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Evidence for Dichotomies, Whole Types, and Type Dynamics—A Brief Notice

Evidence for Dichotomies, Whole Types, and Type Dynamics—A Brief Notice

Many people believe that psychological type consists of four pairs of opposing preferences. Learn the pairs and the behaviors associated with each one, and that’s all there is to it. When you read Jung’s (1921/1971, paras. 570, 571, 575, 588, 608, 637, 736, 764, 956) Psychological Types, you discover there is a lot more to it than just preferences.

Jung observed that each of the four functions (sensing, intuition, thinking, and feeling) had two versions/expressions, an extraverted form (Se, Ne, Te, Fe) and an introverted form (Si, Ni, Ti, Fi), in all, eight mental processes, and they are very different. Several researchers have written about them (e.g., Berens, 1998, 2003, 2004; Cauvin & Cailloux, 2005; Haas & Hunziker, 2006; K. D. Myers & Kirby, 1994; Quenk, 1992, 1993, 2002; Thompson, 1996, 2002), but few who are introduced to psychological type become acquainted with this important information. Further, these eight processes normally develop at different times in the lifespan and produce different levels of comfort and skill for using each process. Jung described these eight processes in considerable detail in Chapter 10 of Psychological Types (1921/1971). The most interesting thing is that the normal order and orientation (E or I version) of these processes is unique for each type. It is the order of development, in part, that constitutes whole types and that makes our friends, colleagues, and ourselves so tantalizingly different.

Jung focused on the first four of the eight processes. One is the favorite, the “dominant.” It does its best to run our individual show. Later a second process develops, the “auxiliary.” If the dominant is a perceiving process (S or N) the auxiliary is a judging process (T or F) and vice versa. Still later a third process gets tapped for action, the “tertiary.” It is the opposite of the auxiliary, and with the auxiliary ahead, the tertiary doesn’t get quite as much opportunity to develop. The least developed process is the opposite of the dominant, the “inferior.” This is the one that may spring into action when we are stressed, and it can make things happen that we may later regret. Jung described the inferior as bizarre, primitive, and archaic, among other things. Adding to this complexity, if the dominant is extraverted, then the other three, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior, are introverted, and vice versa. So, putting this all together, each type collects information (perception) and evaluates it (judgment) and takes care of the extraverted world and of the introverted world with at least one process that we know about.

How do you figure out which mental function is doing what? Jung implied the existence of differences in how functions are used, but didn’t provide a method to establish the differences. Myers (I. B. Myers, 1962; I. B. Myers & McCaulley, 1985; I. B. Myers, McCaulley, Quenk, & Hammer, 1998) developed the first method by recognizing the behavioral consequences. This is where the J-P dichotomy comes in. Js put their judging function out (extraverted). They like to get their world organized, planned, decided, and done. Ps open their perceiving process to the world and keep collecting more information.

The E-I and J-P preferences each label specific classes of behavior. But they do more than that. They are also direction indicators. J and P indicate which process goes out. E and I indicate which direction the favorite, dominant, process goes. So, for example, consider ENFP. Beginning with the last letter, P says the extraverted process is a perceiving process, Ne in this case. F goes the other direction (Fi) and is the auxiliary. By subtraction we get the rest: Opposite F is T. The tertiary for this type is Ti. The first letter, E, says the dominant process goes out. That’s Ne. So the least developed, inferior, is the opposite of Ne, that is, Si. Putting these together for ENFP: dominant, Ne; auxiliary, Fi; tertiary; Ti, inferior, Si. Myers named this element of Jung’s theory “type dynamics.”

Introverts are a little different, for example, INFJ. The J indicates that the extraverted process is feeling (Fe), and that makes intuition introverted (Ni) the dominant. The first letter, I indicates that the dominant process goes in (Ni). So the type dynamics for INFJ are: dominant, Ni; auxiliary, Fe; tertiary; Te, inferior, Se. Introverts extravert their auxiliary process rather than their dominant.

For decades people have clamored for evidence. Nothing so far. If we find evidence for type dynamics, then we have evidence for whole types and for the type dichotomies. The type dynamics hypothesis is:

dominant > auxiliary > tertiary > inferior

We expect to observe the first four processes to develop in this order, with the dominant the highest, the inferior lowest, and relative magnitude of the auxiliary and tertiary in between—a hierarchical arrangement. Further, we expect the natural orientation of each process to be very specific: e, i, i, i. respectively, or i, e, e, e, respectively. And the combination would be unique for each type.

