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We are Nature + Nurture

Is our nature something intrinsic? Or are we a byproduct of our environment? In an effort to answer this question, researchers studied over 14 million twins across several decades and uncovered that roughly 50% of our characteristics are genetically predetermined, while the other half is subject to environmental variables. The age-old question of whether nature or nurture more powerfully defines who we are yielded the answer: it’s both, equally.

Any model of human psychology is therefore necessarily incomplete if it does not account for both nature and nurture, as the absence of either factor would be missing half of the truth of who we are.

16 Types + 8 Developments

Many Jungian theories neglect this duality and propose a model of human nature that is fixed. In Cognitive Typology we understand that our starting nature is indeed fixed, yet our expression has a range of variability that is contingent on environmental forces. We call this variability “development” and have found a reliable way to track development within the context of one’s intrinsic nature — solving a core problem in the field of typology. Previously, an NeTi with highly developed Ti would be miscategorized as TiNe because we could only measure function strength in a linear format. But we have found that the body displays energetic penalties when it is modulating a non-native function, allowing us to identify a function that is being overused even if it is not the primary. We have found that each one of a person’s lower three functions can be fully developed or underdeveloped, giving rise to eight possible development levels:

“l” is conscious, “-” is unconscious
Development Functions Conscious
l – – – 1st
l l – – 1st + 2nd
l – l – 1st + 3rd
l – – l 1st + 4th
l l l – 1st + 2nd + 3rd
l – l l 1st + 3rd + 4th
l l – l 1st + 2nd + 4th
l l l l 1st + 2nd + 3rd + 4th

This multiplies the effective types found in the wild to 128, creating a far more rich and nuanced view of human diversity. It becomes possible to see where a person has exercised personal growth and what areas may not yet be realizing their full potential.

2 Attitudes of the Heart

Aside from the differences we encounter in development, the ethical (F) function also manifests two possible forms which we can designate as light and dark. The table below shows these two forms and their names in both ethical functions:

Light Dark
Fi Seelie Unseelie
Fe Adaptive Directive

Ethics divide the world into right/wrong, just/unjust and good/evil. And in order for ethics to be comprehensive they must have the ability for mercy as well as punishment. Ethics cannot be wholly agreeable and kind, but must also exercise hostility towards wrongdoings if they are to preserve what is of value. Because of this, the ethical function necessarily has a light and dark side and each individual leans more towards one of these two facets in their temperament.

In “Psychological Types” Carl Jung described the two ethical functions only in their light and agreeable forms. For him, being an Fe type was synonymous with accommodating to others and having one’s preferences determined by external social opinion. But Fe possesses another side that is assertive of it’s own morality and pushes its own ethics –as does Fi. In existing Jungian typologies, these two darker forms of the ethical types are often wrongly classified as logical (T) types. But we acknowledge that a person can be an ethical type yet be very disagreeable, and a logical type can be agreeable while still starting their psychology with logic. This added distinction expands the 128 developments into 256 possible combinations.

Healthy vs Unhealthy

Next we must account for psychological health. The same type will be vastly different depending on whether they’re healthy or psychologically weighted by depression, anxiety or some other mental illness. The standard description of an FeSi will scarcely do justice to an FeSi who has fallen into depression and who has developed social anxiety which prevents them from thriving in the world. They may appear introverted rather than extroverted, and may feel reactive rather than assertive. Without accounting for mental health, many more people would be wrongly typed.

With our visual reading system we can roughly track the presence of mental illness through the identification of Flat Affect; the fallen quality of a face caused by a chronic downward restriction of facial muscles. The more severe the flat affect is evidenced on the face, the more probable it is that a person has a severe mental illness. Please note that this is not a diagnosis, as Cognitive Typology cannot give any medical advice.

Now because each type has a healthy and unhealthy form which manifests unique qualities, this gives rise to another important division in our ever-increasing typing precision. The previous 256 developments now become 512 as we group people into healthy or unhealthy expressions of their types.

Male + Female Psychology

Lastly, we come to the matter of male and female psychology. Studies have confirmed that biological sex creates psychological differences among individuals. Therefore two individuals of the same cognitive type and even the same development will still differ from each other by the features that their sex adds to their personality. Statistically, female psychology is tilted towards the Big Five trait “agreeableness” (interest in people) and male psychology is comparatively more “disagreeable” and interested in things. In order for these natural differences to not interfere with our typings, we must account for them and describe the male and female versions of the types slightly differently. A male of an ethical priority (high F function) will still be relatively more interested in mechanical things than his female counterpart, thus two separate psychological profiles are needed to fully describe their temperaments.

Together, the combination of 16 types, 8 function developments, 2 attitudes of the heart, 2 levels of mental health and 2 biological sexes creates a highly personalized psychological profile with a precision of 1 in 1024. We are proud to have one of the most comprehensive psychological models for uncovering who you are as a unique combination of nature + nurture.

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