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The origin of MBTI and where it came from

MBTI or Myers-Briggs type indicator is one of the most popular personality theory system that people use nowadays throughout the media, the first MBTI questionnaire was published in 1943 by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, the researching of personality type theory was during the world war II , they believe that in create this theory, it make women know themselves and can determined what to job do better as to be the most comfortable and effective in a war-time.

Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers

The essential of MBTI theory was originally based on Carl Jung, a significant figure in psychology’s theory of cognitive functions. the book “Psychological type” was published by Carl Jung in 1921, it describes his theory of cognitive functions, it is about how one habitually or preferentially orients one-self in the world.

Carl Gustav Jung
This theory is all about thought process, cognition and neurosis, there are all 8 cognitive functions, 

All of the 8 functions can be categorized in the first aspects

Rational/judging functions. These functions based on a reflective, linear process that coalesces into a particular judgement.

  • Thinking functions, the process of rational thought, facilitate judgement and logical discrimination.
  • Feeling functions, the process of subjective judgement or valuation, evaluating likes or dislikes and what extent a thing is important or unimportant.

The other category is – irrational/perceiving functions, these functions are beyond or out of reason, something that does not depend on logic and dependent of reason or rational process of thought

  • sensing functions, which is perception by means of physical sense organs, seeing , hearing , tasting and simply what sensation we perceive from the external world.
  • Intuitive function , it is a perception by way of unconscious, perceive the hidden possibilities. 

Given these four main functions, thinking, feeling, sensing and intuition, there are both introversion and extraversion into these each four functions. Which makes all the functions include Extravert Thinking, Introvert Thinking, Extravert Feeling, Introvert Feeling, Extravert sensing, Introvert sensing, Extravert Intuition, Introvert Intuition. there are mainly one functions that an individual use the most to perceive the world, and other functions that they prefer to use secondary from the first one.

The original book of Psychological type in German by Carl Jung

 He typed a person by using two letters symbol of only two functions, for example, people who leads with Extraverted intuition and secondary followed by introverted feelings will be written as EN(F) , two letters abbreviation of the first dominant function(EN) and a one letter from a second function(F). This tying system invented by Carl Jung also has more complexation and methods into typing. Human are born with all of the functions but there is a functions that an individual preferably use the most which cannot be change through our lives but we can only developed other inferior functions later times in life.

Cognitive Functions , image credit :

Myers-Briggs extracted this theory into their type indicator , they also change the typing method and developed the abbreviation into 4 characters, such as ENFP , ISTJ , ESFJ by using 8 Jung’s cognitive but the Myer-Briggs theorize that oneself consciously use main 4 functions , different from Jung’s which use mainly 2 only. They then developed the theory into 4 letters dichotomy using I/E, N/S, T/F , J/P   for it to be more approachable at first before readers dive deep into cognitive functions. It emphasize whether a person is introverted or extroverted (I/E), uses intuition or sensing more(N/S) , prefer to use thinking or feeling (T/F) and lastly whether they are organized or carefree , judging or perceiving(J/P) . The dichotomy is based more on the behavioral approach than neurosis approach from cognitive functions theory. But apart from the dichotomies created, MBTI is still originally based on cognitive process not behavior, cognitive functions only result to how we act and behave. And that is the point of what makes people understand MBTI wrongly or just on the surface.

Does social extroversion and introversion correlate with MBTI ?

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The MBTI theory originally emphasize on cognitive approaches which categorizes by the word introvert and extrovert. Introversion is movement of energy towards the inner world and extrovert is the interest that is directed toward the outer world , but it doesn’t always correlate with being social introvert or extrovert and social battery as it is slightly related to a how social we are, it is just that you are more likely that you will have the same extroversion/introversion as the same with your dominant function .People always reference being social introvert/extrovert by saying that they’re an I/E in MBTI but that is not the point of MBTI.

Cognitive functions stack :

Let’s get to know cognitive function

For a better understanding , let's get to know cognitive function briefly
  • Extroverted Thinking (Te)

The process of effective thinking, solution of practical problems , planning programs and classification of facts , are objective and concrete thinking.

  • Introverted Thinking (Ti)

The process of abstract idea for decision , forming one own’s logic and evaluation based on their own set of logic and formulating questions , are subjective and abstract thinking.

