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Thread: The disposition to stress/risk isn't captured in MBTI. Do we need another letter?

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    Member Phil P's Avatar
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    The disposition to stress/risk isn't captured in MBTI. Do we need another letter?

    I was thinking about this a little while ago, but into which type or letter do those who like adrenaline rushes or competitive, stressful environments, or those who are risk averse fall?

    I think there is a continuous scale between those who are really risk averse and adrenaline despisers to those who thrive and live on competition and adrenaline rushing activities, like squirrelsuiting, again, with most people distributed towards the center, but lying on one side or the other of the mean.

    Do you think this could be the case for a fifth letter needed in MBTI?
    "I'm so cool" - Carl Sagan

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    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    Perhaps related, this site (http://www.16personalities.com/INTP-personality) has an additional dimension: Assertive vs. Tubulent.

    Here's a breakdown of their theory: http://www.16personalities.com/articles/our-theory

    An excerpt:
    Assertive individuals are emotionally stable, calm, relaxed, refuse to worry too much.
    Turbulent individuals are self-conscious, care about their image, success-driven, perfectionists.
    I'd guess, as odd as it may sound, Assertive may correspond to "risk averse" whereas Turbulent are more "risk takers"?

    Could just be projection on my part, however. I test as INTP (Assertive), whereas I am very risk averse. Actually, I have identified that I am risk-averse to actions-taken, as in I will by weary of taking actions in which I see risks. Whereas I am largely blind to/ignorant of the risks of inaction; in that sense I have been and still am prone to take great risks through not doing something.

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    ESTPs seem like the classic risk-takers, but I can imagine other extroverted types also being less risk-averse.

    Curiosity seems like an important factor to be taken into account, as well as the ability to think outside the box, and then, of course, there's plain sensation-seeking. I think it can cover a variety of types but there are some that definitely don't seem to have these characteristics.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Heh. We've been here years now.

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    Member Phil P's Avatar
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    So here's what I think should be thought of when considering the individual letters:
    1. Is it a spectrum of opposites found in humanity. That is, is there a sizable portion of humanity found on one side or the other side of the spectrum in a somewhat normal distribution with most towards the center.
    2. Are both ends of the spectrum both positive and negative and neither positive or negative. So it's not like being an X is always good and a Y is always bad. IQ fails to be a MBTI type because of this.
    3. Is the letter a unique aspect which cannot be explained by a combination of other letters.

    So far, I can see the disposition to risk as passing these three qualifications. When I read the Turbulent vs Assertive, I wondered if it reflected values of disposition to stress mixed with other type letter characteristics. What do you think?

    Also, sensation seeking seems to be a rather universal trait as most all seek to remove pain and embrace lovey tingly feeling things. And curiosity would be a universal trait as well.
    "I'm so cool" - Carl Sagan

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    Member apple's Avatar
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    There is another personality inventory- The Global 5 test that assimilates stress markers

    http://similarminds.com/global5.html
    whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect -mark twain

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    Pull the strings! Architect's Avatar
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    Consider the characteristics of a good theory

    • It's sufficient, meaning that it adequately describes the phenemonon and doesn't have holes
    • It's predicative and not simply descriptive. The "Big 5" psych theory is descriptive, sure you can classify people that way, but it doesn't lead to new predictions as MBTI does. For example, knowing a dominant and an inferior you can predict likely "inferior grip" experiences.


    So we can add stress/risk to the theory, and individual's height and brain size too. Is MBTI not complete enough that it requires this addition? I don't think so, stress is covered by the "shadow functions", i.e. the ones that are the opposite of your top four. It's also covered in the opposition of the inferior to the dominant, the aux to the dominant, and the tertiary (that is the psyche is built from opposition). And physical risk taking is predicated by the dominance of the S preference.

    From this I don't think MBTI would be improved by adding this dimension.

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    Member Phil P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architect View Post
    Consider the characteristics of a good theory

    • It's sufficient, meaning that it adequately describes the phenemonon and doesn't have holes
    • It's predicative and not simply descriptive. The "Big 5" psych theory is descriptive, sure you can classify people that way, but it doesn't lead to new predictions as MBTI does. For example, knowing a dominant and an inferior you can predict likely "inferior grip" experiences.


    So we can add stress/risk to the theory, and individual's height and brain size too. Is MBTI not complete enough that it requires this addition? I don't think so, stress is covered by the "shadow functions", i.e. the ones that are the opposite of your top four. It's also covered in the opposition of the inferior to the dominant, the aux to the dominant, and the tertiary (that is the psyche is built from opposition). And physical risk taking is predicated by the dominance of the S preference.

    From this I don't think MBTI would be improved by adding this dimension.
    Interesting. I didn't know if the disposition to risk/stress was covered in functions or not. I know that shadow functions represented what happened when a person was under extreme stress, but what about their desire for risk/stress. You said that physical risk was a decided S trait, but what about mental risk, such as signing a risky deal or refusal to put money anywhere besides gold and cash. What makes some people prefer to sit back and snipe while others rush out in front? What makes some people prefer stimulants to depressants? I believe these things would all tie in to the desire for adrenaline and the dislike of anxiety.
    "I'm so cool" - Carl Sagan

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    Always late to the show Sol4rplexus's Avatar
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    I don't think a fifth letter would make any difference or work any better than the other 4 letters to determine a person's relationship to risk-taking, because most people will just score 50/50 again. I identify with both "assertive" and "turbulent" in certain ways.
    My theory is that extraverts simply tend to be generally a little more willing to take risks than introverts.

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    I think risk averse VS risk taker(s) is an I vs E, particularly Pe, thing.
    I'd say from more to less risk averse: Ji > Je > Pi > Pe. But I could possibly have Je and Pi swapped.

    On the other hand the MBTI is missing one letter compared to Big5, where it is alleged that only one letter in the Big5 does not correspond to anything in the MBTI, namely Neuroticism or "Emotional Stability".
    neuroticism is interlinked with low tolerance for stress or aversive stimuli.[45] Those who score high in neuroticism are emotionally reactive and vulnerable to stress.

    So imo.:
    E trait corresponds to action-seeking and the reversed for I.
    Neuroticism trait corresponds to avoiding/fear of conflict/danger, but this has more to do with capacity (lacking the capacity to deal with danger) than with desire, I think.
    J trait corresponds to being principled (following rules/guidelines/principles).

  10. #10
    Pull the strings! Architect's Avatar
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    You guys also forget that the theory is constructed from ... darn, I forget the word Jung used exactly, but call them primary preferences for now (S/N, T/F). The other two are, call them secondary preferences (E/I, J/P). By the theory everybody has the primaries in their stack, so the INTP has T(i), N(e), S(i) and F(e). They also have all the secondaries, E and I, and J and P (Ti/Fe are judging functions and Ne/Si are perceiving).

    If you wanted to add "stress" it would screw up the broken symmetry of the main theory, for no good apparent reason. It does come in that under stress people tend to express their inferior functions more (to bad effect).

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