David Hume found the ancients’ moral and natural philosophy “entirely hypothetical, & depending more upon Invention than Experience.”
Apparently, little has changed. One of the assumptions type experts have incorporated into their publications and presentations is the idea that about age 50 we shift our process usage. At this point we reduce usage of the Dominant and Auxiliary and increase the usage of the Tertiary and the Inferior. The goal, it is assumed, is to develop a more equal balance in process development. As the MBTI manual explains:
“During midlife, people appear to be naturally motivated toward completing their personalities through gradually adding the previously neglected tertiary and inferior functions to the sphere of operation.” (Myers et al., 1998, 2003, pp. 27-28)
We call this notion the Switcharoo Hypothesis. We tested it in two ways. One was by correlation analysis, age with process usage scores for each of the eight processes from MajorsPTI instrument. If process scores go up as age goes up, a positive correlation would indicate an increase in usage. If process scores go down as age goes up, a negative correlation would indicate a decrease in usage.
Our second testing approach was to construct a stratified sample, six 10-year age groups, for each function, Dominant, Auxiliary Tertiary, Inferior, and each of the four Complements. The result was a line graph for each function. With an increase in usage over time, the line would go up. With a decrease in usage, the line would go down. We got a big surprise.
For the correlation analysis, the 128 correlations were almost as chaotic as contemporary Washington, D.C. Some processes went up, but not the same processes for each type. Some processes went down, but not the same processes for each type. Some processes didn’t change at all. Two types didn’t shift anything. ENTJs and ISTPs appeared to be happy as a clam without adjusting their usage of any process. The largest significant correlation was -0.404, for INTJs: according to the Switcharoo Hypothesis, wrong process and wrong direction. You can imagine how the line graph went. We’ll show you (at the BAPT conference). Beautiful lines. Wrong direction, according to the Switcharoo Hypothesis and the empirical evidence.
The Old McDonald was another hypothesis we tested. This hypothesis says that, if you arrange the processes from most used to least used, you get an alteration in attitude: E-I-E-I-Oh. This alteration, Old McDonald assumes, provides the necessary balance. Jung mentioned balance or counterbalance 15 times in Chapter 10 of Psychological Types (pars. 623, 637, 639-2, 643, 689, 693-3, 694-3, 772, 872, 902; the number after the hyphen is the number of occurrences in the attached paragraph).
“… I regard the activity of the unconscious (q.v.) as a balancing of the one-sidedness of the general attitude (q.v.) produced by the function of consciousness (q.v.).” (694)
“….These statements correspond exactly to my own view of the theory of libido, which seeks to maintain the balance between the two psychological opposites of extraversion and introversion.” (872)
With our measurements, we find that balance works very differently than we assumed. Jung’s conception of balance involves either Perception or Judgment and opposite processes and opposite attitudes, all at once. The same pattern is very clear in each type. Mina Barimany is the one who showed us this. She understood what Jung said better than we did. A picture is worth a thousand words. We’ll show you.
So, for the Switcharoo and Old McDonald Hypotheses…. No, sorry. Our empirical evidence shows that’s not the way the system works. We have much new to learn about type.
 Gazzaniga, M. S. (2018). The consciousness instinct. Unraveling the mystery of how the brain makes the mind. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, p. 38.
About the authors
- Ray Moody (INTJ) works with Mark Majors and collaborates with a variety of colleagues including Mina Barimany in organizing type and culture research. This ongoing research on the measurement of Jung’s eight mental processes has been presented at various APTi conferences. Lifetime Achievement Award from APTi, 2017.
- Mark Majors (ENFP) Dr Mark S. Majors is a counselling psychologist with extensive psychometric credentials. He is the author and developer of the MajorsPTI and Majors PT-Elements. He has developed and presents leadership training seminars that train leaders to serve others by using personality and individual differences to facilitate optimum performance.
- Mina Barimany (INTJ) is a psychotherapist, counselor educator, and researcher from Washington, DC. Originally trained as a family therapist, she completed a doctorate in counselor education from George Washington University, where she is the Assistant Training Director of the counseling center and researches the development and application of Psychological Type theory.