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Playing With Paradigms - Theory Building, Anomaly and Typology

Guest Feature by John Fudjack, December 28, 1998 
Copyright © 1998, John Fudjack

When Mary asked me if I would consider providing her with a 'guest feature' piece for late December, I thought that I might offer one of the articles from our on-line journal, 'The Enneagram and the MBTI', or from our site, 'Personality Type, Organizational Form, and the Structure of Human Consciousness'. Our work on the 'Five Levels of the Four Jungian Functions', seems to have intrigued her, judging from our conversations. But there are also other papers at these sites that might be of general interest to the reader - papers on Organizational Development and Type, and on particular aspects of the MBTI - such as 'preference orders', the 'J/P' designation, and on Keirsey's system and how it differs from the MBTI. 
However, since the papers published at our sites are readily available there, and only a click away from here, I thought that maybe I should consider writing something new for this occasion. And wouldn't it be nice if the topic was as relevant as possible to what Mary herself is trying to do at this site. What topic would be appropriate? Perhaps if I clarified for myself what it is that is special for me about Mary's work, and how that relates to what I am doing, I'd have an answer. And then it came to me. Behind the underlying design of Mary's site, which artfully brings together, in one place, a number of diverse and interesting papers on personality, there is an intelligence at work that shows high regard for the subtleties of what I would call, for lack of a better term, 'theory building'. This may not be surprising - as Mary is an INTP. But it actually does makes for a unique approach, since so many on-line and hardcopy Journals seem to go out of their way to AVOID theoretical discussion. 
How many times have I heard individuals remark that 'theory' is what you get when there is a lack of hard evidence? How often have I witnessed theory-building perjoratively referred to as 'speculation' or 'nit-picking'? I have always been somewhat disturbed by what seems to me to be a lack of appreciation for theory and for the role that 'philosophy' can play, when appropriately applied, in critiquing typologies and generating alternate paradigms for consideration in empirical research. But I have hitherto not had - or perhaps I have not made - the opportunity to address this question publicly. So that's what I'd like to do here. 
Many children come to believe, by virtue of what they are taught in grade school, that science proceeds in the following fashion - 1) facts present themselves to the researcher, who 2) creates a hypothesis that seeks to explain the facts, after which 3) the hypothesis is tested by gathering additional facts of the sort that will support or defeat the hypthesis in question. This model, although sometimes helpful, is somewhat too simple. 
For the theories that we tacitly embrace all too often actively shape what we indeed see. Whether or not we consciously recognize that this is happening, the conceptual 'models' that we use to frame and structure our experience filter out certain types of 'object' and/or 'fact' while bringing into relief or 'relevating' others. The scientist who does not recognize or acknowledge this phenomenon, or is not aware of the extent to which it actually occurs in his or her own work, is at a distinct disadvantage. 
Imagine the following scenario. A woman is in a city that is unfamiliar to her. She is walking down the street with the lover with whom she is having an affair. The streets are virtually empty and they are talking. While they walk and chat, she is watching the man who is approaching them on the sidewalk, with whom she is about to cross paths. Although she has been focused on him for the entire period of time it has taken him to traverse the hundred yards of distance between them, it is not until this man is three feet away that she recognizes him to be her husband! 
What happened? Why did she not recognize him sooner? The answer is rather simple, actually. At the moment in question she was in a context in which he, the husband, was not expected to be seen. He was a 'foreign' object in that place at that time. The context simply did not 'support' what presented itself in front of her - her husband - as something that could be singled out as an object of her attention, and so she simply could not SEE him. 
This is very similar to what Milton Erickson, the father of modern hypnotherapy, calls a 'negative hallucination'. Erickson was able to induce remarkably strong negative hallucinations in individuals in hypnotic trance, causing them be unable to see a person sitting in the chair in front of them. Even if that individual, who was in effect rendered 'invisible', were to touch the subject on the arm or take something from the table between himself and the subject, the subject would invariably continue NOT to notice him. Under such circumstances, Erickson has shown, subjects will go to great lengths to provide an alternate explanation for the event - an elaborate 'rationale' for the mysterious phenomena rendered 'anomalous' by the apparent physical absence of the individual that was the actual cause. 
This is not unlike what happens in science when our explanatory frameworks make it 'by definition' impossible for us to entertain certain kinds of possibilities - an individual with an N-F-S-T preference order, for example. We all are continually making multiple assumptions about the nature of the 'realities' in which we operate, assumptions consistent with 'theories' that we embrace. Even when these are tacitly held theories and assumptions, as is often the case, they bring certain kinds of a propos 'fact' into relief, while suppressing other kinds of fact. 
I have heard this phenomenon called 'ontological gerrymandering' by psychologists and sociologists. But when it happens in science it is not usually a deliberate trick engaged in to obtain an 'advantage' - as it can be with politicians who are inclined to re-draw the boundary-lines of the district they represent in order to include more voters from their party. The scientist is often less aware of the fact that the 'objects' that are of concern to him or her are brought into relief as a result of the 'paradigm' that he or she holds. Interestingly, these paradigms often involve conceptual frames that are 'type-related', as we pointed out in a recent article at our site. 
Thomas Kuhn, who was the philosopher of science who coined the term 'paradigm shift' back in the 1960s, described an interesting psychological experiment in the course of trying to explain what it is like to experience such a shift. Pat (Dinkelaker) and I used a variation of the experiment to teach managers attending an Organizational Development course that we taught about paradigm shifts and psychological type. 
We made a deck of cards like the one in the original experiment; unbeknownst to our students, it included an anomalous card - a red eight of spades. We could have used a black queen of hearts, I imagine, or any non-traditional combination of color and suit. We put the anomalous card amongst the top 10 cards in the deck and then asked each individual in the group to take a turn as the subject of a rapid-fire perceptual recognition test, while the others in the class watched. We manually turned the top ten cards over, one by one, and the student called out the identity of the card as soon as he or she could, and then the next card was revealed. The answers were recorded. 
