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  1. #1
    Senior Member NewEra's Avatar
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    Default Development of Cognitive functions throughout one's life

    So ever since I learned about MBTI, I've been interested in the progression of the first 4 cognitive functions in a person's MBTI throughout his/her life. For example, in an INTP... the functions are TiNeSiFe... and the theory goes that in a person's life, each function will develop in order (in an INTP, Ti is first to develop, Ne second, Si third, and finally Fe). I was wondering in detail how this process takes place (for any type)...

    My main questions is at what ages do each of the functions generally start to develop? By age 50 for example, does one usually have their first 4 functions in place?

  2. #2
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    I'm not an expert by any means, but I find functions fascinating, and enlightening and downright necessary when one is struggling with typing. There are others here who I've talked to on these same questions. In the Functions of Type book by the Hartzlers they talk about the characteristics of each of the eight functions. I also have The 16 Personality Types by Berens and Nardi. In this book they say the first function develops from birth to age 12, the second from 12-20, the third from 20-35, and the fourth 35-50. I don't see how one could develop singly. Of course, you use all to a varying degree throughout your lifetime. I perceive though, that that is at least one reason why older people can seem so Wise; they simply have more facility and experience with using all their functions.

    Some have said that instead of going from Ni>Fe>Ti>Se>Ne>Fi>Te>Si as Beebe posits, that you really work on a function group Ni/Ne instead. This makes sense to me. I use Ni and Ne and Fe and Fi more than say, S or T in either form.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member VagrantFarce's Avatar
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    I subscribe to what Lenore Thompson thinks, which is that you don't really develop the functions in a linear order, and that they don't develop passively.

    My understanding is that we feel at home with our Tertiary and Dominant functions from an early age, and these tend to develop when sheltered as a child. However, these functions cannot solve all our problems through life, so through circumstance we tend to become "aware" of their Auxillary and Inferior functions. We're forced to come to terms with them if we are to grow and mature as individuals (especially for Introverts, less so for Extraverts), and certainly if we're going to deal with what life will throw at us. The alternative is to stick with what we're comfortable with, and not develop or broaden our perspectives as individuals. If we do that, we're not "equipped" to deal with anything beyond what the Dominant and Tertiary Functions are able to handle.

    People have a hard time accepting the perspective their Inferior Function offers because it stands in opposition to their Dominant Function, which is basically their Ego and the source of their own Self-Identity. So when we're young, we tend to demonize and reject what the Inferior Function offers. As we age, life tends to crash against us and we're "forced" to develop a certain amount of humility, understanding that our Dominant and Tertiary Functions cannot solve all of our problems. This is just another way of accepting the perspective that the Inferior Function offers in life.

    Anyway, dats wot i fink.
    Hello

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    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VagrantFarce View Post
    I subscribe to what Lenore Thompson thinks, which is that you don't really develop the functions in a linear order, and that they don't develop passively.

    My understanding is that we feel at home with our Tertiary and Dominant functions from an early age, and these tend to develop when sheltered as a child. However, these functions cannot solve all our problems through life, so through circumstance we tend to become "aware" of their Auxillary and Inferior functions. We're forced to come to terms with them if we are to grow and mature as individuals (especially for Introverts, less so for Extraverts), and certainly if we're going to deal with what life will throw at us. The alternative is to stick with what we're comfortable with, and not develop or broaden our perspectives as individuals. If we do that, we're not "equipped" to deal with anything beyond what the Dominant and Tertiary Functions are able to handle.

    People have a hard time accepting the perspective their Inferior Function offers because it stands in opposition to their Dominant Function, which is basically their Ego and the source of their own Self-Identity. So when we're young, we tend to demonize and reject what the Inferior Function offers. As we age, life tends to crash against us and we're "forced" to develop a certain amount of humility, understanding that our Dominant and Tertiary Functions cannot solve all of our problems. This is just another way of accepting the perspective that the Inferior Function offers in life.

