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Review of Personality Junkie “My True Type”

August 9, 2014

Hot on the heels of The 16 Personality Types: Profiles, Theory, & Type Development and The INTP: Personality, Careers, Relationships, & the Quest for Truth and Meaning comes My True Type: Clarifying Your Personality Type, Preferences & Functions

It sounded pretty exciting, advertizing a new personality inventory composed of two parts, for preferences (E, I, S, N, T, F, J, P), and for functions (Se, Ne, Si, Ni, Te, Fe, Ti, Fi); which receive in-depth analyses; discussions of common “mistypings”, the role of gender, and even neuroscientific research regarding the brain activity associated with each personality function (Are some types ⦅or functions⦆ more “right-brained” or “left-brained?”).

He gives a brief history, and then lays out the different levels of type: the “preferences” (four dichotomies making up the type code), the functions (two of the dichotomies, and the function-attitudes with the i/e “direction”), the “functional stack”, which are the four primary function-attitudes. As pointed out in the review of the the last book, the “archetypes” used are:
“The Captain”, “The Sidekick”, “The Adolescent”, “The Child”.

He clarifies the “j/p” problem with introverts (that IP’s are actually dominant judgers, and IJ’s are dominant perceviers).
The focus is on the dominant function “types”: Si = SJ types, Se = SP types, Ni = NJ types, Ne = NP type, Ti = TP types, Te = TJ types, Fi = FP types, Fe = FJ types,

Part I is “Effective Typing: Barriers & Strategies”

He discusses Nature vs Nurture. I had heard of this term, and knew it had something to do with who we are by nature, and how we’ve been influenced by upbringing, circumstances, etc. As Drenth puts it “the cumulative effects of past and present circumstances—culture, family, childhood, etc.—on our personality.”

I had just never really looked into the whole concept, and for some reason thought it had something to do “blank slate” (tabla rasa) theory (which would I guess be a case of 100% “nurture”), and so didn’t add it to my vocabulary.
But this is basically what APS (which also doesn’t use the term) would remind us regarding trying to determine people’s temperament purely by observation. It can be influenced by numerous factors, they can be wearing personality “masks”, etc. All of that is “nurture”, while underneath it, there is still a true temperament (or type) in our “nature”.
So “nurture” is a nice one word term for these influences.

He reviews the three levels of development from previous book (Early childhood, late childhood, and adulthood) and the influence of the inferior function.

He also talks about the shortcomings of assessments.

•In “Strategies for Accurate Typing”, he tells us to look at childhood patterns (To prevent our self-appraisals from being skewed by current circumstances), and also says to look at “Which Type(s) are You Least Like?”

As an example, “an INTP was confident in his status as an NT type. However, he was unsure whether he was an INTP, ENTP, or INTJ. From this, it was clear that, of the four NT types, he was least like the ENTJ. This indirectly suggested that he was both an introvert and a perceiver, which ultimately helped him clarify his status as an INTP.”
(Using Berens’ theory, we could do this by Interaction Style, where INTP’s “Behind the Scenes ⦅introverted, informing⦆ is the diametric opposite of ENTJ’s “In Charge” ⦅extraverted, directive⦆. Also, having the same function order: T-N-S-F, but with the attitudes reversed).

•He also discusses the “ongoing tug-of-war between its dominant and inferior
functions. Jung introduced the term enantiodromia to describe this struggle of psychic opposites.”

Other points:
•If you are an ISFP and Extraverted Sensing (Se) is your auxiliary function, your Se may be tempered by your overall status as an introvert. Hence, you may fail to identify with the more pronounced Se characteristics displayed by ESPs.
This is part of a problem ISFP’s I have seen, had in verifying their type.

•INJs are probably the types best suited for apprehending these sorts of
deep patterns. Hence, consulting with an INJ, especially an INFJ, may prove
helpful for synthesizing and making sense of the various elements of your
personality, thereby clarifying your true type.

In Part II: Clarifying Your Preferences, he does descriptions of each dichotomy. For I/E he goes into Jung’s theory of introversion and extraversion.