In the original experiment it was discovered that many individuals took significantly longer to identify the anomalous card - two, three times as long, or more. Some individuals simply could not do it, and even exhibited signs of distress. In our version, we permitted a longer period of time for the anomalous card, but proceeded to the next card if a guess had not been made within a reasonable period, or if a wrong guess was made. Some persons would say 'um, uh, eight of hearts' - ignoring the fact that the card was black. Others would say 'eight of spades' - ignoring the heart shapes on the card. Some would hesitate too long, apparently confused and momentarily transfixed. Some would have slightly puzzled or uncomfortable looks on their faces. Some were even motivated to turn their attention elsewhere and act as if they have been diverted. One student who found himself easily distracted in this way, for instance, looked at someone next to him, made a joke, and then covered up with a statement like - 'uh, I'm sorry, I'm being distracted by So-and-So'. 
After the experiment, we asked people about what they had experienced. Nobody had noticed that the card was anomalous, and nobody seemed to have a second thought about the experiment. 'Not very interesting', was the consensus. 'What was the point?', they wanted to know. We then asked each individual in turn to do a brief 'second round'. This time they were instructed to look but say absolutely nothing. Each individual was shown the anomalous card, for as long as it took him or her to recognize that it was anomalous. People seemed to take forever. One looked like she was not going to get it, and I discretely moved on. From my vantage point, what I saw as I sat across from these individuals and carefully watched their faces and postures were mostly blank looks at first - some eager to please, some resentful, some bored. And then, at some point, you could almost see the light going off in the person's head - she would blush, or a smile would sweep across her, or there would be a quick shift in her posture and then she would suddenly relax and sit back in her chair. I could sense the 'felt shift' that accompanied recognition, and at that point I'd remind the individual to remain silent and I'd turn to the next person. 
This 'second round' energized the group. Now people were interested. Something was happening. It is, after all, a remarkable thing to experience a paradigm shift from the 'inside out', as it were - to have a new perspective on things suddenly open up for one right on the spot. We talked about it afterwards; most were blown away by their tendency to see only what they expected to see, and their inability to notice the anomalous nature of the card. Could this be what it is like to be trapped within the constraints of a particular 'personality type'?, we asked. Or - to take this to another level - to be fettered by the conceptual parameters associated with a particular personality theory or a management theory? 
The experiment relies quite heavily, of course, on the fact that we have no word for a 'red eight of spades'. In normal card games we are used to saying 'the eight of hearts' or 'the eight of spades', but would never say 'the red eight of hearts', as this would be redundant. Except in the case of this special experiment, of course. In my experience (although I have not made a formal study of this), when you instruct people to identify the color and the suit they are in a much better position to recognize the anomaly. This is true even if your 'instruction' is only tacit - that is, even when you don't give the instruction verbally but model the behavior you want by showing a few cards to the group and announcing 'red four of hearts', 'black nine of spades', and so forth. 
But when scientists go about the business of scientific research in the real world, there is usually nobody out there to give them hints about what the 'right answer' in fact is. There is nobody out there who can definitively say, 'here are the significant parameters to notice in this case - color and suit'. Furthermore - scientists may not realize that the theories that they do embrace will tacitly promote certain parameters, often the wrong ones. In a world in which people believe that the earth is flat, it is unlikely that individuals, when asked what their 'cosmological assumptions' are, will announce 'I assume that the world is flat'. But their perceptions will nonetheless be ruled by such assumptions. 
How, we might ask, would we go about trying to unearth the 'assumptions' that underly a particular theory - a personality theory, for instance? What tools can we use to shine a light into those dark corners where the 'assumptions' that influence our perceptions are likely to hide? 
Often it is only when people are presented with an alternative model - founded on rival assumptions - that the tacit assumptions that underly their current world view are effectively revealed. When you stop to think about it, this is what makes personality typologies powerful tools in the first place - I take for granted my preferences until I identify myself as an INFJ and compare this to the 'personal paradigm' entailed by being an ESTP, or an INTP, which turn out to be radically different. 
The fact that assumptions don't just 'reveal themselves' is one reason that I personally find comparative typology to be a fruitful arena of study, and especially helpful in identifying the hard-to-get-at assumptions that underly any given model. 
To most of us it probably would never have occured, for example, that there might be useful alternatives to how the 16 MBTI types are traditionally grouped in sets of four (ST, SF, NF, NT). Not, at least, until Keirsey came along to show us that there were other logically consistent ways to parse the sixteen into alternate groupings - such as the NT, NF, SP, and SJ groups to which he assigned a special meaning. But once this did happen, the door was opened forevermore - to a number of alternative variations that are equally legitimate, as we've shown in a recent article. Someone recently contacted me, after reading the article cited above, to point out that in the latest issue of the Journal of Psychological Type there is a review of an empirical study which utilizes one of the alternatives in the set that I was able to identify purely by virtue of playing with the theoretical possibilities - the SP, NP, TJ and FJ alternative. 
Interestingly, over the years there have been many similar theoretical forays into a number of the other assumptions underlying the MBTI. As the assumptions that underwrite the system are slowly relevated, one by one, and contrasted to rival 'assumptions', a host of new variations of Jungian typology have emerged. See, for instance, the 'Singer-Loomis' instrument, or the Cambridge Inventory. 
Some of the models that are generated in this way may turn out to be trivial exercises in imagining what is merely logically possible. And some of these systems will likely prove to be LESS powerful than the precursor that spawned them - dumbed-down versions of a more useful personality model that they seek to supplant. But the 'theory building' activity itself is nevertheless an important and indispensible part of the evolutionary process that insures that personality typology will in the long run be capable of changing in response to the subtle social and cultural shifts that are inevitable as we travel through history as a species. It is in celebration of that process, and Mary's site, that I offer my above remarks. 

