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    Default Questions about Preference and Skill in using functions

    Since preference =/= skill when using functions, is it possible to be terrible in the functions you prefer to use but good in functions you don't really like or prefer using? To the point that your less preferred functions are better than your preferred, then end up looking like a type that you aren't, and not at all like your type (or at the very least, quite different)?

    My hypothetical example would be an INTP who loves using Ne (but not as much as Ti). However, things usually go wrong when he/she uses it and it seems to generate undesired results. Or maybe it was other factors such as an education system or culture which did not allow much room for Ne usage. Or he/she isn't skilled enough in Ne to draw enough connections to fully support Ti. He/she starts to fall back on Si which happens to be pretty decent, resulting in Ti/Si loops similar to an INFP's Fi/Si loops. (Unhealthy INTP?) When that happens too often, does that end up making an unhealthy INTP who tests as S more than N?
    To take this scenario further, what if the INTP in question is pretty skilled in Te but may not naturally prefer, or even dislike using it (at first)? Wouldn't the person come across as an xSTJ but somehow with rather developed Ti and maybe Fe? Would they end up reading the xSTJ profiles and INTP profile, then go "Hey, all those sound like me, but there are some parts that don't too!"
    Also, what happens if he/she uses Se or Ni to replace Ne instead?
    There's also the question of adaptation, whether the person can cope with and get used to using functions he/she does not prefer, and end up having them come naturally to them with time. Is that remotely possible?

    I have no idea if that example above is possible or BS, but that's the best I could think up for the questions I want to ask.

    In the case that it is BS, I'm boiling it down to these couple of questions:
    Is there such a thing as someone 'learning' to prefer a function over another since it makes sense that someone can end up liking a function he/she can use well, even though he/she may not have liked it at the start? (Circular logic much? lol) Or vice versa when they start to dislike and downplay on a function that they used to like using (maybe partially because it betrayed them too? ), causing it to degenerate from lack of use? Is this the reason why people go through changes in personality? Is it also a nature vs. nuture thing? And if so, is it possible that there could have been more N type people than S in this world if society supported more N type behaviors? (This is not an argument about Ns being oppressed by Ss irl, I only think that S oriented people seem to survive better and I do not wish to start a debate about this. )
    And the questions in the first paragraph.

    Also, from some of the posts I read from this thread,
    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...auxiliary.html
    it seems like people are already arguing about people who do not fit in to those 16 arrangements for 8 functions, whether orders in the 8 functions which are different than those stated in MBTI should even exist or make sense. If that's the case, what happens to people do not have the first 4 functions as any of those 16 types? Are they considered unhealthy versions of the 'best fit type'?
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    Is there such a thing as someone 'learning' to prefer a function over another since it makes sense that someone can end up liking a function he/she can use well, even though he/she may not have liked it at the start? (Circular logic much? lol)

    yes. Remember that the theory here is that we use the functions we naturally prefer. Why do we prefer them? Because we enjoy using them more than the others, they seem more natural to us, and we get better at them faster (because we use them) and thus our enjoyment improves. If the function becomes effective for us, won't we use it as much as we can?

    (This is why people sometimes hit a wall when their dominant doesn't work in a certain situation -- sometimes a hammer isn't the tool you want to use; not everything is a nail.)

    Anyway, in situations where the Dominant is not effective or enjoyable for some reason, the person will switch gears naturally after awhile to find something that lets them cope and be effective.

    (For introverts, there's a natural tendency to develop the Auxiliary in order to deal with external reality and protect the Dominant. Extroverts can usually get away longer without having to resort to the Auxiliary.)

    My personal experience is that I preferred my Dominant, and all of my childhood is colored by my sitting around and critically tearing things apart and trying to understand them... but only when alone. That function was not appreciated by my family or subculture, really, except in the context of school, nor could it mediate the issues I was trying to cope with (which were based on keeping certain people in my life at bay or positively inclined)... so I ended up really working on my extroverted-style functions in order to cope. N in particular is something I enjoy using, and it's how I relax and play. I also have this deplorable sense of what others expect from me or what a situation dictates... even if I think it shouldn't... and am very good at conforming and getting annoyed when others violate it and wonder what happened.

