "snapshots". Those little pieces of a types tendencies which we recall like stereotypes. Should these be used? Are they part of a healthy approach to typing (although a shortcut) or do they merely propagate poor typing and poor understanding of types?
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Chris_in_Orbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    Neatly linking into this is the idea of type "snapshots". Those little pieces of a types tendencies which we recall like stereotypes. Should these be used? Are they part of a healthy approach to typing (although a shortcut) or do they merely propagate poor typing and poor understanding of types?
    I'll respond to this one since it relies on my opinion and not specific knowledge that I don't have

    Stereotyping is nice to some extent but a lot of times I think it hinders basic understanding of types and MBTI in general. We all know that no two people are alike (even if they are the same type) Yet we are constantly using MBTI to judge people...and yes a lot of us on this website are guilty of that.

    ESTJs are bossy and impossible to get along with, of course most people will add the "for the most part" at the end of this so it doesn't seem like they are stereotyping...they still are.

    Because of stereotyping and, even worse, using the best examples of a type, we end up with a less than perfect image of what any type is. If I'm supposed to be like mother Theresa or Princess Diana then I am quite obviously not an INFP.. or saying Jesus was an INFJ; that alone could cause someone who is highly religious and an INFJ an impossible image to live up to.

    I think it would be interesting to see what the descriptions would be like without the stereotypes...

  3. #3
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_Orbit View Post
    I'll respond to this one since it relies on my opinion and not specific knowledge that I don't have

    Stereotyping is nice to some extent but a lot of times I think it hinders basic understanding of types and MBTI in general. We all know that no two people are alike (even if they are the same type) Yet we are constantly using MBTI to judge people...and yes a lot of us on this website are guilty of that.

    ESTJs are bossy and impossible to get along with, of course most people will add the "for the most part" at the end of this so it doesn't seem like they are stereotyping...they still are.

    Because of stereotyping and, even worse, using the best examples of a type, we end up with a less than perfect image of what any type is. If I'm supposed to be like mother Theresa or Princess Diana then I am quite obviously not an INFP.. or saying Jesus was an INFJ; that alone could cause someone who is highly religious and an INFJ an impossible image to live up to.

    I think it would be interesting to see what the descriptions would be like without the stereotypes...
    I think this broaches into a question of how much is enough. Without any stereotypes you cannot have definition by the very nature of what you're dealing with. Without recourse to any assumptions you are left only with "This is Jim. He's a person".

    I think the interesting part of the stereotypes is how they are formed. In essence each is a shorthand note of the shorthand which is the MBTI system. Sure you're an INFP but to reduce that into the typical attributes most common to INFPs and say you are that is another step.

    I do value the stereotypes personally because they are a lot easier to hold in your head originally and can form your initial hypothesis about a person. I could assume that you are like my friend Chris who's an INFP but I'd no doubt be wrong to some degree or another. However the comparison of you with my friend Chris would then form my understanding of you. Without comparison most people are lost to actually form and understanding of something and without the stereotypes you are asking a lot for people to compare two individuals.

    I would concede that stereotypes can lead people to assume that the type is it's stereotype but is that actually damning enough to say that the whole thing would be better off without the stereotypes or is it more a case of re-educating those who don't use them correctly with the understanding that the stereotype is a concentrated note of the type as a whole?
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Chris_in_Orbit's Avatar
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    You make good points. I think that INFP, to me, is much less than its stereotypes. INFP is Fi with Ne... but what does that mean? I guess that is why its so much easier to use stereotypes, especially for people who know nothing about MBTI in the first place.

    You value stereotypes, I'm glad that you can admit that. I think that all human beings -need- stereotypes to an extent. Its impossible to understand the world without them (and I use "understanding" arbitrarily.) Then again, is it impossible to understand the world without stereotypes? I guess it is possible but the effort of viewing every single piece of something with an empty slate is inefficient.

    I know that I use stereotypes and I know it is impossible to expect someone not to use them. I forgive people who use stereotypes as long as they are willing to keep an open mind. Someone may have a preconceived notion about a subject. For instance you say you have Jim and this person is an INTP. You decide in your mind upon typing Jim that he must be reclusive, incapable of showing emotions and probably very smart. If Jim contradicts any of those things the right approach would be to say "oh, this is interesting, maybe I was wrong in assuming all INTPs are alike." As opposed to saying "he must not be an INTP.. at least not a typical one."

