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  1. #1
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    Default Cognitive Functions and Type Dynamics - A Failed Theory?

    Hey guys, I thought this forum died! It wasn't working for quite a period of time, so I just gave up. I'm glad to see that it's up and thriving.

    Anyway, I ran across this and thought some of you might be interested in looking at it.

    In particular, I was interested in personality typing theory that utilizes MBTI in a different way. Here is an excerpt:
    A Better Alternative to Cognitive Functions and Type Dynamics

    The replacement scheme proposed by Reynierse drops type dynamics entirely. Instead, a person’s letters (for example, INTP) are ranked in order of “strength.” And what is meant by strength, exactly?

    Well, when you took the Myers-Briggs test (or any of the other MBTI knockoffs floating around) you probably noticed that some of your personality traits--i.e., Thinking, Feeling or whatever--were very clear and obvious, i.e. you answered 9/10 questions as a Thinker rather than a Feeler. For other personality traits, perhaps Sensing vs. Intuition, you might have noticed that you were pretty middle-of-the-road in that you didn’t have much preference for either way of functioning. For example, perhaps you only answered 6/10 questions as an Intuitive.

    In the traditional way of looking at type theory, it doesn’t matter whether your preference for any particular letter is clear or slight--a letter is a letter is a letter. If you answer 10/10 questions about Introversion vs. Extraversion as an Introvert, then it is considered the same thing as if you had answered only 6/10 questions as an Introvert. In short, the strength of each preference was ignored. As one MBTI practitioner put it, "You're either pregnant or you're not." However, it turns out that this information has predictive value and can actually be useful in understanding one’s own unique personality.

    If we put each of the traits on a spectrum, i.e. E – I, S – N, T – F, and J – P, allowing for shades of grey rather than just black/white, yes/no choices, we can get a much clearer picture of an individual's unique personality. “Types” become simplified representations of the spectrum, the way a rainbow is divided up into six colors rather than a million different shades. The goal is to find a scheme that adequately represents this added complexity without becoming too overdetailed to be useful.
    Using this method, I would say that I am an SITJ or SITP.

    Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

  2. #2
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    His whole argument makes too much of so-called "strength"; both his criticism of function order, as well as his solution.
    Dominant, auxiliary, tertiary and inferior (as well as the lower "shadows") are not about relative "strengths" of eight "cognitive functions". It's about the ego's dominant function and attitude (conceived separately, so it's not really a function that is "introverted" or "extraverted"; the attitude is just the standard or source the ego generally references for the function) being "superior" as the ego-achiever, and the diametric opposite combo being "inferior".
    Since it will be either a judging or perceiving function, then the ego will also have a most preferred function for the opposite j/p process, and this will be the auxiliary. (It will be in the opposite attitude for balance). Since it's not as preferred as the dominant, then its diametric opposite will not be as suppressed as the inferior; thus "tertiary".

    The preferred functions will likely come out as "strongest", but below those, no one really ever said it was an order of strength. It's really the complexes that associate with these functions that order them, based on this reflective symmetry. It's an order of convenience more than anything else.
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  3. #3
    Tier 1 Member LunaLuminosity's Avatar
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    More critically, given a "valid" instrument, seeing whether your clearest preference is on the S/N or the F/T should be a good indicator of which one is your dominant. Like being an SITJ is just being an ISTJ . But having a pattern of TJIS poses more of a problem....

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    Quote Originally Posted by LunaLuminosity View Post
    More critically, given a "valid" instrument, seeing whether your clearest preference is on the S/N or the F/T should be a good indicator of which one is your dominant. Like being an SITJ is just being an ISTJ . But having a pattern of TJIS poses more of a problem....
    Ah! I tend to agree with this mode of thinking. For example, I've always been pretty sure that I am an introvert and a sensor, but a tad confused on the other two dichotomies. By this mode of thinking, Si must be my dominant function. Additionally, I seem to be just slightly more of a thinker than a feeler. The thinking function that pairs with Si is Te, which makes me ISTJ. Of course, I don't know if there is any merit to this, but it seems somewhat logical in my head. The thought is just that no one will decide that they are a TJIS.

