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  1. #1
    Senior Member reckful's Avatar
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    Default SJ/SP (Keirsey) vs ST/SF (Myers)

    David Keirsey's famous for his view that splitting Myers' 16 types into NFs, NTs, SJs and SPs creates four groups that each has characteristics in common (and differs from the other three groups) to an extent that significantly exceeds the other possible two-letter groupings.

    As further discussed in this post, Keirsey really started out as (and largely remained, at least through PUM II) an MBTI guy, but liked to frame his famous foursome as if it also carried on a grand, historical four-type tradition. But the purported match-ups he pointed to between his MBTI-based types and various older foursomes were often pretty strained.

    I've long thought that the right way to read Keirsey is as a guy who had a lot of good insights into the MBTI types (and a talent for bringing them to life on the page) — including interesting (although not always correct) things to say about his favored two-letter combinations — but without buying into his view that there was something truly fundamental about the NF/NT/SJ/SP carve-up.

    Isabel Myers was a big believer that there were lots of noteworthy aspects of personality associated with combinations of preferences, and the 1985 MBTI Manual (which she co-authored) included brief descriptions of every possible two-letter combination. But NF/NT/ST/SF was Myers' favored foursome, and I can't resist noting that it's a carve-up of the types that totally ignores the so-called "cognitive functions." (Each of Myers' four groups consists of types with four different dominant functions.)

    Myers explained why she thought NF/NT/ST/SF was the most meaningful way to group the types in Gifts Differing. She said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Myers
    Each of these combinations produces a different kind of personality, characterized by the interests, values, needs, habits of mind, and surface traits that naturally result from the combination. Combinations with a common preference will share some qualities, but each combination has qualities all its own, arising from the interaction of the preferred way of looking at life and the preferred way of judging what is seen.

    Whatever a person's particular combination of [S/N and T/F] preferences may be, others with the same combination are apt to be the easiest to understand and like. They will tend to have similar interests, since they share the same kind of perception, and to consider the same things important, since they share the same kind of judgment.
    Keirsey didn't think much of Myers' S groups. In explaining how he got from Myers to NF/NT/SJ/SP, he said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Keirsey
    I soon found it convenient and useful to partition Myers's sixteen types into four groups, which she herself suggested in saying that all of what she referred to as the "NFs" were alike in many ways and that all four of the "NTs" were alike in many ways — although what she called the "STs" seemed to me to have very little in common, just as the "SFs" had little in common.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Which brings me to a little study that I haz just performed...

    The official MBTI folks put out Career Reports that show the popularity for each type of "22 broad occupational categories," based on "a sample of more than 92,000 people in 282 jobs who said they were satisfied with their jobs." That's a large freaking sample by personality typology standards, and it included 5,830 ISFJs, 11,410 ISTJs, 3,230 ISFPs, 5,114 ESTPs, 4,321 ESFPs and 12,019 ESTJs.

    To give you an indication of the nature of the stats, here are the "Most Attractive Job Families" (job satisfaction scores of 60-100) for the ESFPs:

    ESFPs
    Health Care Support [100]
    —Nurse's aide, veterinary assistant, pharmacy aide, physical therapy aide
    Food Preparation and Service [99]
    —Chef, food service manager, bartender, host/hostess
    Personal Care and Service [91]
    —Lodging manager, personal trainer, hairdresser, child care provider
    Office and Administrative Support [70]
    —Bank teller, receptionist, clerical services, legal secretary
    Sales and Advertising [62]
    —Sales manager, real estate agent, insurance agent, salesperson
    Building and Grounds Maintenance [60]
    —Gardener, tree trimmer, housekeeping, lawn service supervisor

    And again, there are 22 categories in all.

    I don't have a full set of those Career Report stats, but I have them for the six S types previously mentioned, and it occurred to me to wonder whether the occupational preferences of SJs tend to be more alike than the occupational preferences of STs (as Keirsey's perspective would arguably lead you to believe) or vice versa (more in line with Myers' perspective).