    Or vice versa when they start to dislike and downplay on a function that they used to like using (maybe partially because it betrayed them too? ), causing it to degenerate from lack of use?

    I don't know if degenerate is the right word, but it will definitely not improve much. It gets locked in at an immature level of use.

    Is this the reason why people go through changes in personality?

    Well, it CAN be part of that. It is most obvious in those cases where someone tried to be someone else for years, then can't do it anymore and seems to "flip." really, they're not flipping; it's just that the behavior before was a veneer or costume and now they are real.

    It definitely is one reason why people are so diverse and some do not fall into simple categories. We are all multi-layered and flavored.

    Is it also a nature vs. nurture thing?

    Nurture will impact the expression of nature, and it will also flesh out things that nature did not provide.

    And if so, is it possible that there could have been more N type people than S in this world if society supported more N type behaviors?

    I think identity is still more at a core. S and N in particular are ways of seeing. If you are born without eyes, it's hard to know what colors are or recognize them. S and N people seem to have very particular bents and have to work very hard to see the world through each other's eyes.

    at the least, though, it would be nice if S's could appreciate N types for more than just their artistic/vision skills on a broad level (the arts and technology are one place where S's seem to accept and even admire N's) and see their use on the more personal, relational, day to day level rather than just seeing us as impractical and unproductive. Likewise, N's can learn to appreciate S's amid the broad goals and visions they have and recognize other people's visions even if they're not all abstracted.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Is there such a thing as someone 'learning' to prefer a function over another since it makes sense that someone can end up liking a function he/she can use well, even though he/she may not have liked it at the start? (Circular logic much? lol)

    yes. Remember that the theory here is that we use the functions we naturally prefer. Why do we prefer them? Because we enjoy using them more than the others, they seem more natural to us, and we get better at them faster (because we use them) and thus our enjoyment improves. If the function becomes effective for us, won't we use it as much as we can?

    (This is why people sometimes hit a wall when their dominant doesn't work in a certain situation -- sometimes a hammer isn't the tool you want to use; not everything is a nail.)
    But what if, even after using a preferred function for so long because you enjoy using them more, it still does not get better because it was used negatively?
    Like an ESFJ using Fe (expressing anger, Fe driven negative comments etc) to solve domestic disputes despite knowing that it only solves the issue temporarily because it was 'easier' to use it? (No offense to any ESFJs.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Or vice versa when they start to dislike and downplay on a function that they used to like using (maybe partially because it betrayed them too? ), causing it to degenerate from lack of use?

    I don't know if degenerate is the right word, but it will definitely not improve much. It gets locked in at an immature level of use.
    Does that mean it is possible for a Tertiary to overtake Auxiliary or any function at any rank for that matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Is this the reason why people go through changes in personality?

    Well, it CAN be part of that. It is most obvious in those cases where someone tried to be someone else for years, then can't do it anymore and seems to "flip." really, they're not flipping; it's just that the behavior before was a veneer or costume and now they are real.

    It definitely is one reason why people are so diverse and some do not fall into simple categories. We are all multi-layered and flavored.
    I'm not sure... What about people who flip back and forth a couple of times? Just a case of indecisiveness?
    Also, I do believe that children do not have such a firm grasp on their self identity and might still be exploring which of those functions they prefer most.
    Personally, I used to be an extreme extrovert, happy-go-lucky, being the class clown and all, sprouting nonsense midway through lessons for my own amusement. Until a sudden change struck me (most likely the big difference in the culture of my secondary school compared to primary), something just clicked (or snapped) and I started thinking. A lot. Changed many of my beliefs, values and such, becoming more sensible and much less naive about how the world runs (or so I think), kept more to myself. Somehow the introverted thinking stuck on and refused to let go and I do admit I love using Ti now though I'm still not sure where it lies on my list of preferred functions. One thing that did not change over the years was that while I might have been more outspoken when young, I loved to rush back home after every school day. I'm not sure why though, it might have been because I hated school so much, found what other classmates were doing as uninteresting, could be any factor or mixture of some.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Is it also a nature vs. nurture thing?

