Jung's "Psychological Type" Theories

by Mario Ramos
Jung profoundly influenced the field of psychology with his psychological type theories.

Jung profoundly influenced the field of psychology with his psychological type theories.

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Carl Jung was a pioneer of psychology. His book "Psychological Types" was the sixth volume in the Princeton/Bollingen edition of the Collected Works of Carl Jung. It continues to have a profound influence on modern psychology today. In this work, Jung outlined his theory that there are four ways through which the conscious mind can understand reality: sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking. He divided these categories into two pairs of opposites, with one pair being rational and the other nonrational: sensation/intuition (non-rational) and feeling/thinking (rational). Moreover, the conscious mind is also affected by attitude, characterized by another pair of opposites: introversion and extraversion.

Nonrational Functions: Sensation/Intuition

The nonrational function of the conscious mind, also known as the "perceiving" function, is expressed in what Jung called "sensation" and "intuition." Everyone has both sensation and intuition; what differs is the extent to which one is more dominant than the other. If your perceiving function is primarily expressed in sensation, you have a tendency to view objects in realistic and concrete ways, with less emphasis on context or alternative interpretations. If your perceiving function is primarily expressed in intuition, you have a tendency to look for meanings and context beyond the surface, making connections that would not be readily noticed by an objective observer.

Rational Functions: Feeling/Thinking

The rational function of the conscious mind, also known as the "judging" function, is expressed in what Jung called "feeling" and "thinking." Everyone possesses both feeling and thinking functions; what differs is the extent to which one is more dominant than the other. If your judging function is primarily expressed in feeling, you tend to evaluate your experiences in terms of whether they are good/bad, right/wrong or acceptable/unacceptable. If your judging function is primarily expressed in thinking, you tend to evaluate your experiences in a rational, logical and analytical manner.

Attitudes: Introversion/Extraversion

In addition to the rational and nonrational functions of the conscious mind, Jung also posited two different attitudes that he believed everyone possessed: introversion and extraversion. Like the feeling/thinking functions and the sensation/intuition functions, each person possesses elements of both introversion and extraversion; what differs is the extent to which one element is more dominant than the other. If your attitude is primarily one of introversion, then you are most stimulated by your internal ideas, thoughts and feelings, and you are most comfortable doing things alone. If your attitude is primarily one of extraversion, you are most stimulated by activities and events that occur outside of yourself, and you are most comfortable within a group.

Interplay of Attitudes and Rational/Nonrational Functions

Using his theories of rational and nonrational functions, as well as his theories of introversion and extraversion, Jung devised a list of eight different personality types: Extraverted sensation Introverted sensation Extraverted intuition Introverted intuition Extraverted thinking Introverted thinking Extraverted feeling Introverted feeling Each one has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your type may help you learn more about yourself and it may shed some light on parts of your personality that you may not have understood in the past.

About the Author

Mario has been acting onstage and on camera for over a decade, beginning in 2002 at university and extending presently to Philadelphia, New York City and even Seoul (South Korea) and Buenos Aires. He is easy to direct and pleasant to work with. Onscreen, Mario comes across as natural and affable, professional and articulate. He currently resides in Boston.

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