Copyright © 1998, John Fudjack 

Humanizing the Workplace

Guest Feature by Brian Twillman, December 21, 1998
[Note: The "Mary" he refers to his Mary Twillman, his wife and co-publisher of
The NF Journal, not me.] 
This article Copyright 1998 by Twillman Associates, LLC. 
(Reprinted with permission from
The NF Journal,

I do want to say that Mary and I have received some very nice complements on the new design of The NF Journal. Our challenge is to ensure that the material that is offered is interesting, helpful, and inspiring to you. 
Before I discuss how NFs can effectively make organizational impacts, I want to acknowledge how extra special and wonderful these three years have been with another NF! On September 16th, Mary and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. We did so by ordering carry-out Chinese cuisine and by enjoying our evening time together with our two little wonders, Maura (nearly 18 months old) and Matthew (just 5 months). After many years of searching and “exploring” relationships with other types (perhaps “compelled towards other types” as Jung put it is more apt), it feels so right to have our personal life in order. As we explore such everyday things as refinancing our home mortgage, the right diaper sizes, and purchasing a minivan, it is so satisfying that our relationship is moving along each and every day naturally and, for the most part, effortlessly. 


In the last two weeks, I have heard some interesting remarks about how the administration and effective utilization of the MBTI® was key to the success of a comprehensive organization change effort. The organization has changed over the last six years from a command-and-control, hierarchical, leader-directed structure with divisions, branches, and sections, to an organization which effectively relies on shared leadership, collaboration, and successful teamwork. The number of managers has been reduced to just two from eight. People are more outspoken and interactive. 
A driving factor which was significant to the initiation of this change effort was the fact that one of the senior managers had taken a year off to obtain his master’s degree in organizational development. He came back to the organization convinced that changes could and should be made. The organization had been operating largely as an ISTJ type of organization — people went about their work as they had always done, with little encouragement to do anything other than the routine day-to-day work. Opportunities to be creative, to think outside the box, to push the envelope, and to be well-connected and knowledgeable of the customer’s interest were neither openly encouraged nor praised by management. People who plateaued in their particular job series were not given any specific support or encouragement; rather, the sense these people were given was that “those are the rules and that’s just the way it is and will continue to be.” 
Now the managers and staff take pride in having more effective and efficient workflow operations; true problem resolution strategies and process improvement methods; higher productivity; greater customer satisfaction; improved morale; enhanced skills; better institutional knowledge; greater sharing of information; and methods in place to ensure continuous improvement. 

What happened? Among the changes made, the NF perspective became increasingly valued and incorporated into the workplace culture. People are now considered to be the most valuable resource and are strongly encouraged to share their ideas and suggestions and to make improvements as they see fit. 
To get to the point where they are now, the organization went through six distinct transitional phases: Phase of Confusion, Design, Planning, Transition, Implementation, and Assessment. 

The initial phase, lasting for about the first year, has been referred to as the Phase of Confusion. In this phase, the rationale for making changes was discussed thoroughly by everyone and the process for moving forward was invented.
This was not easy to do, especially since there were as many reasons being expressed for not making changes as there were for making changes. To complicate matters, those who welcomed change had many different ideas about how to proceed. During the second phase, which lasted about six months, a Design Team was formed and charged with determining how the organization should be reorganized. It was at this time that a one-day introductory MBTI® training program was offered to everyone in the organization. In addition to helping everyone to better understand their own and others’ preferred work style, it gave them a common language and clarified what the organizational (and individual) strengths were by virtue of the organization’s type table profile.
This knowledge of type and the type results have been instrumental in the success of this effort. It helped people to explain why they were open to change or hesitant to do so, and provided people with an understanding that the organization needed to have many diverse strengths rather than an isolated few. During this phase, the vision was created for the organization. It was determined that the following results would indicate that they were a healthy organization: 
open communication,
employee involvement,
multi-level leadership,
a value placed on learning and renewal,
valued diversity,
institutional fairness,
equitable awards,
the latest technology,
meaningful work for everyone, and
a sense of community responsibility. 

The Planning Phase lasted another year. After determining what the organization should look like they then addressed how they were to get there. They first addressed how work was to be assigned. They knew the answer lay in having more teamwork. It was determined that their work could be organized into four areas, and four teams were created — an Analytical Team, an Operations Team, a Quality Assurance Team, and a Client Services Team. Each of these teams would be structured similarly, each having a leadership coordinator (rather than a team leader) and a leave coordinator. To give more people the opportunity to demonstrate and utilize their leadership skills and competencies, it was determined that the only people who could apply for the leadership coordinator positions were those who were not in designated leadership or supervisory positions in the previous organization. This groundrule was kept in place for this one year. Once the leadership coordinators were selected (by the organization’s three-person Leadership and Quality Council), teams were formed and leave coordinators were designated. An innovation was made to ensure the teams’ members maintained close communication and developed a sense of accountability to each other. Rather than submitting leave requests to supervisors, as had been done in the past, a process was created for team members to submit their requests for leave to the team’s leave coordinators, who would “approve” the leave only when other team members had been consulted and were in agreement. 

Phase 4 was the Transition Phase, which lasted about ten months. During this phase, training and skill development were emphasized as the best ways to prepare people to assume new duties and responsibilities. Training sessions included such topics as change management (1/2 day), total quality management and working in teams (1 day), problem-solving tools (1 day), basic facilitation and effective meeting management (31/2 days), team leadership (five different units, each a day long, for members of the Leadership Quality Council and the leadership coordinators), MBTI Awareness and Team-building sessions (one day for each member of the teams) and Leadership 2000 training (seven units for all staff — 1/2 day per unit). 