    I'd love to see some sort of mass survey on this sort of thing to see if it makes any sense.

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    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    there has been topic about this earlier and the article(which is used as a reference on the one you posted) is just utter crap and pretty much all views are based on fundamental misunderstandings of typology and the idea that functions cant be true because there havent been studies about them, which is just retarded.

    also its funny that he is referring to function tests and saying that it seems that aux comes just as often before dom in strength and using this as evidence that function theory is invalid. what he doesent understand is that those tests doesent even measure strength of function, its just a CLARITY OF PREFERENCE. reason for them being just clarity is because the test doesent even measure the functions, it just asks things that HINT towards certain function usage, more hints towards one = more clear result.
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTP View Post
    there has been topic about this earlier and the article(which is used as a reference on the one you posted) is just utter crap and pretty much all views are based on fundamental misunderstandings of typology and the idea that functions cant be true because there havent been studies about them, which is just retarded.
    I pride myself on being a skeptic, so I can somewhat understand why this guy is calling the theory invalid because of a lack of empirical data. Personally, I think personality theories of any type are a bit silly, but I indulge in them anyway. It's this argument of his that I don't particularly agree with either, but my reasoning may be a bit different than yours. How much of this "empirical data" can your really have on personality theories? How does one acquire such data? Surveys? Psychoanalysis? In my opinion, these don't really mean much of anything and are not particularly useful in attempting to make an objective analysis. It all seems to be a matter of opinion. Should we care? Maybe not, maybe so. It depends on what your goals are. (Hmm...this doesn't seem to make as much sense out loud.)

    also its funny that he is referring to function tests and saying that it seems that aux comes just as often before dom in strength and using this as evidence that function theory is invalid. what he doesent understand is that those tests doesent even measure strength of function, its just a CLARITY OF PREFERENCE. reason for them being just clarity is because the test doesent even measure the functions, it just asks things that HINT towards certain function usage, more hints towards one = more clear result.
    You and Eric B seem to have the same reasoning. I had something to say to sort of, for lack of a better word, "counter" this, but I can't remember what it was.

    Oh and mind directing me toward that thread you were talking about?

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    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyGeek View Post
    Oh and mind directing me toward that thread you were talking about?
    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...pe-theory.html
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
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  8. #8
    Junior Member Hemd's Avatar
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    There are two options:

    1) Function theory does make concrete statements about the behavior of people.

    This is what official Mbti says and also what Jung said. Mbti claims the function theory is real and has real life implications. But reality is, that after more than 50 years of mbti no one has come up with any evidence for function theory whatsoever, despite many tries. In contrast, for the preferences themselves there is tons of evidence from studies through for everyone observable behavior. But function theory statements don't fit the reality more than chance. It doesn't fit with real behavior of people and what it should be according to function theory. Thats what Reynierse shows in his various studies.
    IF function theory really made valid statements about behavior, it would be really easy to prove this with a study (self ratings and observer ratings about the behaviors people should show according to their functions). But in 50 years of mbti no one was able to do this, so its safe to assume there won't be any evidence in the future, because, well, personality simply doesn't work the way function theory claims.


    2) Function theory is just a concept of inner workings that can't be observed in real life.

    This isn't what mbti says. If someone says function theory doesn't make any statements about observable behavior, than what use has it, apart from a philosophical concept? If it doesn't have any influence in real life, that means it can't be proofed or falsified in any possible way. Of course you could see it as a philosophical concept with no real life application. Then no one can question its validity. Then it is a purely theoretical construction that only exists in our heads, a construct of our imagination. But then you can't say "person X behaves this way because of his Y function", because thats pure speculation and has nothing to do with reality. It's the same as discussing pokemon cards strenghts or which superhero is the strongest. Which can be fun and enlightening, but has nothing to do with real life and personality.