    I almost feel like MBTI is a roadblock to understanding a person when it is used incorrectly....which is unfortunate because it was created to be used as a tool for better understanding.

    I will say that the stereotypes aren't so bad to the point that they need to be completly wiped from descriptions altogether, though I would like to see how it would look without them. You are probably correct in saying the problem can be remedied by re-educating those people who misuse it. But, Xander, I am curious as to how you would go about doing such a thing.

  5. #5
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_Orbit View Post
    ...
    For instance you say you have Jim and this person is an INTP. You decide in your mind upon typing Jim that he must be reclusive, incapable of showing emotions and probably very smart. If Jim contradicts any of those things the right approach would be to say "oh, this is interesting, maybe I was wrong in assuming all INTPs are alike." As opposed to saying "he must not be an INTP.. at least not a typical one."
    If that happened to me, I would question whether I had evaluated his type correctly, and I would also adjust my stereotype if it turned Jim was indeed an INTP.

    I almost feel like MBTI is a roadblock to understanding a person when it is used incorrectly....which is unfortunate because it was created to be used as a tool for better understanding.
    ...
    I agree. For a person such as myself who grew up socially inept, MBTT is a valuable tool that gives me a basic foundation to work from when getting to know people and attempting to get along with them and avoid conflict.
    I put everything in boxes. My pictures, my papers, my letters, my jewelry, etc. I love boxes. The more I sort things apart from each other, the more organized I feel. I know some people hate being put into boxes; I don't like being put into a box either! So I am careful to make sure my "people boxes" are not too rigid.

    The MBTI types provide just enough definition to help me not feel like an inept fool.
    I usually feel quite satisfied with just knowing someone is a J or an S or what-have-you. I don't try to over-define people.
    I use MBTT as a helpful guide while I am getting to know a person.

    For people I know well, like my own family members, then I am more confident in saying I know their type.

  6. #6
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    #1 Dynamic type.
    I've read this term in many books on the MBTI and though I'm not fully certain I understand it I think it's core to understanding the MBTI itself.

    What does 'Dynamic Type' mean to you?
    Does anyone have a full grasp of this concept yet? (I'd appreciate the insight)

    #2 Function order.
    There seems to be a lot of debate going on about this and the relative use of functions in typing. Personally I think it's linked to #1 in that precise function order is useful but it's going to flex with context.

    I think that's why they only list four functions. The others are presumably more prone to shifting with context and are therefore too fluid in their priority to list with any certainty.
    I'm going to put these two together because, the way I see it, people aren't of a specific type. They're just slotted into types so it make it easier for us to categorize their motives and behaviors.

    An analogy is the rainbow. The visible spectrum contains a continuous range of wavelength from 400 - 700nm. But we say the rainbow has 7 colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Why? To make it easier for us to describe them. Same goes for MBTI types.

    Existence of functions and function ordering... I think there's indications that cognitive functions exists and that everybody can and does use all 8. We do have preferences though and that leads to function ordering. I think it's safe to say that our dominant (1') and auxiliary (2') functions are first to develop and thus we can categorize people based on those two... which typology tries to do. After that, I doubt people develop the other functions in the same order. The so-call complete functional ordering, Berens' theories etc is a load of bulls. Just take a look at people's cognitive functions testing results and you'll see that there is no patterns beyond the 1st two functions.

    Point two, similar to the dynamic type idea... what we develop is use dependent. Throw ourselves in a theoretical environment, Ti and Te is more likely be to developed than say Fi or Fe. Our minds are also adaptive to environmental changes. We have a tendency to use pre-existing principles when responding to new stimuli... but these principles can be overridden by experience, which we obtain by immersion in a specific sort of environment.

    I see myself as a good example of this. I was first typed INFJ... now I'm closer to INTJ. Is it an environment induced change from F to T or is it the environment that leads to unmasking of my "actual" type? Not sure.

    #3 Subconscious influences.
    Not sure if it's just me but could it not be said that the subconscious defines type as much if not more so than the conscious mind?

    Aren't ENTJs equally noticeable by how they respond in a submissive manner to certain things as they are noticed for their commanding presence?

    Should more attention be paid to these undercurrents?
    Yes, type has as much to do with unconscious/subconscious tendencies as our deliberate actions. Unfortunately whenever you deal with the unconscious... evaluation becomes a great deal more difficult. You can't exactly ask people directly what's on their unconscious minds. Perhaps this is why people focus more on the conscious. Although the subconscious should be equally telling.

