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Understanding the MBTI ® and Personality Type

Emotions, Feeling and Thinking & Personality Type

An exploration of Emotions, Feeling & Emotional Intelligence - Part 3.

By Ross Reinhold, INTJ

While we have noted that the measures of EI show scant correlation to the Feeling function, both EI and Feeling share some connection with “emotion.” As we illustrated, Goleman has frequently referenced the dichotomy of logical decision-making vs emotional decision-making. The former results from the products of Thinking Judgment, the latter is the product of emotion. This is a dichotomy most people can understand. It is the classic head vs the heart. Most of us have struggled with these opposing tugs. We recognize the oppositeness of these two and the tension that can occur when both are active in making a decision.

Because most people relate to the head vs. heart dichotomy, a natural correlary is formed with Thinking and Feeling . . . which leads to an association of Feeling with emotion. We know it in ourselves; we know it in others.

Yet some of us who thought we had a handle on the nature of this Feeling judgment have been thrown a slider by some students of Jung's work who firmly pronounce Feeling Judgment is NOT about emotion! While technically this may be correct, I think such a strident insistence of a clear separation between Feeling judgment and emotion, confuses more than clarifies - especially for the non-psychologist who has an interest in learning about Personality Type.

For sure, the roots of emotion are in the primitive, non-cognitive brain . . . so they cannot be equated with cognitive Feeling. But we also know that emotion can shape cognition: both perception and Judgment

Here’s the rub. The very nature of the Feeling process makes it more open to emotional input, whereas the nature of the Thinking process makes it more resistant.

Thinking is objective, and detached. Feeling is subjective, and attached.

Thinking is systematic and orderly, building a conclusion block by block, as in a formula. Feeling is holistic, incorporating shades and subtleties in the background until a whole is formed and then just “is.” (And frequently attached to this “is” is an affective component - like or dislike, attract or repel.)

Thinking is on guard to exclude irrelevant data (including emotions), while Feeling seems to take an inclusive attitude towards emotions; it seeks harmony with them.

Theoretical psychologist James Newman (A Cognitive Perspective on Jungian Typology, 1990) described Feeling and Thinking differences in this manner:

“Whereas Thinking strives towards objectivity and the suppression of emotional factors, Feeling is an essentially subjective process which seeks to enhance and deepen the emotional context of experience. Whereas Thinking attempts to exclude personal bias and abstract some constant factor from the flow of experience, Feeling seeks to personalize individual experiences and harmonize them with established values. The values, or criteria, of Feeling take the form not of laws and formulae, but of ethical precepts, aesthetic values, and social mores. . . . Feeling is much more rooted in living experience and feeling memories . . . a largely non-intellectual, non-verbal process which, in a sense, must ‘borrow’ words from thought and intuition.” (p. 19)

The following illustrates these relationships. Feeling is shown with a direct connection to Emotions, whereas Thinking is detached.

Emotions and Jung Myers Feeling

Newman's complete thesis placed both Feeling and Sensing in what he termed the "emotional sphere of consciousness." Newman also posited an "intellectual sphere of consciousness" which he believed encompassed the domains of Thinking and iNtuition. (pp. 25-26)

Next Page: Thinking and Emotional Intelligence.

Does effective Thinking require a dulling of the Feeling function? . . . Read More

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