He also comes up with sorts of “subscales” (a là MBTI Step II) for the dichotomies except T/F. For I/E, its:

Independent (I) vs. Collective-Minded (E)
Reflection (I) vs. Action (E)
Strangers (I) vs. Citizens (E) of the World
Sensitive (I) vs. Uninhibited (E)

He mentions Jerome Kagan’s Galen’s Prophecy, which is the premier book on mainstream temperament theory, and mentions one of them: [high/low] reactivity, in addition to a similar factor from later research: inhibition/unihibition.
So Drenth connects these to I/E. (I’ll go more into this in a separate article).

Drenth acknowledges that many of us look more like a mixed bag of E and I. He also mentions how the opposite attitude auxiliary and inferior affect this.

•”The drive for personal growth can also lead to a mixing of E and I tendencies. Namely, for introverts, personal growth involves ‘taking the inside (I) out (E),’ which may inspire them to direct more of their attention and energy outwardly. For extraverts, personal growth entails ‘bringing the outside (E) in (I),” which may contribute to an increasingly inward focus.”

•”E, N, and J preferences can be associated with higher levels of talkativeness, as can the function, Extraverted Feeling (Fe). It would therefore not be unusual, for instance, to find an INFJ more loquacious than an ESTP.”
Not sure about this one in general. I guess when it comes to explaining concepts.

•”E-I mistypings can also stem from J-P issues. Namely, because perceivers are more impulsive and less careful than judgers, IPs may mistake themselves for extraverts. Similarly, since judging types tend to be more careful, cautious, and deliberative, EJs may mistype as introverts.”
Of course, in my theory, while E/I is “expressiveness”, J/P is apart of “responsiveness”, which is essentially “responding as an introvert or extrovert”), So this fits well!

•”Another common mistyping involves ENPs misclassifying as INPs. Since
ENPs are strong intuitives, they may confuse being intuitive with being
introverted, since both I and N can be associated with reflectiveness. ENPs
may also be less physically active than other extraverts, since it is really their mind that is most actively engaging with the world. So while their attention is still outwardly directed, the predominantly mental nature of their extraversion may serve as a point of confusion.”
This leads to the common “introverted extraverts” claim you often hear for ENP’s (and sometimes all EN’s). I think it’s sometimes overrrated, and that ENP’s in practice are often as expressive as other E’s. But again, “nurture” is what will shape these traits.

•”Our final E-I mistyping involves ISPs, who may misclassify as extraverts
because of their tendency to function as “busy bodies.” They may mistakenly
assume that, because extraverts lead an active lifestyle, their penchant for
being busy and active suggests they are extraverts. This mistyping represents the flip side of what we saw with ENPs, who are prone to conflating higher levels of mental activity with introversion.”
Yes, ISP’s are occasionally presented as “extroverted introverts”. Which is funny, since many of them often think the more active SP traits are too “extroverted” for them. It seems the mix of introversion with the highly active “Sanguine” SP causes a lot of confusion.

He gives a good breakdown of S/N. He mentions the concept of the “idea” of a table (which I will use in my ongoing thread on the functions).

Potential (N) vs. Actual (S)
Connections (N) vs. Particulars (S)

•IS types misidentifying as intuitives. This
relates to the fact that both introversion and intuition contribute an element of reflectiveness.

•Associating intuition with open-mindedness or certain types of
intelligence may inspire sensors to mistype as intuitives. This seems especially likely for sensors with higher IQs.

•He mentions T/F association with masculinity and femininity.

•His definition of T/F: “Thinkers tend to use impersonal, logic-based criteria, while feelers consider tastes and feelings— both their own and those of others—in making decisions.”

•”Thinkers and feelers also differ in their areas of interest and expertise.
Namely, thinkers tend to take interest in activities requiring the application of impersonal logic, while feelers take up pursuits that draw on their tastes, feelings, and people-related concerns.
As with the other preferences, it’s not that thinkers never have feelings or that feelers never use logic. Rather, they differ in the degree to which they lead with logic versus tastes and feelings”

•Thinking has a quantitative bent to it; it is a “calculating” function.
The feeling function weighs and evaluates our affective responses to the world.

•Thinkers also tend to experience diminished emotional responses, at least
compared to those of their feeling counterparts. They generally show less interest in and concern for their own feelings, as well as those of others.

•If we associate thinking with black-and-white, logical criteria, then feeling can be viewed to involve a more colorful, qualitative approach.

