I've been doing some thinking and research about the nature of cognition and I wanted to share thoughts as to why we need to look beyond the Big Five for information on cognition. Some people seem to be under the impression that I stick to the MBTI just because it's what I've heard or because other people have told me it's good, but I'm going to explain in this post that it's actually just based on an open minded investigation of the reality of cognition.
So, we start with the Big Five which was better than what we had before. The Big Five improved on the system of just making up random traits and making questions to help ascertain those traits, by algorithmically finding traits based on correlations between a number of different questions. This was an improvement upon the MBTI test since it just made up random traits and had better retest and cross question reliability. Anyway, but we can't let ourselves get too comfortable with the incredibleness of the Big Five. We are never done, science is a process after all. So, we need open-mindedly ask ourselves the question once again, what is the nature of cognition?
So, if we want to figure that out, we need to ask ourselves what are the flaws of the Big Five. What things does it fail to describe? I think the first most obvious issue we would come across is that answering questions on a test requires cognition. For example, let's take the statement "I like to go on walks". Answering that question requires cognition. So, for example, you might answer it by thinking about whether you like to go on walks to some extent or you might answer it based on whether other people think of you as a person who likes to go on walks. You see the issue here? Some people are answering the question on the basis of their own thoughts of how much they like to go on walks where as other answering it based on what they think other people think about how much they like to go on walks. When we looked back at our (Big Five) questions open mindedly, we would see that the questions were asking for a data point, but they were not asking about how that data point came about. A simple algorithm looking at correlations between these questions similarly would find it impossible to figure out whether you are predominantly an extroverted thinker (someone who thinks by imagining other people's thoughts about thing) or an introverted thinker (someone who thinks by coming up with their own thoughts based on their own understanding of the world). It's just that "I like to go on walks" and the other similar kinds of questions we were asking don't convey any information about that. Similarly, even if we make a test that asks, "If I ask you what you think about something, will you respond with what you think other people's thought about this are or will you respond with your own thoughts about it?", that question requires a lot of introspection (more than most people will naturally be able to conjure up in a moment) to be able to properly answer and most people will tend towards seeing through that same lens of what do other people think or what do I think, conditional on, you guessed it, their cognition.
So, how can we improve on the Big Five? What if we instead make a system that attempts to answer those questions, ones like "If I am asked what I think about something, will I respond with what I think other people's thought about this are or will I respond with what my own thoughts about it are?" Strangely enough, there's a system that, with some modifications, we can adapt to answer these questions, and it's called the MBTI. I know, the same one we improved upon with the Big Five can be modified to be even better than the Big Five. Through a bunch of rather confusing rules which are unimportant for this post, the MBTI types can be divided into cognitive functions. Anyway, for the purposes of this post, I'll just name them by listing their cognitive functions. So, for example, for our question about whether people naturally think in terms of what other people think about something or think in terms of how they think about things, we would have that be the extroverted thinking vs the introverted thinking cognitive function (or Te/Ti for short). Anyway, the same thing goes for the other cognitive functions: introverted feeling, extroverted feeling, introverted intuition, extroverted intuition, introverted sensing and extroverted sensing, in a similar way. So, for example, a person could be Te-Ni-Se-Fi-Ti-Ne-Si-Fe. So, you can see that I still have introverted thinking but it is much less than a Ti-Ne-Si-Fe-Te-Ni-Se-Fi. There are certain patterns as well, for example, thinking and feeling are opposites, as are sensing and intuiting, so with Te at the beginning, you get Fi at the fourth place. Same with Se (second place) and Ni (third place). Then, at the fifth place, you start with inversing extroverted/thinking the first four functions. CS Joseph theorizes that the cognitive functions are something like 100 rpm - 75 rpm - 50 rpm - 25 rpm - 20 rpm - 15 rpm - 10 rpm - 5 rpm.
Anyway, this post is just summary of why the MBTI is an evolution on top of the Big Five. Basically, the answer is because the Big Five can answer what you think (eg. Do I think I'm neurotic, etc.?) but it can't answer why you think that. Based on that information, the MBTI can answer a lot of valuable questions that Big-Five-type tests can't answer like how could I improve on the way I already think - the Big Five can only answer what you already think which is harder to use. That said, I can see the Big Five is valuable for some application - I'm not saying we need to stop using it. I'm just saying that if we're looking to determine the true nature of cognition, these MBTI-adjacent theories are probably our best bet.