Next came the actual implementation of the change effort, which lasted nearly a year and a half before everything was in place as was intended. Once again, training was key during this phase. The training was more focused on developing specific communication skills to ensure greater collaboration and mutual understanding. Managers were given training and coaching assistance to ensure that their involvement was balanced between “meddling and support.” Increasingly, as people acquired these new skills, they were given greater personal responsibility and trusted to make important decisions. Furthermore, they were encouraged to be more creative, spontaneous, and flexible. Some of the immediate benefits included improved morale and job satisfaction, and reduced process improvement time. Much of the feedback received from senior managers, staff, and most customers was extremely positive. 

As is the case in many organizations today, measuring progress and sustaining initial gains (from changing the workplace culture and communication patterns), are essential next steps. During this Assessment Phase, the organization used different evaluations, assessments, and surveys. Surveys were taken about the entire organization. Team members were asked to assess the team’s abilities and areas for improvement, customer surveys were conducted, and a supervisory feedback system was put in place. Stakeholder meetings were conducted each month. Organization-wide meetings were regularly held during which each of the teams were asked to present their accomplishments. An annual organizational assessment meeting was initiated to review accomplishments and to revalidate the mission and vision. What this accomplished, in addition to much greater communication and sharing of information, was a greater sense of accountability and empowerment.

These organizational change efforts are clearly worth the effort! People have become inspired, trusted, and more authentic. What a difference this has made! Much of the success in this case was due to the number of NFs (over 25% of the staff), who were instrumental in restructuring the organization. Imagine what our workplaces would be like if people could truly be themselves and be fully trusted to contribute the natural skills and talents which comprise who they are. NFs would thrive in such an environment! 

"Leadership is getting along with people — exhibiting more patience — thinking the problem through to the end — putting yourself in the other person’s place. It requires frankness, but not bluntness — faith in mankind and self confidence, but not gullibility or conceit — being democratic with associates , but not to the point of breeding disrespect. 

"No one can lead who dodges the full responsibility of their position, for you will draw attention to your weaknesses and your decisions will forever be discounted. A real leader weighs all elements carefully, takes the initiative, and senses the needs of associates and supplies them. 

"Only a hairline divides those who achieve success in business and those who don’t. That hairline is leadership — leadership won by ordinary people with extraordinary determination." 
— Author unknown 

This article Copyright 1998 by Twillman Associates, LLC. 

WorkTypes Book Review
by Mary Hoerr, December 14, 1998 

Work Types was written by Jean M. Kummerow (ESTJ), Nacy J. Barger (ENFP), and Linda K. Kirby (INTP). This book uses real world work scenarios to illustrate how the different types interact at work. Specific examples of possible misunderstandings on projects, at meetings, and in other circumstances show what can go wrong, and provide recommendations for improving the results. I especially liked the chapter on time management, which pretty well describes what we Ps are doing when we're "not doing anything." 
Have you read a good book on type lately?  As always, I love to get your feedback on this or any other Myers-Briggs™ related topic. 

A Nerd by any other Name ...
by Mary Hoerr, December 7, 1998 

These are my favorite serious and humorous one-word or one-liner type descriptions. 

Short Summaries of the Various Types 

Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey

Type Talk / Type Talk At Work by Otto Kroeger and Janet M Thuesen

LifeTypes by Sandra Hirsh and Jean Kummerow


The Architect

A love of problem solving 
Life's problem solvers

It's Not Theoretically Possible


The Mastermind

Everything has room for improvement 
Life's independent thinkers

It's Not Thoroughly Justified 


The Healer

Performing noble service to aid society 
Making life kinder and gentler

I Never Find Perfection 


The Counselor

An inspiration to others 
An inspiring leader and follower

Inner Nuances Foster Journeys 


The Crafter

Ready to try anything once 
Just do it

I See The Problem


The Inspector

Doing what should be done 
Life's natural organizers

I Save Things Judiciously 


The Composer

Sees much but shares little 
Action speaks louder than words

I Seek Fun and Pleasure 


The Protector

A high sense of duty 
Committed to getting the job done

I Serve Family Joyfully 


The Inventor

One exciting challenge after another 
Progress is the product

Each New Thought Propels


The Field Marshall

Life's natural leaders 
Life's natural leaders

Executives Need Tough Jobs


The Champion

Giving life an extra squeeze 
People are the product

Every day, New Fantastic Possibilities


The Teacher

Smooth-talking persuaders 
Smooth-talking persuaders

Everyone Needs Fulfillment and Joy 


The Promoter

The ultimate realists 
Making the most of the moment

Everyone Seems Too Proper 


The Supervisor

Life's administrators 
Life's natural administrators

Execution Save The Job


The Performer

You only go around once in life 
Let's make work fun

Extra Special Friendly Person 


The Provider

Hosts and hostesses of the world 
Everyone's trusted friend

Extra Special Friendly Joiner 


Humorous Descriptions of the Types 

Hal Dendurant

Lawrence T. Hardiman



Lord, help me be less independent, but let me do it my way. 



Lord, keep me open to others' ideas, WRONG though they may be.



God, help me to finish everything I sta 



Lord, help me not be a perfectionist. (Did I spell that correctly?)



God, help me to consider people's feelings, even if most of them ARE hypersensitive. 


Bean Counter

Lord help me to relax about insignificant details beginning tomorrow at 11:41.23 am e.s.t. 



Lord, help me to stand up for my rights (if you don't mind my asking).



Lord, help me to be more laid back and help me to do it EXACTLY right.



Lord, help me follow established procedures today. On second thought, I'll settle for a few minutes.



Lord, help me slow downandnotrushthroughwhatIdoAmen. 



God, help me to keep my mind on one th-Look a bird!ing at a time.



God, help me to do only what I can and trust you for the rest. Do you mind putting that in writing? 


Beer Drinker

God, help me to take responsibility for my own actions, even though they're usually NOT my fault. 


Stuffed Shirt

God, help me to not try to RUN everything. But, if You need some help, just ask! 



God, help me to take things more seriously, especially parties and dancing.



God, give me patience, and I mean right NOW! 

Do you have a favorite one word or one-liner description?  As always, I love to get your feedback on this or any other Myers-Briggs™ related topic. 