    So I decided to calculate what you might call the total distance between the job choices of those six S types by totaling the 22 differences in job satisfaction ratings. And here are the results:

    ISFJ vs. ISTJ (both SJs): 737
    ISFJ vs. ISFP (both SFs): 337

    ESTP vs. ESFP (both SPs): 659
    ESTP vs. ESTJ (both STs): 375

    In both cases the results favor Myers' perspective — that ST/SF is a more meaningful way to group the S's than SJ/SP — and by a very wide margin.

    And noooooooooooo, I'm not saying this disproves the fundamentality of Keirsey's temperaments by any means, but I am saying I consider those results some serious food for thought. Career choices are a big part of a person's life — not to mention an aspect of life that Myers and Keirsey both thought (consistent with decades of data) tends to be substantially influenced by your type — and 92,000 is a huge sample, and those ST/SF-vs.-SJ/SP results are dramatically lopsided.

    My perspective continues to be that it's probably a mistake to put too much emphasis on any particular grouping of the 16 types, including Myers'. As reflected in the MBTI Manual, I assume there are probably noteworthy and insightful things to be said about each of the possible two-letter combinations.

    And in that regard, and as a final note, I can't resist mentioning that, although I agree that I have some significant things in common with my fellow NTs, I've increasingly come around to the view that, if I had to pick a group of four MBTI types to really be my "kindred spirits" group, it would be the INs rather than the NTs. And anybody's who's interested can read more about that in the spoiler.


  2. #2
    Sheep pill, broster asynartetic's Avatar
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    That was a good read because I didn't get bored and skip it as I often do with text wall posts.

    Personally, if I had to choose a 2-letter group with whom I could most easily identify, it would probably be the TPs.
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  3. #3
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    I think there is validity to the different groupings also. Keirsey's groupings focus more on mentality, even though they appear to be about social roles. This is interesting as he kind of does away with the 8 cognitive functions, which would support his temperaments being mentality if you focus less on the exact functions (ie. NFPs and NFJs actually use different cognitive functions, but yet, we easily recognize similarity in their mentalities; of course, if you view it as 4 functions and 4 attitudes to make 8 function-attitudes, then this explains it also).

    I personally identify best with other INxx types in terms of demeanor as well, but I can see a more similar mentality with NFs. My social role is arguably more NP than NF or INxx. NPs are driven to explore and even create potential, whereas NJs seem driven to shape and steer the inevitable.

    As far as social roles and common careers, I think there is a matter of how the person perceives the job. The categories above are hilariously ST sounding.... I cannot imagine an ESFP views the work of, say, a hairdresser as "personal care and service". They are likely to view it as creative, fun, social and free (they often have flexible schedules and may be self-emplpyed). I'm not sure that's the exact appeal for SFJs though, who may be drawn to it more for the community and service aspects. This is telling as far as the mentality behind it, because the SFJs may be more similar to the STJs there. What Keirsey is noting is the mentality, the drive to do something, although he too often conflates that with what someone actually does.
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

    INFP | 4w5 sp/sx | RLUEI - Primary Inquisitive | Tritype is tripe

  4. #4
    literally your mother PocketFullOf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starcrash View Post
    That was a good read because I didn't get bored and skip it as I often do with text wall posts.

    Personally, if I had to choose a 2-letter group with whom I could most easily identify, it would probably be the TPs.
    Same.


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  5. #5
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    reckful-

    That is an excellent post. You have answered a few questions I have been seeking answers to.

    The Keirsey rationale for his four "temperaments" (assuming he did not have more fundamental reasons) that you quoted above is so arbitrary. It has never made any sense to me why, logically speaking, it makes sense to anyone to inconsistently categorize with a preference category switch.
    It's either ST, SF, NF, NT or SJ, SP, NJ, NP- but it can't be both without being a contradiction.

