You’ve heard of the eight types of personalities he came up with Carl Gustav Jung?
It’s no secret that one of the main aspirations of psychologists historically has been to describe personality traits. In some cases, this is due to the need to create more or less objective parameters with which create personality profiles useful for staff selection, description of client typologies or research on mental disorders and risk factors.
In other cases, it could be explained by motivations less related to pragmatics. After all, just bringing some order out of the chaos of behaviors that human beings may exhibit can be, in and of itself, something satisfying. This is why, for decades, they have developed several psychometric problems (Like Raymond Cattell’s 16 PF) which offered the possibility of measuring aspects of personality and intelligence in a systematic way.
Carl Jung, however, was not interested in such classifications as they were considered very rigid. This follower of the psychodynamic paradigm initiated by Sigmund Freud preferred to wage war alongside him.
The eight personality profiles, according to Jung
At the beginning of the twentieth century, as psychology began to enter its adolescence, one of the most important representatives of the psychodynamic current undertook to describe the personality types that define us from a mystical, fundamentally esoteric point of view, and probably without much concern for the possible practical applications of his proposals.
His name was Carl Gustav Jung, and while you may not have heard of him, it is very possible that you once used two of the terms that were popularized by him: introversion and extroversion.
Carl Jung and his approach to personality types
Carl Jung’s relationship with philosophy and psychology (understood as the exploration of the spiritual and the non-material) dates back to his early years and lasted until his death in 1961. During this time he tried to describe the logics that make the human psyche work. and how it relates to the spiritual world, using concepts such as the collective unconscious or archetypes. It is not in vain that Carl Jung is remembered as the founder of deep psychology (or analytical psychology), a new “school” far removed from Freudian psychoanalysis in which Jung came to participate during his youth.
Carl Jung did not want to describe the physical mechanisms that allow us to more or less predict how we behave. He wanted to develop tools that would allow us to interpret the way, according to his beliefs, the spiritual is expressed through our actions.
That is why, at the time of his career in which he set out to investigate personality types, Carl Jung did so without giving up his particular view of the intangible nature of the mind. This led him to use the concepts of introversion and extraversion which, although abstract, generated a lot of interest.
The introverted and extroverted personality
Introversion has generally been associated with shyness and extroversion along with openness to meeting people. Thus, introverted people would be reluctant to strike up a conversation with a stranger, preferring not to attract too much attention, and would be easily taken aback in situations where they have to improvise in front of many people, while extroverted people would tend to prefer situations. socially stimulating.
However, Carl Jung did not define introverted and extroverted personality by focusing on the social. For him, what defines the dimension of the introversion-extraversion personality are attitudes towards subjective phenomena (fruits of the imagination and self-thought) and objects external to oneself (what happens around us ).
Introverted people, according to Carl Jung, are those who prefer to “turn in on themselves” and focus their attention and efforts on exploring their own mental life, whether it is phantasmal, fictitious, reflecting on abstract subjects, etc. The outgoing personality, on the other hand, is characterized by an increased interest in what is happening every moment outside, the unimaginable real world.
Thus, introverted people would tend to prefer to be alone rather than in the company of strangers, but precisely because of their shyness (understood as a certain insecurity and a great concern for what others think of themselves), but as a consequence of what introverted people do: the need to take an interest in these people, Maintain a certain degree of vigilance about what they can do, look for topics of conversation, etc. Extroverted people, on the other hand, would feel more energized by what is going on around them, 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 saw as the four psychological functions that define us: think, feel, perceive and intuit. The first two, thought and feeling, were for Jung rational functions, while perception and intuition were irrational functions.
From the combination of each of these four functions with the two elements of the introversion-extroversion dimension are born the eight personality types of Carl Jung.
Carl Jung’s personality types, published in his 1921 book, Psychological Types, are as follows.
1. Introverted thinking
People who belong to the reflexive-introverted category they are much more focused on their own thoughts than on what is happening beyond them. They are particularly interested in abstract thoughts, reflections and theoretical battles between different philosophies and ways of seeing life.
Thus, for Jung, this type of personality is what in popular culture we could relate to the tendency to philosophize, to the concern for the relations between ideas.
People who belong to the introverted sentimental personality type they are not very talkative, but sympathetic, empathetic and without particular difficulties to create emotional bonds with a small circle of people. They tend not to show their affection, among other things for the lack of spontaneity in the expression of what they feel.
As with other personalities defined by introversion, the sensitive-introverted personality is characterized by being focused on subjective phenomena. In this case, however, these phenomena are more related to stimuli received by the senses than to feelings or abstract ideas. As defined by Carl Jung, this personality type generally describes people who are dedicated to art or craft.
In this type of intuitive-introverted personality, it is the fantasies that focus the person’s interest. about the future and what’s to come… to the detriment of not paying attention to it. These people would be rather dreamy, would lose interest in immediate reality and would prefer to leave room for the imagination.
5. Extrovert thinking
This thoughtful-outgoing personality type is defined by the tendency to create explanations of all things from what the individual sees around him. This makes these rules understood as immutable principles of how objective reality is structured, so that these types of people would have a very characteristic way of seeing things that changes very little over time. Plus, according to Carl Jung, they try to impose this worldview on other people.
This sentimental category an extrovert would be made up of people who are very empathetic, easy to connect with others and who enjoy company a lot. According to Jung, this personality type is defined by being linked to very good social skills and a low propensity for reflection and abstract thinking.
7. Extroverted feeling
In this type of sensitive-extroverted personality mixes the search for new sensations with experimentation with the environment and with others. The people described by this personality type are very attached to the pursuit of the pleasure of interacting with real people and environments. These people are described as people who are very open to experiences that they have never had before, so they show an opposite disposition to those who oppose what is unknown to them.
Carl Jung’s final personality type, the intuitive-extrovert type, is characterized by the tendency to undertake all kinds of medium to long-term projects and adventuresSo when one phase ends, you want to start another immediately. Travel, business creation, transformation plans … the future prospects linked to interaction with the environment are at the center of the concerns of these people, and they try to ensure that the rest of the members of their community helps them in their endeavors (whether or not others come as well benefited as oneself or not).
Are Jung’s Personality Types Helpful?
The way Carl Jung created these personality types is a far cry from what we try to do today, based on statistical analysis and research involving hundreds of people. In the first half of the 20th century, there were also no methods and tools for creating personality models with any robustness, nor did Jung’s thinking ever fit in with how research scientific psychologyVery concerned about creating objective criteria to delineate personality traits and test theories by pitting expectations against reality.
Of Carl Jung’s eight personality types, the Myers-Briggs Indicator emerged, and the concepts of introversion and extraversion have greatly influenced important psychologists of individual differences, but by themselves these descriptions are too abstract for predict typical behavior of people. Sticking to such definitions of personality can easily make us fall into the Forer Effect.
However, that Carl Jung’s proposition has almost non-existent scientific value does not mean that it cannot be used as a philosophical reference, A way of seeing oneself and of seeing others which is suggestive or poetic. Of course, its objective value is no greater than any other classification of personality types that a person not trained in psychology or psychometry can make.
- Clay, C. (2018). Labyrinths: Emma, her marriage to Carl Jung and the early years of psychoanalysis. Madrid: editions in three points.
- Frey-Rohn, L. (1991, 2006). From Freud to Jung. Mexico: Fund for Economic Culture.