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  1. #1
    Senior Member developer's Avatar
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    Default N: what are we actually speaking about ?

    Here's something that has puzzled me since I got introduced to MBTI many years ago: when we speak about N, it seems to me that we are mixing together two very distinct aspects of personality: One aspect is that of abstract, conceptual thinking; the other one is that of creativity and innovation.

    Now, I am very well aware that there is data showing correlations between these two aspects, but I still feel they are not the same. In fact, when you deal with people at Executive level, you will meet many people (male and female) who are highly intelligent, abstract, long range conceptual thinkers, but who at the same time show no sign of creativity or innovation. There are so many of these in senior industry positions that they come across at a very distinct type. Yet, I am at a total loss to tell you whether one should type them as Ns (for their astract, long range thinking) or Ss (for their lack of creativity and innovation).

    Can you help me out here ? Any thoughts are higly appreciated !

  2. #2
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I think Intuition is more related to abstract thinking than creativity. I'm very abstract and planning in my approach, but I'm not very creative. Almost everything I do will be based on an idea I've studied or opinion I hold. I was so lacking in creativity that when I was seven, I used to draw large grid-like structures with a single vertical line in each box, or occasionally even letters or other symbols. I never thought to draw anything that wasn't some kind of structure.

    Although now I can be reasonably creative if I need to be.

  3. #3
    Senior Member developer's Avatar
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    Thank you for your thoughts! So, you would type these people I was speaking about as Ns (which would make most of them ENTJs or INTJs) ?

  4. #4
    Wannabe genius Splittet's Avatar
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    Let's not forget there are two types of intuition: introverted and extroverted. Ne usually seems more creative and innovative than Ni. Überfuhrer even suggested both Ne and Se are more creative functions than Ni. The people you talked about sounded like Js, so if they were Ns, they would have Ni. That might explain the lack of apparent creativity. I would be very sceptical of a person being NP, having Ne, if the person wasn’t somewhat creative though.

  5. #5
    Senior Member developer's Avatar
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    I absolutely agree that the people I am speaking about are Js. Your thought would confirm my impression that one needs to see NJs as prestty distinct from NPs, in a similar fashion to SJs and SPs.

  6. #6
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    Abstract thinking and creativity are almost synonymous in the traditional sense. Imagination is abstract thinking. If we're being PC, then we have to say that all types are creative in their own ways, but that's just sugarcoating everything.

    S creativity is more about accidentally finding a new way of doing things because it's more efficient. Ns actively seek to be innovative and do things their own way.

  7. #7
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by developer View Post
    Here's something that has puzzled me since I got introduced to MBTI many years ago: when we speak about N, it seems to me that we are mixing together two very distinct aspects of personality: One aspect is that of abstract, conceptual thinking; the other one is that of creativity and innovation.

    Now, I am very well aware that there is data showing correlations between these two aspects, but I still feel they are not the same. In fact, when you deal with people at Executive level, you will meet many people (male and female) who are highly intelligent, abstract, long range conceptual thinkers, but who at the same time show no sign of creativity or innovation. There are so many of these in senior industry positions that they come across at a very distinct type. Yet, I am at a total loss to tell you whether one should type them as Ns (for their astract, long range thinking) or Ss (for their lack of creativity and innovation).

    Can you help me out here ? Any thoughts are higly appreciated !
    I had to look up definition of "creativity" to decide how to think about it, but it just raised more questions. I haven't thought about this on others, so only insight I can give is from myself. I have to start thinking about this more. Dictionary was a place to start, it defined two distinct forms of creativity that relate to this topic, one that is expressed in arts and one in the creation of new concepts.

    I don't feel like having artistically valuable ideas worthy of expression, but I deeply enjoy a wide range of different artforms and imagine artistical things all the time. Introverted artistic style?

    On the other hand I feel always on the run to form and express usefull and novel concepts and think if there is a place for a new ones. I am absolutely DRIVEN to make make some of my visions real. So I have that side of the "creativity" extroverted.

    I am dreadfully unproductive though, which I hope is a temporary. I dont feel completely capable at the moment. Now in an interesting fit to what I bolded from your words, many people would see me as non-innovative due to lack of results, whereas others would see me as highly innovative because of the productivity of ideas I generate.

    Oh my god, am I an introvert?

  8. #8
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    I associate creativity with having a strong imagination. So indeed, I have chosen the N-oriented definition of creativity.

  9. #9

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    I don't believe there is a "creative personality" type. The only prerequisite for being creative is the belief that you are. That alone seems to drive creativity.

    I would refer you to another Understanding Yourself and Others book called Creativity and Personality Type.

    Perhaps the other thing that makes some people seem more creative than others is a unique perspective. This just comes from being different from the norm. Since being an SJ is the norm (meaning Si perceiving function) then the other three perceiving functions will seem "creative", and the perceiving function most different, Ne, will seem most creative (and is often an inferior or tertiary function to SJs making it different but easy to relate to).

    I think judging functions are a source of creativity also. Accepting the input of other peoples judging functions is probably hardest thing to do.

    In general, the more diverse the group the more creative it can be. There have been both experiments and simulations that show that diverse groups tend to outperform groups of "high performers" (I'll have to dig that up) because of the diversity. However, groups have to be structured in a way to accept and utilize this diversity, otherwise the "high performers" will do better than a diverse group.

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  10. #10
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Creativity takes two forms: innovative and adaptive.

    Innovative creativity is more original and novel than adaptive creativity. It's where new inventions and discoveries come from.

    Adaptive creativity is taking what already exists and making a new or different use for it. It can take the form of creating new foods dishes from basic ingredients, rearranging formulas and numbers, and stuff like that.

    From what I understand about creativity, Ns tend to excel (particularly Ne) at innovative creativity and Ss tend to excel (particularly Se) at adaptive creativity. As for Ni and Si I don't know what to say about those functions and creativity. I'll agree that Ni and Si aren't as creative but that's why you're picking up on the J part. NJs and SJs tend to be more driven, so maybe they're able to capitalize on the creativity of Ps more than the Ps can on their own creativity. It seems like NPs and SPs get bored with their inventions to ever bring them into fruition, which is where Ni and Si comes and forms a framework (either based on past experiences or future ramifications) and retool it.

    Long range planning I think Ni and Si do well, which is creative in its own right. SJs are very good long range planners for things that think that they need. I think people tend to forget that SJs don't resist things that are in their particular mental framework and they have procedures to handle, the whole change by increments thing. It's a big world out there. People can plan for all types of events and it's not necessarily abstract. Retirement, births, weddings, homeownership, some of my friends started saving money of that kind of stuff in their early 20s. I think N long range planning looks different, but I'm not sure what it looks like. I think of Si "abstractness" as forecasting the weather (based on accumulated knowledge), while Ni "abstractness" as forecasting tea leaves. I don't know if that makes sense but that's what I think.

    I don't consider myself traditionally creative, but I think I'm creative when it comes to dealing with people and generating things for them to do and talk about. That's not what most people think of when they talk of creativity and I suppose that would fall under adaptive creativity more than innovative.
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