I've noticed a few threads related to the distinction between these two subtypes. It seems like a not so uncommon difficulty.
Specifically my question relates to the potential for shifting from one to the other. I understand that there's this idea that types are somehow fundamentally immutable...though I might be tempted to argue this in principle. Regardless...
In the MB world, I've tested both as INTP and INFP in professionally administered evals. In almost every case those two factors score almost right at 50%. I understand that there are big differences in those types and the scheme wouldn't so much support one being kind of both, etc. I make the point as a preface to the Enneagram details since it seems to be relevant. I should also note that within that work context I've consistently received feedback about having some unusual trait blends as it relates to technical and creative, etc. So there very well might be learned / adaptation behavior and refinement that results in the test result ambiguity...not to mention that most questions could be answered differently based upon the intention of the asker...and to remove intention from a question just about renders it meaningless. That's another story...
So, to the point, the Enneagram...
I took a not so rigorous online version of the eval and scored 5w4 with a very high 4. In doing some research, I subsequently (a few days later) took a more extended version in one of the Riso books and scored a 4w5 with a much higher 4, but still with a fairly high 5. The third highest factor in that test was actually a 1 followed by 6.
What was equally interesting is that in going back through the test questions, if I answered with a bias of how I am behaviorally more often now (ie. in the more recent past) I would again score 5w4. However, if I answer with my behavior in the more distant past, it's the 4w5.
I will also add that I've always contended that a certain period during my adolescent development was high stress, involved a lot of soul searching and extreme ascetic behavior, having removed myself not so much in search of book knowledge but rather soul knowledge, if that makes sense. The result was a fairly different individual coming out vs the one who'd gone in. Absolutely I'd say one who was less emotional.
The other factor wrt learned behaviors and habits would be what I do professionally, which is very systems oriented, and so where I spend more of my cognitive time.
So, there is at least one question in there somewhere. I would certainly appreciate any feedback wrt 5w4 vs 4w5 in general. But more specifically, I'm wondering if such a shift in test results would make sense given the proximity of the subtypes at the more external/practical levels (ie. irrespective of fundamental fears, motivators, etc) along with certain life changing environmental factors.