Where can i learn about the mbti cognitive functions?


MBTI cognitive functions”?  What are those?  Ok, I’m being facetious here, but I wanted to make a point.  


This question was posted on Quora (www.quora.com) some time ago, but it reappears time and again.  It illustrates the online confusion and misunderstanding that exists around the MBTI specifically and typology generally.


The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (“MBTI”) is simply a test and one that does NOT use the current, more sophisticated paradigm of cognitive functions, attitudes, dispositions, and communication styles in determining personality type.  MBTI is not a science in and of itself, but Jungian analytical psychology is.   


The MBTI was developed and first published in 1962 by Katharine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, to bring a more practical application of Carl Jung’s work in analytical psychology to a wider audience.  It was remarkable at the time, and its 4-letter personality type designations have proven quite resilient even as the science has advanced to the present day.   


As far as learning about cognitive functions, I would certainly recommend Dr. John Beebe’s book, “Energies and Patterns in Psychological Type – The Reservoir of Consciousness” in your reading.  I would also suggest the straight-up lectures from CS Joseph on YouTube – Seasons 1 and 16 in particular – which deal with the definitions of each of the cognitive functions and their attitudes, respectively. 


As you study, be aware of a couple of things.  First, there is not yet complete consensus on the definitions of the cognitive functions. This is especially noticeable among online typology “hobbyists”.  For example, I find it amusing that so many still consider Introverted Intuition (Ni) as being mystical, enigmatic, and undefinable.


Second, a complete understanding of cognitive functions alone does not provide one with the ability to accurately type someone.  In practice, trying to do so can lead one down a real rabbit hole.  The reason is that one also must understand the motivation for the way a given cognitive function manifests.  For example, one might think because Michael Jackson or Tori Amos was/is an accomplished performer, that both would have Extraverted Sensing (Se) high in their cognitive stack, if not in the Hero position.  In truth, however, both are INFPs with Se in the Trickster position of the Unconscious.  


This is simply more evidence that, despite the relative strength of the MBTI at the time of its development, the science has evolved beyond it.  Personality typing is now more accurately achieved through the use of communication styles and disposition preferences.  Once type is determined, the functions and their attitudes then reveal themselves clearly and fully.  


A more contemporary and accurate tool for determining personality type is Discover, an assessment created by CS Joseph.  Discover can be accessed at discover.csjoseph.life.


















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