    #4 Correct typing methodology.
    To my mind there should be some agreement of how to type people without recourse to tests and yet it seems that everyone has their own take on how to do it.

    From recent readings I'm thinking that the most effective method is to type in pairs NT, SP and so forth. So typing someone as an NT and then looking to see if they are E or I and by considering EJ vs IJ and EP vs IP and so forth.

    I'm not certain if this is the "official" technique but I'm beginning to think it is.

    Neatly linking into this is the idea of type "snapshots". Those little pieces of a types tendencies which we recall like stereotypes. Should these be used? Are they part of a healthy approach to typing (although a shortcut) or do they merely propagate poor typing and poor understanding of types?
    Short of doing a proper study and testing the effectiveness of individual methods, I don't think this question can be answered. My suspicions is everybody is typing by comparing the person to some sort of mental pattern. Of cause, the type of pattern we have will be type dependent. An Si dominant will probably recall more details relating to specific mannerism, and quarks about different types more so than an Ni dominant individual. Clearly to ask an Ni dominant to use the Si method isn't going to work since they don't have the necessary details stored in their memories.

    My rambling two cents that doesn't help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_Orbit View Post
    I almost feel like MBTI is a roadblock to understanding a person when it is used incorrectly....which is unfortunate because it was created to be used as a tool for better understanding.

    I will say that the stereotypes aren't so bad to the point that they need to be completly wiped from descriptions altogether, though I would like to see how it would look without them. You are probably correct in saying the problem can be remedied by re-educating those people who misuse it.
    Agreed fully with your comments. Sometimes I think MBTI is more of a hinder than a gift because of this.

  7. #7
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    #4 Correct typing methodology.
    To my mind there should be some agreement of how to type people without recourse to tests and yet it seems that everyone has their own take on how to do it.

    From recent readings I'm thinking that the most effective method is to type in pairs NT, SP and so forth. So typing someone as an NT and then looking to see if they are E or I and by considering EJ vs IJ and EP vs IP and so forth.

    I'm not certain if this is the "official" technique but I'm beginning to think it is.

    Neatly linking into this is the idea of type "snapshots". Those little pieces of a types tendencies which we recall like stereotypes. Should these be used? Are they part of a healthy approach to typing (although a shortcut) or do they merely propagate poor typing and poor understanding of types?
    This reflects how the "Temperament" contingency among type experts do it. Many, many others start with trying to identify the dominant function, what seems to be the person's motivation. Still others start with function pairs-ST, SF, NF, NT--and some of them think that's as close as you can get while avoiding too much bias.

    Because the preferences are subgrouped in different ways for different purposes, I'm not sure there can be a universal method, nice as it might be. I suspect that people gain agility working with the method that is most apropo to the ways in which they use type. I for example use S and N so much with educators that I think I am very good at spotting those differences in constructive ways.
    Last edited by edcoaching; 11-05-2008 at 04:07 PM. Reason: Only wanted to quote part of xander...
    edcoaching

  8. #8
    Senior Member mlittrell's Avatar
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    #1 im going to ignore

    #2 functions. personally, function orientation is the most important part of functions in general. without orientation they are pointless and have no power. a quick and dirty example of this is an ENFJ and an ENTP. an ENFJ uses Fe significantly different then an ENTP does, hopefully that is an obvious fact and it doesn't need to be explained. i will debate this point to the death if need be haha.

    #3 the subconscious is quite important and not in ways that we notice immediately. they (if you are talking functionally) are subconscious and tend to manifest themselves in a very off hand way and can almost seem childish at times. now if your just talking about subconscious cognitive processes NOT as defined by MBTI it is still the same. it is something that isn't easily accessable but does manifest itself in ways that you may not even notice. i would go into this more but im running on extremely low sleep.

    #4 i type by the temperaments. end of story. if someone else type by functions and gets the same type then great. if someone else types by some other random method, great. as long as we are typing right there is no right or wrong way to type. though i think whoever is being typed should read a few profiles of possible types and decide for themselves. they know quite a bit better than anyone else
    "Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress. "

