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Thread: Categorization

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    Default Categorization

    Categorizing. I have a lot of trouble with forming appropriate categories for objects or files or anything really. It is a useful skill. I get the sense that some people are naturally good at this. For those people, how do you go about doing it?

    For others... have you learned to do this? How have you taught yourself to do so?



    Example: I have no idea where to post this thread...
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    Senior Member proximo's Avatar
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    It is a useful skill, but sometimes it can be taken to such extremes that it's actually less efficient than just not bothering.

    For example, my ISTJ friend wants to make a website about movies, his lifelong passion. He's spent about 2 months just trying to make a complete list of categories, into which every movie in the world ever can be shoe-horned. As fast as he comes up with them, someone else comes up with another movie that doesn't fit into any of them, so he has to think of more categories.

    I suggested that he do away with the categories really, and just list the movies in alphabetical order for ease of finding them. He won't listen, though. Everything has to be in its box, see?
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    Interesting... I agree too much rigidity in the structure can be detrimental, but don't you think there's some kind of happy medium?

    We have the different forums here on TypologyCentral. It helps with conveying meaning and with information retrieval. If you do not remember the specific title of the thread, for example, it can sometimes be difficult to find it using the search function. Also, when you post in a particular sub-forum, you are attaching additional meaning about the intended context of the topic with your decision to post there.

    Do you know what I mean?
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    Senior Member proximo's Avatar
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    Oh yeah of course, I'm all for happy mediums - no depressed psychics here please!

    I know what you mean, it's a Te thing. I can do it, if I have to, but I'd rather not. I don't feel like I really need to, cos I don't really have any difficulty with just keeping track of things anyway when they're chaotic... they never really seem as chaotic to me as other people say they are. Whether that's my type or just me, I don't know. Also, I tend to feel like everything's so interconnected anyway, that the items in each category end up, in my head, cross-referenced with virtually every other category and item anyway, making a mockery of the system.

    I used to work as a business partner with an ENTJ, who liked his filing system all properly categorised and efficient. When I came in with a bundle of paperwork that needed filing, initially I'd think "ffs, can't I just stick them all in a drawer like I would at home, and just remember what's in there?" But I knew if I did that, he'd go ape-shit, so I'd make the effort to sit down and file them properly. Once I got started, it was pretty obvious really, how to group the various files in an efficient and intuitive way. Just really boring to do it and, for me personally, unnecessary, though I did it for his benefit cos he did other stuff that wasn't necessary for him, just for my benefit.
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    I'm pretty good at this... Like the new iPhone update allows for certain apps to be grouped together now under different categories... I became a little overly obsessed with that feature. Almost all of my apps have a nice neat little home. I have all travel related apps together, word games together, other games together, sports, productivity, reference... Everything has it's own nice neat little home. I did it with my movies at home too, and books, though books was easier since most of my books are murder/mystery.

    What made it easy for me is thinking about where I would go or what I would select to fit certain things... For example... With my movies... If I wanted a comedy... What movies would I want to watch above all others for that specific category... And for finding out information... What sites or apps would I use to look up information.

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    Quote Originally Posted by proximo View Post
    Oh yeah of course, I'm all for happy mediums - no depressed psychics here please!

    I know what you mean, it's a Te thing. I can do it, if I have to, but I'd rather not. I don't feel like I really need to, cos I don't really have any difficulty with just keeping track of things anyway when they're chaotic... they never really seem as chaotic to me as other people say they are. Whether that's my type or just me, I don't know. Also, I tend to feel like everything's so interconnected anyway, that the items in each category end up, in my head, cross-referenced with virtually every other category and item anyway, making a mockery of the system.

    I used to work as a business partner with an ENTJ, who liked his filing system all properly categorised and efficient. When I came in with a bundle of paperwork that needed filing, initially I'd think "ffs, can't I just stick them all in a drawer like I would at home, and just remember what's in there?" But I knew if I did that, he'd go ape-shit, so I'd make the effort to sit down and file them properly. Once I got started, it was pretty obvious really, how to group the various files in an efficient and intuitive way. Just really boring to do it and, for me personally, unnecessary, though I did it for his benefit cos he did other stuff that wasn't necessary for him, just for my benefit.
    I am like that too... I feel like I can keep track of most things in my head... but there is a limit at a certain point, particularly if I'm no longer using the information or items frequently. Also if anyone ELSE needs to use the information/item, then it is useful to have at least some way of locating it, that doesn't depend on me going and retrieving it myself for someone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kymbirleigh View Post
    What made it easy for me is thinking about where I would go or what I would select to fit certain things... For example... With my movies... If I wanted a comedy... What movies would I want to watch above all others for that specific category... And for finding out information... What sites or apps would I use to look up information.
    I like this suggestion though... imagining trying to locate it based on particular qualities (or even imagining someone else trying to locate it). I guess where I get hung up is knowing WHICH qualities are the most important ones. I could see the same thing being characterized by so many different qualities...

