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"Psychological type" redirects here. See Psychological Types for the work by Jung.

The concept of personality type refers to the psychological classification of different types of individuals. Personality types are sometimes distinguished from personality traits, with the latter embodying a smaller grouping of behavioral tendencies.[1] Types are sometimes said to involve qualitative differences between people, whereas traits might be construed as quantitative differences.[2] According to type theories, for example, introverts and extraverts are two fundamentally different categories of people. According to trait theories, introversion and extraversion are part of a continuous dimension, with many people in the middle. While typologies of all sorts have existed throughout time the most influential idea of psychological types originated in the theoretical work of Carl Jung, published as Psychological Types in 1921. Other typologies such as Socionics, MBTI, and Keirsey Temperament Sorter all have roots in Jungian philosophy.

  • Building on the writings and observations of Carl Jung, during WWII Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katherine Briggs delineated personality types by constructing the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This model was later elaborated further by David Keirsey. It is an older, more theoretically-motivated, but quite popular approach to personality traits and is also called the Big Four model, accepting Extraversion vs. Introversion as basic and adding an additional three:
  1. Extraversion vs. Introversion (see above)
  2. Intuition vs. Sensing (trust in conceptual/abstract models of reality versus concrete sensory-oriented facts)
  3. Thinking vs. Feeling (thinking as the prime-mover in decision-making vs. feelings as the prime-mover in decision-making)
  4. Perceiving vs. Judging (desire to perceive events vs. desire to have things done so judgements can be made)
  • This personality typology has some aspects of a trait theory: it explains people's behaviour in terms of opposite fixed characteristics. In these more traditional models, the intuition factor is considered the most basic, dividing people into "N" or "S" personality types. An "N" is further assumed to be guided by the thinking or objectication habit, or feelings, and be divided into "NT" (scientist, engineer) or "NF" (author, human-oriented leader) personality. An "S", by contrast, is assumed to be more guided by the perception axis, and thus divided into "SP" (performer, craftsman, artisan) and "SJ" (guardian, accountant, bureaucrat) personality. These four are considered basic, with the other two factors in each case (including always extraversion) less important. Critics of this traditional view have observed that the types are quite strongly stereotyped by professions, and thus may arise more from the need to categorize people for purposes of guiding their career choice. This among other objections led to the emergence of the five factor view, which is less concerned with behavior under work stress and more concerned with behavior in personal and emotional circumstances. Some critics have argued for more or fewer dimensions while others have proposed entirely different theories (often assuming different definitions of "personality").


Usage Edit

  • One example of personality types is Type A and Type B personality theory. According to this theory, impatient, achievement-oriented people are classified as Type A, whereas easy-going, relaxed individuals are designated as Type B. The theory originally suggested that Type A individuals were more at risk for coronary heart disease, but this claim has not been supported by empirical research.[3]
  • Developmental psychologist Jerome Kagan is a prominent contemporary advocate of type theory. He suggests that shy, withdrawn children are best viewed as having an inhibited temperament, which is qualitatively different from other children.[4]
  • As a matter of convenience, trait theorists sometimes use the term "type" to describe someone who scores exceptionally high or low on a particular personality trait. Hans Eysenck refers to superordinate personality factors as types, and more specific associated traits as traits.

Clinically effective personality typologiesEdit

Effective personality typologies reveal and increase knowledge and understanding of individuals, as opposed to diminishing knowledge and understanding as occurs in the case of stereotyping. Effective typologies also allow for increased ability to predict clinically relevant information about people and to develop effective treatment strategies.[5]

Types vs. traits Edit

The term type has not been used consistently in psychology and has become the source of some confusion. Furthermore, because personality test scores usually fall on a bell curve rather than in distinct categories,[6] personality type theories have received considerable criticism among psychometric researchers. One study that directly compared a “type” instrument (the MBTI) to a “trait” instrument (the NEO PI) found that the trait measure was a better predictor of personality disorders.[7] Because of these problems, personality type theories have fallen out of favor in psychology. Most researchers now believe that it is impossible to explain the diversity of human personality with a small number of discrete types. They recommend trait models instead, such as the five factor model.[8][9][10]

Criticism Edit

The term "type" has not been used consistently in psychology and has become the source of some confusion. Furthermore, because personality test scores usually fall on a bell curve rather than in distinct categories,[11] personality type theories have received considerable criticism among psychometric researchers. One study that directly compared a "type" instrument (the MBTI) to a "trait" instrument (the NEO PI) found that the trait measure was a better predictor of personality disorders.[12] Because of these problems, personality type theories have fallen out of favor in psychology. Most researchers now believe that it is impossible to explain the diversity of human personality with a small number of discrete types. They recommend trait models instead, such as the five factor model.[13][14][15]

Carl JungEdit

One of the more influential ideas originated in the theoretical work of Carl Jung as published in the book Psychological Types. The original German language edition, Psychologische Typen, was first published by Rascher Verlag, Zurich in 1921.[16] Typologies such as Socionics, the MBTI assessment, and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter have roots in Jungian philosophy.[17][18]

Jung's interest in typology grew from his desire to reconcile the theories of Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, and to define how his own perspective differed from theirs. Jung wrote, “In attempting to answer this question, I came across the problem of types; for it is one's psychological type which from the outset determines and limits a person's judgment.” (Jung, [1961] 1989:207) He concluded that Freud's theory was extraverted and Adler's introverted. (Jung, [1921] 1971: par. 91) Jung became convinced that acrimony between the Adlerian and Freudian camps was due to this unrecognized existence of different fundamental psychological attitudes, which led Jung “to conceive the two controversial theories of neurosis as manifestations of a type-antagonism.” (Jung, 1966: par. 64)

Four functions of consciousness Edit

In the book Jung categorized people into primary types of psychological function.