Unfortuantely, I haven't yet seen a scientific exploration of all the things posited in these MBTI-adjacent theories but I think it is pretty clear that the field of psychology needs to start taking this seriously, looking into the nature of cognition, not just looking at what people answer to simple questions on tests because of the flaws of that method. There are a lot more to these theories than I have covered in this post. Some good resources to learn more about these theories are CS Joseph's YouTube channel and alittlebitofpersonality.com.
This massive amount of effort needed to properly introspect means quality > quantity in the case of exploring your own cognition. For example, the Udja test only asks four questions which is probably more accurate than asking a hundred question tests which just encourage you to try to get through the questions quickly.
This is my type.
It's a great post in that it seemingly tries to engage with the question in true faith. That said…
We don't ask people on how they come to their datapoints because we can't trust their answers. That kind of introspection is deeply unreliable in most people, they (we) aren't, in this respect, enough of a lens that can see its flaws. That's why Big Five questions skipped that, not by careless omission as your post seems to imply. The MBTI-type cognitive function gears would be "big if true", but most big if true models are wrong, and not just in a technical sense of "all models are wrong, some models are useful", but in failure to properly connect to reality by providing wrong compressions; the post provides literally no arguments for why these are useful gears.
If I wanted to determine the validity of the MBTI, what do you think would be the best way to go about it?
Offer an alternative hypothesis. "A fair fight", as HPMoR puts it. To understand if it's valid, you need to be able to imagine both a world in which it is and a world in which it isn't and outline what the differences would be.
If my hypothesis was that people think in terms of the MBTI cognitive functions and different people prioritize different cognitive functions, what could my null/alternate hypotheses be?
Oh, there are many. One, MBTI supposes the functions are antagonistic in very specific ways, so null hypothesis is absence of those antagonistic pairings even if the functions themselves are as it says. Two, each cutting out of a function is a subhypothesis of clustering the thingspace (in this case, cognitionspace), and the null hypothesis is that it doesn't cut at reality's joints.
Hypothesis: Cognitive functions are antagonistic as predicted by the MBTI.
Null hypothesis: Cognitive functions are not antagonistic.
So, let's say we made an experiment and made the subjects do something that required extroverted feeling and then after we made them use introverted thinking. We could test if that is harder for people than other combinations of cognitive functions.
Hypothesis: People will have a harder time using a cognitive functions when they have just used the antagonistic cognitive function.
Null Hypothesis: People will not have a harder time using a cognitive functions when they have just used the antagonistic cognitive function.
However, just in case, you only covered my first suggestion, not both.
Well, that at least is an experiment one could set up. Time of reaction should probably be a reasonably-appropriate measure for "harder" (perhaps error rate, too, but on many tasks error rate is trivially low). But this requires to determine how "using a function" is detected; you'd need, at the very least, "clear cases" for each function.
I think the biggest issue that the MBTI faces is that the test is so inaccurate that it puts people off the whole theory. Also with data, we could not only convince ourselves of the existing theory but we would be testing to see does it hold up in practice and maybe we could even subdivide or combine parts that right now are separate.
I think what is needed is data. That will be what really convinces people.
Are you aiming to convince or to actually check whether it holds?
I would argue that most of what we experience inside our minds is either a thought, a feeling, a sensation or an intuition. And at certain times, your brain is taking in thoughts, feelings, sensations or intuitions so that would be an extroverted version, and at other times, your brain is giving out thoughts, feelings, sensations or intuitions so that would be an introverted thinking. Generally, a feeling is a conclusion, a thought is a hypothesis, a sensation is just interpreted sensory data and an intuition is a complex set of concepts.
Would you say there is anything that is either ambiguous between these categories or not included in the categories which is important for cognition? Of course, there are things like auditory processing and language processing and all the other areas of the brain that contribute but when I talk about cognition, I just mean like conscious cognition not things that happen outside of your awareness.
Ultimately, the best argument I can provide for the theory is not that I have strong empirical evidence but just that the model helps predict things about the world. It is just a thing that people do: thinking or feeling, and introverted or extroverted.