A Different Kind of Blood Type
by Mary Hoerr, November 30, 1998 

Dr. Benziger tells us that current brain research shows that type preferences may be localized in the brain. Thinking and Intuition are rooted respectively in the much-touted Left Frontal and Right Frontal Lobes, referred to in the Benziger Model as Frontal modes. Sensing and Feeling are rooted in the Left and Right Posterior Cortical Convexities, referred to in the Benziger Model as Basal Modes.
According to Jonathan P. Niednagel, each person has one of 16 brain types (Myers-Briggs™ types), which he describes as inborn, genetically predisposed wiring that directly regulates both mental and motor skills. Each Brain Type not only has inherent and specific mental proficiencies (and deficiencies) but physical ones as well. Thus, he determines your brain type by evaluating a video tape you send him of yourself answering Myers-Briggs™ type questions.
Both Benziger and Niednagel believe it is better to operate in harmony with your type. Benziger links falsification of type (operating primarily outside of one's type preferences) to fatigue, illness and depression, among some symptoms. Working within one's dominant function leads to energy and joy. Niednagel's primary constituency comprises athletes and sports enthusiasts, who he feels can improve their performance through a knowledge of type. He considers that "each Brain Type has one-of-a-kind body/motor skills, too." This implies different training programs based on type, but also that different types are better fitted for different sports.
If a simple physical test can be devised to determine type, as Niednagel expects, then I can imagine kids, at the college level at least, being screened not only based on height and weight and athletic skill, but on type. Or if Dr. Benziger's test is as accurate as she claims in determining type, and when someone is falsifying type, that I could imagine a company insisting, for example, that anyone who does not test as an extrovert be prevented from entering sales.
Obviously, I think it is very good for people to know their type, and to know and respect the types of others. Dr. Benziger wants to use her assessment tool as a means of "Helping People Thrive." Mr. Niednagel thinks that "by learning this invaluable information, you can better communicate with and persuade others, develop hidden talents (mentally and physically), and enjoy numerous other rewards." But I have also seen people use knowledge of type as an excuse not to exercise their nonpreferences when necessary, or as negative expectations of others of different types.
What do you think of the idea of a blood test to determine type? As always, I love to get your feedback on this or any other Myers-Briggs™ related topic. 

Going to Extremes
by Mary Hoerr, November 23, 1998 

Jerry L. Brinegar's dissertation Predictive Validity of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Composite Preference Score to Estimate Counseling Difficulty and Counseling Outcome anticipated that people with strong preferences would be less flexible, and therefore more resistant to counseling. Others don't like to say they have a preference for one function or another because they feel it is "better" or more "well rounded" to be equally capable of exercising either function. Other material that speaks of developing the less preferred functions seems to feed into this idea that it is better not to have any preference, which theory says is not possible (probable?) or to have only a weak preference. 
This is actually not the position of any Myers-Briggs™ material I have read. The authors are very careful to point out that it is not better or worse to have strong vs weak preferences, just as it is not better or worse to have one preference or another. There are advantages and disadvantages either way. The one thing they seem to agree on is that it is necessary to develop one's preferred functions first, before working on the less preferred functions. 
Personally, I have an extreme preference for I, a strong preference for N, and a very slight preference for P. In fact, my preference for P was so slight that I was initially puzzled by books that described this as one of the easiest preferences to spot when you first meet a person. And my preference for I was so strong that I was amazed to learn that some people actually get energized by being around other people. The idea that a party might NOT wear someone out was news. 
Here are the advantages and the disadvantages I have found for strong vs weak preferences: 

The extreme preference: I am very much at home and comfortable with my introversion. It was very useful for me to learn how extroversion works, so that I no longer think of such people as being "all talk" or obtrusive. Since I now have a positive model of what extroversion is, it is easier for me to exercise that option when needed, although it will never be easy (which doesn't bother me). 

The slight preference: I have the most conflicts in the J-P area. On the one hand, I am very able to understand both orientations, and often work as a sort of "go-between" between the J and P cultures that exist at any workplace. But neither am I really comfortable or at home in either orientation. When I am acting "J", I feel hemmed in, when I'm acting "P", I feel disorganized. 

The strong preference: I have what I think is the best combination of comfort and flexibility in N-S area. I have a strong preference for N, and feel very developed and at home in this area. However, I'm close enough to S, and exercise that preference often enough to feel reasonably capable there too.  

How has the degree or strength of your preferences affected you? As always, I love to get your feedback on this or any other Myers-Briggs™ related topic. 

Reorganizing Net Links
by Mary Hoerr, November 16, 1998

Ever wonder what happens to my words of wisdom and reviewed links after the week is up? The feature article goes into the archive of features (click on Features, then at the bottom of the current week's feature, click on Past Features). The links with my review go into the appropriate category of Net Links. I have added three brand new categories, combined two current categories into one, and divided two other current categories into two. 

Three new categories: 
Statistics and research articles will now be kept with a new category called
Research net links. Myers-Briggs™ take-offs or other amusing anecdotes will be under Fun(ny). Anything that I can't classify anywhere else will be included under Etc
Combined two current categories into one: 
The one link I had in the Selling category is now included under

Divided the Library category into two different categories: 
Books and periodicals that do not have any on-line versions will be contained in the
Books category. Books or periodicals that exist partly or only on-line will be listed under E-Pubs

Divided the Organizations category into two different categories: 
Organizations that expect to make a profit are classified under
Companies. Associations and organizations that do not make a profit are listed under NonProfits.

I hope my reorganization helps you find what you're looking for. As always, I'm interested in your feedback on this or any other aspect of this website. 

