Jung, Myers-Briggs, and the Sensory Mind
The Jung Psychological Traits
Jung also determined that people adopt certain definable modes of perception. These modes can be used to establish certain behavior patterns that describe psychological types.
The fundamental Jungian psychological type distinction is that of introversion Vs. extraversion. He considered these as 2 basic modes of perception. In introversion the psyche is oriented towards the internal world and in extraversion towards the external world. Jung considered this type distinction as the fundamental one for which others served as modifiers.
The Jungian Introversion/Extraversion distinction, or the separation between internal and external, is consistent with the original cognitive characteristic associated with the sense of vision in the Cambrian period. This is perhaps the deepest division caused by addition of vision to animals at the very earliest development of an eye and sense of vision. For both survival and reproduction we relied on the concepts of “self”, “world”, and “group”. The distinction between “self” and “world/group” was one of the strongest and earliest strategies employed for survival of our species. Extraverts are outgoing and very communicative with others whereas introverts are inwardly oriented. The psyche is oriented towards the “group” or “self” respectively.
In the Figure, this first Jungian axis is shown firmly atop the base level of the Sensory Mind; it is a solid fit. This axis also serves as one of the differentiating axes that are probed in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test.
Figure. The Introvert/Extravert fundamental Jungian axis overlaying the base for the Sensory Mind. This axis likely formed when vision developed in the Cambrian Period. The I/E axis is tested in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test.
In addition to these 2 fundamental modes of perception, Jung also described 4 properties of consciousness that are paired opposites: thinking/feeling and intuition/sensing. These modes can be combined in various ways and result in personality types that can be used in clinical practice as well as in typing of normal behavior patterns.
The second Jungian axis is defined by Thinking – Feeling. This axis is defined as the judging scale.
– Preference for deciding via objective impersonal logic
– Preference for deciding via subjective and emotional responses
The Thinking/Feeling axis is the orientation of the psyche to the speech-based left brain or the vision-based right brain. The distinction for preference to the right or left brain likewise is basic to our brain and its development. However, this axis did not form until homo sapiens developed speech and set itself apart from the animal world. This is why the T/F second Jungian axis is shown in the figure at a cognitive level above the base sensations.
Figure. The second Jungian axis of Thinking/Feeling is shown at a cognitive level above the base because it did not develop until homo sapiens developed speech. This axis is also tested by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test.
Sensing/Intuition comprise the third Jungian axis. These polar ends are described as:
– Preference for obtaining information through the senses as facts and details
– Preference for obtaining information as relationships, patterns, and possibilities
The S/N axis is added in the Figure below. Note that to model the S/N axis higher levels of cognition are added. This is because this axis represents orientation to eithere the base levels of sensations or to the higher cognitive levels. This Jungian axis was necessarily added after the first 2 axes. The first 2 axes were quite suddenly (in evolutionary time frames) introduced with the development of vision and speech respectively. This third axis has been under continual development since the second axis was established.
Figure. The third Jungian axis (S/N) represents orientation to the senses or the higher cognitive functions. It is likewise tested by Myer’s-Briggs.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test was developed in 1962, the year after Carl Jung died, by the daughter/mother team of Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs. It is a paper and pencil test with 93 forced-choice questions. It was originally based on the Jung typologies. This test is very widely used for career counseling, team building, professional development, life coaching, and counseling among others. The test has been widely studied, however, there is not consensus regarding its validity or applicability.
Carl Jung never attempted to quantify his psychological types. His 3 bipolar axes result in a total of 8 exclusive types: combinations of each pair. Myers and Briggs created and tested for a fourth axis called the “attitude scale” (Judging vs Perceiving). Judging is a preference for a judging process for planning and organization whereas Perceiving is preference for a perceiving process that is flexible and open to options.
The Carl Jung 3 axes are very consistent with the sensory mind. Further study may reveal whether/if the 4th axis added by Myers-Briggs has theoretical or functional value. Although the Myers-Briggs test is widely used and has been the subject of considerable inquiry, it is not yet clear whether the test is valid – i.e. does it really test what it proposes? Perhaps the Sensory Mind distinctions here can help to determine if it is a valid measure of the Jungian axes.