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  1. #1
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Default Confusing Functions.

    I've been looking at Socionics, MBTI, and Jungian theory for a long time now. Ultimately, I'm unable to determine my type with any degree of accuracy in any particular system, because the meanings of the functions seem so esoteric. This weakness can be found in all of these systems relying upon Jung's definitions, which were inherently vague (but still interesting). I can't really see how to differentiate one function from another, because any action you take could be due to the motivation of any function. For instance, saying "Hello." to someone could be due to several motivations. It could be Extraverted Feeling, desiring to connect to others and express one's interest and concern for the other person's emotional state. It might be Introverted Sensing, displaying what it believes is the proper and accepted "form" for social interactions. It could be Introverted Thinking, having developed or recognized a system for social interaction. It could be Extraverted Intuition, wishing to see what new potentialities arise from the greeting. It could be Extraverted Thinking, viewing the greeting as a step in working towards a specific goal. It could be Introverted Feeling, believing that this interaction will result in an emotional intensity for them. I could continue, but I think you probably see the point. How can anyone actually know their type, if actions aren't necessarily caused by any particular function, and one cannot always be certain of what one's primary motivation was in the first place, whether you had more than one motivation, or whether this particular set of motivations is even valid or complete? This seems to be quite a mess. How can anyone really understand this?

  2. #2
    shoshaku jushaku rivercrow's Avatar
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    It could also be habitual training, not motivated by a function at all.

    My first suggestion is to pick one system and work there. Personally, I prefer MBTI which is closely aligned with Jungian theory; it's what I've been trained in, so I am biased.

    I'd also suggest you look at Thompson's Jung's Function-Attitudes Explained book (I think that's the name).

    Please break up your text into paragraphs so it's a little easier to read on-line. Thanks!

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    For instance, saying "Hello." to someone could be due to several motivations. It could be Extraverted Feeling, desiring to connect to others and express one's interest and concern for the other person's emotional state. It might be Introverted Sensing, displaying what it believes is the proper and accepted "form" for social interactions. It could be Introverted Thinking, having developed or recognized a system for social interaction. It could be Extraverted Intuition, wishing to see what new potentialities arise from the greeting. It could be Extraverted Thinking, viewing the greeting as a step in working towards a specific goal. It could be Introverted Feeling, believing that this interaction will result in an emotional intensity for them. I could continue, but I think you probably see the point.
    Definitely. This is exactly why people in general often misinterpret each other and end up in conflict; they all bring different assumptions to the table as to what a particular behavior is indicative of.... because they're using the wrong lexicon (i.e., their own) to interpret the other's action.

    How can anyone actually know their type, if actions aren't necessarily caused by any particular function, and one cannot always be certain of what one's primary motivation was in the first place, whether you had more than one motivation, or whether this particular set of motivations is even valid or complete? This seems to be quite a mess. How can anyone really understand this?
    Because personality is holistic and each data point is interpreted in light of OTHER data points. when you try to figure out someone's personality, you need a certain assortment of points before you can accurately interpret what a behavior means.

    (As a similar situation, professional interrogators know this, when trying to interpret whether someone is lying to them or not. There are no "singular" behaviors that prove that someone is lying; it's rather a COMBINATION of behaviors that can highly signify that someone is probably lying. The behaviors are all taken in relation to each other, to make an assessment.)

    I think S's (most of them) have more trouble with this, because they focus so much on the outer behavior, and some will try to extrapolate mnotivation from too few behavioral clues. N's are more inclined to be in "pattern recognition" mode and think holistically.

    There's also the sense that the picture is not black/white, it's various shades of gray. So any "guess" as to type has to be constantly adjusted as new behavior is observable, and someone's type is still always just a probability rather than a certainty. And there's also a lot of variability WITHIN types! (Not all ISFJs look alike, for example. They can be reduced to general common motivations, but they can all look very different in terms of cosmetic details, interests, etc.) We are all unique.

    Anyway, to figure out a type, you need to have a good sense of the possible motivations for a particular behavior, and you also need a collection of behaviors from "all over the map" -- then you check the motivations for each behavior, see which motivations are most prominent, and how prominent they are.

    Note: Each guess at someone's type contains not just the "guess" itself but also must contain the "strength" of the guess -- i.e., how probable the guess is to be the right answer.

    And, for example, if I had to figure out your type: Your post is the sort of question that could potentially fit under Ni. And I would have noted that your example referred to a social nicety -- which often is an Fe way of thinking. Still, there are various reasons you might have selected these examples and these questions, so they are WEAK data points with nothing else supporting them, so I wouldn't have felt comfortable basing a type reading on them; but they are examples of two data points I would have used to get a holistic picture of you, and they happen to fit with your expressed type. The more data points I get to work with, the more distinct the picture becomes.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    I've been looking at Socionics, MBTI, and Jungian theory for a long time now. Ultimately, I'm unable to determine my type with any degree of accuracy in any particular system, because the meanings of the functions seem so esoteric. This weakness can be found in all of these systems relying upon Jung's definitions, which were inherently vague (but still interesting). I can't really see how to differentiate one function from another, because any action you take could be due to the motivation of any function. For instance, saying "Hello." to someone could be due to several motivations. It could be Extraverted Feeling, desiring to connect to others and express one's interest and concern for the other person's emotional state. It might be Introverted Sensing, displaying what it believes is the proper and accepted "form" for social interactions. It could be Introverted Thinking, having developed or recognized a system for social interaction. It could be Extraverted Intuition, wishing to see what new potentialities arise from the greeting. It could be Extraverted Thinking, viewing the greeting as a step in working towards a specific goal. It could be Introverted Feeling, believing that this interaction will result in an emotional intensity for them. I could continue, but I think you probably see the point. How can anyone actually know their type, if actions aren't necessarily caused by any particular function, and one cannot always be certain of what one's primary motivation was in the first place, whether you had more than one motivation, or whether this particular set of motivations is even valid or complete? This seems to be quite a mess. How can anyone really understand this?
    My advice is to leave Socionics out. It is all wrong.