I would be interested to know your thoughts.
For that full discussion, you can see this market on Manifold. Basically, we came to the conclusion that they were real things with real meanings but people were unsure of the attributes' usefulness.
My point is that the Big Five tries to describe traits where the MBTI tries to describe cognition which is more complicated. I'm not saying that the MBTI is all correct, in fact most of it is pretty badly tested. I think the best approach is to take it one step at a time and test each observation. For example, I think listening to other people's thoughts and coming up with own thoughts are things that everybody does. It should stand to reason that some people prefer to do one and some people prefer to do the other, even if it is a fuzzy line. The same goes for the other MBTI traits in various ways. See also this comment to get an idea of my position.
I think you'd be hard pressed to disagree that these things could be measured empirically. As for other empirical evidence, there were studies that found that when people were using their dominant cognitive function, their EEG scans lit up more compared to other things.
My point is not that MBTI is the correct model, just that this science should be investigated further, while right now it is frequently ostracized as empirically inferior to the Big Five. I think both have their own uses. If we find another model that fits better, great! I'd be all for it.
welcome to the forum and kudos for writing your first post.
My intention in writing this comment is to provide constructive feedback, which I am doing because I find your text, but more so, your sincerity, curiosity and openness welcoming. Furthermore, I am similarly interested in MBTI and its applications, and I want to acknowledge your effort.
And I'll get right to it. The title you chose was "In defense of the MBTI". This is your opening paragraph:
And this is the ending.
Your opening paragraph explains neatly the three intentions you have for this text:
1. Why we should look beyond the Big Five for information on cognition.
2. Comment on why you stick to MBTI contrary to what people believe.
3. Describe the real reason, which is related to the reality of cognition.
What I am wondering reading the first paragraph is: Why did you choose to 'defend' MBTI this particular way? If you could explain this, I believe some interesting connections would surface. And also maybe give a written answer to why you chose the title.
The second feedback I have is with regard to the last paragraph. Where you urge more psychology research on the area, as well as inform us about sites relevant to the field of "MBTI-adjacent theories". Here I am wondering what the direct link between your title, your intention and writing this paragraph is.
However, the overall feeling I get from reading your post, isn't that it is a post with a specific goal, using one particular method, but a post using several simultaneously. It is an expression of the direction of your own thoughts, beliefs and ideas; a meta-overview of your reasoning behind your support for an improvement of the MBTI. Moreover, it is like a meta-dialogue with imagined opponents in the Big Five vs MBTI debate. Thirdly, it is exploratory and open-ended with regard to cognition and MBTI. So it has a lot going on at the same time.
Which brings me to my next point, acknowledgment. Even though you could say your post needs sharpening and precision, the way I see it, it is more important to acknowledge it as an expression of your versatility in understanding and your ability to juggle different things simultaneously. You have already discovered things I wasn't aware of, and I believe that if you continue, your contribution will undoubtedly be even more substantial. I also believe that many of your paragraphs are seeds that can sprout into interesting texts, if given the attention.
And finally, some of my thoughts:
"CS Joseph theorizes that the cognitive functions are something like 100 rpm - 75 rpm - 50 rpm - 25 rpm - 20 rpm - 15 rpm - 10 rpm - 5 rpm"
I looked at the video, and this is a continuation of the original thoughts of Jung, as far as I know. From 'Hero' through 'Demon'
https://www.careerplanner.com/8CognitiveFunctions/Cognitive-Functions-Simply-Explained.cfm (I'm not familiar with this site, or endorse it, it just had a nice overview to show all the personality types as well as all their functions.)
In my own experience, when I experiment with developing functions directly, I can affirm both Jung- and Joseph's claims to a certain degree. There is an underlying dynamic between all the functions, and they are not operating at the same speed. And I also agree with CS Joseph in that these limitations aren't necessarily bad, they open up for human relationships and collaboration, to complement each other.
I could say more, but to keep it withing the bounds of your text, I'll stop here.
I hope this comment is useful to you in some way, and welcome you, as a senior newbie, to the site. :)
Hi Caerulea, thanks for your good questions. I will try my best to answer your questions here.