    Anyway, dats wot i fink.
    So you believe that as an intp you utilize Ti and Si more often than Ti and Ne?
    Ni/Ti/Fe/Si
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    Do not resist an evil person, but to him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer also the other. ~Matthew 5:39

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  5. #5
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aphrodite-gone-awry View Post
    So you believe that as an intp you utilize Ti and Si more often than Ti and Ne?
    He is saying that since Ti and Si are introverted functions, the INTP can use these functions with very little effort and with good efficiency. That's when the INTP is in his comfort zone. Using a function that is opposite your orientation [ne, fe] involves more effort and challenge.


    Not really sure about all that. I did read Thomson's book, and came away not all that impressed, though I do think tertiary temptation has validity.



  6. #6
    Senior Member VagrantFarce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JocktheMotie View Post
    He is saying that since Ti and Si are introverted functions, the INTP can use these functions with very little effort and with good efficiency. That's when the INTP is in his comfort zone. Using a function that is opposite your orientation [ne, fe] involves more effort and challenge.


    And it's more than just "using" Ne, since I'm sure I use Ne all the time. It's also about embracing the perspective on life that the Auxillary and Inferior Functions offer.
    Hello

  7. #7
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VagrantFarce View Post


    And it's more than just "using" Ne, since I'm sure I use Ne all the time. It's also about embracing the perspective on life that the Auxillary and Inferior Functions offer.
    Hm. I got from that link that there is an immature and mature way to use the secondary function. And as one grows and utilizes each function more, he broadens the scope of said function. I've researched that wiki before and like it. Eric B (of type c) said she takes it her research back to Jung.

    I just don't see that I use Ti hardly ever. I probably should use it more. I think I use Ni, Ne, Fe, Fi more than any T or S function. And i don't use Ni and Fi more than Ni and Fe, although Fi is introverted. But that might be because I met my husband when I was 18 and he is Ti dom. The thought has occurred to me that I have just relied on his Ti too much and, in effect, got lazy about my own. I'm sure functions and the theories of their usage sort of assumes an independent lifestyle; one developing in an environment unaffected by a constant companion. We know dysfunction can affect function preference, and I suspect the same is true of relationships with significant others, especially ltr. You know? Do we leave off some expected function development because the person we live with uses it better, and maybe it's more efficient for us to develop another one? Function theories and type theory are so primitive, unfortunately. I wish they could be fine-tuned. I sure do cause I'm sort-of obsessed about it.
    Ni/Ti/Fe/Si
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    ~Torah observant, Christ inspired~
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    The more one loves God, the more it is that having nothing in the world means everything, and the less one loves God, the more it is that having everything in the world means nothing.

    Do not resist an evil person, but to him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer also the other. ~Matthew 5:39

    songofmary.wordpress.com


  8. #8
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VagrantFarce;981757
    My understanding is that we feel at home with [B
    our Tertiary and Dominant functions from an early age, and these tend to develop when sheltered as a child.[/B] However, these functions cannot solve all our problems through life, so through circumstance we tend to become "aware" of their Auxillary and Inferior functions.
    I saw this in both of my kids from an early age. For each they seemed to use the tert function from as early as two.

    At 13 my ENFP son started to get a handle on Fi around 11 or so and start to use it. Before then he would have terrible Te tantrums.

    At 2.5 my toddler-seemingly an IXTJ, uses Te to structure his world and study things, but when upset will reach out for brief moments of intense Fi affirmation before becoming stoic and introverted again.

    From a lifetime perspective, I find I am becoming more Te and even picking up threads of Si now and then at 33. Funny, I find my ISTJs finding Fi more and even Ne for one of them in our early 30s. We likely could not have meshed at 20 but now blend perfectly.

    I have noticed all of the EXTPs I work with on external observation to develop more Fe in their 30s. In the women they become motherly. In the men some can become positively feminine by their 40s. I assumed several of our sales team were gay guys, but no, married with kids.

  9. #9
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    I think the exact ordering of the functions for the different types and what they all mean varies according to who you read. Thompson's functional ordering for INFJ would be:

    Ni (dominant)
    Fe (secondary)
    Si (left brain alternatives)
    Te
    Fe (right brain double-agents)
    Ne
    Ti (tertiary)
    Se (inferior)

    (I've also seen models where the tertiary immediately follows the secondary, but inferior is at the very bottom of the stack. I can also buy that as a possibility.)

