Friday, January 11, 2013

Introverted Feeling, Extraverted Feeling and Inferior Feeling

(From here.)

I'm sick currently, so I'm going to try to keep this short.

Today, Thinkgeek shared some retro posters on smart phone etiquette. I personally enjoyed them immensely (and wouldn't mind getting my own copies of them) but I noticed on Thinkgeek, that the posters were somewhat controversial. One person in particular seemed to take offense to it, and after having posted four prior comments, quoted:

"Nothing more rapidly inclines a person to go into a monastery than reading a book on etiquette. There are so many trivial ways in which it is possible to commit some social sin."

I thought that providing this quote in response to the posters was a marvelous example of inferior Extraverted Feeling. Not surprising, since I would imagine that Thinkgeek, as a site, attracts a lot of NTS (as NTs are over-represented among "geeky" professions). Although I'm no stranger to anxiety about making a social faux pas, for me it's on a much more refined scale. This, to me, seemed like really obvious stuff. I think that to find reading such a thing to be so excruciating as to generate the "I have no idea what's acceptable, I give up" response indicates not just inferior Extraverted Feeling (which it most certainly does) but also just how out of step the inferior function can be. When something is your inferior function, it's like you have this one area that everyone else seems to have "down." You seem to be at a child-like level, in the sense that in this one area, be it thinking, feeling, sensing or intuition, you still stumble with it to the point where those who have it more developed in their personality can't quite wrap their mind around why this is so hard for you.

So, I thought with Extraverted Feeling, the following could make for a good "cheat sheet":

Dominant Extraverted Feeling: The most classic manifestation of Extraverted Feeling. One has an awareness of and conformity to social norms, and they generally expect the same from others. A dominant Extraverted Feeling type probably wouldn't need a guide to etiquette and might find it hard to understand why others do as well. There is a smoothness here that facilitates the creating of bonds with others and harmonious social situations

Auxiliary Extraverted Feeling: The intensity with which one sees social norms as binding may be the same, but they may be less accurate than dominant Extraverted Feeling types. For example, a lot of auxiliary Extraverted Feeling types (and I've seen this in both ISFJ and INFJ)will have an idea about what ought to be a social value and then act as if it already is a social value. This is one reason why they might be confused with Introverted Feeling types, but Introverted Feeling types are less forceful about their beliefs and they also don't try to universalize it the way auxiliary Extraverted Feeling types do. Also, auxiliary Extraverted Feeling types may be concerned with behaving appropriately (which they may not always succeed at, especially when they confuse their values for societal values) but that doesn't mean that they conform or try to be "normal." They can have all sorts of unconventional interests, styles, means of expression, etc. Rather, they seek to commit themselves to groups that reflect their values, which they then work hard to impress upon the world.

Dominant Introverted Feeling: They may march to the beat of their own drummer, but they are still concerned with others' feelings and values. They won't sacrifice their own values to do so, but also won't devalue social norms (unless said norms directly conflict with their own values) the way IxTP types do. Rather, they may consider values something personal and individual and, for that reason, tend to express their values to others less than IxFJ types do. Something I have noticed in Introverted Feeling types: many go through phases of suddenly standing up for their values. IxFPs are often described as accommodating and then taking a sudden hard line with one specific value. What I've seen more often is IxFPs being quiet and self-contained, to the point where most people don't really know what they value, until something triggers it, and then they're suddenly vocal about it for a short period of time. However, even when aligning themselves with a group, they will never take on the group's values to the extent that FJs will. At the end of the day it's personal values, not group norms, that matter to FP. In this sense, their approach to social norms could be seen somewhere in-between IxFJs and IxTPs.

Inferior Extraverted Feeling: The person is fairly oblivious to social norms, but unlike IxFPs who may sometimes seem eccentric while at the same time being concerned about offending others, the person with inferior Extraverted Feeling more actively resents it. To them, most Extraverted Feeling stuff seems like perfunctory and pointless rules that others are just foisting upon them. Of all the types, these two struggle with even noticing social norms the most which may explain the resentment.

You could probably take the general principles laid out here and translate them to any function.