I wrote this post in response to someone who said that the MBTI was inferior to the Big Five because it was less scientific. I just wanted to explain why we had to broaden our horizons a bit and have an honest look at the differences between the MBTI and the Big Five, and what we could expect to get out of both. I think that if the field of psychology would broaden their horizons a bit, we could make a lot of progress on the science of cognition. There an infinite number of different theories of cognition that could be proposed. I just think that by explaining some issues with the Big Five, I could encourage people to take a look at new theories. Just asking 200 questions of a human and finding correlations is pretty clearly not going to result in not going to result in the be all and end all of psychology. Maybe if you trained a neural network on the answers to those questions, looking at the weights might give us more insight, but just looking for simple correlations is clearly going to result in a very shallow understanding of the brain. More advanced aliens than us wouldn't be impressed if they saw that our understanding of cognition was limited to some researcher asking a bunch of random questions and finding a few factors that could predict how people would answer the questions to a limited degree.
This point leads straight from point one which is that the Big Five really isn't that great. Given that, I am completely open to exploring any theory of cognition I come across. There could always be more theories to explore but the MBTI is by far the most promising theory I have come across. I find that if you can find multiple people of the same MBTI type, you can notice a lot of similarities. That seems to me like strong anecdotal evidence to suggest that it is a good model. If you want to try this experiment for yourself, you can go to CS Joseph's list here or you can try with A Little Bit of Personality's list here (scroll to the bottom of the article). They both have their own theories for subtypes as well to give a more comprehensive picture, CS Joseph has Octagram and A Little Bit of Personality has subtypes (you have to create a free account to view). So, when you combine that the Big Five isn't that good of a theory with the anecdotal evidence that the MBTI is better than the Big Five when you compare people with the same traits in both, it makes sense to conclude that the MBTI is the better theory.
Here I explain that the real reason I believe the MBTI might be worth taking a look at is because if you open-mindedly explore what the brain does, the MBTI just at an obvious level seems much closer to describing what it does than the Big Five. While the Big Five will describe that the reason you decided to go to a new restaurant was because you were high in openness and low in neuroticism, the MBTI can describe you being told about the restaurant activating through your extraverted sensing and you assessing whether you would enjoy it through introverted sensing (looking at similar past situations) and introverted intuition (imagining the likely course of events that would play out if you decided to go there). That is by any account a much more in depth view of cognition than can be provided through the Big Five. This simple classification of cognitive functions seems to have quite a lot of validity in terms of how people actually think - I would not take that lightly.
First, I described the issue with the current model (the Big Five).
If you want to propose a new model, you have to first show where the current model is flawed.
Second, I described what anecdotal evidence I had to support my model (the MBTI).
If you want to propose people research something, you'll have better luck if you first show some anecdotal evidence to suggest your hypothesis is correct.
Third, I described why this matters (because understanding cognition is the holy grail of psychology).
If you want to propose people research something, you'll have better luck if you explain why the research matters in a broader sense. For this point, we could imagine how I could talk about the importance to managers in professional settings and to people's personal relationships to be able to understand their and others' cognition accurately.
I believe the original title was something like "An Open-Minded Exploration of the Nature of Cognition" but I changed it to "In Defense of the MBTI" to more accurately represent the thesis of my post that the field of psychology should look into these MBTI-adjacent theories further. For that, I realized I needed to defend the MBTI especially given how bad the MBTI test itself is. Basically, I felt like a bunch of corner cutting by MBTI theorists had led people in the field of psychology to write it off entirely and that the MBTI needed to be defended so that it wasn't equated with the work of all these corner cutters (including the Myers-Briggs company itself) which are commonly associated with the MBTI.
This last paragraph relates to my intention with writing this post which was as a call to action for these theories to be studied through experimental methods and to be developed further so we can develop models for describing cognition ever more accurately. Since I felt like the MBTI is a good starting point for understanding cognition, I thought that by defending the MBTI here on LessWrong, this would be studied further and psychology would be able to develop its understanding of the brain rapidly. I watched a video a while back on paradigms (sadly it seems it is gone) but it is where the paradigm shifts where science is able to make progress and people are consistently unwilling to change paradigm but that is where what I would call real science happens. I gave links to these MBTI-adjacent theories so people could take a look for themselves.
