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  1. #41
    Junior Member
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    Jun 2016


    I assume holding the belief that people cannot change their type (and arguing in favor of that, providing research to it) does help with the categorizing and stereotyping. Also, it would be interesting to look at the matter from the nature vs nurture standpoint, which, up to now, is yet to be resolved. I don't know much about Jung's initial theory, but the question is still relevant anyways.

    As an INTP, I can imagine how, in theory, such change might be achieved, and I want to believe it's possible. (But I would need to read on neuroplasticity)
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  2. #42
    Happy Dancer uumlau's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    953 sp/so


    Quote Originally Posted by Zeego View Post
    The general consensus in the Jungian typing community is that a person is born as one type, and this type never changes. However, this contradicts Jung himself, who believed that a person's type can change over the course of their lifetime. V.W. Odajnyk also believed this and talked about it in his book Archetype and Character. The idea that a person's type is "set in stone" seems to have originated with Myers and Briggs. What I'm wondering is, why has this become the default belief in the Jungian community? Most of the people online who say you can't change your type seem to be blindly parroting it without considering why they think it's true in the first place. There's no empirical evidence that proves a person's cognitive functions can't change over time (in fact, Dario Nardi's research arguably proves that they do). Any theories on why this belief has become so widespread?
    The question isn't whether one's personality changes over time: it clearly does. The mind is very plastic and changes over time based on life experiences. No personality typing systems claim that this isn't true.

    The idea of a personality type is to describe aspects of a personality that are more essential to an individual, that indeed do not tend to change over time. As such, personality types are abstract patterns that describe traits that many people tend to have in common and do not change over time. Looking at MBTI, for example, while it is often the case that those who test right at the borderline between the two sides of a dichotomy might perceive that they eventually mature and change from one letter to the other, those who are very solidly in one category or the other do not change to the other category over any period of time. This is entirely consistent with the idea that type is immutable: we expect some errors and fuzziness at the edges, but we don't expect to see huge swings between the categories.

    The concepts of function theory and type dynamics tries to enhance the static MBTI descriptions with a dynamic description of how each type tends to grow and mature over time. In this dynamic model, the types (the functions) are still static, but what is being typed is more of a "road map", so to speak: the personality changes, but the overall road map of those changes doesn't change and is distinct for each type.

    [Keep in mind that I am keeping things very simple because I'd rather not rehash all of MBTI and function theory right now.]

    You are correct that Nardi's work, especially his EEG work, has shown how dynamic the personality is, that people's minds grow and change over time, but it also shows that this "road map" idea of function theory might have something to it. He studied several middle-age INFJs and found that they all had EEG patterns that resembled those of typical ISTPs. The INFJ patterns were still there, but they were more "quiet" than he'd seen in college-age INFJs. In other words, the INFJs were still solidly INFJ, and had their INFJ traits, but they were now in their later years developing ISTP traits. This is in line with the idea that one tends to develop tertiary and inferior functions in later years. For the INFJ, those would be Ti and Se, which when taken as a dominant/auxiliary pair is in line with ISTP.

    All of this needs to be read with a great deal of skepticism: it's encouraging to see such patterns be verified, but topics such as personality types tend to be rife with confirmation bias. Personally, I just store it away as evidence and keep an eye out for contradictory evidence. For example, if an INTJ somehow later gains the patterns of an ENTP, for example, that would be a strong case for the conclusion that type really isn't static, or at least that the traits that are identified by MBTI and function theory aren't static.
    An argument is two people sharing their ignorance.

    A discussion is two people sharing their understanding, even when they disagree.
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