Reconnecting

Dear followers and readers,

I apologize for my long absence! As an INTP, it is inevitable that life and work get in the way of more creative pursuits such as writing. But all that has changed. I finished my postdoc in Neuroscience in June 2014, and moved to Boston with my husband. I’m now taking some time to breathe and figure out my next “career” moves. I’m trying to reinvent myself as an Independent Researcher/Writer/Freelance Science Writer, focusing more on the parts of science/neuroscience research that I enjoy (reading, researching, theorizing, writing) and less on the ones I don’t (actually running experiments in a lab). We will see how I fare.

For now, you can catch up with my thoughts at my new blog: Bleeding Edge Neuroscience, and what I read at Neurochattr. Beware that the writing style has significantly changed. I am no longer in the grip of strong emotions and ruminations, which I’ve found makes my writing more professional and scientific, but less emotionally-appealing. I need to slowly find a way to blend the two sides of my personality, to use my science writing to connect with people, but as always, that part of me is still a work in progress.

I thank everyone for reading this blog and hope to resume some of these discussions over at my new nesting ground!

Onwards,

INTPblogger

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About intpblogger

I'm a 29 year old female currently wrapping up my PhD in Neuroscience, which looked at the molecular underpinnings of learning and memory. I've just recently stumbled upon the fascinating world of personality types and how our type guides our perception of the world, the people around us and the decisions we make. I'm especially interested in the process through which neuromodulators, released during periods of stress, bonding and romantic love/limerence influence our personalities (and how this might differ between types). My posts will be based on a mixture of thoughts, personal experiences, ideas and things I've read along the way. Since I've traditionally stuck to the molecular/cellular side of neuroscience and possibly scoffed at social psychology in the past (ashamed) I only "discovered" Myers-Briggs theory and myself a week ago, after a seemingly long period of a what I would call an "identity crisis". But more on that later. As an INTP (I think), I'd like to think I have some unique insight to share with all of you, but I don't necessarily think I hold all the answers nor will I be able to express them as clearly as some would wish. So, I welcome all clarifications, challenges, criticisms, different perspectives, thoughts, personal experiences from other INTPs as well as all other personality types that choose to join me on this journey. The idea here is to gain insight into my mind and the mind of others through the mutual sharing of ideas, thoughts and experiences. Onwards.

3 responses to “Reconnecting”

  1. vivienwolfv says :

    I stumble upon your blog trying to find out whether there is any research done about the cognitive processes that Carl Jung is describing in his typology. I think it could be such a useful theory to figure out how our brain works. What do you think about it? Carl Jung seems to be grossly underestimated by scientist even nowadays. By the way I am an INFJ and my husband is an ISFP as well.

    • intpblogger says :

      Hi!

      I definitely agree with you that Jung’s theory should have a more prominent place in academic science and that scientists should be trying to test and verify his theories rather than overlooking them or dismissing them as “outdated”. Trying to get scientists to realize Jung’s true worth and trying to connect Jung’s theory with other theories/ideas of brain function is actually a major part of my next step in life. I wrote a little about this on my other blog and I plan to return to my ideas in the near future. There are several reasons I can think of that may have caused the dismissal of his theories by academic science (if anyone has the real story behind it, please comment): 1) his mystical nature and the way he came up with the theory through insight/experience/observation is looked at with suspicion by academics (even though observation is a crucial part of science and was Darwin’s primary method), 2) most people won’t bother to read/understand the theory or can’t understand the theory (because they are not ready/minds are not open??) so they dismiss it, and 3) academics are very ego-driven and so have arisen many many many “unique” theories of personality that are just small branches of Jung’s complete theory (but for some reason people can’t see the similarities???)… ie. situation-based personality vs fixed traits personality vs cultural/environmental determinism, etc. I think Jung’s theory actually manages to encompass all the more generally accepted personality theories out there and much more (the role of persona/masks in our lives, the inferior function’s destructive influence, falsification of personality type, midlife crises, burnout, etc). I mean, if we think of evolution acting on (the genes for) specific “cognitive functions” or “cognitive modules” like Dr. Steven Pinker thinks, then it makes sense that we have ended up in a place where people have brains that make them view the world in different ways/value different things/make decisions differently. In some environments, it was better to make decisions based on logic, in others it was better to make decisions based on feeling, etc. And since we evolved into a very social species, there was no point in everyone paying attention to the same things, so it made sense, for cost/benefit reasons, to have people concentrate their attention and decision-making on specific things (division of labor). I know this doesn’t completely make sense (I can’t explain why there are 16 personality types!!) but it is a part of my rudimentary thinking.