I tried my best to write the post without an agenda other than finding what cognition is really about, trying to see reality as it really is at the essence of science. I would say this is only secondary to another tennet of science which is broadening your horizons beyond what is already the consensus and being willing to look beyond the Overton window for things beyond what people think could possibly be true.
I could have said I think this theory is true and that one isn't, but really I have no idea. That's why I decided it was better to write this post to explain the direction I took in trying to understand cognition, and from there, others could benefit and hopefully me too. The MBTI vs Big Five debate was a reflection of my reasoning as to which one was a better starting point for understanding cognition.
I would say my post could do with sharpening but it's not really within my ability set to be able to do that sharpening myself. I wrote the post mostly to provide information to others who are better at that so that they could study cognition further. I definitely juggled a lot in this post and I think it's important for science to move forward that we have people who can explore lots of different theories and see which ones make more sense, and also the people who study the theories more in depth to find the nitty gritty issues and can refine them all into a more comprehensive theory. (In the MBTI theory as I understand it, the first group would be the Te users and the second group would be the Ti users.) Both are necessary for science to move forward.
I think a lot of that is just having a commitment to trying to see things as they really are. As I mentioned in another comment, I had the affirmation: "I do not limit my horizons". This was vital and I believe the attitude to explore things instead of limiting where you will explore is vital. Anyway, thank you for you comment as it gives me the inspiration to continue working on this and myself in general in terms of keeping a horizon-not-limiting attitude.
If you have any ideas, let me know.
Yeah, CS Joseph extends the original theories of Jung as well as those of others who were expanding on Jung's theories. It is definitely an interesting question if you could, let's say, get 35 rpm of each function or you could get this spiral pattern of 100 rpm all the way down to 5 rpm, which would be better? Of course, I'm not really sure if that would be possible because of economies of scale within a cognitive function in the brain, but if that is a good model, it is rather interesting that evolution chose that over having 35 rpm of each, and I can definitely see the advantage, especially when you consider that humans are social animals so they can complement each other.
Don't limit your horizons or mine for that matter.
I appreciate that you took the effort to write it and it definitely gives me more inspiration to work on this. As I said, if you have ideas for elaborations on this, let me know.
Kindly, one Z followed by five more
Hello Z followed by five more,
thanks for this extensive reply to my comment. I must say, I was impressed by your reasoning and answers to my comment. Here I will respond by giving my thoughts on what might be more in line with LessWrong, with regard to your post, and also extend on my thoughts on what you wrote more at the end of your comment as well.
Below are excerpts from your answer to when I asked for elaborations on your intentions, going from 1-3 I'll start with that first, as well as your answer to why you chose to defend MBTI this way. (My text in bold)
In the FAQ of LW, they write that this site is dedicated to:
"LessWrong is a community dedicated to improving our reasoning and decision-making. We seek to hold true beliefs and to be effective at accomplishing our goals. [...] "
With regard to sharpening, I'll get right to it. I believe it might be better if you wrote this post somewhat differently. I want more of your reasoning process, I want more of what you know, and what I believe will have to go is writing this with the intention of reaching researchers. On the FAQ I have linked above, there isn't a focus on research per se, which is the only thing that you have written about here I do not find fits with the overall intention of LW.
Firstly, do I believe the Big Five is a great theory of cognition? As pointed out on another comment here, it is focused on behavior, not cognition. Still, I am not familiar with it. When you say you want to point out its flaws, I see the point you make, but if we assume you are the expert, how well do you know the Big Five, and what specifically are its flaws? If you aren't that familiar with it, maybe you can latch this part of your text onto what others have written here on LW. If you use the search function, maybe there are some posts that are useful, that you can use as a springboard for your approach. In my opinion, your claim with regard to Big Five doesn't seem wrong, but if you want to use it as a foundation for why MBTI is a better option, I believe it would improve by being solidified.
Secondly, I do not want you to write to convince potential researchers, but to compel to other LW users. In other words, if you can choose one thing you want to get across from the MBTI, what would it be? What if you, with regard to this one thing, focuses on what the MBTI itself say and aligns that with your anecdotal evidence.