  • Extroverted Feeling (Fe)

Focusing on the community/surrounding people’s value , maintaining emotional harmonious with other people ,establishing sympathy and understanding.

  • Extroverted Feeling (Fi)

Focus on own’s value inside of their self, establishing and protecting inner emotional life , having one own’s moral and ethics and can come off as cold or indifference because they are likely to keep feelings from others

  • Extroverted Sensing (Se)

The process of perceiving momentary experience from stimulus and outer-world , are pleasure loving and leads to concrete enjoyment using sense of organs , seeing , hearing , tasting , smelling , are in touch with experiencing reality.

  • Introverted Sensing (Si)

The process of perceiving sense from organs inside of self, see things by the subjective factor and from memory and are great at remembering details in the past , having attention on details that other may not see.

  • Extroverted Intuition (Ne)

Searching for emerging ideas and possibilities of the external world , seeing many possibilities of what could happen and how topics are related , love the change of objective situation and searching for new opportunities.

  • Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Searching for new angles and perspective in understanding things and life, process of interpretation and understanding of things , focuses on hidden meaning and future implication in a single and long term.

here are the stack of cognitive functions for each type 
Cognitive functions stack :

Dominant function – The function that come naturally , are used all the time and most in life

Auxiliary function – The function that are second used and support the dominant function

Tertiary function – The function that you are many not have much or comfortable using, but can help in personal growth

Inferior function – The weakest function , tend to have few skills that are associate with this function.

Now you understand how MBTI works , let's go back to the social extrovert/introvert aspect

For an instance, I am an Ne dominant (extroverted intuition) which makes me an ENFP/ENTP, Ne is the perception from unconscious result to perceiving new possibilities in the external world and love for new opportunities , but that does not necessarily mean that I am a social extrovert or I enjoy social gathering as my first letter in MBTI is E.

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For another example, an ISFJ, Their main 4 cognitive functions is Si Fe Ti Ne. meaning that they use introverted sensing(Si) as dominant functions, this is the functions that perceive by the means of inner physical organs, perceiving details and how the present relate to their memory as they’re in touch with their inner body and memories. And the auxiliary function that they use secondary is extroverted feelings (Fe) which focuses on shared value and worth, emotional dynamics around them and overall harmony. Because of the second functions, it can naturally makes ISFJ more focused on human interaction and easily become one with people around them which can make them being more on the social extrovert side. In another extent , people who are feeler doesn’t mean that they are unreasonable , or thinkers are unemotional or heartless. Types that ended with P or perceiving doesn’t always mean that they’re disorganized or messy, it is just they process with perceiving function.

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How to exactly know your MBTI type

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 As MBTI became popular because it has emerges upon social media, there are many test on the internet to determined which type are you, whether it is based on the 4 letters dichotomies or cognitive functions. People often based their MBTI type on test result on the internet which is not always and mostly unreliable because there are many aspects into learning about oneself and each function can be manifest in an individual differently. Everyone can experience the same functions differently.

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Two persons can have the same MBTI type but behave very differently. For example, an INFP, which lead with dominant introverted feelings (Fi), it is the process that focuses on one own’s value, moral and emotions meaning that each INFP does not need to have the same value, they can have extremely different value and moral depending on an individual which makes them distinct maybe in both how they act and think or both. As MBTI is a cognitive process, not behavior, to really know what type you are, you should learn about cognitive functions together with looking within your thoughts and be introspective. The most difficult may not be about learning the subject but to analyze yourself.

But MBTI does not determined or describe all of our personality, it is a system that help us understand and learn about ourselves in some aspects but not all, there are wide range of spectrum in a person personality and there are many other typology systems out there too such as enneagram, socionics, temperaments and big 5.IF you are looking for a typology system that are fluid and can change from time to time, big 5 is a good typing system too but As MBTI cannot be change through our lifetimes, what is changed is how we act , not our cognitive functions.

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The process of getting to know one’s MBTI type or any typing system does not come easily and you can always mistype yourself and there is nothing wrong with that as it is the thing that we need to learn step by step, it can take years to finally getting to know yourself it is a journey of getting to know the information and your mind.

              Good luck with your journey!

One Comment

  • Grace says:

    Taking the MBTI test can make people understand more of themselves. Moreover, MBTI can also make people understand more of the others. This is a good topic for people to learn.