What about the remaining four processes? Jung’s didn’t say. Beebe (2006; 2005) arbitrarily added them to the first four in the same order but with the orientation reversed. We examined the order, ranking, and orientation of all eight simultaneously for each of the 16 types.

Leaving aside orientation and ranking, the number of different ways that eight items can be arranged is 40,320. If we go by pure guess, we have one chance in 40,320 of guessing right. We didn’t guess. We used the order that Jung presented and Myers called type dynamics. How did we do? Figure 1 shows the relative magnitude of the four dynamic processes for ENFJ. The other 15 types have exactly the same stair-step pattern. No borderline cases. No exceptions.

Figure 1. Distribution of the Four Type Dynamic Processes for ENFJ
Note: Fe = extraverted feeling, Ni = introverted intuition, Si = introverted sensing, TI = introverted thinking

We used the new Majors Jungian 8-Process Scores, derived from the MajorsPTI, to settle the question of type dynamics. The MajorsPTI shows the usual typological preferences, and, using complex regression and scoring methods, provides eight Jungian process scores.

Following Jung’s theory and Myers elaboration, everything turned out as hypothesized: order, orientation, and relative magnitude of each of the type dynamics processes, indicating access, development, and utility. All 16 types matched all dynamic attributes. Jung and Myers made perfect predictions. It turns out that one graph shows all. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

This constitutes evidence for the dichotomies, for the 16 whole types, for the type dynamics processes, and their interactions. This is evidence for the interactive dynamic core of personality functioning. The functions, more precisely processes, develop (differentiate) in the order and to the level relative to each other that Jung described. This explains the ease with which the well-practiced dominant is expresses and the discomfort that ensues when the inferior, which Jung described as undifferentiated, bizarre, primitive, archaic, and troublesome, rises up to reestablish psychic balance. Trait approaches to personality cannot explain any of these facts.

Jung’s theory of psychological types involves complex interactions of eight mental processes, a very complex interactive system, much, much more than the sum of the superficial preference dichotomies.

What about the last four processes? We don’t want to tell you everything all at once. That would not be near as much fun for you and for us. We’ll be at the next APTi in San Francisco, August, 2011.

Which way does the tertiary go? Some people say it’s the same as the dominant. Jung said it’s opposite. Is the orientation of the dominant and auxiliary the same or opposite? Some Jungian analysts say same. Jung said opposite. We have evidence that will astonish. At least it continues to astonish us.


Beebe, J. (2006). Evolving the eight-function model: 8 archetypes guide how the function-attitudes are expressed in an individual psyche. Australian Psychological Type Review, 8(1), 39-43.
Beebe, J. E. (2005). Evolving the eight-function model. Bulletin of Psychological Type, 28(4), 34-39.
Berens, L. V. (1998). Dynamics of personality type. Understanding and applying Jung’s cognitive processes. Huntington Beach, CA: Telos Publications.
Berens, L. V. (2003). The tandem principle: The function attitudes work together, Part 1. Bulletin of Psychological Type, 26(4), 21-22.
Berens, L. V. (2004). The tandem principle: The function attitudes work together, Part 2. Bulletin of Psychological Type, 27(1), 32-33.
Cauvin, P., & Cailloux, G. (2005). Three levels of typology and five ways of using function dynamics. Bulletin of Psychological Type, 28(2), 24-27.
Haas, L., & Hunziker, M. (2006). Building blocks of personality type: A guide to using the eight-processes model of personality type. Huntington Beach, CA: Telos Publications.
Jung, C. G. (1921/1971). Psychological types (R. F. C. Hull, Trans. Vol. 6). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University.
Myers, I. B. (1962). Manual: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.
Myers, I. B., & McCaulley, M. H. (1985). Manual: A guide to the development and use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Palo Alto: Consulting Psychologists Press.
Myers, I. B., McCaulley, M. H., Quenk, N. L., & Hammer, A. L. (1998). Manual: A guide to the development and use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (3rd ed.). Palo Alto: Consulting Psychologists Press.
Myers, K. D., & Kirby, L. K. (1994). Introduction to type dynamics and development. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
Quenk, N. L. (1992). The whole is greater than the sum of its parts: Observations on the dynamics of type. Bulletin of Psychological Type, 15(4), 5-10.
Quenk, N. L. (1993). Beside ourselves: Our hidden personality in everyday life. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
Quenk, N. L. (2002). Was that really me? How everyday stress brings out our hidden personality. Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black Publishing.
Thompson, H. L. (1996). Jung’s function-attitudes explained. Watkinsville, GA: Wormhole Publishing.
Thompson, H. L. (2002). The wave theory of type dynamics and development. APT Bulletin, 25(4), 41-45.

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