To say that MBTI is Better than Big Five in general is a very strong claim. Rationality-wise, I understand strong claims to similarly need strong evidence. On the other hand, if you make a 'smaller' claim, it is reasonable with less evidence. If you 'just' want to convince people that MBTI can be 'useful', I believe that is viable. The point is that your claim will have to rest on your arguments alone, and it is better if the claims fit the strength of the evidence.
Thirdly, I would have liked for you to write a bit about cognition in your text, and how you view it. You explain about its importance, for impressing aliens and true self-understanding, but I am not seeing a direct link between MBTI and cognition that extends beyond MBTI being part of cognition, and I was hoping for more substance to it. Cognition is a big part of your text as well, so I believe there need to some foundation-building here as well. And using references if something has already been written that you like here on LW, I believe, is a big plus.
The below two answers from you, I believe, is great, and I would love to see it in your text somehow.
I believe we will have to be those people, and moreover I hope we one day will add in the FI and Fe just as casually and effortlessly as we do the Te and Ti, when building a theory like this.
Yeah, I have no idea why things are the way they are. I guess with regard to MBTI, I find it interesting that I, as an ENTP, didn't like MBTI at first. At all. And still find it clunky, and I do not feel very inclined to read about it much atm, but I have no troubles using it as a reference-point in something as important as my relationship.
I did talk a couple of months with someone that was into NVC, a model that focuses on connecting feelings to needs. I'm pretty sure they were an ESTP. We delved into 'intuition' territory, me saying things like "Your inner child wants something", and to my surprise, we could have a conversation around that, and even role-play inner parts. When looking at this from an MBTI perspective, I have noticed that it is in many instances much more fruitful to communicate from similarly less developed functions, than trying to see everything from our primary. Maybe some of our feelings are in other functions, and being there directly works so much better than working on it from a distance.
I have a lot of questions regarding MBTI, and there are nuances I do find missing. Still, I find it useful as a framework, and something to work upon and improve. However, as a person that likes to introspect and understand myself, I wouldn't say MBTI is a very easy model to understand or apply. With NVC for example, it is hard to connect to and differentiate many feelings, but it is doable. There is this kind of feedback from the body/mind when you speak the right note, so to speak. It is harder still to connect those accurately to the fundamental needs. But comparatively, it was and is still way, way easier than consciously choosing to be in a cognitive function other than the two primaries.
Thank you for saying so. I believe commenting is also very useful, and I enjoy it and find it useful. Giving you this feedback also helps me single out things I find interesting, and has some value to me.
I hope this is useful to you somehow.
Also, I wanted to mention that the title maybe oversells the article a bit. The only thing I meant to argue in this article is that self-report personality tests are limited in the information they can provide.
I was talking to https://www.lesswrong.com/users/dmitrii-zelenskii-1 via DM. I think I uncovered there are a few main hypotheses that the MBTI has to prove:
1) The eight cognitive functions that the MBTI devises must be a division of distinct things that the brain does.
2) The eight cognitive functions that the MBTI devises have validity in terms of describing cognition.
3) Different people prioritize the different cognitive functions in different orders.
Which do you think is the most controversial hypothesis of these three?
This framing isn't meaningful, nor useful. All 3 of those are ambiguous.
The point of any of this is to better predict human behavior, and better describe variation in behavior between people. That's the value pitch that society might plausibly get, from taxonomizing personality tendencies. These should be updated based on actual data, and whatever makes them more predictive. Not just speculation.
So for example, when HEXACO began distinguishing Honesty-Humility from Agreeableness, that wasn't done because someone speculated that they thought a 6th trait made sense to them. Including more languages in the lexical studies resulted in a 6th factor emerging from the factor analysis. So it's a more representative depiction of the clusterings, than Big Five.
Also, e.g. H-H is more predictive of workplace deviance than the old Big Five Agreeableness trait was. That's an example of why anyone might plausibly care about adding that 6th category. Differentiating Disagreeableness from Dark Triad might plausibly be useful, and anyone who thinks that's useful can now use HEXACO. Progress.
Your suggestion that we can use MBTI to "improve" Big Five is funny to people familiar with the literature. Sticking to MBTI is going WAY back to something much more crude, and much less supported by data. It's like saying you're going to improve 21st century agriculture with an ox and a plow.
