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  1. #1
    Mind Wanderer Zeego's Avatar
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    Default Why do most people believe you can't change your type?

    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?
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    manic pixie nightmare Pluvio's Avatar
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    It isn't so much about someone's type changing as much as other areas of their lives changing that may have made some dramatic changes in their overall behavior. Someone who used to be so outgoing but is now depressed, may think they are an introvert because they have zero interest in maintaining personal relationships, for example. Some other reasons for mistypings may be due to a person's:

    1. Age.
    2. Life experiences, both negative and positive.
    3. Overall maturity.
    4. Psychological health.
    5. Environment.
    6. Home cultures and societal expectations.
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  3. #3
    Privileged Sh!tlord ZNP-TBA's Avatar
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    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?
    A lot people have personalized their 'type' and have incorporated that into their identity almost with a religious zeal. Thus, changing would be analogous to converting a life long believer in something to something else.
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  4. #4
    Member Madisonclark's Avatar
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    If you look at it terms of the cognitive functions, you change based on how your functions are developing. For example, growing up I identified as an INTJ because my introverted thinking was my most strongly developed function. Then as I matured, my Ne developed over that Ti. It makes sense that you could change as you experience different situations in life and are forced to develop different cognitive functions based on what you face. So I would say that this widespread belief is a result of an incorrect understanding of how cognitive functions work.


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  5. #5
    Member Madisonclark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madisonclark View Post
    growing up I identified as an INTJ
    Correction: INTP


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  6. #6
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    I don't think you are born as a type, but that you grow up using all functions and you grow a preference for an order. To type a child would be highly inaccurate and unfair because they aren't developed enough to have a valid, definable personality. I'll use myself as an example:

    As a child, I had an identifiable preference for Extroverted Intuition. As I grew up, the direction I took my preference for Ne went towards Fi instead of Ti. The blocks fall into place after that and ta-da! An ENFP is born into society.

    It's really hard to think that someone would grow up living and thinking and functioning one way for the first decades of their life and then suddenly changing. But I guess it's possible. I think it would be more plausible to be able to change your enneagram.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Verona's Avatar
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    I think brains are pretty amazing and flexible so I'm not always convinced of a strict cognitive development schedule as the types can sometimes be presented to be following.

    I do think that as you are developing various functions in your stack you can come across as other types. I also think that trauma can have a dramatic influence on the brain and your cognitive development. I think an unhealthy functions in your stack can make you come across completely different than the stereotype of your type. Unhealthy functions can also present in many different ways.

    There isn't a lot of research on type in children so I think it is possible they experiment with many of the functions and may not be any type then. I think your type solidifies closer to your late teens so it can be hard to make any predictions before that. I know that is tough because a lot of teens are very interested in MBTI typology but they may need another 5 or 10 years to really settle into a functional pattern. I would be interested in some research on seniors and how their types have developed and manifested for them throughout their lives.
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  8. #8
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    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?
    I cannot speak of others' opinions, or the Jungian community as a whole. I accept the idea that type is innate and unchanging based on what has been learned about the way our brains work. Evidence to date indicates that introversion and extraversion are "hard wired", as are certain traits associated with the "conscientiousness" factor in Big Five. These form only part of the picture of an MBTI type, so the jury is still out on a complete determination, but that is my working hypothesis for now.

    The only individual I know who claims to have had a substantive change in type is a friend who suffered traumatic brain injury.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarcasmsunshine View Post
    I don't think you are born as a type, but that you grow up using all functions and you grow a preference for an order. To type a child would be highly inaccurate and unfair because they aren't developed enough to have a valid, definable personality. I'll use myself as an example:
    I have heard from many parents that they were able to type their children correctly when still very young - some even too young to talk. You are right, though, about having and using all the functions. Our type specifies our relative preferences for the various functions, not which ones we have to the exclusion of the others. Children raised in an environment that forces them to use less-preferred functions will indeed become more proficient with those functions and can look like a different type. It can be very freeing for such people when they move to an environment where those constraints are removed and they can give rein to their real preferences.
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  9. #9
    Digital ambition Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theforsaken View Post
    It isn't so much about someone's type changing as much as other areas of their lives changing that may have made some dramatic changes in their overall behavior. Someone who used to be so outgoing but is now depressed, may think they are an introvert because they have zero interest in maintaining personal relationships, for example. Some other reasons for mistypings may be due to a person's:

    1. Age.
    2. Life experiences, both negative and positive.
    3. Overall maturity.
    4. Psychological health.
    5. Environment.
    6. Home cultures and societal expectations.

    Yes, but if those changes make enough change in life of a person to act like some similar types for decades then this is indeed type change. It has to be radical change but if environemnt is unstatic enough there can be changes.
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  10. #10
    manic pixie nightmare Pluvio's Avatar
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    To be honest, I don't think young people should be too concerned about finding their type until they've hit at least 25 or over, since that is when their frontal lobe closes and they are psychologically more developed as the years go by. This is just my opinion, of course.
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