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The 8 personality types according to Carl Gustav Jung

The 8 personality types according to Carl Gustav Jung

May 6, 2021

Have you heard about the eight types of personalities that he proposed Carl Gustav Jung ?

It is no secret that one of the main concerns of psychologists, historically, has been to describe personality traits. In some cases this has been due to the need to create more or less objective parameters with which create personality profiles useful for the selection of personnel, the description of customer typologies or research in mental disorders and risk factors.

In other cases, it could be explained by motivations less related to the pragmatic. Ultimately, the simple fact of putting some order in the chaos of behaviors that can be exhibited by the human being can be, in itself, something that satisfies. That is why several decades have been developed psychometric test (as for example the 16 PF of Raymond Cattell) that have offered the possibility of measuring aspects of the personality and intelligence in a systematic way.

Carl Jung, however, was not interested in this type of classifications, considering them very rigid. This follower of the psychodynamic paradigm initiated by Sigmund Freud preferred to wage war on his own.

The eight personality profiles, according to Jung

At the beginning of the 20th century, when psychology was beginning to enter its adolescence, one of the most important representatives of the psychodynamic current proposed the task of describing the personality types that define us from a mystical perspective, fundamentally esoteric, and probably without taking into account the possible practical applications of their proposals.

His name was Carl Gustav Jung, and although you have not heard of him, it is very possible that you have ever used two of the terms that were popularized by him: introversion and extraversion.

Carl Jung and his approach to personality types

The relationship between Carl Jung, philosophy and psychology (understood as the exploration of the spiritual and the non-material) goes back to his first years of life and lasted until his death in 1961. During this time he tried to describe the logics that make the human psyche work and the way in which it relates to the spiritual world, using concepts such as the collective unconscious or the archetypes. Not in vain is Carl Jung remembered as the founder of deep psychology (or analytical psychology), a new "school" distanced from Freudian psychoanalysis in which Jung came to participate during his youth.

Carl Jung did not want to describe physical mechanisms that allow us to predict to a greater or lesser extent how we behave. I wanted to develop tools that would allow us to interpret the way in which, according to their beliefs, the spiritual is expressed through our actions.

That is why, when the time came for his career in which he set out to investigate personality types, Carl Jung did so without renouncing his particular vision of the immaterial nature of the mind. This led him to use the concepts of introversion and extraversion, which, despite being very abstract, have generated a lot of interest.

The introverted and the extraverted personality

Normally introversion has been related to shyness and extraversion with the openness to meet people. Thus, introverted people would be reluctant to strike up a conversation with an unknown person, would prefer not to draw too much attention and would be easy prey to nerves in situations where they should improvise in front of many people, while extroverted people would tend to prefer situations socially. stimulants

But nevertheless, Carl Jung did not define the introverted and extraverted personality focusing on the social . For him, what defined the dimension of personality introversion-extraversion were the attitudes toward the subjective phenomena (fruits of the imagination and of the own thought) and the external objects to oneself (what happens around us).

Introverted people, according to Carl Jung, are those who prefer to "retreat into themselves" and focus their attention and efforts to explore their own mental life, whether fantasizing, creating fictions, reflecting on abstract themes, etc. The extraverted personality, on the other hand, is characterized by showing greater interest in what is happening at every moment on the outside, the real world not imagined.

Thus, introverted people would have a tendency to prefer being alone than in the company of unknown people, but exactly because of their shyness (understood as a certain insecurity and a high concern for what others think of oneself), but as a consequence of the what makes them be introverted people: the need to be interested in these people , keep a certain degree of alert for what they can do, find topics for conversation, etc. Extroverted people, on the other hand, would feel more stimulated by what happens around them, regardless of whether it has to do with complex social situations or not.

The four basic psychological functions

In Carl Jung's personality types, the introversion-extraversion dimension is mixed with what he considered the four psychological functions that define us: think, feel, perceive and intuit . The first two, thinking and feeling, were for Jung rational functions, while to perceive and intuit were irrational.

From the combination of each of these four functions with the two elements of the introversion-extraversion dimension emerge the eight personality types of Carl Jung.