    I think being able to categorize well is, in its way, a type of creativity. I am not sure I was ever able to appreciate this before.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    I am like that too... I feel like I can keep track of most things in my head... but there is a limit at a certain point, particularly if I'm no longer using the information or items frequently. Also if anyone ELSE needs to use the information/item, then it is useful to have at least some way of locating it, that doesn't depend on me going and retrieving it myself for someone.
    Yeah I agree - that's what I meant, that it's useful to do for other people's benefit, but the reason I don't instinctively do it is cos I don't tend to need to for my own benefit. I know you have your own "organised chaos", where you know where everything is but nobody else does. I find personally though, that it's not that hard to navigate other people's chaos either...


    I think being able to categorize well is, in its way, a type of creativity. I am not sure I was ever able to appreciate this before.
    That is interesting. I've always seen it as due to a lack of creativity, as in, because the person can't see how things are really connected to each other, and cos they can only really deal with one thing at a time, they need to put things in neat boxes and stuff, to avoid being overwhelmed. Like if something isn't clearly signposted, with step-by-step instructions on how to find it, they can't just use their imagination to figure it out on the spot.

    I mean I know if you have say, a library for example, it makes sense and anyone would be overwhelmed, however okay they might be with chaotic systems generally, if the public library wasn't neatly and efficiently categorised. But when I see people doing this categorisation thing with even small systems with only a small amount of data, in their everyday lives, I admit it makes me wonder if they're not a bit... well... uh...

    HOWEVER, I'm now questioning this perception of mine, in light of your good point there...
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    Yeah I used to feel that way too. I still do sometimes, but sometimes I am in total awe. BRILLIANT.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    Categorizing. I have a lot of trouble with forming appropriate categories for objects or files or anything really. It is a useful skill. I get the sense that some people are naturally good at this. For those people, how do you go about doing it?

    For others... have you learned to do this? How have you taught yourself to do so?

    Example: I have no idea where to post this thread...
    Doesn't surprise me if you're very strongly Fi that you have trouble in categorising IMpersonal things. Ti is more naturally comfortable with this, I suspect that if they were categories of personal relevance and provoke some sort of emotional stimulus you would have by contrast no problem at all. Fi and Ti both form internal categories, just in a very different style; Fi based on emotional or intangible associations, Ti in the style of building a structured framework where one thing is clearly defined in relation to another.

    The Fe/Te functions build categories in different ways again, more externally directed. Category forming is ALWAYS the purpose of the judging functions; I regard it as being essentially what they DO. I'll try to answer your example with reference to the way the different functions might look at the question.

    Ti: would put it with the topics it most clearly relates to. On this site, for instance, this would be "other personality topics" or "Mbti and other personality matrixes" by a proces of exclusion, as it does not directly relate to any of the other forums themes. However, if it was concieved further as a more specific question about either improving Fi-based or Ti-based category building skills, which often with a strong Ti user it would be, they may look to place it in the forum where there are most strong Fi or Ti users in order to obtain feedback on how they build categories. Ti forms categories based on logically structured association.

    Te would most likely look to see where people were posting, see where questions similar to the Op were being answered, and put it there; they might consider also putting it in an area of the site that has a lot of activity, in order to increase the likelihood of their question being ansered. Te forms categories based on logically deduced practical utility. This is why it may at times seem more efficient, because it is less likely to concerned than Ti with whether the pure logic of the association works, more with whether putting it in that category can logically be espected to achieve the end they are setting out to achieve by so doing.

    Fe may consider asking someone where it should be put before even posting the op if unsure, otherwise would look carefully to see where other people were putting similar threads (rather like Te); however, they may be more concerned with whether it was likely to be the "correct"; as viewed by other people, place to put the topic. Fe focuses on building social harmony and forms categories based on a percieved contribution to this.

    Fi... now this is tougher. It's difficult even for many strong Fi types to describe how they form categories based on how they subjectively "feel about something", but this is essentially what they do. Fi seems to be something of an intuitive process, and forms categories based on the emotional associations that experience provokes. This is essentially a process of comparison with an internal value system that serves as a framework of reference - so Fi users are asking themselves "How does this fit with what matters to me?" Since what matters to an Fi dom or secondary type may be more subjective than with other types, and probably will be, I think the question therefore needs to become: What kind of feedback do I want out of asking this question? Then follow it with: How are others likely to respond if I put it here? (How would I respond if I saw this question here? may help with this.) Will this be the kind of feedback I'm looking for? etc.

    Fi often excels at "playing devils advocate", and putting oneself in the shoes of another, especially emotionally, so to form effective categories based on Fi it's necessary to utilise this capacity to the full. I think good category building can be achieved using Fi, simply that in impersonal matters, you may have to go by a more roundabout process than with personal matters in order to get where you want to be. If the category is something that matters only to yourself, however, and doesn't involve others, it makes sense to categorise according to your most powerful personal associations whether or not these seem objectively logical; these will stick in your mind most strongly and consistently. It might make sense, for instance, to arrange music by the mood it puts you into when listening, or the images it provokes, or an intangible sense of similarity. (Fe may also form PERSONAL categories like this, just to be clear; it's when interacting with others that the differences become more apparent.)

    Hope this is at least suggestive of how to go about solving your difficulties. I've focussed on Fi most as it's the one you're most likely to use naturally.
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    I've always been a pretty natural categorizer, especially as far as explaining concepts. My brain tends to try to want to give things a framework. I try to explain how to do this to my students, but have noticed that a lot of them don't quite grasp the concept and are unable to do it themselves.
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