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  1. #1
    Senior Member MerkW's Avatar
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    Question MBTI and Brain Hemispheres

    Recently I have grown interested in the correlation between MBTI types and cerebral hemispheres. Although the resources on this issue are fairly small in number, most of those which I have seen seem to declare that by rule all Ps have a right-hemisphere preference, and Js have a left-hemisphere preference. Precisely how accurate is this claim? Such sources also go on to classify which four functions are left-brain functions, and which four are right-brain functions.

    Now, the behavioral correlations are quite obvious (P/right-hemisphere = tactics and flexibility, J/left-hemisphere = strategy and rigidity). It is quite clear that SJs are left-brain thinkers and NPs are right-brain thinkers. However, does this mean that NJs have a left-hemisphere preference, and SPs a right-hemisphere preference? Is this J/P hemisphere preference a rule or a generalization with exceptions. Does this also go as far as learning preferences? Does this mean that Js are more auditory/sequential and Ps more visual/spatial?

    What is your personal opinion? Which of the four functions are left-brain functions and which are right-brain functions?
    "The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or the poet's must be beautiful; the ideas like the colours or the words, must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics..." - G.H. Hardy

    "Another roof, another proof." - Paul Erdős

    INTJ (I = 100, N = 100, T = 88, J = 43)
    Solitary/Idiosyncratic, 5w6 sp/sx
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    ILI-Ni/INTp

  2. #2
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I'm definitely a left-brained, auditory individual, and rarely think visually (consciously, anyway). But in my opinion, for most people it would be:

    Left-brain:
    Fe
    Te
    Ti
    Si

    Right-brain
    Fi
    Ne
    Se
    Ni

    My hunches about things, and variations on perspective may come from my right brain. Not sure.

  3. #3
    Senior Member MerkW's Avatar
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    If you are supposedly left-brained, then why is your dominant function supposedly right-brained? Similarly, I am a visual right-brain learner. If this is the case, then why is it that, according to you, an INTP's dominant function is left-brained? Does this mean that I am actually not an INTP, that you are actually not an INFJ, or are you simply producing a heap of (presumably unknown to you) ever-so flawed logic?
    "The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or the poet's must be beautiful; the ideas like the colours or the words, must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics..." - G.H. Hardy

    "Another roof, another proof." - Paul Erdős

    INTJ (I = 100, N = 100, T = 88, J = 43)
    Solitary/Idiosyncratic, 5w6 sp/sx
    RL(x)EI (RlxE|I|)- Inquisitive Dominant
    Reserved Idealist
    ILI-Ni/INTp

  4. #4
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merkw View Post
    If you are supposedly left-brained, then why is your dominant function supposedly right-brained?
    Because I consciously use my auxiliary more than my dominant, which only feeds me information garnered from a process I don't fully understand.

    If you learn visually, then I might have been wrong. The normally considered order, according to someone else who I don't remember is this:

    Left: Te Fe Ni Si
    Right: Ti Fi Se Ne

    Does that make more sense to you?

  5. #5
    Senior Member MerkW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Because I consciously use my auxiliary more than my dominant, which only feeds me information garnered from a process I don't fully understand.

    If you learn visually, then I might have been wrong. The normally considered order, according to someone else who I don't remember is this:

    Left: Te Fe Ni Si
    Right: Ti Fi Se Ne

    Does that make more sense to you?
    Yes, this is the categorization that I have seen more frequently. However, I don't agree with it entirely. Where did they come up with the idea that Ni is left-brained? For some reason both Ni and Ne seem right-brained to me. Also, does this entail that all Js are left-brained and all Ps are right-brained? I also have somewhat of a suspicion that the S/N dichotomy might add another factor, beyond that of the J/P dichotomy.
    "The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or the poet's must be beautiful; the ideas like the colours or the words, must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics..." - G.H. Hardy

    "Another roof, another proof." - Paul Erdős

    INTJ (I = 100, N = 100, T = 88, J = 43)
    Solitary/Idiosyncratic, 5w6 sp/sx
    RL(x)EI (RlxE|I|)- Inquisitive Dominant
    Reserved Idealist
    ILI-Ni/INTp

  6. #6
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    It's not nearly as clear-cut as MBTI function.

    Linear and language skills tend to be left-brain, spatial and visual skills are generally right-brain.

    Men tend to localize their language skills, women tend to spread them out and have a stronger interconnection between the hemispheres. (So a man who suffers a stroke in a particular location can end up being much more detrimentally affected than a woman suffering a stroke in the same location, because her processing is more spread out.)