Monday, January 7, 2013

More on Type and Emotion

More and more, I understand the explanation that "feeling types aren't more emotional than thinking types to mean a few things:

(1)Both types are equally prone to being emotional however...
(2)Feeling types are more aware of others' feelings because...
(3)They are more aware of their own emotions.

I've lost track of how many times I've seen thinking types clearly upset about something, particularly something involving another person--such as being slighted, insulted, hurt or rejected--while fervently denying it. This ranges from complaining openly about the other person, visibly sulking or shouting that they aren't upset. To be fair, some thinking types may not be aware of it. Just as they tend to miss the subtle emotional cues from others, they tend to tune out the information their own emotions are telling them. Perhaps they just don't want to talk about it, or perhaps they don't think it's worth dwelling on, or maybe they just aren't as aware of their feelings. Others, however, get the message quite clearly. (Especially feeling types.)

Feeling types, by contrast, are both aware of their own feelings and that of others. They may try to address the issue with the other person and resolve it. They may do this because they notice the other person is upset, or they may do it because they, themselves, are upset, and hope talking about it will alleviate the situation. Or, they may be uncomfortable bringing it up but will usually make it clear that the other party has hurt them in some way. This can range from obvious awkward discomfort to gossip and, in some extreme cases, ostracizing. However, the feeling type always knows they're upset, and if they don't express it to you (either directly or indirectly) will at least express it to a close confidante. They do, however, usually want to talk about it.

So, while you can see that both types are emotional, the statement "Feeling types aren't more emotional than Thinking types" can be misleading, or at least unhelpful. The reason it's unhelpful is that if you're seeking to type yourself, you may conclude the extent to which you see yourself as emotional is irrelevant. It's not. The extent to which others see you as emotional may be irrelevant (after all, INFPs can seem very unemotional to others but still feel that way inside) but the extent to which you see yourself as emotional and the extent to which you notice and are concerned with others' emotions can say quite a bit.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Attitudes Towards Arguing

I've added a poll. I'm interested in how the various information gathering/decision making couplings approach arguments.

I make a distinction between an argument and a squabble or conflict. I define it as follows:

Argument: a debate or heated discussion about some idea or other (politics, science, technology, film, art, religion, philosophy, literature, etc). Although people disagree, the discussion is not intended to be personal in nature and the focus of the discussion is on the different views, not on who did what.

It is not:

A squabble: a personal disagreement in which grievances of a personal nature (whose feelings are hurt, who did or did not do what and so forth) are aired.

Nor is it a:

Town Meeting: a gathering of people that are trying to reach a decision that will be followed by action, such as a staff meeting or condo board meeting or any other situation where personal agendas and self-interest may come in to play.

In other words, it is an intellectual discussion about some matter on which two or more people disagree.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Youtube, NT Women and Gender Bias

So, I've been perusing the many MBTI-related Youtube videos. It mostly consists of hobbyists explaining how they experience their type. It's unclear how many of them have taken the MBTI or gone through a verification process, but it's still interesting to see their perspective on it. What's disconcerting though, is the sheer volume of type-correcting. What's particularly troublesome is that (a)these are self-identified NT males re-typing self-identified NT females as SF and (b) that they appear to be doing so based on superficial things that women are typically pressured to do, such as spending time on hair and make-up or behaving in a more extraverted manner.

What I'm about to say I say as a woman that does not spend time on her hair or make-up. (I wear lipstick, and not much else.) I'm not bringing my type into this, but rather, saying it to explain what it's like to be a woman that doesn't spend a lot of time on hair and make-up in order to convey why some NT women might conclude it was logical to spend time on such things...even if they didn't care that much about it themselves. To live in my world is to constantly get sidewise glances as I'm walking down the street by less unkempt women. It's to constantly get students writing on evaluations that it was my fault they couldn't learn philosophy because my "disheveled" appearance rendered them incapable of paying attention in class. It's to dread going to the hairdresser (and consequently go only once a year) because, being a woman, I get pressured to let them do all sorts of things with product and straightener and other forms of torture, and frequently getting snarky comments when I refuse. It's, when I come from the salon, going to a regular restaurant and having a well-meaning waitress telling me that I "look feminine now." The best part of living in Detroit was going to The Bronx when they had a woman doing five dollar haircuts on Thursday nights. It was usually a whole lot of hipster guys that hated going to the salon...and me. I got to have a couple of drinks, she did my hair quickly and I never had to worry about getting hassled for not being more into beauty and fashion. Bear in mind this is nothing compared to what I experienced as a child, but I'm not going into that, because I try not to look too closely at my childhood.