    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyGeek View Post
    How much of this "empirical data" can your really have on personality theories? How does one acquire such data? Surveys? Psychoanalysis?
    A ton of. Psychoanalysis is just interpretation, it has nothing to do with empircal data. Empirical data is gathered by self-ratings and observer ratings of people. Normally on a scale from 1-5 ("mostly disagree" to "mostly agree") for every statement, for example you have to evalue the statement "not believing in function theory is retarded". There are pretty much studys on Mbti preferences with various outcomes, but none has ever shown any support for the function theory.
    For the Big Five personality theory there are literally thousands of studies, it is scientifically accepted in academia all over the world, but not well-known with lay-persons. Vice versa, Mbti is the choice of lay persons and corporate psychology, but science has generellay disregarded it as useless and flawed pop-psychology.


    "BUT FOR ME IT WORKS"
    Of course you can say "but for me function theory works". Thats completely valid and for some people function theory statements may really be valid, simply by chance. But perhaps it only works because you know and believe in the system and behave/think accordingly to it? Think about it. Think about it, that MAY BE function theory works for you, but that this doesn't say anything about the majority of other people (the same could be said about type theory generally).
    "But i can see it working in others as well" you may say. Well, there are also many people who will tell you the "truth" about astrology and how they can see it work for everyone. And for those people astrology really works, because they believe in it and behave/think/evaluate others accordingly to it. Regardless of that, astrology has easily been proved to be crap long ago and your zodiac doesn't say anything at all about your personality or behavior. But still people are believing in it and using it. They only see what they want to see, find confirmations for their beliefs and ignore the contradictions.


    And last: simply dismissing an argument by saying someone doesn't understand the system or has misunderstandings of it, like @INTP, is plain ignorance of others opinions. Because with this argument you can dismiss any critique no matter how valid or invalid it is. For example, if someone critisises, lets say, alien abductions as nonsense, you can simply say "he does not understand it, alien abductions are invisible and can't be seen or prooved the way he thinks".
    Reynierse has published several of his studies in the journal of psychological type, which is peer reviewed by other official mbti specialists. So you can assume he knows his shit about type and functions. But perhaps his point of view and therefore understanding of the theory is simply different from yours and thats not something you want to hear, let alone maybe accept a contradicting opinion to yours?
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    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hemd View Post
    And last: simply dismissing an argument by saying someone doesn't understand the system or has misunderstandings of it, like INTP, is plain ignorance of others opinions. Because with this argument you can dismiss any critique no matter how valid or invalid it is. For example, if someone critisises, lets say, alien abductions as nonsense, you can simply say "he does not understand it, alien abductions are invisible and can't be seen or prooved the way he thinks".
    Reynierse has published several of his studies in the journal of psychological type, which is peer reviewed by other official mbti specialists. So you can assume he knows his shit about type and functions. But perhaps his point of view and therefore understanding of the theory is simply different from yours and thats not something you want to hear, let alone maybe accept a contradicting opinion to yours?
    why do you think that my opinion is based on ignorance on his opinion?

    i have already replied to his theories two times and i cba to give any profound answer again, so ill just quote myself:

    He uses arguments that doesent prove anything, quotes people that say weird ass things and uses it as an indicator of functions not being true. For example he says things like functions are just type cut in parts and doesent explain anything about the type, therefore functions arent true. And type is larger than the sum of its parts(functions), therefore functions arent real and only type matters. There isnt any empirical evidence, because people had been unable to test the functions, therefore they arent true. Also some study showed that dom Fe leads to social well being and looking to maintain them and succeeding in it, while aux Fe is more concerned and being able to keep family stuff in better shape and because family stuff is about social stuff, Fe being dom or aux doesent matter.

    Functions are exactly what explains the type.

    Yes its true that functions on themselves is less than the functions interacting together. But so what? Isnt that quite obvious and how can it debunks functions? He also forgot that it doesent only work that way, if you only look at type, you are able to get out more from function i teractions than just from type. If we were just looking at type and disregarding functions, the whole idea of there being a certain pattern on self development would be disregarded, because the development happens with functions, not with type.