I'm Not Crazy, I'm Just Not You Book Review
Buy Prayer and Temperament at Amazon.comby Mary Hoerr, November 9, 1998

I recently read I'm Not Crazy, I'm Just Not You, by Roger R. Pearman and Sarah C. Albritton, for the second time. They don't so much give type profiles as describe how the various functions interact in different situations. I liked this book because it helped me to see how different preference combinations interact in different situations. It also helped me see where I might have communication problems. 
Many books on type provide a description of the two attitudes (I-E), the four functions (S-N, T-F) and the two orientations (J-P). Then they provide a series of questions for you to answer and score to determine you type. Roger R. Pearman and Sarah C. Albritton take a different approach. As each preference is described in detail, the reader is asked to "sort" them, or determine which fits better. In one respect, the entire book is a preference "sorter", with the reader continually asked to compare his or her estimates of type preference to the next set of descriptions. The result is less quick than the questions, but it seems to me that to the reader willing to take the time, it may be more accurate. 
The outer image, or first impression, seems to be determined mainly by our E-I and J-P preferences. In other words, the first impression people get of me is based primarily on my IP preference. 
Each type also experiences inner tension between outer orientation and inner mental work. My outer orientation is P. My inner function is T. Therefore, my inner tension is TP. This tension is good, but it is also a place where each type can get "stuck". For example, every week I put together the link reviews and features for this site. The tension is between my desire to gather more and more data (more links, read more books, etc.) and the need to stop the data collection and actually analyze it and put something together. 
Next is the cognitive core, which is where each type is most comfortable, along with possible behaviors if the person is kept from this preferred place too often. The cognitive core is simply the two functions for each type, the perceiving function and the judging function. For me, that makes my cognitive core NT. 
Interestingly, if this is contrasted with temperament theory, we see that for sensors temperament is determined by the inner tension preferences, SJ and SP, while for intuitives, temperament is determined by the cognitive core, NT and NF. In Four Spiritualities: Expressions of Self, Expressions of Spirit: A Psychology of Contemporary Spiritual Choice, by Peter Tufts Richardson, reviewed briefly in my Books section, spiritual expression is related to this cognitive core rather than to temperament. 
There is an extensive section on type-related communication issues. The authors describe the kind of information each type is attracted to, how they express themselves, what information they trust, what they consider honest, what preconceptions and prejudices they have, what their hot buttons are, suggestions for restating information for each type, and so on. This really helped me see some communications problems I've had in the past. For example, one of my hot buttons has been people who will not "listen to logic." I wrote about an argument I had with my sister because of that in my article "It's Only Logical". On the other hand, a hot button for an ESFP might be "people who detach from a situation" or for an ESFJ might be "cool, detached people who are more interested in their own thoughts than in sharing with others" or for an ISFJ might be "debate, argument, or sustained disagreement." I can see a number of collision courses there! 
Have you read this book, or a different type-related book? What did you think?  I love to get your feedback

Little Boxes
by Mary Hoerr, November 2, 1998 

A song that was current when I was growing up was called Little Boxes. It was a song about forcing people to conform to stereotypes. The houses were "boxes" and although they were many different colors, they were "all made out of ticky tacky and they all looked just the same." 
A charge against using Myers-Briggs™ type is that it reduces people to stereotypes. In fact, there is even a stereotype about who likes to stereotype. As Corey points out in his Observations (no longer available on the web), although individuality would seem to be more of an NF issue, it is his SJ acquaintances who seem more likely to object that the people can't and shouldn't be categorized. 
On the one hand, we are categorizing people all the time. As Otto Kroeger and Janet Thuesen point out in TypeTalk, "... it's almost second nature for us to pigeonhole and catalog people around us, though not always accurately or positively." They go on to note that typewatching is "based on the notion that as long as we're going to do it, we might as well do it as skillfully, objectively, and constructively as possible." 
Another positive side of using type is that it identifies other areas where we can develop strengths. As long as we think that our own preferences are the rule for everyone else, Thinkers are less likely to see a reason to develop their Feeling judgment, Intuitives to develop their attention to the here-and-now, and so on. 
However, there are dangers to the use of type as well. Maybe the SJ's are seeing a very real and present problem with Type watching. Scott Arbuthnot in his article speaks of someone who was convinced that they could not be artistic because of a personality type tool (in this case, not MBTI). In last week's feature, I brought up Robert Todd Carroll's comments that type seems to assume that only N's are imaginative, and in the Myers-Briggsing Blake's 7 discussion, Adam L. Fuller points out that some S's seem to want to test as N's because they think it signifies some "added special ability." And I've found other home pages with type interests where the author used his or her type as an excuse to put down other types. (By the way, I will not link to any type-related page that appears to put down any other type). One introvert characterized people who "talk all the time" as conformists who don't "have a life." 
We can use Myers-Briggs™ to appreciate others' differences, and to develop our own capabilities. Or we can use it to limit others and ourselves. Do you have any experiences of when you or others have used type in a limiting way? In a freeing way?  I love to get your feedback

