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Thread: Strength of Functions: Dominant and Auxiliary

  1. #21
    DoubleplusUngoodNonperson Array
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    Please people, I don't want this thread to turn into another debate about how in/valid cognitive theory is.

    For the purposes of this thread, there IS a such thing as functions and in this universe you can derive a type from them so go from there.
    Fine, sorry about that! but I can still demonstrate how it's a similar problem when trying to determine Dominant/Auxillary functions, and how it can lead to more error....

    As you request, let's assume the cognitive functions exist, they are meaningful, real, validated, everything we want in a psych theory.

    Hypothetical example: some guy walks into a room at a party and is sizing up the situation, talking and joking with people, grabs a few drinks, etc. Fill in the blanks of this scenario as you prefer... and let's say you theorize he is using one of the extroverted perceiving functions either in the dominant or auxillary position. You can't really tell which just yet and not sure of the other functions....

    But you're sure he has extraverted perceiving in the top 2.

    The question is how do you determine whether his Se or Ne (whichever you decide) is his primary or secondary function? as stated earlier, Jung says that its not the function we are most adept at, its which is most often used, right? So he could have a strong/weak Fi/Ti or whatever in support of the extroverted perceiving, but that doesn't help you determine what's dom/auxillary.....

    The ONLY way in this scenario is to tell whether his Se/Ne is occurring in the dominant or auxillary position is to determine whether he is an introvert or extrovert. But you wont be using the cognitive functions themselves directly to determine where they belonged as dom/aux, you have to resort to using one of the 4 XXXX dichotomies to narrow down where his cognitive function preference resides.

    So the question is still kind of the same: Why bother pondering the person's cognitive functions themselves when you still have to base them on the XXXX letter type in order to determine whether its an dominant or auxillary placement? As you state in the OP, the aux is possibly as strong if not stronger than the dominant, so why don't you just try to sniff out the Guy's 4 dichotomies? Is he an extrovert ? is he F or T?

    I'm not sure how clear I am being with this example, ill try to edit/clean it up a bit, but even if the cognitive processes are true and valid i still maintain they will not contribute to any accurate analysis of a person's type, and hence not tell you anything about Dom/Aux placements. You're always forced to "feel out" the person's 4 letter type if you maintain the strict, "only 16 kinds" of cognitive process breakdown, which most on this board do.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    I was reading something from Lenore Thomson and she says that people often confuse functional abilities with skills. She says:

    And like I said, I'm reading Psychological Types right now and I have not (yet?) read anywhere that people are most skillful in use of their dominant function although I suppose if you continue along that train of thought the person could be more "skilled" with the function. Are we conflating orientation with skill?

    What are your thoughts the auxiliary function being "weaker" than the dominant?
    Protean, Its my understanding that the dominant function is the dominant bc it has been present since birth. According to theory its the way we viewed the world the longest.

    For example, my earliest memories all fit into the concept of Fe. I don't care what non-cognitive function-ists say, I know factually that I did not alter my memories nor mold them to fit into the concept of Fe. My memory is static, just the same as it always was.

    From my understanding, the dominant function is not even about skill, just as you alluded to earlier. Jung called function an "orientation"- the functions do not become skills until at least two are in place, and the more we use the more "skill" we have bc one cognitive function is only a small piece of the puzzle.

    I also believe that reality when viewed from a particular function lens is not reality at all. One function is far too specific to represent reality.

  3. #23
    DoubleplusUngoodNonperson Array
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    Mar 2008


    Basically the problem is this: If you need the cognitive function order of the real 16 types to narrow down what is his Dom/Aux functions are, why even bother with cognitive processes to begin with? You're better off just trying to guess/intuit his four letter type, then infering DOm/Aux from there.

    Of course if you believe that its possible for something like Ni to be dom with Si auxillary (any of the possible 40,320 combinations), you could just use plain old cognitive function analysis and not use the four letter type to determine anything at all. But who types like that, honestly?

  4. #24
    Senior Member Array paintmuffin's Avatar
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    May 2009


    Okay, I give you all full permission to ignore or reject everything i'm about to say, since I'm no expert on the subject. But here's how I look at this issue.

    My perception has always been that everyone uses both their dominant and auxiliary functions together. I mean, you can talk about the functions as separate entities, but in practice, you can't use a perceiving function without a judging function. Let's look at myself, an xNTP, for example. When making a decision, I use Ne to take in information and Ti to evaluate it. Simultaneously. I physically can't "use" Ne and just sit on the information, nor can I "use" Ti without information to base decisions on. So there's no way for me to know whether I "prefer" Ne or Ti. This would seem to make all ENTPs and INTPs into xNTPs. But this is where you can use the concept of tertiary functions. As an xNTP, the question I need to ask myself is, when under pressure, will I more likely resort to NeFe or SiTi? (I'm still trying to figure out the answer to that question.)

    Now, if you don't dismiss the above paragraph as total BS, this would mean that an ISFJ under stress looks almost identical to an INTP under stress... Hmmmmm....
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  5. #25
    Occasional Member Array Evan's Avatar
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    Thanks for that, PM.

  6. #26


    I think my position is basically the same as it was several years ago when this thread was created. Namely it depends on what you mean by "skill". In the moment skill is different from long term skill.

    For example lets say Tiger Woods is ISTP, but his Se is actually more adept than his Ti. I.e. he's really in tune with his environment, but perhaps he can't always reason things out carefully. Because of his preference for Ti he still chooses to practice golf, a sport that relies more on concentration (Ti) than on quick reflexes (Se). Consequently he becomes the best golfer in the world.

    It may be that he's such a good golfer because of his "skilled" use of Se. That would allow him to hit the ball more accurately than other golfers. But at the same time he's not going to be the same type of exceptional athlete at basketball or other sports that focus more on Se over Ti. He's trained his Se to be auxiliary to Ti, so he's just not going be as skilled as the athletic ESTP's in basketball.

    How "skilled" a person is at using a function depends on what you mean by skill. When the functions are used together the auxiliary function is meant to serve the purposes of the primary function.
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  7. #27
    Junior Member Array Mr Nobody's Avatar
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    I'm an INFP and I can completely relate to that. Which is why I had a really hard time finding my type. I'm also relatively new to MBTI and cognitive functions but isn't there a similar system called MENTIscore which uses an extra dichotomy (Assertive/Turbulent) which in my humble opinion expresses the "true" dominant function between the first and second function. Assertive meaning the first and Turbulent meaning the second.
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