    Nurture will impact the expression of nature, and it will also flesh out things that nature did not provide.
    That reminded me, has there been any statistics of the MBTI types in Asian countries? Some Asian cultures promote the idea of people being introverts, explaining the clash of cultures, but not so about how they affect the individuals. For those with only slight preference for extroversion, is it possible for them to feel uncomfortable being in an introverted society but get used to certain customs, stop being able to identify themselves as extroverts and maybe even disapprove of extreme acts of extroversion? (Why does it feel like I end up stereotyping quite a bit?)
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    Is there such a thing as someone 'learning' to prefer a function over another since it makes sense that someone can end up liking a function he/she can use well, even though he/she may not have liked it at the start? Or vice versa when they start to dislike and downplay on a function that they used to like using (maybe partially because it betrayed them too? ), causing it to degenerate from lack of use?

    Yes. I think you can purposefully change your preferences for functions. I am not sure it is healthy to do so.

    Is this the reason why people go through changes in personality?

    Myers-Briggs is not a complete description of personality. You personality can change a lot due to trauma even though you MB-Type is still the same. Also, social psychologists have shown that behavior is often contextual. Your "personality" may depend on who you are with, what you are doing, and where you are.

    Also, people can discover new things about themselves once they leave a more "oppressive" environment, or may be forced into a change when they are not allowed to be their natural selves.

    However, I do think that there is an innate in-born personality, and also a natural early preference that is hard to "change" permanently without doing harm.

    Is it also a nature vs. nurture thing?

    Partially. I think your nature affects how you are nurtured. So your innate nature interacts whit your environment to produce who you are.

    It's like a chaotic dynamical system.

    If you show some inclination to ask a lot of questions, and make little experiments when you are a kid, you may be pushed in that direction by adults...or maybe the adults go the other way and ridicule you for it. Neither of these things would have happened if there wasn't an innate behavior to which the environment responded.

    It is stimulus-response, in both directions.


    And if so, is it possible that there could have been more N type people than S in this world if society supported more N type behaviors?

    No, I think the world already supports both N ans S behaviors, and there are more sensors.

    With that said, I do think certain cultures attract certain types of people, so the people there over time will have different distributions. Whether MBTI catches these differences or if it is fairly constant from country to country, I don't know.

    A further note about use vs. proficiency

    Frequent use only forms habits. It is the quality of these habits that determine how good you are at something.

    There is something called deliberate practice (as defined by Anders Ericson) that forces a person to break old lower quality habits to form new higher quality habits. This is quite different from just doing something over and over again. Deliberate practice is actually quite unnatural, if you think about it.

    Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
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  5. #5
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    For what it's worth, I would say Ni is by far my strongest function but I still seem to prefer Fe (amateurish skill at best). As a result, I am one of the rare socially awkward ENFJs. It would be easy to say that I'm INFJ but I get depressed within a few straight hours of alone time... I need someone around. Also, I process most of thoughts through talking (either to myself or to somebody else).

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    I can't be bothered to pick out what the questions are in the op (), but I'll say that I think a person is usually happiest when he's able to play to his natural strengths.

    I tell versions of this story a lot.. but, I lived in Te-land, or at least Ne/Te-land, for a very long time. Fi didn't come up in my career or my personal life until later on--it just didn't have much of a place in engineering or computers, nor with the crowds I hung out with or the interests that I thought I had. So by the time I was 20 or so, I had my strong tertiary intact.

    Thus, I learned the ways of the Te well before I "should" have. The effects are what you might expect; I was pretty well organized early on, knew how to be productive, and could manipulate my external environment pretty efficiently and efficiency. To this end, I bring out the picture that usually makes Ps cringe:



    I was also completely miserable.

    It wasn't until I relaxed on the efficiency, organization, and productivity a bit and discovered my role in personal and interpersonal matters that I became happy. I've still got a good grasp on how to be organized and all, but I place much less emphasis on it than I used to.


    So that situation might illustrate what happens to someone whose functions' strengths aren't aligned with their preferences. It is a nature vs. nurture idea, in that one's environment might inhibit the growth of their natural functions. They'll strain in learning other functions for sure, and they might be somewhat clumsy in using them, but they'll retain much of the skillset associated with them. I think that comes at a price, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sticker View Post
    Since preference =/= skill when using functions, is it possible to be terrible in the functions you prefer to use but good in functions you don't really like or prefer using?
    Generally speaking, order of preference = order of skill within a particular person.

