All About Jung’s Personality Types, Functions & Attitudes
INSIDE: Jung's personality types represent the ways we process our experiences and direct our energy. Let’s explore the different personality types to help us harness our potential and understand our general attitude towards life.
Carl Jung was a well-known Swiss psychologist and the founder of Analytical Psychology. He wrote a book called "Psychological Types" to summarize more than twenty years of studies and research in the field of practical psychology.
He stated that all human beings processed their experiences mainly through two different attitudes and functions. In sum, some people are introverted, and others are extroverted.
Unlike what some people think, Jung's personality types were not created to label people. Rather, they help us better understand the complex human psyche and its consequences on our lives.
Read on to learn all about Jung's personality types.
Attitudes & Functions
Jung's personality types are based on four primary functions of consciousness (thinking, sensation, intuition, and feeling) that are modified by two central attitudes (extroversion and introversion).
- Thinking - Conscious and rational cognitive process
- Feeling - Rational and subjective process influenced by reflection
- Sensation - Physical feeling or perception
- Intuition - Ability to gain understanding without conscious reasoning
- Extroversion - One's focus on the outside world
- Introversion - One's focus on the inner world
Jung's Eight Personality Types
Now that we know the functions and attitudes, let's break that down into Jung's personality types, which include:
- Extraverted Thinking
- Introverted Thinking
- Extraverted Feeling
- Introverted Feeling
- Extraverted Sensation
- Introverted Sensation
- Extraverted Intuition
- Introverted Intuition
Our Superior Function
We use all four functions at different times, depending on the circumstances we are dealing with. For example, we use "thinking" when solving a logical problem, "intuition" when making a fast decision, "sensation" when working out, and "feeling" when dealing with our relationships.
However, Jung stated that we all have a preference for one of these functions. He called that our "superior function."
This might be an inborn tendency, or we might have developed it throughout our personal lives, depending on our experiences.
Our Interior Function
The function we dislike the most of those four will be used unconsciously. Jung referred to this one as the "inferior function."
This function is always the opposite of your primary function. For example, if your primary function is thinking, the inferior function that you use unconsciously will be feeling.
If your higher function is intuition, your lower function should be sensation. That means that if you usually rationalize your circumstances objectively, you find it difficult to read your situations subjectively through feelings and vice versa. And if you tend to act based on your intuition and impulses, you will struggle to make contact with reality through the senses.
The same is true the other way around; if you need to see to believe, then you will not accept anything that you cannot prove empirically.
According to Jung, our conscious behavior is represented by our dominant function. Likewise, our inferior function dominates our repressed or unconscious behavior.
The Four Functions & Their Opposites
Suppose your superior or primary function is feeling. In that case, your auxiliary or secondary functions are sensation and intuition, and the less developed and unconsciously used function, AKA the inferior function, is thinking.
That means that, according to Jung's theory, if your primary function is feeling, thinking can't be your auxiliary function because it is the opposite of feeling.
Likewise, if your primary function is intuition, your secondary or auxiliary functions are feeling and thinking, and your inferior or less developed function is sensation.
Extroversion & Introversion
These same principles are used to understand the personality attitudes known as introversion and extroversion.
If you are an extroverted thinker, your less conscious attitude will be introverted feeling.
It is not easy to approach our daily circumstances through our least developed function, but that doesn't mean we don't have it. We just need to work hard to bring it to our consciousness.
In fact, the inferior function holds a lot of potential and latent energy. The superior function could wear out, and if we have the ability to draw on our lower function, we will discover new tools and abilities to cope with our circumstances.
Everything related to the inferior function becomes a world full of exciting and challenging possibilities that lead us to rediscover the world and how we experience it.
However, bringing our inferior function to our consciousness comes with a cost.
Activating our inferior function means that our superior function weakens. In addition, switching drastically to our inferior function could result in intense reactions that could threaten our emotional well-being.
Besides, awakening our inferior function takes time and effort, meaning that we would have to rely on one of our secondary functions to get there.
Is there a Jungian Personality Types Test?
Unlike what some people think, there is no Jungian personality types test. But Jung's personality types were not meant to fit patients into this system. They were not created for commercial or entertaining purposes.
Jung's personality types are not meant to label people, as he clearly stated. His typology supports and organizes all of his empirical material to study the human psychic processes.
That's why we believe that he would disapprove of the creation of a test for Jung's personality types.
Besides, Carl Jung claimed that using his theory as a way to better understand ourselves wasn't that simple. This is because we need an expert in the matter to carefully evaluate our behavior and weigh the evidence to determine our superior and inferior function.
It's very unlikely to recognize a person's personality type at first glance. The fundamental principle is simple in theory but hard to apply to reality since all humans are unique and singular.
Jung's personality types present a fascinating approach to the workings of our psyche. Although it appears to be reductionist (as it is only based on four functions and two attitudes), it gives a very interesting glimpse into the way each person tends to deal with their circumstances.
Jung teaches us that a whole world inside of us remains dormant. Deep in our subconscious are images, tools, traits, etc., that we don't even know we have available to us.
If we consciously work on them, we can bring them to light and use them in our day-to-day life, becoming more resourceful and reaching our full potential.
But if we change our function drastically, we can experience extreme changes in our emotional reactions that can bring problems to our mental health.
Exploring this unknown side of our being presents a challenge worth undertaking.