Jung: Attitudes and personality types
Based on the flow of psychic energy, Jung conceived two key types of attitude (introvert and extravert) in combination with four orientations (thinking, sensation, intuition and feeling) resulting in eight personality types. Introversion was thought to be a result of the psychic energy flowing inwards. According to Jung, introverted individuals would tend to be reflective in nature, hesitant, shy, retiring and often defensive. With more likelihood of being self-sufficient than extraverts, introverts would be guided by their internal subjective experiences enjoying the familiarity of one’s home and feeling comfortable in the company of a few good friends.
Extraverts, on the other hand, result from the psychic energy flowing outwards and these individuals have more interest in the external world. Thus, extraverted characters are outgoing, open, socially comfortable and flexible in any situation with the ability to develop friendships with ease and speed. Extraverts are confident in facing the unknown with their perceptions, feelings and actions being heavily influenced by external, objective issues. Extraverts typically enjoy meeting new people, travelling, adventures, and are the life and soul of any party.
In combination with extraversion/ introversion, Jung proposed four functions: thinking (i.e., cognitive thinking), sensation (i.e., physical perception of touch, vision etc.), feeling (subjectively judging/ evaluating), and intuition (perception which is unconscious). According to Jung, these four functions are not evenly developed within the individual and indeed, one function is more dominant in any individual. This ‘primary’ function is most likely to be used frequently whilst the other less used functions are almost always unconscious. These ‘inferior’ functions raise an ‘inferiority’ which also underpins the individuals’ personality type.
Jung further categorised the four functions into rational and irrational. Feeling (i.e., how one subjectively evaluates a person’s or object’s worth), and thinking (logical judgment) are classed as rational due to their reflective nature in establishing a judgment. N.B., feeling, in this context, is not influenced by emotion (affect) and does not alter one’s physical state or influence judgment. Sensation (i.e., sensory perception of external world) and intuition (i.e., perception of one’s inner world) are classed as irrational. N.B. irrational, in this context, means “outside reason” and “it just is” but is not synonymous with unreasonable or illogical. With regards to rational/irrational categories, auxiliary functions differ from the primary function. In other words, if the primary function is intuition (irrational), the auxiliary functions would both be rational, i.e., feeling, thinking . This will be explored next time.
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- Sharp, D. (1987). Personality types: Jung’s model of Typology. Inner city books, Toronto, Canada.
- Stevens, A. (1994) Jung: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.