    And the very best individuals at using, say, Se will invariably be ESxPs.

    However, a bright ENTP may have superior use of Ti than a stupid INTP.

    And it certainly is possible for people to excel in professions which appear to be very demanding of functions they are typologically not fit for because of other factors. For example, Martina Navratilova is an NTJ (probably INTJ, though I am not really sure) and Mike Tyson is an INFP. Both excelled in sports which demand a great deal of S (esp. Se) by means of dedication and unusual physical gifts.

    Mike's neck, for example(!!):
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    I see'z it like this. We are all born with a certain "karma" and one can improve their "karma" along the way, or make it a little worse.

    I haven't changed a damn bit since I was five years old, and having the experience of watching nephews and nieces grow to young adulthood.

    My nephews haven't changed a damn bit either, but women are a little bit trickier.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Is this the reason why people go through changes in personality?

    Myers-Briggs is not a complete description of personality. You personality can change a lot due to trauma even though you MB-Type is still the same. Also, social psychologists have shown that behavior is often contextual. Your "personality" may depend on who you are with, what you are doing, and where you are.

    Also, people can discover new things about themselves once they leave a more "oppressive" environment, or may be forced into a change when they are not allowed to be their natural selves.

    However, I do think that there is an innate in-born personality, and also a natural early preference that is hard to "change" permanently without doing harm.
    Ah, sorry for the misunderstanding, it should have been 'Is this the reason why people go through changes in personality types?'

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    A further note about use vs. proficiency

    Frequent use only forms habits. It is the quality of these habits that determine how good you are at something.

    There is something called deliberate practice (as defined by Anders Ericson) that forces a person to break old lower quality habits to form new higher quality habits. This is quite different from just doing something over and over again. Deliberate practice is actually quite unnatural, if you think about it.

    Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
    --Vince Lombardi
    This. I was wondering if there's a term for it, and now I know. Thanks. Which brings it back to the first question, whether with enough deliberate practice (though tough at first), is possible to get someone so accustomed to using a less preferred function that it becomes second nature, maybe even surpassing the Dominant or Auxiliary function (especially if they had been inhibited or used with non-deliberate practice without much improvement), and be comfortable using them without having deliberate practice in mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitseleh View Post
    For what it's worth, I would say Ni is by far my strongest function but I still seem to prefer Fe (amateurish skill at best). As a result, I am one of the rare socially awkward ENFJs. It would be easy to say that I'm INFJ but I get depressed within a few straight hours of alone time... I need someone around. Also, I process most of thoughts through talking (either to myself or to somebody else).
    Is can get unhappy being alone. Do you need a lot of people around or just a small amount to be content? Thoughts as in thinking(Te), or feelings(Fe)?

    Quote Originally Posted by greed View Post
    I can't be bothered to pick out what the questions are in the op ()
    D':

    Quote Originally Posted by greed View Post
    I tell versions of this story a lot.. but, I lived in Te-land, or at least Ne/Te-land, for a very long time. Fi didn't come up in my career or my personal life until later on--it just didn't have much of a place in engineering or computers, nor with the crowds I hung out with or the interests that I thought I had. So by the time I was 20 or so, I had my strong tertiary intact.

    Thus, I learned the ways of the Te well before I "should" have. The effects are what you might expect; I was pretty well organized early on, knew how to be productive, and could manipulate my external environment pretty efficiently and efficiency. To this end, I bring out the picture that usually makes Ps cringe:



    I was also completely miserable.

    It wasn't until I relaxed on the efficiency, organization, and productivity a bit and discovered my role in personal and interpersonal matters that I became happy. I've still got a good grasp on how to be organized and all, but I place much less emphasis on it than I used to.