    In Thomson's view, the bottom two are the "least conscious." This doesn't mean they can't be used and developed, but they tend to be seen as "other" and are most likely to be used in unconscious ways. The tertiary is likely to be used in defensive retrenchment when our first two functions are out of balance (that is, if we are focusing on our primary at the expense of our secondary to an unhealthy degree) by preventing growth by reinforcing fixed positions by telling us what we want to hear. When are first two functions are in balance, the tertiary function helps ground us in reality and helps us remain aware of our limitations.

    So, for Thompson the normal day-to-day challenge is to engage our secondary function to a healthy degree.

    It's also important for some functions to remain "other" and largely unconscious (at least in role), so that the unconscious can appropriate them to bring repressed material to our attention. That's one reason why consciously identifying with your inferior function isn't necessarily a great idea (at least in some models).

    In Thompson's model, the "alternatives" are likely to be fairly conscious and reliable, and the double-agents are sometimes reliable but sometimes run amok.

    I find, for example, that I can consciously shift into "Te" mode (my tertiary) to power through some practical matter, but it definitely involves a shift of gears, feels clunky and imprecise, and I'm always relieved to return to my normal state. I also tend to use Ti and, to a far lesser extent, Se (my "right-brain alternatives") without necessarily being aware of it, since they tend to back and blend with my primary and secondary functions.

    So, I find that Thompson's model fits pretty well with my subjective experiences as a fairly high Ti INFP, but others have reported that they find Beebe's model a better fit.

    I think it's pretty clear that what functions you actually develop and how much energy they take is modified by environment and direct experience. If your responsibilities (job/school/parenting) require you to use a function all day long, you tend to use it a lot and get better and more efficient at using it. I think that kind of facility isn't necessarily directly related to the role that function plays for you psychologically.

    At any rate, opinions vary on both the typical order of development and archetypal role of the various functions.
    Last edited by Seymour; 12-30-2009 at 12:27 PM.

  10. #10
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Lenore's theory is not in opposition to Beebe's. She just reminds us that the archetypes are complexes employed byt he ego, and she clarifies him. So Based on his model with input from her, here is how I understand a person develops with the functions:

    The ego starts with its preferred comfort zone of the inner or outer world.
    The ego chooses its dominant function, which it uses in its preferred realm.

    For example, if Thinking is chosen as the dominant, and in the internal world, then everything else is rejected by the ego: the external world and the other three functions; Feeling along with both perceiving, which remain undifferentiated. (They are engaged, but not as conscious ego functions, and not really distinguished in orientation, though Jung said they would be associated with the rejected orientation; this case being the outer world).


    Soon, an auxiliary will be chosen, which will be of the rejected perceiving mode of processing.
    These two functions will become apart of heroic and parental complexes.
    A "child" complex will take on the opposite process from the auxiliary, and align it with the dominant attitude.

    The opposite function from the dominant, will be inferior and most rejected, yet in the opposite outer orientation will be what the ego believes will complete it.

    The "shadows" are just the opposite orientations further rejected from the above:

    So the rejected orientation of the dominant then becomes apart of an oppositional complex.

    The function attitude rejected from the auxiliary then takes on a negative parent role.

    The aspects of the tertiary function not in the same orientation by the child take on a negative childlike nature.

    The inferior in the dominant orientation will remain the most rejected of all by the ego, and take on the most negative role.

    You can also look at the development of the individual letters:

    Brenda Muller of Personality Page suggests I/E and J/P develop first.
    Then, the dominant function (adding a third letter).
    Then, the auxiliary (completing the code).
    APS Profile: Inclusion: e/w=1/6 (Supine) |Control: e/w=7/3 (Choleric) |Affection: e/w=1/9 (Supine)
    Ti 54.3 | Ne 47.3 | Si 37.8 | Fe 17.7 | Te 22.5 | Ni 13.4 | Se 18.9 | Fi 27.9

    Temperament (APS) from scratch -- MBTI Type from scratch
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