    Well even tho there isnt any good empirical evidence about functions, that doesent mean that they doesent exist. People have been using flawed methods for this in the past and dario nardis work with eeg and type shows patterns in brain activity linked to functions, not jusr to type. But his studies were more like 5 years long prestudy(what evwr the part is called where you make little measurements before starting the actual study), with shitloads of data, but not the type of that you could use as empirical evidence, but the type of that clearly demonstrates the patterns. When you look at functional brain areas, its clear that N isnt just N, but that Ni and Ne are totally different things and matches with the evidence of E and I that some study earlier has shown(cant remember its name, but it was testing E and I and pathways towards/out from visual cortex).

    Is it any wonder that aux Fe(I type) would want to concentrate on fever things with his social stuff than Fe dom(E type)? Him using this as evidence only proves that the guy is retard and doesent understand anything than type, thats why thinking functions are useless..
    Principle 1: All individual human beings differ with their own personal
    identity and individuality formed by their own unique genetic, ontogenetic,
    epigenetic, and experiential background.
    yes. what does this have to do with anything?

    Principle 2: The individual MBTI preferences are the fundamental unit
    of analysis for type theory.
    no. extraversion/introversion of functions and function positions are the fundamental unit of analysis in type overall. when it comes to individual level, you need to take differentiation of functions into account also.

    Principle 3: The individual preferences are arranged as sets of
    complementary opposites.
    kinda. ISTJ and ENFP has the same functions, but in different order. for ISTJ Ne and Fi are the complementary opposites for Si and Te, for ENFP this is the opposite.

    Principle 4: The individual preferences are free to combine with each other and in any order.
    yes if you look at E-I, S-N etc dichotomies, but when it comes to functions this sort of approach doesent work, thus this is irrelevant to anything than newbies trying to figure out their possible type.

    Principle 5: The combination of individual preferences is additive
    rather than interactive.
    not true for the most parts, but kinda true in some aspects(but not how he meant it). if we take Si and Ne as an example, Ne being perception via unconscious; something is perceived in external world(consciously or unconsciously) and the perception triggers process of unconscious comparison between the external perception and what already has been stored in brains, to cause what dario nardi called trans-contextual thinking. Si on the other hand is subjective perception, perceiving according to what already has been stored in the brains. it is pretty clear that there is an interaction between these two functions, but if it were this simple and there only being one comparison, it couldnt be called interactive, but additive. however when there is neural activity in your brains(like this NeSi thing), brains are constantly being modified, Ne modifies Si and Si modifies Ne, therefore it is flawed to call this additive. not to mention that this seemingly random activity of Ne is using other brain areas, but doing so unconsciously, so its interacting with other functions than just Si(personally i think nardis view on Si is bit flawed, but thats not all that relevant).

    now this isnt the only reason why that statement is flawed, there is another major thing that people often dismiss or dont understand about typology(havent seen this talked on MBTI at all), it is true that we all possess the brain regions which are involved with both orientations of all functions, however this isnt the definition of using that function. whether you use Ti or Te is about whether that brain area is developed(differentiated) enough to be consciously directed(this is why jung said that undeveloped functions are neither extraverted or introverted, since they are neither directed by the subjective or objective factor, they are there just to interact automatically with other contents of your psyche). now we need to go look at this thing that consciously directs those brain areas(or combination of areas) which we call functions. this naturally is the ego and is located in deeper parts of the brains. in order for action potential(energy that is either carried further in brains or suppressed by neurons) to get to these deeper parts of the brains and not just modify neural connections locally(and depriving the information that has been processed from coming to consciousness), you either need strong impulse(continuous stream of action potentials, neurons have thresholds which store action potentials for a short periods of time) or very well developed neural connections in that part of the brain(this is what jung called differentiation), which physically is less neurons trying to stop the impulse, since this sort of stimuli has happened multiple times, which has caused the neural connections to specialize for this sort of info. and now to the point . these mid brain structures that create consciousness and work as the ego try to eliminate unnecessary information from overloading consciousness, combining relevant aspects from all impulses that are compatible with each others, this way they are additive, but its also interactive, because there is interaction between some brain areas before they are added together(or suppressed) by ego. for example with INTP and getting embarrassed, this embarrassment comes from same region as where Fe is, but with undifferentiated Fe, this information doesent go directly to consciousness, but leaks on the neighboring areas, having an interaction with Si and the product of this interaction goes to deeper parts of the brains without suppression(if you consciously do get embarrassed) and might interact by suppressing thinking for example, due to the strong impulse coming from FeSi embarrassment combo.

