Myers Musings: Final Thoughts


This current set of Myers musings meanders to an end. For now I feel talked out on the entire topic (although I may write something on the shadow).

So here are some final musings on the topic of Myers-Briggs

Classical extraversion or introversion versus cognitive extraversion or introversion

By classical extraversion/introversion, I mean the set of attitudes and behaviors that most would think of when referencing the terms: those related to the amount and energy of your social interactions. Your Myers-Briggs type derives from your favored cognitive process and the direction you use them (introverted or extraverted). It is likely that someone who favors an introverted process will also live their life in a way most would consider introvert. However, that may not always be the case. In other words, the I/E letter often, but not always means exactly what you think it does. For those who feel their assigned type is “not really them,” it could be due to the tests asking behavioral questions that often, but not always, reflect the preferred cognitive process.

Type is not destiny

Type points to certain habits and traits. It offers a portrait that may be more or less accurate for each individual. However, it does not provide a road map for your life. It may help explain choices you have made, and why some future choices may be easier. A cry of “what would you expect, I am an. . .” is not an excuse; it maybe an explanation though.

Nature or nurture

Extra/introversion, in the classical sense, has a heritable component. There are biochemical differences between introverts and extraverts (startle response, lemon drop test). Conscientiousness also has a heritable component (and does appear to correlate to “J” preference). However, I am not sure how we end up S/N or T/F. These preferences could be innate or learned. I wonder if there is difference in brain chemistry/wiring for these types (e.g., more left/right connections in “N” types). The male balance towards thinking, and the female balance towards feeling, points to possible innate differences, but does not rule out socialization (especially as the balance is not as stark as, say, average height differences). If type is not destiny, does destiny (life experience) make type? I would hazard a guess that given nature’s start, nurture has a strong impact on type.

Can we change type?

Type is a function of your preferred cognitive processes. However we all use all of the cognitive processes, it is just that we favor some over others. It is natural that as we grow older we develop greater ease with the previously disfavored processes. Different individuals likely develop different less-favored processes at different rates. This might explain why some may feel they flipped type or became more/less of their original type. I suspect that most will become more rounded, and less like the archetypal version of their type. While it may be possible to radically change type by effort, I suspect it would be very hard work. You may change your behaviors (e.g., an introvert socializing more, a thinking type attempting to consider the feelings of others) but you basic type may still be the same.

The biggest danger

True to type, I love discussing theories. The biggest danger would be to take your type, or others too seriously. It can be fun, and useful, to view ourselves and others through the lens of type, but ultimately we need to make our decisions based on the individuals involved. Sometimes INTPs get tired of all those theories and ESTPs get tired of the non-stop action.

The End (of sorts)

I have to laugh, because this, in very INTP style, ends without really reaching a clear finish. There is no closure, no grand conclusion, just a great big question mark. For you, my Judging readers, I apologize.


One Response to “Myers Musings: Final Thoughts”

  1. maurice Says:

    This was really interesting – thanks for putting all these thoughts together and sharing them.
    [DU: I am glad you enjoyed them]

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