    If we are speaking of Temperament, I think a more historical understanding of what is meant will reveal that it is the E/I and J/P dimensions that most closely describe it. And Meyers thankfully expanded upong Jung to give us what was inherent in his own thinking (and I would suggest is obvious to anyone who is interested in Epistemology), namely the cognitive functions that are inherent to all humans but also the ones we individually prefer.

    I tend to think of personality as a hierarchy from the most basic and general to the more specific and individual:

    1. "Temperament":
    IJ = melancholics
    IP = phlegmatics
    EP = sanguines
    EJ = cholerics

    2. "Personality Type":
    IN, IS, IT, IF, EN, ES, ET, EF

    3. "Cognitive Type":
    ST, SF, NF, NT

    4. an individual

  6. #6
    untitled Chanaynay's Avatar
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    I agree that one arrangement of groupings isn't necessarily more or less valid than another's. Personally, I'm more on board with Myers. I like the NF/NT/SF/ST groupings because I find them more balanced. I feel like with SP and SJ people are able to project a lot of negative qualities onto them that aren't necessarily there or "exclusive" to those types (party animals, sheep, etc).

    Personally, I identify mostly with EP and EF. Maybe being an E7 has something to do with it, but I find myself a lot more independent and a lot less preachy than how NFs are typically described. I think the main part of being an NF that resonates with me is being idealistic and humanitarian, but I think that can also apply to SFs if we go with Myers.
    7w6 - 2w3 - 8w7 sx/so

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  7. #7
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myshkin14 View Post
    reckful-

    That is an excellent post. You have answered a few questions I have been seeking answers to.

    The Keirsey rationale for his four "temperaments" (assuming he did not have more fundamental reasons) that you quoted above is so arbitrary. It has never made any sense to me why, logically speaking, it makes sense to anyone to inconsistently categorize with a preference category switch.
    It's either ST, SF, NF, NT or SJ, SP, NJ, NP- but it can't be both without being a contradiction.

    If we are speaking of Temperament, I think a more historical understanding of what is meant will reveal that it is the E/I and J/P dimensions that most closely describe it. And Meyers thankfully expanded upong Jung to give us what was inherent in his own thinking (and I would suggest is obvious to anyone who is interested in Epistemology), namely the cognitive functions that are inherent to all humans but also the ones we individually prefer.

    I tend to think of personality as a hierarchy from the most basic and general to the more specific and individual:

    1. "Temperament":
    IJ = melancholics
    IP = phlegmatics
    EP = sanguines
    EJ = cholerics

    2. "Personality Type":
    IN, IS, IT, IF, EN, ES, ET, EF

    3. "Cognitive Type":
    ST, SF, NF, NT

    4. an individual
    Keirsey's groupings were based on a sort of hybrid of the old Hippocrates/Galen "humor" temperaments, and [moreso] Plato's Four Character Styles, which are the final names he used. He traced them down through history through others such as Kretschmer, Adickes and Spränger, which led to the split along S/N with the asymmetrical mapping of T/F and J/P. (I/E is effectively replaced by cooperative/pragmatic, which corresponded to Spränger's "Social"/"Political").

    The more classical "social" element of the temperaments would be the Insteraction Styles, which do use I/E, with the "people/task" factor being also connected to T/F and J/P, but in an opposite fashion from the character styles (ST/SF/NP/NJ, divided by I/E and then paired back together with F and P being "informative" and T and J being "directive").
    So fror the N's, it is EP, IP, EJ, IJ, but for the S's, it's EF, ET, IF, IT.
    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
    Type Ideas

  8. #8
    Member cameo's Avatar
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    Now I'm having an identity crisis (again) haha. Partially joking but not really. I just have a hard time because I am pretty confident in my type (ISTJ) but when I see things that emphasize how N types are typically more interested in learning for the sake of learning, accumulating knowledge, etc. I start to question things because I definitely have those traits. I am nerdy by the definition of being brainy and interested in learning for the sake of learning. I minored in philosophy in college and I continue to read philosophy works for fun, along with lots of classic literature, etc., and I don't know how many ISTJs there are who are interested in such things. I know an ESTJ who is definitely not interested in stuff like that. I know some ISTJs who enjoy history books (as I do) but I also love reading more theoretical/abstract things. Political science was my major and the political theory classes were always my favorite. I love having erudite conversations even if they don't lead anywhere or conclude with anything.