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  9. #9
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_Orbit View Post
    You make good points. I think that INFP, to me, is much less than its stereotypes. INFP is Fi with Ne... but what does that mean? I guess that is why its so much easier to use stereotypes, especially for people who know nothing about MBTI in the first place.
    The type means much more than the pure functions infer but the person means a lot more than just the type. Though one is descriptive of the other, one is not the other. An apple is green, green is not apple.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_Orbit View Post
    You value stereotypes, I'm glad that you can admit that. I think that all human beings -need- stereotypes to an extent. Its impossible to understand the world without them (and I use "understanding" arbitrarily.) Then again, is it impossible to understand the world without stereotypes? I guess it is possible but the effort of viewing every single piece of something with an empty slate is inefficient.
    To see everything objectively you would have to be nothing.
    I was wrong in assuming all INTPs are alike." As opposed to saying "he must not be an INTP.. at least not a typical one." [/quote]
    That's the entire point behind one of the quotes in my signature. The base MBTI book states that "All ENFPs are like all other ENFPs, like some other ENFPs, like no other ENFP".
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_Orbit View Post
    I almost feel like MBTI is a roadblock to understanding a person when it is used incorrectly....which is unfortunate because it was created to be used as a tool for better understanding.
    Could this not be said for the misunderstanding of all things? Religion when used correctly and understood fully is a boon to society but when used poorly it is a bane the same as a gun.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_Orbit View Post
    I will say that the stereotypes aren't so bad to the point that they need to be completly wiped from descriptions altogether, though I would like to see how it would look without them. You are probably correct in saying the problem can be remedied by re-educating those people who misuse it. But, Xander, I am curious as to how you would go about doing such a thing.
    I was trained well by my ENTJ father. You wait until you can bear it no longer and then simply state "I'm sorry but you're going to have to die" and then carry it though. It's kind of evolved natural selection in practice
    Quote Originally Posted by INTJMom View Post
    If that happened to me, I would question whether I had evaluated his type correctly, and I would also adjust my stereotype if it turned Jim was indeed an INTP.
    It has been said that a wise man knows that he knows nothing. I think you get that.
    Quote Originally Posted by INTJMom View Post
    So I am careful to make sure my "people boxes" are not too rigid.
    I think that this is key to good use of the MBTI. The boxes are more rigid than the individual being typed. If they weren't then you would be reduced to just saying "This is Jim, he's a person".
    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    I'm going to put these two together because, the way I see it, people aren't of a specific type. They're just slotted into types so it make it easier for us to categorize their motives and behaviors.
    I'm beginning to think that this is what is meant by "dynamic type". Perhaps it's supposed to infer that although you may be an ESFJ you are not always an ESFJ in effect, not purely. It is only saying that if you were to take the average then you are an ESFJ and that this colours most of what you do.
    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    An analogy is the rainbow. The visible spectrum contains a continuous range of wavelength from 400 - 700nm. But we say the rainbow has 7 colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Why? To make it easier for us to describe them. Same goes for MBTI types.
    That is an excellent example. I'll send that one along to my father for consideration in his book if you don't mind.
    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Existence of functions and function ordering... I think there's indications that cognitive functions exists and that everybody can and does use all 8. We do have preferences though and that leads to function ordering. I think it's safe to say that our dominant (1') and auxiliary (2') functions are first to develop and thus we can categorize people based on those two... which typology tries to do. After that, I doubt people develop the other functions in the same order. The so-call complete functional ordering, Berens' theories etc is a load of bulls. Just take a look at people's cognitive functions testing results and you'll see that there is no patterns beyond the 1st two functions.
    Two things, aside from that I've never read Berens' theories. I think that the dominant functions are those we find easiest to work with. Just like the handedness example in mainstream MBTI literature. So yeah perhaps it is the first one we pick up, without studying a child under a microscope to see when they develop a left or right hand preference I'm thinking that you're probably right.

    The second thing is in reference to function order. I think that you type only displays what your original preference order would be if you were a classic example of the type (probably an example that is purely theoretical in nature). The actual results shown by people will include what development they have gone through, their experiences and influences. That's why they don't really correlate neatly.
    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Point two, similar to the dynamic type idea... what we develop is use dependent. Throw ourselves in a theoretical environment, Ti and Te is more likely be to developed than say Fi or Fe. Our minds are also adaptive to environmental changes. We have a tendency to use pre-existing principles when responding to new stimuli... but these principles can be overridden by experience, which we obtain by immersion in a specific sort of environment.
    Precisely. Hence no INTP is the same INTP after they have been exposed to exterior influences.