    Only the first two functions in the MBTI system are correctly presented.
    You are INFJ hence your first functions are Ni and Fe.
    It follows your least developed functions are Ti and Se.

    According to the model. An abstraction. Does not apply individually.

    Because of their interplay the functions are difficult to tell apart.
    Functions are influenced by other functions.
    A function in a vacuum is an abstract concept.

    Jung is not an icon. He is subject to error. He is misinterpreted and abused.

    Why do you say hello?

  5. #5
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Well, since this forum IS called MBTI central, that's the one I'll deal with here (Socionics already has a whole forum at the16types.info). I actually began studying the other systems because I couldn't differentiate the functions within MBTI, and I was wondering if any other systems had a way to do so, but now I'm more confused than ever.

    How exactly am I supposed to know what my motivations for any given action are, because I could look at my entire past and interpret my reasons for doing everything I did from several different perspectives. I could do the same with everyone else's past.

    Finally, how can I actually know that the functions described actually exist, and are not simply ideas proposed to describe the reasons for differences between people's behavior, but do not completely explain everything? If they don't explain anything, how can they even give us a picture of what we might be like?

  6. #6
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    How exactly am I supposed to know what my motivations for any given action are, because I could look at my entire past and interpret my reasons for doing everything I did from several different perspectives. I could do the same with everyone else's past.
    Again, the way you phrase the question and the questions you ask actually are suggestive of a particular function (Ni). Every thing you say and do are clues as to what your general motivations are. There are other people who would NEVER ask this sort of question, nor even THINK of this question, and might not even UNDERSTAND your question.

    Finally, how can I actually know that the functions described actually exist, and are not simply ideas proposed to describe the reasons for differences between people's behavior, but do not completely explain everything? If they don't explain anything, how can they even give us a picture of what we might be like?
    No theory explains everything. There's variability in every theory, especially of personality -- because all people are completely unique, both in biology and in environment. Take even the same person and raise them 100 years in the future or past, and while their general personality might be the same, they will STILL differentiate because of the environmental differences.

    The functions are just generalized tendencies -- one way of looking at behavior and motivation. various paradigms exist because there are different ways to model the world, and we evaluate them based on their predictive nature.

    I think if someone can use a model to predict behavior more than chance would predict, then the model has some use. No model encompasses ALL truth from all angles at once; there is no unified theory of EVERYTHING, there are simply different ways to look at the world, some more predictive than others.

    Does this make sense?

    The more specific the model gets, the more likely it is to produce wrong answers. The functions of MBTI are general enough to be useful and categorize (1) the way we perceive the world and (2) the way we evaluate data and make decisions. There are other ways to do this, but this model is effective enough to be predictive with people who know how to use it.
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  7. #7
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Well, I was pretty sure that I was an Intuitive of some sort. The problem was that I wasn't sure how to tell Ni (Introverted Intuition) from Ne (Extraverted Intuition). Also, I had been told by some people that I because I tended to be specific and rely on a lot of detail rather than than see things as general, I must be a Sensory type. So I just don't know, really. I guess if you think I show more Ni, and it seems more plausible to me than, say, Si, then that probably makes sense? I mean, you do seem to understand this rather well, in addition to being intelligent in general.

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Well, I was pretty sure that I was an Intuitive of some sort. The problem was that I wasn't sure how to tell Ni (Introverted Intuition) from Ne (Extraverted Intuition). Also, I had been told by some people that I because I tended to be specific and rely on a lot of detail rather than than see things as general, I must be a Sensory type. So I just don't know, really.
    The Lenore Thomson book (and the user wiki) has some good information on how to distinguish the two functions. There is also a basic function chart here.

    In my understanding, it's like this:

    Ne is seeing what is possible in the outer world. It basically takes in data and tries to form patterns of what is happening in the world. Using Ne means that you are trusting the external world to give you details.

    This is why INTPs are good at deriving conceptual truth from the external world (i.e., recognizing patterns based on external stimulation), or why an ISTP can be an excellent ballplayer (Se is collecting lots of real-time data and the Ti function is deciding whether the player should steal home, run back, how far to lead off the base, etc.)

    Ni is different. Ni is internalized possibilities. Rather than trying to derive patterns from reality, it recognizes that lots of patterns exist and can switch back and forth between them. No pattern is really "true" -- there are simply different ways of looking at something, depending on the goal and situation.

    In this sense, Ne is trying to find the "most true" pattern and respond/articulate it (it trusts the flow of data), while Ni is determining which pattern is most useful for the situation and distrusts the outer data stream -- no pattern has "inherent meaning."

    I'm sorry, I feel like this is still very vague, but we can discuss it further and maybe find more specific examples. (Part of the reason for this site is to develop answers to questions like the ones you've asked here. )
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  9. #9
    shoshaku jushaku rivercrow's Avatar
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    You really need to look at the Thompson book. CAPT has a better price on it, I think, but check you library/interlibrary loan.
    Who rises in the morning, looks in the mirror and says, "I think I will do something stupid today?" -- James Hollis
    If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done. -- Ludwig Wittgenstein
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  10. #10
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Okay, well, that finally explains what I've been trying to determine. I finally see how they can both be Intuition, and one can be introverted. The thing that confused me was the fact that I was aware of possibilities in the external situation. For instance, I know that my computer mouse can be plugged into the computer and used as an interfacing device, but it could also be used as a paperweight, or thrown as a projectile. I suppose the point was my primary motivations and concerns, not the things I can perceive, right?

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