      Also, Jung’s theories are sometimes reduced to caricatures online/in the media and this might be the only exposure scientists get to the theory.

      In terms of scientists doing research on the personality types — the only person I can think of is Dr. Dario Nardi. His big thing is using EEG to measure brain activity in specific regions during a task and correlate that activity with the different personality types.

      It may also be useful to take a look at Dr. Brian Little’s book “Me, Myself and Us”. Although he does not openly support Jung’s theories (and may actually dismiss them– I haven’t read it yet), his ideas actually fall very close to Jung’s theories. That we are predisposed to be either extraverted or introverted but that doesn’t mean we are ALWAYS that way, and neither does it mean that we can’t break character for activities that we decided are important to us (be extraverted when teaching a class, because this was your life-long dream). Although breaking character means a huge investment of energy and effort, so you are going to be exhausted afterwards/need to recharge.

      The main take-away that I got from Jung’s theory was that we are predisposed to enjoying certain activities and improving certain skillsets vs others and that we should try, as much as possible, to align our “goals” (career, family, etc) to these preferences.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. vivienwolf says :

    I have been very interested in the 16 types according to the MBTI system. I have observed the behavior of my family, friends, my children and I am just amazed to see those functions and the dynamics between them (especially the inferior function). Unfortunately most people who know the type theory have a very static way to look at types. So they make assumptions about certain kinds of behavior that you are supposed to expect from each type. It is often such a bad cliché. This in turn might stop serious scientist to investigate those cognitive processes further. I have dominant introverted intuition as my driving process. I am an INFJ. It feels so odd sometime, like walking blind through the external world and still be confident where you are going. I am so glad that I know my type exists or else I would opt for psychotherapy because it is so hard to explain what you feel you know to other people who don’t get those hunches easily. I have noticed in myself that the one cognitive process that I seem to neglect badly is memory for single facts. I have such a bad memory for anything that has happened very recently. I simply don’t pay enough attention to my surroundings. There are some tests online that are supposed to help you improve your memory and intelligence. On one website you could compare your results to the other users of that site. The test that I performed really bad (like below the last 10 % of all the users) were those tests that required me to memorize facts (symbol, picture, number) for a few second while I had to perform another little task in between. When I had to recall that image that had been removed and interrupted by another symbol a few seconds later I virtually failed every time. I could only improve if I decided not to actively memorize that symbol, but blindly tried to “feel” the algorithm of that game like getting a feeling for the underlying pattern of that program. Interestingly I performed exceptional well (like better than the top 3 % of all other users) in those test, were I had to follow an image with my eyes that sort of mingled with many other moving image (like number or letter of different sizes). It was very easy for me to not lose that image even when it was moving rapidly or changing its size as long as it did not disappear from the screen. So I guess if I pay attention to details I am not bad at all as long as they are present. However if they disappear for a second they really disappear from my memory. My theory is that my Ni process hinders me to pay attention to unrelated details that don’t seem to fit into a pattern that connects to some scaffolding in my mind. I guess the process that I have a big problem with must be introverted sensation which has to do with memorizing details that you can’t attach to some pattern.
    The reasons you stated for why C.G. Jung does not get enough attention by actual scientist are just what I think as well. Especially the mystic nature of his research is misunderstood by most scientists. Jung was fully aware of the fact that in observing dreams and symbols of different cultures and being very close to esoteric practices his work would easily be dismissed by more worldly scientist. However he actually wanted to study the unconscious and his relationship to our conscious nature. I am just trying to understand his work and I am reading a book called “Carl Jung, Darwin of the mind” by Thomas T. Lawson. I hope it helps me to understand better the full extent of Jung’s theory. Your point is very interesting and is also in line with Jung’s Psychological Type. I am sure many scientists are not able to look outside their own dominant cognitive processes and will therefore dismiss certain other vital input that would help them to see someone else’s POV.
    I listened to Nardi and read about his studies. I think it is a start; however he is not a “real” neuroscientist and an EEG as not exactly the most up to date method of research in neuroscience. I am not sure what conclusion he can really draw from his results and the numbers of people that take part in his studies are very limited. I will have a look at the book you mentioned. I am not a scientist myself. However it is encouraging that young scientists consider Jung’s ideas to be further investigated.

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