    Hmmm... fancy doing a Schrodinger's cat example with types?
    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    I see myself as a good example of this. I was first typed INFJ... now I'm closer to INTJ. Is it an environment induced change from F to T or is it the environment that leads to unmasking of my "actual" type? Not sure.
    Well that's the thing isn't it. What we are is most often not what we were and the MBTI, as far as I understand it, is based more on what we were than what we are. It just helps us understand what we are by offering general predictions of patterns in our thinking.
    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Yes, type has as much to do with unconscious/subconscious tendencies as our deliberate actions. Unfortunately whenever you deal with the unconscious... evaluation becomes a great deal more difficult. You can't exactly ask people directly what's on their unconscious minds. Perhaps this is why people focus more on the conscious. Although the subconscious should be equally telling.
    I think this is why I love those bits which tell you what the pitfalls are of a certain type as they tend to be more revealing about the persons subconscious.
    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Short of doing a proper study and testing the effectiveness of individual methods, I don't think this question can be answered. My suspicions is everybody is typing by comparing the person to some sort of mental pattern. Of cause, the type of pattern we have will be type dependent. An Si dominant will probably recall more details relating to specific mannerism, and quarks about different types more so than an Ni dominant individual. Clearly to ask an Ni dominant to use the Si method isn't going to work since they don't have the necessary details stored in their memories.

    My rambling two cents that doesn't help.
    It's your method and you can cry if you want to

    Seems logical enough to me though.
    Quote Originally Posted by edcoaching View Post
    This reflects how the "Temperament" contingency among type experts do it. Many, many others start with trying to identify the dominant function, what seems to be the person's motivation. Still others start with function pairs-ST, SF, NF, NT--and some of them think that's as close as you can get while avoiding too much bias.

    Because the preferences are subgrouped in different ways for different purposes, I'm not sure there can be a universal method, nice as it might be. I suspect that people gain agility working with the method that is most apropo to the ways in which they use type. I for example use S and N so much with educators that I think I am very good at spotting those differences in constructive ways.
    Perhaps then it show be taught as various approaches each shown to be a tool with relative strengths and weaknesses so that the user of the tools can select which tool is best applicable to the task at hand?

    There does seem to be more literature available on what the types are, what it means and what it predicts than there is on how you should go about typing people. It seems that the current game of snap which most people engage in isn't as reliable as it perhaps should be.
    Quote Originally Posted by mlittrell View Post
    #1 im going to ignore

    #2 functions. personally, function orientation is the most important part of functions in general. without orientation they are pointless and have no power. a quick and dirty example of this is an ENFJ and an ENTP. an ENFJ uses Fe significantly different then an ENTP does, hopefully that is an obvious fact and it doesn't need to be explained. i will debate this point to the death if need be haha.
    This is why I was hoping that function "users" would respond to #1 though. If you are observing a person in a less than ideal (for them) environment then the function usage will be slanted in favour of whatever they are using at that point in time.
    Quote Originally Posted by mlittrell View Post
    #3 the subconscious is quite important and not in ways that we notice immediately. they (if you are talking functionally) are subconscious and tend to manifest themselves in a very off hand way and can almost seem childish at times. now if your just talking about subconscious cognitive processes NOT as defined by MBTI it is still the same. it is something that isn't easily accessable but does manifest itself in ways that you may not even notice. i would go into this more but im running on extremely low sleep.
    So are you talking MBTI subconscious functions (ie the tertiary and inferior) or something else here? You've switched between MBTI and something undeclared.. either that or I'm confusing myself.
    Quote Originally Posted by mlittrell View Post
    #4 i type by the temperaments. end of story. if someone else type by functions and gets the same type then great. if someone else types by some other random method, great. as long as we are typing right there is no right or wrong way to type. though i think whoever is being typed should read a few profiles of possible types and decide for themselves. they know quite a bit better than anyone else
    That was one surprise I found whilst reading through the MBTI books. It states that the primary authority on a person's type is the person themselves. That seems to be kinda asking for trouble from an organisation that makes ends meet with computer readable tests and such.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  10. #10
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    That was one surprise I found whilst reading through the MBTI books. It states that the primary authority on a person's type is the person themselves. That seems to be kinda asking for trouble from an organisation that makes ends meet with computer readable tests and such.
    That's actually the official "doctrine," even in the MBTI manual. Proper interpretation includes (in this order)

    Person hears a description of the theory and self-selects preferences
    Person is given MBTI results
    Facilitator helps person interpret results and determine best-fit type wherever reported (MBTI) and self-selected type doesn't match
    Person reads full type description and discusses whether it fits them

    There are books/manuals out there for how to use the various lenses but not much on the internet.
    edcoaching

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