Sensors, Intuitives and Creativity
by Mary Hoerr, October 26, 1998 

Robert Todd Carroll, in his skeptical article on Myers-Briggs™ type, has come to the conclusion that the difference between N and S is "better stated as the division into those who follow their hunches against the evidence and those who require good evidence before taking action," which sounds very much like a sensor's descriptions of intuition. Although biased, is it any more biased than typical descriptions which he states want to "identify the intuitive person with the one who is imaginative, who can think of what is not but could be"? 
I agree with Keirsey and Bates in Please Understand Me when they write that "The two preferences of sensation and intuition are, of any of the preferences, the source of the most miscommunication, misunderstanding, vilifications, defamation and denigration. This difference places the widest gulf between people." [emphasis in original] 
The sensor sees the intuitive's hunches as hocus-pocus. The intuitive sees the sensor's realism as unimaginative. Of course, that is the negative side of extreme and unbalanced intuition or sensing. To try to get a handle on the differences, I came up with the following metaphor, based on two different kinds of computer graphics software. 
I compare sensors to "Paint" programs, in which the artist directly manipulates the picture, pixel by pixel if she wishes. By defining the precise color, point by point, based on input from the senses, the sensor builds up a picture of the world. This is how I think artists work. It also correlates with what I have read in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. She makes the interesting point that people have trouble drawing because they have lost the ability to simply "see" what is there. Through several exercises, she teaches you to "turn off" what I might call intuition, and "turn on" sensing. 
I compare intuitives to "Draw" programs, in which the artists defines a few important points, and then selects a shape to fit the points. The intuitive first determines the applicable "equation", so to speak, and then the lines are drawn according to the equation, and not pixel by pixel. The advantage of this approach is that it is easier to extend the equation "off the page" so to speak. It is easier to move the shapes around or change them. The disadvantage is that you cannot match the detail or realism, or perhaps even the expressiveness, of the "paint" program. 
Some people, intuitives, prefer to first determine the "equations" or "patterns" and then fit the data. If you understand the pattern or equation the intuitive is working from, you will realize that his "hunches" are not "hocus-pocus". In fact, the people that have built up our science appear to be predominantly intuitives. 
Some people, sensors, prefer to build the data, data by data, into a beautiful and exact picture. If you understand the "picture" the sensor is working towards, you will realize that this is not "unimaginative" or "uncreative". In fact, our most creative artists appear to be predominantly sensors. 
What do you think of my metaphor for this difference? What helps you to understand the differences between intuitives and sensors in a positive way?  I love to get your feedback

A Sensual Experience
by Mary Hoerr, October 19, 1998

Several times in my life I have experienced something I came to call "clear sight". No, it had nothing to do with clairvoyance or anything psychic. In fact, just the opposite. I called it "clear sight" because I was able to "see" (and hear and sense) things clearly as they actually are. 
One experience was when I was practicing soccer. There was a measureless and miraculous moment when I clearly saw where all the players were, and knew exactly where the ball was going and how I needed to physically move myself to get to the ball and gain control. I don't remember whether I actually got the ball - sensing and doing are two different things - but I clearly saw all the sensory factors of the game. 
Please understand that I am not talking about predicting or seeing what wasn't there. I was seeing precisely and only what was there. Sensors will immediately know what I'm talking about, but I imagine they will wonder what I'm making such a big deal about. 
Sometimes we think of intuitives as "creative" and sensors as grounded in the "here and now", but I think that misses something. The experience of "clear sight" has occurred only a few times in my life, bright and vivid in my memory. I can't help but think that it must be the usual way for a mature sensor to see the world. 
Have you had an experience that helped you to understand one of your non-preferred functions better? I love to get your feedback

Type vs. Need, or How Can an Introvert have a Need for Exhibition?
by Mary Hoerr, October 12, 1998

Buy Understanding Your Management Style at amazon.comUnderstanding Your Management Style: Beyond the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, by Robert Benfari, Ph.D is a book which applies type theory and much more to the way managers operate. I found most interesting the distinction between type preferences, which are essentially given, and needs, which are formed by interaction with the environment. Needs are independent of type - for example, an introvert can still have high exhibition needs. 
Dr. Benfari uses the example of how the ENTJ, sometimes called the "commandant" type, can differ depending on the person's needs. "One ENTJ may have high needs for dominance and achievement, while another may have high needs for achievement and affiliation. The ENTJ manager will probably have a bossy, domineering leadership style, while the second will be a participatory leader." 
I was surprised to find that Dr. Benfari separates out a need for affiliation (to be part of a group) from the need for nurturance (to help others). I'm low on affiliation, high on nurturance. In other words, I like to help others (especially if it makes me look smart ;-) but I don't really like to be around them much. On second thought, that doesn't sound so surprising after all! 
He has more interesting material about conflict management style and the kinds of power managers use. They were interesting, but it seems to me that it would be very difficult to accurately assess these for yourself. There are too obviously "right" and "wrong" answers in these areas. After all, don't we all know that it's usually not right or effective to use "coercive" power? 
Do you know of anything, any experience, or person that has influenced how you present your type to the world? I love to get your feedback

Borderline Personalities ;-)
by Mary Hoerr, October 5, 1998

Although there are only four preferences, and sixteen types, there is considerable variation in the degree of each preference. My husband and I are both introverts, for example, but I am so introverted that he almost seems an extravert compared to me. Is it better to have well defined preferences, or to be on the borderline? 
Of course, "better" is a loaded term, and makes no sense in this context. But there are advantages and disadvantages both ways. It is much more comfortable for me to function in the I vs E dimension. I have a well-defined "home" in my introverted preference, even when I have to expend energy to extravert. But I am limited in how far I can actually go in extraverting. 
However, in the area of my J vs P preference, while I am very "adaptable", I am also not usually comfortable or at peace in either preference. An interesting side effect is that since I am able to function so well in the J mode while still understanding the P mode, I get caught in situations where I have to bring the necessary minimum amount of order to a P working environment. Since I am borderline, I am able to do it, but I am not comfortable. 
Does anyone else have stories about definite vs borderline preferences? I love to get your feedback