    Principle 6: The expression of psychological type is fundamentally
    contextual and situational.
    true, but INTPs psyche expresses(reacts with) thinking more often than ESFJ for example. so while it is situational, there are still preferences.

    Principle 7: MBTI preference scores matter and indicate strength of
    preference.
    MBTI scores indicate clarity of preference(due to the structure of the assessment), its not a score of strength or amount of preference. hello MBTI 101!

    Principle 8: Type dominance is a function of strength of preference and the dominant preference is simply the independently high-value preference.
    stupid mistake in thinking due to not understanding the fundamentals of the test or theory behind it.

    what comes to him having published articles on journal of psychological type. if you think that it makes him some authority figure whos word should not be questioned, dont be so naive.

    you remember when some scientists measured that faster than light neutrino? it was published all over biggest scientific articles, even tho they made a stupid mistake, which i(and quite possibly many others) figured out the second i heard those results.

    people who publish stuff in scientific articles are just people, if you havent learned to doubt things you read in articles, you clearly dont have much knowledge of the field of scientific research and articles written by the "experts".
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  10. #10
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hemd View Post
    There are two options:

    1) Function theory does make concrete statements about the behavior of people.

    This is what official Mbti says and also what Jung said. Mbti claims the function theory is real and has real life implications. But reality is, that after more than 50 years of mbti no one has come up with any evidence for function theory whatsoever, despite many tries. In contrast, for the preferences themselves there is tons of evidence from studies through for everyone observable behavior. But function theory statements don't fit the reality more than chance. It doesn't fit with real behavior of people and what it should be according to function theory. Thats what Reynierse shows in his various studies.
    IF function theory really made valid statements about behavior, it would be really easy to prove this with a study (self ratings and observer ratings about the behaviors people should show according to their functions). But in 50 years of mbti no one was able to do this, so its safe to assume there won't be any evidence in the future, because, well, personality simply doesn't work the way function theory claims.


    2) Function theory is just a concept of inner workings that can't be observed in real life.

    This isn't what mbti says. If someone says function theory doesn't make any statements about observable behavior, than what use has it, apart from a philosophical concept? If it doesn't have any influence in real life, that means it can't be proofed or falsified in any possible way. Of course you could see it as a philosophical concept with no real life application. Then no one can question its validity. Then it is a purely theoretical construction that only exists in our heads, a construct of our imagination. But then you can't say "person X behaves this way because of his Y function", because thats pure speculation and has nothing to do with reality. It's the same as discussing pokemon cards strenghts or which superhero is the strongest. Which can be fun and enlightening, but has nothing to do with real life and personality.


    For the Big Five personality theory there are literally thousands of studies, it is scientifically accepted in academia all over the world, but not well-known with lay-persons. Vice versa, Mbti is the choice of lay persons and corporate psychology, but science has generellay disregarded it as useless and flawed pop-psychology.
    While function theory might be more about inner workings, temperament theory is what deals with outward behavior, and mapping temperament to MBTI is what shows the link between them. While Keirsey may have done the initial mapping, yet rejected the functions in the process, Berens is the one who puts them all back together, and I don't know how many studies have been done on her models, but it seems pretty accurate or at least workable.

    Bit Five is just trait-based dichotomies (And correlations have been done, and four of them match somewhat) similar to Keirsey, and they don't put it together into "temperaments" or "types" (except for the SLOAN version), so I don't see why that is really better or more accurate.
    It seems the functions add an additional useful dimension to understanding personality.
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