He draws the question of “Taste & Style: S, F, or Both?”

•”The real difference between thinkers and feelers involves what they value. As we’ve seen, thinkers value improving the functionality of things. They value things like efficiency, utility, and good strategy. Feelers, on the other hand, value the way things look, smell, taste, and sound, all of which impact their feelings. Feelers also place higher value on people and relationships.

I’m taking this in, as I continue to try to sift for better definitions of what Feeling really is. “Consider tastes and feelings”, “evaluates affective responses to the world” and especially “value..[that] which impact their feelings” sound very good.

He discusses the association of “values” with F, (“typically being used in a moral or people-related sense ⦅e.g., family or humanitarian values⦆”), and yet wisely points out that “using the term ‘values’ without further qualification may at times be misleading, since thinkers value T matters to the same degree that feelers value F matters.”

In “T-F & Gender”, he starts with the point that female brains display greater neuronal connectivity between hemispheres, whereas male brains show increased connectivity within each hemisphere. So, citing the 2013 “Sex Differences in the Structural Connectome of the Human Brain”, “females are more likely to integrate right (e.g., intuitive, emotional) and left-brained (analytical) styles in their processing, while males will tend to show less integration”. This of course goes along with males seeming more naturally “T”, while females seem “F”. The roles will seem more extreme T for males who fit, while women may experience greater difficulty sorting out their T-F preference.

Inbetween, he mentions the influence of the inferior, such as ETJs or ITPs caught up in a whirlwind romance, or IFPs or EFJs studying math, engineering, or other T subjects.

The brain hemispheres come into play again in this observation:

“More specifically, IFJs are apt to mistype as thinkers and ETPs as feelers.
This is because the I, T, and J preferences are all roughly associated with the left side of the brain, so if exhibiting a more left-brained style, IFJs (especially ISFJs) may mistype as thinkers. Similarly, the E, F, and P preferences have often been associated with the right hemisphere, so in displaying a more rightbrained style, ETPs may misidentify as feelers. It is therefore particularly important that IJs and EPs be capable of differentiating the various T and F functions (Ti, Te, Fi, Fe) in order to accurately identify their T-F preference.”

J/P preference definition:

“J types are outwardly firm, direct, and opinionated. They are more inclined to directly express their views and wishes by way of declarative statements (e.g., ‘I feel that…’ or ‘I don’t like…’ or ‘We should…’).
This contributes to their status as potential leaders, teachers, or managers.
P types, by contrast, are outwardly open, receptive, and adaptable. They are less apt to declare their opinions or impose their will on others. They tend to express things in an open-ended (e.g., ‘What do you think about…?’) rather than declarative fashion.”

He cautions against the whole “neat, tidy…etc. stereotypes.

Structured (J) vs. Unstructured (P)
Planned (J) vs. Open-Ended (P)
J Types: Conviction & Convergence
P Types: Exploring & Experimenting
Seeking vs. Experiencing Closure

He also comes up with this great comparison between the E/I + J/P groups:

EJs actively seek and readily experience closure
EPs neither strongly seek nor readily experience closure
IJs experience, but do not strongly seek, closure
IPs seek, but do not readily experience, closure

And how they differen in the “laws” (judgment products) they produce:

“The Laws of Js & Ps: The target and direction is either inward or outward”.
This also shapes the question of “Are J Types More Responsible? Moral?” It looks like it because “this supposition is founded on the extraverted nature of their J function, which makes their dutifulness and devotion more overt“. However, P’s are equally equally dutiful and responsible, but it doesn’t look like it because of the inward/outward direction of the “laws” they set.

He also discusses “Restlessness, work, Learning & Teaching Styles”.

In “Clarifying Your Functions”, he discussed the i/e attitudes:

Te seeks to impose rational order on external systems; it is outwardly controlling.
Ti imposes rational order on the self and its objectives; it is concerned with self-regulation, self-direction, and self-control.
Fe facilitates order and gives direction in the world of human relations; it seeks social and moral order.
Fi is concerned with emotional and moral order of the self; like Ti, it is self-regulating and self-controlling.
When the perceiving functions take on an E or I direction, we arrive at the following formulations:
Se surveys a breadth of external sensations and experiences; it is characteristically open-ended and non-discriminating.
Si retains, condenses, and recollects past information; it also perceives inner bodily sensations.
Ne surveys and recombines a breadth of ideas and possibilities; like Se, it is characteristically open-ended and non-discriminating.
Ni collects and synthesizes information to produce convergent impressions, insights, answers, and theories.

