Here are some membership stats for TC and PersonalityCafe:
June 2013 membership stats for PersonalityCafe
INFP 3723 — 21%
INFJ 2580 — 15%
INTP 2228 — 13%
INTJ 1876 — 11%
ENFP 1352 — 8%
ENTP 1112 — 6%
ENFJ 514 — 3%
ISTP 527 — 3%
ISFP 506 — 3%
ISTJ 437 — 2%
ENTJ 401 — 2%
ISFJ 314 — 2%
ESTP 159 — 1%
ESFJ 102 — 1%
ESFP 117 — 1%
ESTJ 97 — 1%
August 2012 membership stats for TypologyCentral
And as if those IN vs. ES differences weren't already huge enough in absolute terms, they'd actually be twice as dramatic if you took account of the fact that there are something like two S's for every N in the general population (according to the official MBTI folks) and translated the stats into self selection ratios
(i.e., the odds that any particular person of that type would be a member of one of those forums) on that basis.
And here someone may object: But, reckful, come on. Everybody knows that INs are the folks who freaking live on the internet
, so the fact that there are a lot more of them on any particular website may not say as much as you might otherwise think about their greater affinity for the theme of that website. And to that I'd respond: I don't necessarily disagree with that, but the fact that INs are the folks most inclined to live on the internet
— to the extent that you're right about that — is another piece of strong evidence in favor of viewing the INs as a significant type group.
I'd say the INs are the types best characterized as "born students." They're the types most likely to be found learning something for the sheer joy of learning, and the types most likely to begin their response to "What do you hope to accomplish in your life?" by saying (to quote an INTJ woman at PerC), "I want to learn as much as I can."
The MBTI Manual calls INs the "thoughtful innovators" and says they "are introspective and scholarly. They are interested in knowledge for its own sake, as well as ideas, theory, and depth of understanding. They are the least practical of the types." In Type Talk
, Kroeger & Thuesen note that INs "would rather speculate as to why Rome is burning than actually fight the fire. They are speculative, reflective, introspective, conceptual, and highly abstract in orientation."
I'd say INs are the nerds. INs are the folks who tend to be the most serious about the world of literature and philosophy and the arts, and to take one or more divisions of pop culture seriously.
You might say the INs' church is the library. As already noted, the INs are the folks most likely to more or less live on the internet, and to fail to see much of a significant distinction between the internet and so-called "real life." I think INs tend to be the most independent thinkers, and the most likely to define themselves strongly on the basis of their independent perspectives — not "special snowflake" unique, necessarily, but independently arrived at, and often more minority/subcultural than culturally mainstream.
Jung was an IN, Briggs and Myers were both INs, and Keirsey was an IN. And it sounds to me like most of the predecessor typologists whose theories Jung reviewed in Psychological Types
were fellow INs who I suspect were also, like Jung, partly moved to formulate their "different types" theories by the fact that — like a sizeable percentage of the INs in (I assume) most eras — they felt significantly alienated from the majority of their fellow men.
As a final, more wonkish, note on the INs...
As I'm always pointing out, Jung spent more of Psychological Types
talking about the things he thought extraverts had in common and introverts had in common than he spent talking about all eight of the functions put together. I'm not really a Beebe fan, but he certainly characterized Jung's perspective accurately when he said:
Originally Posted by Beebe
In the Foreword to a 1934 edition of Psychological Types
, Jung bemoaned the fact that too many people were inclined to view Chapter X as the essence of the book, and explained that he'd put the eight specific "function-type" descriptions at the end of the book for a reason. He said, "I would therefore recommend the reader who really wants to understand my book to immerse himself first of all in chapters II and V." And Chapters II and V are pretty much all about extraversion vs. introversion, with Chapter V devoted to a long analysis of Spitteler's Prometheus and Epimetheus
— which Jung calls "a poetic work based almost entirely on the type problem," explaining that the conflict at the heart of it "is essentially a struggle between the introverted and extraverted lines of development in one and the same individual, though the poet has embodied it in two independent figures and their typical destinies."
And the central focus on extraversion/introversion, and the things Jung thought all extraverts
and all introverts
tend to have in common, runs through every chapter of Psychological Types other than
Chapter X — the only part of the book with any substantial description of the eight functions. As Jung saw it, the dynamics of the human psyche revolved first and foremost around a single great divide, and that divide involved two
all-important components — namely, introversion/extraversion and
And here's the thing (for purposes of the present discussion): Jung assigned what's arguably the lion's share of the modern conception of S/N (the concrete/abstract duality) to E/I, with the result that, when Jung looked out at the world and spotted what he thought was a definite "introvert," he was almost assuredly looking at someone who'd be typed IN under the MBTI.
So I think it's fair to say that Jung himself viewed the INs (who he called the "introverts") and ESs (who he called the "extraverts") as the two most significant MBTI subgroups — even though he didn't frame them in those terms.