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[Jungian Cognitive Functions] Oddly developed function stacks


Aug 25, 2019
Instinctual Variant
[This is partly inspired by [MENTION=32874]Vendrah[/MENTION] post about typing people based on individual function stacks here: https://www.typologycentral.com/forums/myers-briggs-and-jungian-cognitive-functions/103046-vision-mbti-function-stacks-function-stack.html ]

The basic idea behind modifying the stack system is quite simple: We assume that the well known 4-function stack model accurately describes the 16 types. However one advantage of dichotomy-based typing is strength of preference, which also holds some information. An extrovert with strong E preference is different from another extrovert who's close to the I border. I'm going to share some ideas how function stacks could differentiate between strong and weak preferences, and how it may actually solve some very common self-typing issues. Also, I'm attempt to add some numbers to the model, to give an accurate representation of function strength and preference. Still awake? Let's begin.

We measure function development with a value, the range of the numbers is inspired by Nardi's cognitive function test. To make things comparable, function development will range between 5 (barely any use at all) and 50 (fully developed dominant function). A strong preference to 1 side of a dichotomy adds 15 points to each function associated to this side of the dichotomy, a partial preference adds a fraction of it. If someone scores exactly in the middle, functions of both ends get 7.5 points. To further clarify things:
I : introverted functions.
E: extroverted functions.
S: sensing functions
N: intuitive functions
T: thinking functions
F: feeling functions
P: introverted judging+extroverted perceiving functions
J: extroverted judging+introverted perceiving functions

Running the formulas for an INFP, 100% preference of each dichotomy, results in the following function development:
Ni:35.0 Ne:35.0 Si:20.0 Se:5.0 Ti:20.0 Te:5.0 Fi:50.0 Fe:20.0 As you can see, we get a correct Fi-Ne-Si-Te stack, and we can easily identify the dominant function. For friends of Beebe's 8 function model, both the inferior and the PolR function have the lowest scores. Also, the intuition and feeling preferences are clearly visible, even with function that are not in INFP's stack.
So far, my model doesn't diverge from a classic function interpretation. The interesting part is how it behaves when someone doesn't have clear preferences. Let's take a MBTI forum classic: INTx. We get the following stack: Ni:42.5 Ne:27.5 Si:27.5 Se:12.5 Ti:42.5 Te:27.5 Fi:27.5 Fe:12.5 I, N and T preferences are still clearly visible, but a stack pattern isn't easily identified anymore. As expected, we get Ni and Ti as top 2 functions, however it's quite hard to identify which one is now tertiary, as there are 4 functions with the same value. Even though it is a somewhat constructed example, it still shows how things can be complicated, and how odd stacks can still give valuable information about type.
Last example: 72% I, 82% N, 65% F, 55% P. Results in Ni:34.7 Ne:29.6 Si:25.4 Se:20.3 Ti:29.3 Te:21.2 Fi:33.8 Fe:25.7 . The classic INFP Ni dom:happy2:. However when doing some math, the I, N and F preferences are still clearly visible. If this were actual results of Nardi's CF test, it would correctly return INFP as type, as Fi+Ne>Ni+Fe, however the T and J influences are also clearly visible with strong Ni and Ti.

That was my own take on Vendrah's open function stacks. The system is somewhat complicated, but properly interpreted, it may also help someone to find his type by giving a way to interpret results that don't line up with classic function stacks. Keep in mind that test results follow a normal distribution for each dichotomy scale, so results close to the middle are actually very common. Also, this might explain why there's little evidence for strict function stacks in empirical studies: Most people don't have a strong preference for one of the two sides of a scale, middle results are common, and this also messes with the functions. Forum-typical cases like Ni-Ti can be interpreted in a different, easier way than "looping INFJ/ISTP".

If I didn't bore you to dead and you're still here, thanks for reading :)


New forum night mode looks cool!
Mar 26, 2017
Althought Nardi test thinks its measuring development/skill, its measuring preferences. A skill test for sensing, for example, would be like showing a picture and asking "did you catch that detail", something like that.

And although I got your formula the INFP example doesnt match. The dichotomy is at full 100%, and that means that all values for cognitive functions on that example must be either 0,15,30 or 45.

Eric B

Mar 29, 2008
Instinctual Variant
I think people are reading way too much into Nardi's test. The test itself says "This is a serious questionnaire to help you discover what cognitive processes you use well, as opposed to surface behavior or what you value." But "use" is not really necessarily either "development/skill" or true "preferences". It's assuming whatever is scored most is what you probably "prefer" because of it's "development" evidenced by the apparent "skill".
But I think a better likelihood is that the type stack is really set by complexes, which are what in Beebe's model, are called the "archetypes". So all of those "oddly developed stacks" should not be taken as saying so much about type. Those are likely behaviors that are malleable and temporary. (The questions are asking you about behaviors, and different situations and experiences can contribute to them).

The test is at best a guide, to get an idea of what you might prefer. If you get results like the examples above, we should not call it "INTx" and try to create a new kind of typology out of it ("jumpers", etc.), but instead then look at the complexes to gain a sens of what context each of these "strong" functions are being used in. First, which one is your main world view, which your ego is most invested in achieving its goals through? Which one is about teaching your knowledge to others? Which one is something lesser that will spike up when finding relief? Which ones are simply reactive, and may be coming up a lot, because of circumstances? That's what these cognitive process tests haven'e been geared to pick up.