    That said, I am pretty conscientious about rules and I also am highly pragmatic. To me, being interested in things like philosophy and being pragmatic aren't mutually exclusive. But the way MBTI types are often parsed leaves me feeling torn about things.
    So what if I don't have a lot to talk about?/
    I shut my mouth and keep it locked until it counts/
    And what if I don't ever want to leave my house?/
    Stay on the couch while all my friends are going out/
    I'll make the journey down the hall back to my room/
    And kill more time, and let it rot inside its tomb/
    See, I ain't one to climb some social ladder to/
    Some Shangri-La that all the cool kids will abuse/

  9. #9
    Senior Member reckful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cameo View Post
    Now I'm having an identity crisis (again)
    In case you have any interest in taking it, I'd be curious to see your scores on the official "Step I" MBTI. Hopefully needless to say, no self-report personality test is perfect, but the official MBTI is the only Jung/MBTI-related personality test with a respectable body of psychometric support behind it.

    I'd guess that you'll come out N, and that the reason for that is — wait for it — that you're actually an N.

    If you come out T, and especially in the case of a female INJ, I think there are good reasons to remain open to the F possibility. But it's been my experience that the official MBTI does a pretty good job of slotting people (assuming their actual preferences are reasonably strong) on the E/I, S/N and J/P dimensions.

    Some people wonder what their frame of mind should be when they respond to the MBTI items, so in case you want to take the test and have some uncertainty along those lines, here's what the MBTI Manual says:

    Quote Originally Posted by MBTI Manual
    Some people have trouble finding the correct frame of mind for answering the MBTI. When reporting the results to some people, they say they reported their "work self," "school self," "ideal self," or some other self they now consider atypical. The frame of reference desired in respondents is what has been termed the "shoes-off self." The "shoes-off self" fosters an attitude in which one functions naturally, smoothly, and effortlessly, and in which one is not going "against one's grain." The function of the MBTI is to provide the first step toward understanding one's natural preferences.

  10. #10
    Member cameo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reckful View Post
    In case you have any interest in taking it, I'd be curious to see your scores on the official "Step I" MBTI. Hopefully needless to say, no self-report personality test is perfect, but the official MBTI is the only Jung/MBTI-related personality test with a respectable body of psychometric support behind it.

    I'd guess that you'll come out N, and that the reason for that is — wait for it — that you're actually an N.

    If you come out T, and especially in the case of a female INJ, I think there are good reasons to remain open to the F possibility. But it's been my experience that the official MBTI does a pretty good job of slotting people (assuming their actual preferences are reasonably strong) on the E/I, S/N and J/P dimensions.
    I did take it, and I scored ISTJ haha. But my S/N preference is definitely where I waver the most. I struggle the most with questions that pertain to choosing facts or theory, but I still come out S. Maybe part of the problem is that I've done too much research and I can tell what each question is attempting to measure. But I do try to answer as genuinely and "shoes-off" as I can.

    Extraversion
    E 0, 21 I


    Sensing
    S 19, 7 N


    Thinking
    T 24, 0 F


    Judging
    J 21, 1 P
    So what if I don't have a lot to talk about?/
    I shut my mouth and keep it locked until it counts/
    And what if I don't ever want to leave my house?/
    Stay on the couch while all my friends are going out/
    I'll make the journey down the hall back to my room/
    And kill more time, and let it rot inside its tomb/
    See, I ain't one to climb some social ladder to/
    Some Shangri-La that all the cool kids will abuse/

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