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Change of Type

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Perspective: It's Possible

Cognitive functions - literally functions that happen within the brain - are what makes up MBTI. An analogy to this would be right or left handedness; there's a function of using one's right hand (to write, eat, throw, etcetera) and another function of using one's left hand. These are all things anyone can do, it's just that any given person prefers some of these functions over the other and thus are better at them. These "functions" make up handedness.

So can someone change his or her handedness? Yes, but it usually doesn't happen. Why? Because it's uncomfortable and it's hard to function properly while using one's other hand. But when it does, it's usually for one of two reasons: 1 - forcing oneself to start using the other hand for everyday tasks, or 2 - if the dominant hand is "put out of commission" (broken, amputated, something) and the other hand must be used.

We can relate this back to MBTI. So it would be logical to assume that MBTI type can change if: 1 - one forced it to happen, or 2 - as a result of trauma or damage to the other functions.

The analogy falls short in a few places. For one, using one's hands is conscious and sometimes irrelevant, whereas using one's cognitive functions is largely subconscious and permeates all of life. You can recognize when you're using your right hand to write and consciously decide to do it with your left hand instead, but you may not be able to recognize when you use Fi and try to consciously change that to Ti. Someone who forces themself to change their type would have to be incredibly self-aware of, well, everything, and quite frankly, I find it hard to imagine someone like that going out of their way to actually change their function stack. Consciously changing one's type is harder than it sounds and on the improbable side.

Also, cognitive functions are cognitive and using one's hands is physical. Thus it's a lot easier to recognize unusability of a hand than it is for a function. Cognitive functions are still on the theoretical side, so how do we know when a function is "put out of commission"? Does it have to be extreme trauma or could it be a moderately impactful sequence of events? Will people react the same way to a damaged function (by adapting by using a different function) as they would to a damaged hand? I could see this happening, though, as a result of being forced to suppress a function (either by disapproval from others of using the function or by being put into a situation in which the function is not really called for).

And in any case, the older one gets and the more axes that will have to be changed, the harder it is for something like this to potentially occur.[1]

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[1] Adapted from Used with permission.

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