The psychological types

The personality types of Carl Jung, published in his work of 1921 Psychological Types, are the following.

1. Introverted thinking

The people belonging to the category reflective-introvert they are much more focused on their own thoughts than on what happens beyond them . They show themselves interested, concretely, by the thoughts of abstract type, the reflections and the theoretical battles between different philosophies and ways of seeing life.

Thus, for Jung this type of personality is the one that in popular culture we could relate to the tendency to philosophize, the concern for the relationships between ideas.

2. Sentimental-introverted

The people belonging to the personality type feeling-introvert They are not very talkative, but sympathetic, empathetic and without special difficulties to create emotional bonds with a small circle of people. They tend not to demonstrate their attachment, among other things because of the lack of spontaneity when expressing how they feel.

3. Sense-introvert

As it happens in the rest of personalities defined by the introversion, the personality sensitive-introverted It is characterized for being focused on subjective phenomena . In this case, however, these phenomena are more related to the stimuli received through the senses than with feelings or abstract ideas. According to the definition of Carl Jung, this type of personality usually describes people who are dedicated to art or crafts.

4. Intuitive-introverted

In this type of personality intuitive-introverted, what the person's interest focuses on are fantasies about the future and what is to come ... at the cost of stopping paying attention to the present. These people would be rather dreamer, showing detachment from the immediate reality and prefer to give space to the imagination.

5. Thinking-extravert

This type of personality reflexive-extraverted is defined by the tendency to create explanations about all things from what the individual sees around him . This makes these rules understood as immovable principles on how objective reality is structured, so that this type of people would have a very characteristic way of seeing things and that changes very little over time. In addition, according to Carl Jung, they try to impose this vision of the world to other people.

6. Sentimental-extroverted

This category sentimental-extraverted It would be composed of highly empathic people, with ease to connect with others and who enjoy the company very much. According to Jung, this type of personality is defined by the fact of being related to very good social skills and a low propensity for reflection and abstract thinking.

7. Feeling-extravert

In this type of personality sensitive-extraverted the search for new sensations with experimentation with the environment and with others . The people described by this type of personality are very given to the pursuit of pleasure in the interaction with real people and environments. These individuals are described as very open to experiences that they have never lived before, so they show an opposite disposition to those who oppose what is unfamiliar to them.

8. Intuition-extraversion

The last personality type of Carl Jung, the type intuitive-extravert, it is characterized by the tendency to undertake all kinds of projects and adventures of medium or long duration , so that when one phase ends you want to start another immediately. Travel, business creation, transformation plans ... the future perspectives related to the interaction with the environment are the center of the concerns of these people, and they try to make the rest of the members of their community help them in their endeavors ( regardless of whether others get as much benefit as yourself or not).

Are Jung's personality types useful?

The way in which Carl Jung created these types of personality is far from what is attempted today, based on statistical analysis and research involving hundreds of people.Even in the first half of the twentieth century, there were no methods and tools to create personality models with any robustness, nor did Jung's thinking ever fit in with the way of investigating what is going on in the scientific psychology , very concerned to create objective criteria to delimit personality traits and to test the theories from contrasting expectations with reality.

Of the eight personality types of Carl Jung the Myers-Briggs Indicator has emerged and the concepts of introversion and extraversion have greatly influenced important psychologists of individual differences, but in themselves these descriptions are too abstract to predict the typical behavior of people. Sticking to these kinds of definitions about personality can easily make us fall into the Forer effect.

But nevertheless, that Carl Jung's proposal has almost no scientific value does not mean that it can not be used as a philosophical reference , a way of seeing ourselves and others that is suggestive or poetic. Of course, its objective value is not greater than that of any other classification of personality types that a person not trained in psychology or psychometrics can perform.

Bibliographic references:

  • Clay, C. (2018). Labyrinths: Emma, ​​her marriage to Carl Jung and the early years of psychoanalysis. Madrid: Three Points Editions.
  • Frey-Rohn, L. (1991, 2006). From Freud to Jung. Mexico: Economic Culture Fund.

Carl Gustav Jung: 2. Personality Structure and Types (May 2021).

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