    So that situation might illustrate what happens to someone whose functions' strengths aren't aligned with their preferences. It is a nature vs. nurture idea, in that one's environment might inhibit the growth of their natural functions. They'll strain in learning other functions for sure, and they might be somewhat clumsy in using them, but they'll retain much of the skillset associated with them. I think that comes at a price, though.
    If the environment inhibits the growth of a person's natural function(s), is it possible for him/her to have a hard time developing them later in life since it might be easier to use the less preferred in the end? (Well, not so for you from what you said. ) Especially if the preference for them isn't extremely strong? Like a left hander being conformed to use his/her right hand to write, he/she might continue using his/her left for other activities, but not writing because it's still easier to write with his/her right than learning how to use his/her left hand from scratch though it's apparent that he/she will be able to learn how to write way faster than he/she did for his/her right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fecal McAngry View Post
    Generally speaking, order of preference = order of skill within a particular person.
    Generally speaking, it is. But I was thinking of those rare few exceptions that do not fall under that category.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fecal McAngry View Post
    And the very best individuals at using, say, Se will invariably be ESxPs.

    However, a bright ENTP may have superior use of Ti than a stupid INTP.

    And it certainly is possible for people to excel in professions which appear to be very demanding of functions they are typologically not fit for because of other factors. For example, Martina Navratilova is an NTJ (probably INTJ, though I am not really sure) and Mike Tyson is an INFP. Both excelled in sports which demand a great deal of S (esp. Se) by means of dedication and unusual physical gifts.

    Mike's neck, for example(!!):
    Do Martina and Mike enjoy their jobs? If they do, what makes them like Se if it usually shouldn't be one of the preferred function? Because they are good at it and are used to using it? Or did their jobs reward them in some other way? (Te for Martina, Fi for Mike for the sense of accomplishment they get etc)
    And... Mike's neck... I was wondering what you wanted me to see, I thought 'You mean that white T right in the middle?' and then... Oh you meant the muscles.

    Quote Originally Posted by sLiPpY View Post
    I see'z it like this. We are all born with a certain "karma" and one can improve their "karma" along the way, or make it a little worse.

    I haven't changed a damn bit since I was five years old, and having the experience of watching nephews and nieces grow to young adulthood.

    My nephews haven't changed a damn bit either, but women are a little bit trickier.

    Care to elaborate more on the last sentence? I'm curious why you think that women are more prone to changes in personality types when maturing from childhood to adulthood. (Hope it didn't come across as confrontational, I certainly do not mean that but I have no idea how to rephrase it to sound less so...)
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    I'd also be inclined to say that there is no such thing as skill in using a function, because functions are not skills, but rather a psychological driving forces to act/think in a particular way. What does it mean to be more skilled at wanting to achieve a goal (Te) or to try something out with your own hands (Se)? Functions cause you to act in a particular way, and that leads to the development of skills, dependent upon intelligence. But intelligence is not part of MBTI theory. It deals with the empthasis people place upon a particular way of thinking. Thus an INTP always favours the methods of Ti more than an ENTP, regardless of the relative intelligence levels. It's just that if the INTP isn't as intelligent, the end results will not be as good.

    To help illustrate what I mean by an order of concious use I'll give an example. I'm an INTJ with Ni, Te, Fi and Se, and I've trying to decide what I want to do. First off I brain storm for ideas, picking up ideas that look interesting and throwing away the rest, then I go though that list to see what looks practicle before making my final choice.

    In doing this the functions I'm using are Ni (Brainstorming), Fi (throwing away unattractive ideas), Te (to judge which I can do) and then Fi again (to make the final choice, once all logistical consierations are done). At some point in the past, I must also of used Se to gather the information that Te used at its stage. However, the only ones I'm very aware of using are Ni and Te. Those are the two ways of thinking that get all my efforts. When Ni throws up an idea which Fi throws out immediastel, I tend not to spend a huge amount of time thinking about. My thought processes can be pretty much sumed up as "Nah". Nevertheless, I still use it before my auxilary Te. If at the second Fi stage I still have more than one choice to make, I pretty much just flip a coin.

    Regardless of success or failure, my function use is likely to have been very much like this. As it happens, that success or failure is likely to originate in my inferior Se, seeing as that is the weak link in the chain. Most disasters in my life come from a failure to gather enough real world information or not paying enough attention to things. Remembering that weakness often causes me to double check these days.

    As a person gets older, they get more aware of the tertiary and inferior processes and give them more importance. These days I spend more time considering what I really want out os something. I also gather more Se type information as well - when I remember! The inferior still gives me problems.

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