To give you an idea, this is what I look like when I come from the salon. My hair only ever looks like this when I leave the salon:

Not bad, huh? If only I had the patience to actually get it to look like that again. I don't even blow dry my hair. Instead, I like to (hastily)toss it into pigtails, which causes it to look like this:

Still, not too bad, although I can't always wear it in pigtails. Sometimes I'm just tired and don't want to bother, other times it's a situation (like teaching) where I don't want the youthful look of pigtails. Here's an old picture of me in Brazil, but seriously, I've seen myself in the mirror when I'm at home, so that's not the traipsing-through-the-Amazon syndrome. (Also, this was pre-foot problems and pre-40 metabolism so add a "few" pounds when you look at the photo.)

(Yes, that is a sloth I'm holding.)

Now, I've never been good at conforming, so I pretty much don't bother trying. I understand, though, that if you were better at it, or had a sister in the same household that was good at it and trained you at an early age, or just forced yourself because you wanted more success and less hassle, you might be a bit better at it. It's worth noting that when I attended an MBTI workshop, one of the women who seemed like she spent the most time on her hair and make-up was an INTJ. (The only INTP was an elderly guy, so I can't really comment on INTP women.) It makes sense if you think about it. INTJs are driven to succeed, and success in the corporate world for women often means conforming to female standards of beauty. The INFPs, by contrast, were almost "granola."

Similarly, women are generally expected to be friendlier than men. In a national sample, there were slightly more introverted men than extraverted, with most preferring T. With women, though, there were slightly more extraverted women than men, with most preferring F. Sensing was the majority preference in both groups, and both groups showed a slightly higher percentage of J than P. If you add it up, then, the dominant type for males would be ISTJ whereas the dominant type for females would be ESFJ. In other words, INTP women in the United States are the typological opposite of their gender.

Although INTPs tend to be evaluated somewhat negatively when male, females are evaluated almost entirely negatively. In Portraits of Type, Thorne and Gough relay the following data of adjectives used to describe INTPs.

For males:
-Tends to be rebellious and nonconforming
-Thinks and associates with ideas in unusual ways; has unconventional thought processes
-Genuinely values intellectual and cognitive matters
-Values own independence and autonomy
-Is critical, skeptical, not easily impressed
Adjectives: original, imaginative, complicated, hasty, rebellious, high strung, individualistic, restless, self-centered, temperamental.

If you're interested in the enneagram, you'll no doubt recognize that INTP men are described in a very "five-ish" sort of way. If you're not, you'll still probably recognize the "eccentric professor" archetype.

By contrast, let's take a look at how INTP women are described:

-Is basically distrustful of people in general, questions their motivations
-Keeps people at a distance; avoids close interpersonal relationships
-Is subtly negativistic, tends to undermine and obstruct or sabotage
-Tends to be self-defensive
-Extrapunitive, tends to transfer or project blame
Adjectives: distrustful, sulky, evasive, indifferent, resentful, defensive, wary, unfriendly, tense, aloof.

If you're interested in the enneagram, you'll no doubt notice the more "sixish" picture of INTP women. If you aren't, you still likely noticed that, while INTP men have a mix of negative qualities and some very positive traits, INTP women are rated almost entirely negatively. In particular, whereas INTP men have their intellectual contributions recognized, that seems wholly overlooked in description of INTP women. Bearing that in mind, clearly, it's not a stretch that an INTP woman might conclude, after a bit of dispassionate consideration on how to best reach her goals, that she might need to imitate her FJ counterparts somewhat. This can be in terms of physical appearance or it can be in terms of affecting a degree of warmth and sociability that may mask a more detached interior. To then use those very same adaptive characteristics to refute her type is to place her in the double-bind that independent women are so often prone to: if she doesn't conform at least a little bit to her gender, then she is perceived very negatively and has a much harder go of things. However, if she does conform, her intense rational mind is not taken seriously by her male peers.