Cognitive Dynamics refers to the dynamic nature of the sixteen personality types based on the work of Carl Jung’s eight psychological types. That there were sixteen type whole type patterns was first articulated by Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs and later expanded on by many theorists including Jungian Analyst, John Beebe. The eight cognitive processes are the foundation for many psychological type instruments. Each of the sixteen type patterns has a distinct pattern of cognitive process and development. Knowing an individual’s innate tendency to use these processes can help release creative blocks and generate more effective communication.
- The Eight Cognitive Processes
History of Jung's Cognitive Dynamics
In the 1920s, the idea of personality type was being explored by leading scientists and philosophers. A Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, wrote Psychological Types during that time, in which he gave a detailed description of what has now become one of the most widely used typologies in the world. His theory of psychological type has sparked more than one personality inventory and an international membership organization of professionals and lay people alike devoted to deepening their understanding of typology and its competent and ethical use.
The Basics of Jung’s Theory of Psychological Type
As Jung was trying to understand the differences between the viewpoints and approaches of his colleagues Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, he realized they focused on different worlds. Freud seemed to be focused on the external world of adjustment to the outside world as he approached his patients, and Adler seemed to be more focused on the primacy of the patients’ inner world in determining their behaviors. Following this realization, Jung defined his fundamental concepts of the extraverted and introverted attitudes. He declared that some people orient themselves primarily to the world outside themselves and are thus extraverted in their natures. These people are energized by interaction with the outer world. On the other hand, others orient themselves more readily to the world inside themselves and are introverted in their natures. They are more energized by solitary, reflective activities.
After observing people through the lens of extraversion and introversion for a while, Jung came to realize that it wasn’t just an orientation to the inner world or outer world that made people different from each other. It was also important to consider what mental activities they were engaging in when they were in these worlds. Jung called these mental activities functions, based on the “function” being performed. Now they are frequently referred to as mental or cognitive processes. Jung described four cognitive processes and said that every mental act consists of using at least one of these four cognitive processes. Furthermore, these cognitive processes are used in either an extraverted or introverted way, making eight processes.
Cognitive Dynamics - Roles of the Processes
In Jung’s early descriptions, he described eight ‘types,’ each characterized by the dominance of one of these eight processes. He did not refer to introversion and extraversion as types in and of themselves, but as attitudes that refer to the orientation of each process. Isabel Myers interpreted Jung’s writings as indicating that there is a secondary or auxiliary process that supports the dominant in our everyday life. As she developed the MBTI® instrument in the 1950’s she added an additional dichotomy (Judging—Perceiving) to indicate which of these processes was used in the outer world. What ensued is the now well known 4-letter type code that when decoded can tell us how each of the 16 personality type patterns will tend to use these 8 processes. There is a process for cracking this code, but for now, just accept that the patterns listed below indicate how the processes are use.
But first we must examine the work of Jungian analyst, Dr. John Beebe. Beebe observed in his clinical practice that each type has a different pattern of typically expressing these 8 processes. He identified eight roles of the processes. Below is a table listing the role names we found useful and the processes for each of the 16 types. In the first four processes the roles are described first in a positive way, then when turned up too loud, they show up in a negative way. For the last four process, the reverse is true. We often express these roles when under some kind of stress. For more information read Understanding Yourself and Others®: An Introduction to the Personality Type Code.
Roles of the Process of the Eight Perceiving Type Patterns
Roles of the Process of the Eight Dominant Judging Types
So the 16 personality types as represented by a four letter type code can and do use all eight of Jung’s ‘functions’ and are thus more dynamic than many people think.
To dive deeper into to Jung's Cognitive Processes, I recommend our low-cost, on-demand course Dynamics of Personality Type, Helping You Understand Yourself and Apply Jung's Cognitive Processes for Learning, Problem Solving and Communicating.
If you are interested in becoming certified in Cognitive Dynamics, I highly recommend joining us for our 9 week intensive where you will...
Learn to use the InterStrength™ Approach with the powerful Cognitive Dynamics lens that...
- Goes beyond dichotomies and labels and opens the door to development and cognitive diversity needed for todays complex and uncertain world
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- Integrates the wisdom of many great early thinkers like Carl Jung and modern day thinkers like John Beebe with current Developmental Theories
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- Is an elegant, solid theory of individual differences that unlocks the real power in the 16 Jungian based personality types
InterStrength CORE™ is the transformational, growth producing method that leads to honoring diversity and wholeness. It integrates well-grounded frameworks of CORE Personal Patterns (aka 'types') and development.
Information on this page has been adapted from Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi, Understanding Yourself and Others®: An Introduction to the Personality Type Code (InterStrength Press, 2004)