Jung proposed the existence of two dichotomous pairs of cognitive functions:

  • The “rational” (judging) functions: thinking and feeling
  • The “irrational” (perceiving) functions: sensing and intuition

Jung went on to suggest that these functions are expressed in either an introverted or extraverted form.[19]:17

Jung proposed four main functions of consciousness:

According to Jung, the psyche is an apparatus for adaptation and orientation, and consists of a number of different psychic functions. Among these he distinguishes four basic functions:[20]

  • sensation—perception by means of the sense organs;
  • intuition—perceiving in unconscious way or perception of unconscious contents.
  • thinking—function of intellectual cognition; the forming of logical conclusions;
  • feeling—function of subjective estimation;

Thinking and feeling functions are rational, while sensation and intuition are nonrational. According to Jung, rationality consists of figurative thoughts, feelings or actions with reason — a point of view based on objective value, which is set by practical experience. Nonrationality is not based in reason. Jung notes that elementary facts are also nonrational, not because they are illogical but because, as thoughts, they are not judgments.

Attitudes: Extraversion (E)/Introversion (I) Edit

Analytical psychology distinguishes several psychological types or temperaments.

  • Extravert (Jung's spelling, although some dictionaries prefer the variant extrovert)
  • Introvert

Extraversion means “outward-turning” and introversion means “inward-turning.”[21] These specific definitions vary somewhat from the popular usage of the words.

The preferences for extraversion and introversion are often called as attitudes. Each of the cognitive functions can operate in the external world of behavior, action, people, and things (extraverted attitude) or the internal world of ideas and reflection (introverted attitude).

People who prefer extraversion draw energy from action: they tend to act, then reflect, then act further. If they are inactive, their motivation tends to decline. To rebuild their energy, extraverts need breaks from time spent in reflection. Conversely, those who prefer introversion expend energy through action: they prefer to reflect, then act, then reflect again. To rebuild their energy, introverts need quiet time alone, away from activity.

The extravert's flow is directed outward toward people and objects, and the introvert's is directed inward toward concepts and ideas. Contrasting characteristics between extraverts and introverts include the following:

  • Extraverts are action oriented, while introverts are thought oriented.
  • Extraverts seek breadth of knowledge and influence, while introverts seek depth of knowledge and influence.
  • Extraverts often prefer more frequent interaction, while introverts prefer more substantial interaction.
  • Extraverts recharge and get their energy from spending time with people, while introverts recharge and get their energy from spending time alone.[22]

The attitude type could be thought of as the flow of libido (psychic energy). The functions are modified by two main attitude types: extraversion and introversion. In any person, the degree of introversion or extraversion of one function can be quite different from that of another function.

Functions: Sensing (S)/Intuition (N) and Thinking (T)/Feeling (F) Edit

Jung identified two pairs of psychological functions:

  • The two perceiving functions, sensing and intuition
  • The two judging functions, thinking and feeling

Sensing and intuition are the information-gathering (perceiving) functions. They describe how new information is understood and interpreted. Individuals who prefer sensing are more likely to trust information that is in the present, tangible and concrete: that is, information that can be understood by the five senses. They tend to distrust hunches, which seem to come “out of nowhere.”[19]:2 They prefer to look for details and facts. For them, the meaning is in the data. On the other hand, those who prefer intuition tend to trust information that is more abstract or theoretical, that can be associated with other information (either remembered or discovered by seeking a wider context or pattern). They may be more interested in future possibilities. They tend to trust those flashes of insight that seem to bubble up from the unconscious mind. The meaning is in how the data relates to the pattern or theory.

Thinking and feeling are the decision-making (judging) functions. The thinking and feeling functions are both used to make rational decisions, based on the data received from their information-gathering functions (sensing or intuition). Those who prefer thinking tend to decide things from a more detached standpoint, measuring the decision by what seems reasonable, logical, causal, consistent and matching a given set of rules. Those who prefer feeling tend to come to decisions by associating or empathizing with the situation, looking at it “from the inside” and weighing the situation to achieve, on balance, the greatest harmony, consensus and fit, considering the needs of the people involved.

As noted already, people who prefer thinking do not necessarily, in the everyday sense, “think better” than their feeling counterparts; the opposite preference is considered an equally rational way of coming to decisions (and, in any case, the MBTI assessment is a measure of preference, not ability). Similarly, those who prefer feeling do not necessarily have “better” emotional reactions than their thinking counterparts.