Missing the Point: NT Spirituality
by Mary Hoerr, September 28, 1998

One of the things I loved about Myers-Briggs™ typing when I first learned about it was that it helped me understand the differences between myself and others without having to judge those differences as faults or illnesses. I liked the way each type was described in positive terms. But a problem we have is that our own preferences bias our descriptions of other types, so that while they are not exactly wrong, they still seem to be missing the point. In this article, I will discuss how NT type descriptions seem to "miss the point" on NT spirituality. 
In reading descriptions of spirituality in general, or NT spirituality in particular, I am struck by how others often seem to miss the point. I don't know how many times I've read or been told in Bible studies or religious groups that we shouldn't "just" read books, or "just" analyse the text, or "just" have an intellectual exercise. To the extent that those warnings were meants to call us to help other people, they are understandable. However, I usually understood a subtext that study and intellectual analysis was not quite "spiritual" or that it didn't really touch our deep feelings or call forth an emotional response. 
Actually, my deepest spiritual emotional and spiritual responses have often occurred in the course of study or trying to understand some aspect of my faith or the world. There is a reason that NT scientists refer to theories or formulas or equations as "beautiful", "elegant", or "ugly". These are not empty phrases. In college physics, we spent two semesters studying electricity and magnetism, until we finally came to the famous e = mc2. I still remember the amazement and joy I felt as all the increasingly complicated equations finally came together in one simple equation. Let there be light! 
I've also studied the Old Testament, and a beautiful book on the Logic of the God Incarnate, by Thomas V. Morris, that truly have given me a sense of wonder at creation, and human beings. I wouldn't go into detail about that here, because first of all it would sound distinctly unspiritual to most other types, and secondly, there's nothing original in what I have learned. 
There is no doubt that this is probably not a usual path to spiritual experience for the other types. And perhaps there is a certain reaction against this type of spirituality, as Michael and Norrisey state in Prayer and Temperament: Different Prayer Forms for Different Personality Types, because they claim many have considered it the only proper route to Christian spirituality since the time of Descartes. 
Still, it makes no sense to tell NT's to avoid intellectualizing their faith or spirituality in favor of a more emotional and personal route, when it is precisely through the NT's head that you reach her heart, both emotionally and personally. 
I am interested in hearing from those of you of any type who feel that type descriptions, while being in the main correct, seem to be "missing the point" about your type. 

INTJ on the Web
by Mary Hoerr, September 21, 1998

Scientist, most independent thinker, Mastermind. Only one percent of the general population, INTJ's make up the largest percentage, about 19%, of the home pages listed in Doug Ingram's Personality Index. Check out the INTJ profile at Type Logic. There are two INTJ mailing lists to which you can subscribe: INTJ-List and INTJ-Open
In my section on home pages, I noted that INTJ home pages often look like organized lists on a variety of topics, with almost no commentary. JenniferJ in Cyberspace (unfortunately no longer available as of 29 May 2000) has the chattiest INTJ home page I've seen yet. Brian Archibald's is more typical. 
Here's one INTJ's description of himself: "I've got the social skills of someone assimilated to the Borg Collective. I consider most things to be irrellevant. I'm as spontanious as a doorknob, resulting in a very still life. But I'm cute." 
Marina Margaret Heiss at TypeLogic puts it this way: 

... many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals; for instance, they tend to have little patience and less understanding of such things as small talk and flirtation (which most types consider half the fun of a relationship). To complicate matters, INTJs are usually extremely private people, and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misread and misunderstand. Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense. :-) This sometimes results in a peculiar naivete', paralleling that of many Fs -- only instead of expecting inexhaustible affection and empathy from a romantic relationship, the INTJ will expect inexhaustible reasonability and directness. 

INTJ's prayer is: Lord, keep me open to others' ideas, WRONG though they may be. 
The Virtual Office lists the following as typical career areas for INTJ's: Technical, Education, Medicine,Professional, Creative while listing the following examples of specific careers: Lawyers, Scientists, Computer Sys. Anlysist, Chemical Engineers, University Teachers, Architect. 

 It's Only Logical
by Mary Hoerr, September 14, 1998

Several years ago, I had an argument with my sister over an issue that meant a great deal to us. I made a logical argument against her position that she was unable to refute. And yet, it seemed to make not the slightest difference to the position she held. At the time, I was extremely frustrated, and could not understand what was wrong with her. I have since come to believe that she was absolutely right in not allowing herself to be convinced by my arguments. 
As an INTP, I am not just a "T", but T is my dominant function. My sister uses F values to make judgements. It has been a long and rocky road to the realization that logic is not the only, or even necessarily the best way to make decisions. I've come to the conclusion that when making the decisions most important to us, we should finally rely on our dominant function, whichever that may be. 
This does not mean that F's cannot or should not listen to or use logic. It simply means that when considering changing a strong belief, logic should be only one factor, not the deciding one. It was perfectly correct for my sister not to convinced by logic alone. On the other hand, it is not a sign that a T has no feelings when she refuses to be convinced on the basis of feeling arguments alone. 
Does this mean that T's and F's shouldn't try to affect each other's beliefs? I don't think so. If the T respects the F, then the T will accept the F's feeling argument, think about it, analyse it, and attempt to recast it in a logical style that she can accept. Respectively, if the F cares about the T, she will take the logical argument and attempt to recast it using feeling values. 

by Mary Hoerr, September 14, 1998 

Please note that Doug's site does not claim to be a scientific breakdown of home pages on the web by temperament. The home pages he has listed are just those people who know their type and have agreed to list their home pages with Doug. Still, it is interesting that one of the rarest types in the population, INTJ, at about 1% of the population, is the most common type listed with Doug, at 19%. On the other hand, the type least represented with Doug, the ESFP's at only .6%, normally make up one of the most common types in the real world at about 13%.  

Type Statistics

Data listed with Doug Ingram's Personality Index

Please Understand Me, 
by David Keirsey and  
Marilyn Bates

Home Pages
% in Population




































































MBTI and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are registered trademarks of Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc. Myers-Briggs is a trademark of Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc.

It's Only Logical , Statistics
INTJ on the Web
Missing the Point: NT Spirituality

Borderline Personalities ;-)
Type vs. Need, or How Can an Introvert have a Need for Exhibition?
A Sensual Experience
Sensors, Intuitives and Creativity

2: Little Boxes
I'm Not Crazy, I'm Just Not You Book Review
Reorganizing Net Links
Going to Extremes
A Different Kind of Blood Type

7: A Nerd by any other Name ...
WorkTypes Book Review
Humanizing the Work Place
Playing With Paradigms - Theory Building, Anomaly and Typology has the free statistics service I use for this site. It tells me how many of you visited, which pages, how long you stayed, and more. And now, they've started to pay me when you click on the part of the banner that goes to their site. Imagine that - free stats AND money per click through!