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Thread: Type descriptions based on younger examples?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array autumn's Avatar
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    Oct 2007

    Default Type descriptions based on younger examples?

    I have heard it said (somewhere on these forums, I do believe) that type descriptions tend to be based on a younger version of a person with those preferences. Does anyone know if this is in fact the case?

    In some ways it would make a lot of sense; the preferences in a young adult would be more in their "raw state," without the possible confusion that natural maturity and type development (along with the conscious strengthening of lesser-used functions) might bring to the determination of a best-fit description. That is to say, a more balanced, mellow, and mature ESTP (or any type) may be more difficult to distinctly describe in an archetypal way than a 21-year-old ESTP, where the lines of temperament are drawn more boldly. An older person has those lines, yet they are more nuanced and perhaps more blended around the edges.

    However, this may make for a bit of difficulty when an older person, trying to determine their best-fit type, is presented with type descriptions that would have fit them better at age twenty than at age forty-five. I cringe reading some ENFP descriptions that delineate certain faults toward which ENFPs are uniquely inclined, as I recognize some of those faults in my younger self (and still feel echoes of the associated criticism). Yet, since as the years go by I have worked quite hard (and do yet work) to counter those natural weaknesses, I would certainly hesitate to point an aquaintance toward an ENFP profile so they can learn more about me, as they may be inclined to attribute to me (and others sharing ENFP preferences) all the described characteristics and arrive at a snapshot of me taken many years past and not at the person they see in front of them this day.



  2. #2
    .~ *aĉa virino* ~. Array Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    well, if you read the case literature or anything with "live examples" of people talking about their type (such as what Berens often includes in her pieces), you'll see that most of them are focused on people in their 20-60's.

    So there's a large coverage of older people in those situations who are attached to a particular type reading.

    Type is complicated. It's hard to get a detailed picture of people with age that will fit everyone. That's why the focus is usually on motivations, those can be distilled from people of any age into general truths.

    The other thing is that people aren't necessarily mature as they get older. Age is just one part of things, but there are 40-50 year old people who are more immature and "raw" than 20 year olds in their type. We also are impacted by the family and culture we were raised in, which might have forced us to either develop functions we did not prefer or distorted our personal growth badly enough that we are WORSE off than we might have been.

    So these are some of the issues with making a USEFUL and uniform type rep for people of different ages. We could still probably tease out some similarities but there is still variation involved. I think most of the approach (and off the top of my head, the place where I would start) is based on the Inferior function (4th function) development in older people. Because that's where the largest difference would occur and be noticeable: People who focus on their primary and ignore their inferior look much different than those who have fought and worked and developed their inferior. When you deal with lesser functions, or functions that are not in such strong opposition to the primary, then the differences are harder to tease out.
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