    So it's rather hard to tell. Judging functions might be more easily confined to the left hemisphere and Perceiving to the right side... but I doubt it is that clear-cut.

    Have there been any tests where officially MBTI tested people are hooked up to brain monitors and then run through a series of tests to see which areas of their brain light up and how much? That could prove valuable.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  7. #7
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merkw View Post
    Yes, this is the categorization that I have seen more frequently. However, I don't agree with it entirely. Where did they come up with the idea that Ni is left-brained? For some reason both Ni and Ne seem right-brained to me. Also, does this entail that all Js are left-brained and all Ps are right-brained? I also have somewhat of a suspicion that the S/N dichotomy might add another factor, beyond that of the J/P dichotomy.
    I would agree that Ni has a right brained quality to it, although I have to use my left-brain to make sense of what it's telling me.

    Ti is what confuses me. I think some INTP's are more visual and diffuse thinkers, like you are, but some of them are more detailed and analytical in their thought processes. I'm not sure where, but I remember seeing somewhere that INTP's were sometimes right brained, and sometimes left brained, and mostly the same with INFJ's. I think hemispheric preference might be independent of type to a degree, but I have no way to show that one way or the other.

    Could you be consciously thinking about your right-brained Ne approach, but your Ti is actually left-brained? That was the assumption I was making regarding my dominant being right-brained, but me being consciously left-brained in my approach? I really have no idea where I was going with this, so my logic probably was flawed, but I don't know... it doesn't seem too ridiculous to me.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    From FFM research, I believe that F/T has no bearing on hemisphere preference, while O+ (N/S) and E+ (E/I) showed right hemisphere preference and C+ (J/P) and N+ (emotional stability) were left brained functions.

    However, once you start talking neurobiology, all of these traits are more localized than can be expressed as right/left issues.

  9. #9
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    From FFM research, I believe that F/T has no bearing on hemisphere preference, while O+ (N/S) and E+ (E/I) showed right hemisphere preference and C+ (J/P) and N+ (emotional stability) were left brained functions.

    However, once you start talking neurobiology, all of these traits are more localized than can be expressed as right/left issues.
    In that case, since I tested as having low O and E, and high N and C, would it easily follow that I was left-brained? Tell me if I interpreted your scales correctly:

    Left-brain: O-, E-, N+, C+
    Right-brain: O+, E+, N-, C-

    So, the most right brained types would be EN_P's, and the most left brained types would be IS_J's, if I follow you correctly? That sounds plausible, but I think IN_P's and IN_J's might have more variation than those types.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    In that case, since I tested as having low O and E, and high N and C, would it easily follow that I was left-brained? Tell me if I interpreted your scales correctly:

    Left-brain: O-, E-, N+, C+
    Right-brain: O+, E+, N-, C-

    So, the most right brained types would be EN_P's, and the most left brained types would be IS_J's, if I follow you correctly?
    Don't quote me on this too much, but I believe that the assumption for many of these is a present/not present situation. That is, the "dominance" is really the balance between them. Savants, for example, have fully functional components - that is, they are everything.

    For example, if you are E+, you simply have a certain brain chemistry/makeup that somehow relates to emotional functions. Lacking it doesn't increase the dominance in anything else, if you will. That is, unlike MBTI, it doesn't have a hierarchy. The research here will be extremely hard to transfer.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that we tend to associate every single thing to some form of function. If brain damage causes motor problems, then we'd say it affects S... but in reality, if we want to say things like that, we should go into neurobiology instead. MBTI and FFM - any personality function - isn't detailed enough to break down brain structures. It works the other way around... we can test certain things by invoking responses and seeing what part of the brain lights up. For example, extraverts were asked to rank "happy" and "sad" pictures and were compared to introverts. Extraverts showed far more positive responses (but not negative). When we plugged them in, one part of the brain related to emotions (and theoretically positive emotions) lit up more for extroverts than introverts. A similar study was done with neuroticism with similar (and different area) results.

    Umm... I guess what I'm saying is that you can't flip the traits around (meaning P = one side, J = other side)... for FFM at least, it is more that J = right side, P = lack of right side. How the dominance is established... I'm not sure. It could be that there are two competing parts of the brain where it could be that J = one part of brain and P = other part of brain, and the personality is measuring that J = dominant but both are present... But in general, I would assume that it is a matter of present/not present, meaning it is always on one side.

    (edit: A few edits to clarify what I was saying)

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