Similarly, your proposed change to Big Five is highly unlikely to improve it. E.g.:
You have little reason to think this is even a good description of personality clustering. But the behaviors are probably captured by some parts of Extroversion and Agreeableness.
I think you should just go learn about the modern personality psychology field, it's not helpful to spend time pitching improvements if you're using a framework that's 80 years behind. We talked about this on Manifold and I think you're kind of spinning in circles, you don't need to do this -- just go learn the superior stuff and don't look back.
Also, in terms of the specific hypotheses:
1) Basically, the idea is that any given flow of information could be said to be divided into one of the eight cognitive functions and there would be few exceptions where you couldn't divide a flow of information in the brain into one of introverted thinking, extroverted thinking, introverted feeling, extroverted feeling, introverted intuition, extroverted intuition, introverted sensing and extroverted sensing. So, null hypothesis: these categories either fail to describe a large amount (say 10%) of the information flows in the brain or a large amount (say 10%) of information flows could be said to fit into multiple categories. Obviously, the other issue here is that we might just have a random set of points and draw a line around each shape and find any number of different ways to separate things but I think that the functions are distinct enough that we can avoid that possibility.
2) This just means that these distinctions actually allow us to make useful predictions about people. So, for example, I gave an example before, of being informative vs direct, which was something that as far as I'm aware of the factor analysis tests have trouble answering. So, informative people would tend to say what they observe where as direct people would tend to talk in terms of how other people should think about it based on their interests. So, I gave the example before of the direct person saying "Can you go get some more milk?" vs the informative person saying "We don't have any milk". Admittedly, I'm not sure about the specific details of which types are each, but I think the fact that they claim to be able to determine these things should give us pause for thought. Honestly, this criteria is probably very easy to meet so I'm not going to give it a null hypothesis.
3) Different people prioritize the cognitive functions in different orders. Basically, the null hypothesis here would be that within 10% or so, different people use different cognitive functions about the same amount.
I hope that clears up what I meant by the hypotheses. Also, don't be condescending. I think it is a sign of arrogance and you must as a scientist always be willing to question your conclusions. I assume it is frustrating to see people trying to stir up a theory you already debunked. That said, I think the claim that is "superior stuff" is clearly flawed. While it may be superior at the moment (as was the model of the planets going around the Earth when the Copernican model was first invented was), until Big Five or Hexaco can get around the issue of measuring people's unintrospective self-reports, they will not be able to describe all aspects of cognition as I argued in this article. The MBTI as it's used in pop culture is total hocus pocus as I've discussed but the original MBTI was created based on the cognitive functions that Jung developed in his therapeutic practice and I think there's a good chance that the cognitive functions hold (though I don't have super good proof). As I mentioned in another comment, the cognitive functions match up with EEGs, and MBTI types actually affect how people show up on the EEG which is honestly a miracle, especially considering how bad the MBTI tests is probably mistyping ~60% of the people who take them (sorry, no source again). Anyway, of course, I don't know anything but I just wanted to open people's eyes up to this theory about cognition, even if there is a good chance that it is flawed. That said, until someone shows me how it's flawed, I don't see a reason to not try and improve the theory until it can be accepted into mainstream psychology (even if the probability is low in an absolute sense (just because the model is probably flawed)).
You understand what I said about how cognition itself is required to answer the questions on the test? I think a purely factor based approach will be unable to capture this variable. That said, I will admit that I don't have a very good reason to believe that MBTI is the answer, but I thought I would write this post because I thought it was interesting that (at least in its purest form) it attempts to answer that question of what is the cognition beyond what someone can answer on a test. Anyway, I'm sure I'll go check out the HEXACO test at some point. I will go back to my affirmation of "I do not limit my horizons". My goal with this post was to see if the MBTI could actually answer some of these cognition questions that a test really can't answer. I don't think we should give up on this area of research of looking into the true nature of cognition until we have better models that go beyond just what people answer to a number of different questions on a test. Either that or find how we can adapt our current best models (eg. HEXACO, Big Five, etc.) to be able to determine traits themselves not just people's self-reports; that would certainly be a bit of an improvement. Anyway, do you agree that a paradigm shift is required in psychology to be able to answer those deeper questions of psychology of how do you think not what you think, or do you think that our current methods already do that?