Then gives and overview, then detailed profiles of each.
Ni is described as “convergent“, while Ne is “divergent“. (I tried to employ these terms once).

He references Nardi’s neuroscientific research, and at the same time seems to acknowledge Neidnagel’s “P=right; J=left” division (as in the I-T-J/E-F-P obvervation, above), though acknowledging that introverted perspection (S/N + J) will have some ‘right brained” characteristics. Like “Ni can be viewed as more linear, vertical, or hierarchical in its approach (this is partly why NJs are often viewed as more “left-brained” than NPs).” “And while Si also entails certain left-brained features, such as attending to explicit rules, procedures, and details, it also has right-brained capacities that often go overlooked. Among these is the role of Si in attending to inner body sensations (e.g., pain, hunger, thirst, numbness, tingling, muscle tension).
He also cites Lenore Thomson in the section on Ti.
From Nardi, TP’s exhibit a mix of right and left brain activity.

While I read Nardi’s book and saw the little maps, it wasn’t plotted by function-attitude and quadrants, but rather by several new named archetype-like “skill-set” categories and associated behaviors on 16 regions of the neocortex. People often claim Nardi’s work now discredits Lenore’s (Neidnagel’s) earlier work, and it’s hard to verify if there’s a contradiction because of the totally different method of mapping. But in this book, they seem to harmonize. People will often object to Ti (introverted Thinking) as being “right brain” (by virtue of having a “P” attitude), because “thinking is left-brained”, and similarly Fe (extraverted Feeling) being “left brain” (J attitude) because “Feeling is right-brained”. But we see here where they do have elements of both.

All of this harmonizes with my own observation of TP and FJ being “hybrids” of sorts, when measured along the old “people/task focus” dimension. Left brain T and J tend to task focus. Right brain F and P tend to people-focus. So as has been observed, TJ’s tend to be “the most directive”, FP’s, the least so, and TJ’s and FP’s somewhere inbetween. So, for instance, “Unlike Ti, whose logic holistically consults both sides of the brain, Te hails squarely from the left hemisphere”.

Next, he introdces his J/P order notations: J-P-J and P-J-P, where the first is the dominant, the second is both the auxiliary and tertiary, and the last, the inferior. This order is very important in his discussion, and leads to the discussion of the EJ-EP-IJ-IP groups. Recall, he focuses on IP’s as dominant judgers, and IJ’s as dominant perceivers. So EJ’s are the “purest judgers”, and EP’s are the “purest perceivers”.
He then finishes the main section of the book with a detailed profile of the four attitude-groups (also known as the “sociability temperaments”, and said by one theorist to be the first letters to develop in a child).

The biggest new contribution in the book is his own “Type Clarifier Assessment”. It not only consists of 36 items consisting of two choices, which are actually different pairs of letters (From a-h) for each question, and you tally up the selctions for each letter, and then determine the dichotomy preference from comparisons (this is the “Preference Clarifier”); but also adds a “Function Clarifier” where you rank descriptions of the eight function-attitudes. It then gives instructions on integrating the two parts, and offers possible problems discussed int he book as why they might not line up.

He gives an example of an INTJ who got an impossible function order (Ni-Ti-Fi-Ne-Te-Fe-Se-Si; similar to what people get on cognitive preference tests; especially the one made by someone on a forum, where Ni and Ti are often strongest), but showed that “it is not surprising that, as an introvert, three of his top rankings were introverted functions” and that “the basic ordering of his functions is generally consistent with the predictions of type theory for an INTJ (i.e., N-T-F-S), and that upon further study and self-exploration, people typically come to see their preferred functions more clearly. (So that the INTJ may come to see he prefers Te over Ti).

It concludes with the functional stacks of each of the types. That of course is the four “primary” functions only. The “shadow” function (“other four” for each type) are never mentioned, as I had hoped.

Overall, it is a very good read; a great, relatively short introduction to type!

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