Dominant function Edit

All four functions are used at different times depending on the circumstances. However, one of these four functions is generally used more dominantly and proficiently than the other three, in a more conscious and confident way. This dominant function is supported by the secondary (auxiliary) function, and to a lesser degree the tertiary function. The fourth and least conscious function is always the opposite of the dominant function. Myers called this inferior function the shadow.[19]:84

Jung's typological model regards psychological type as similar to left or right handedness: individuals are either born with, or develop, certain preferred ways of thinking and acting. These psychological differences are sorted into four opposite pairs, or dichotomies, with a resulting eight possible psychological types. People tend to find using their opposite psychological preferences more difficult, even if they can become more proficient (and therefore behaviorally flexible) with practice and development.

The four functions operate in conjunction with the attitudes (extraversion and introversion). Each function is used in either an extraverted or introverted way. A person whose dominant function is extraverted intuition, for example, uses intuition very differently from someone whose dominant function is introverted intuition.

The eight psychological types are as follows:

  • Extraverted sensations
  • Introverted sensation
  • Extraverted intuition
  • Introverted intuition
  • Extraverted thinking
  • Introverted thinking
  • Extraverted feeling
  • Introverted feeling

Jung theorized that the dominant function characterizes consciousness, while its opposite is repressed and characterizes unconscious behavior. Generally, we tend to favor our most developed dominant function, while we can broaden our personality by developing the others. Related to this, Jung noted that the unconscious often tends to reveal itself most easily through a person's least developed inferior function. The encounter with the unconscious and development of the underdeveloped functions thus tend to progress together.

When the unconscious, inferior functions fail to develop, imbalance results. In Psychological Types, Jung describes in detail the effects of tensions between the complexes associated with the dominant and inferior differentiating functions in highly one-sided individuals.


Major theories Edit

See also Edit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Personality Type Theory. http://personalityjunkie.com/personality-type-theory/
  2. Bernstein, Penner, Clarke-Stewart, & Roy (2008). Psychology, 8th edition. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  3. Bates, K. L. (2006). Type A personality not linked to heart disease. URL accessed on 2006-11-05.
  4. Kagan, J. (1994). Galen's Prophecy: Temperament in Human Nature. New York: Basic Books.
  5. Totton and Jacobs (2001). Character and Personality Types, Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press.
  6. Bess, T.L. & Harvey, R.J. (2001). Bimodal score distributions and the MBTI: Fact or artifact? Paper presented at the 2001 Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, San Diego, USA.
  7. Furnham, A., & Crump, J. (2005). Personality Traits, Types, and Disorders: An Examination of the Relationship Between Three Self-Report Measures. European Journal of Personality, 19, 167-184.
  8. Asendorpf, J. B. (2003). Head-to-head comparison of the predictive validity of personality types and dimensions. European Journal of Personality, 17, 327–346.
  9. Pittenger, D. J. (2004). The limitations of extracting typologies from trait measures of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 37, 779–787.
  10. McCrae, R. R., Terracciano, A., Costa, P. T., & Ozer, D. J. (2006). Person-factors in the California adult Q-set: Closing the door on personality types? European Journal of Personality, 20, 29-44.
  11. Bess, T.L. & Harvey, R.J. (2001). Bimodal score distributions and the MBTI: Fact or artifact? Paper presented at the 2001 Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, San Diego, USA.
  12. Furnham, A., & Crump, J. (2005). Personality Traits, Types, and Disorders: An Examination of the Relationship Between Three Self-Report Measures. European Journal of Personality, 19, 167-184.
  13. Asendorpf, J. B. (2003). Head-to-head comparison of the predictive validity of personality types and dimensions. European Journal of Personality, 17, 327–346.
  14. Pittenger, D. J. (2004). The limitations of extracting typologies from trait measures of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 37, 779–787.
  15. McCrae, R. R., Terracciano, A., Costa, P. T., & Ozer, D. J. (2006). Person-factors in the California adult Q-set: Closing the door on personality types? European Journal of Personality, 20, 29-44.
  16. Jung, Carl (1976). Campbell, Joseph The Portable Jung, 178, New York, NY: Penguin Books.
  17. Myers, Isabel Briggs with Peter B. Myers (1980, 1995). Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type, xi–xii, Mountain View, CA: Davies-Black Publishing.
  18. Keirsey, David [1978] (May 1, 1998). Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence, 1st Ed., 3, Prometheus Nemesis Book Co.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Myers, Isabel Briggs with Peter B. Myers (1980, 1995). Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type, Mountain View, CA: Davies-Black Publishing.
  20. Jung, C.G., Psychological Types (The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol.6), ), ISBN
  21. Zeisset, Carolyn (2006). The Art of Dialogue: Exploring Personality Differences for More Effective Communication, Gainesville, FL: Center for Applications of Psychological Type, Inc.
  22. Tieger, Paul D.; Barbara Barron-Tieger (1999). The Art of SpeedReading People, 66, New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

further readingEdit

  • Carskadon, T. G. (1999). A grand synopsis of 345 studies in psychological type, 1979-1999. Journal of Psychological Type, 50, 1-43.
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