Before I begin, I would like to take a moment to introduce one of the greatest musicians of our age: Miracle of Sound, aka Gavin Dunne. Even though he and I have never met or spoken, he's been a true bro throughout this process and always had my back every step of the way. Without him, the hypothesis you're about to read would not exist. It makes me a bit emotional to think that I may finally be able to give something back to him. He's about to live the artist dream - his music will change the entire world. Here he is.
Hypothesis regarding the development of personality types
by Sam Ayars
"It's not if it is wrong, it's that it can't be wrong." - an INTJ friend's assessment
Welcome to the next major chapter of typology. I initially called this a theory for a short time. Then I recalled that an idea only gets to be called a theory after a group of professional peers have concluded that the author is not batshit insane. Hypothesis it is then. To follow along you'll want a general understanding of functions, but that shouldn't be an issue for most of the people initially reading this (and I'll provide a crash course for those that don't). It's a bit long since I have to rather exhaustively explain my logic when advancing psychology to this degree. I'll try to add a much shorter version in the future when that logical explanation isn't nearly as required.
If you are brand new to MBTI, typology, and personality types in general, I found the following website extremely good at giving a broad introduction without being too vague.
Personality Types | 16Personalities
Two things of immediate note. One is that there are sixteen personality types. The other is that there are four broad groups that each contain four personality types: NT, NF, SJ, and SP.
Now off we go down the rabbit hole.
This is mainly written from a MBTI terminology standpoint, though I'll briefly make mention to some parallels in Socionics here and there. The cumulative man hours and efforts that has been put into typology via Socionics is truly admirable. My intention is not to undercut it, MBTI, or any other area of typology. To do so would be exceedingly pointless and counterproductive. Rather, I hope to point towards the possibility of a new area of depth, which may also help shed some light on what were previously 'exceptions' to the rule. A hard science does not tolerate or shrug off the appearance of exceptions. It instead accepts their existence as a sign of knowledge yet undiscovered and strives to explain every single occurrence. So I believe typology must do the same if it wishes to continue advancing. Sure, every human is different and grows in unique ways, and we must take care to not reduce them to merely bits of data to be scanned in like a bar code, but human variation should also not become a blanket excuse that is used to write it off every time there is a person that does not neatly exist inside of the current typology models.
Chemistry has a periodic table listing the elements, but the world also contains numerous compounds based on those elements. Typology has done a wonderful job up to this point identifying and understanding as many elements as possible. Perhaps it is time to consider what compounds might be produced when certain elements merge together to form a single entity. If such personality compounds are possible, then by understanding them we can learn how to produce them more efficiently. We have seen what civilization has done with advancements in our understanding of how to use the world around us. How much more of an impact might be yielded by advancements in the understanding of how to utilize the human mind?
Many people have enough trouble with one personality type. Does aiming to have five sound arrogant? It did to me. When I first dove into MBTI types, it took me about two weeks of nigh constantly consuming MBTI related information for me to figure out that I had three types active (aka, the time it took to actually identify my core type - the single type that I was during childhood) - and I wasn't faking any of them somehow. All three types were actually functional, though the third hadn't quite hit its stride yet and I knew it had been 'coming online' just within the past few years. My immediate response was "My subconscious mind's arrogance knows no bounds!" It seemed to essentially be playing Pokemon with personality types. Suddenly the last 10-15+ years of my life could be viewed under the new lens of when I might've developed each type - and the view was startlingly clear. I also wasn't stopping, apparently. My core type is ISTP and progression had first been to ISTJ. Recently INTP had started doing that whole 'this connects to this which connects to this which connects to...' process in my head from time to time. I also noticed that I had spent much of the last year slowly but surely 'breaking the seal' on the emotions I'd kept leashed and locked away for years. If a fourth personality type was going to develop, it'd likely be an F type, though I did wonder about that last introverted thinking type.
My initial attempt to 'forecast' what type it would be was to just swap the T to a F in my "tested as" type, which was merely the most recent type to develop, so going from INTP to INFP. Seemed like the smallest jump, right? At a first, very broad glance, I could see some small similarities, but my (INTJ and INFP) friends immediately responded "No, I don't really see you as that type." I replied that it was in the early stages, and that I also wasn't sure if I'd pinpointed the correct F type. I read some more extensive descriptions of INFP characteristics, and it quickly became apparent that it was a fairly significant departure from my core identity and was unlikely to be the correct guess. Just didn't seem to fit (INTP was still in sluggish mode at this point, though active). I'd somehow already developed three types without knowing anything about MBTI or really psychology in general, so it obviously wasn't a matter of superficially deciding "I like this type's traits, so I'll become that" or I would've just walked over to INFJ and held out my hands for one of the emotion decoder rings that they appear to be equipped with. Throwing darts at the 8 F types to determine which one (if any) would emerge didn't seem very productive either. There was also the fact that all three of my current types were I_T_ preferenced. I let the 'why' and 'how' questions sit in the back of my mind while I continued to read up and absorb/inhale information about MBTI.
A bit over a month later, during which a fair amount of personal growth in numerous areas had been occurring, and suddenly pieces of the puzzle in my mind started getting windmill slammed into place in rapid succession. What was produced was not just an explanation for the path I'd taken, but a logical explanation for it that could be applied to all types, and thus far it has successfully cross-checked against the examples I have available to personally assess it with. One description of ISTPs that I have read stated that they often like to take things apart and put them back together, just a little bit better than they were before. Consider this hypothesis my attempt to do so for typology.
"The true strengths of the core personality type can be realized by training all functions of the psyche, which is accomplished by developing the functional stacks of additional personality types."
The basic premise is to develop the four personality types around a core type (aka, the first one to naturally emerge during childhood or a person's 'true type') that each differ by the preference of one trait from the core type. The aim of doing this is to help reduce the inherent weaknesses of the core type, supplement it with additional strengths from other areas, and ultimately magnify the core type's 'specialty' among the sixteen personality types.
I'd like to carefully note that I stated this is done by 'developing the functional stacks' rather than actually changing to or becoming another personality type. Although each functional stack is linked to a personality type as the stack a type starts out with (their core), this does not mean that the mind is unable to learn how to use more than one functional stack. How this new method of mentally processing information is used will depend on their core personality type, rather than exactly copying how the type related to the new functional stack might typically use it.
A significant point is the natural tendencies of the types that will be developed. Most should be familiar with the sixteen personalities fitting into four archetypes. Different dividing lines have been drawn, but four groups of four are commonly used. Such as all four SJ's being referred to as 'Guardians' or 'Sentinels' by MBTI systems. Or the four ST types being called Pragmatists by some areas of Socionics. When all five types are developed, three of these will naturally come from the same archetype (the core being one of those three) and the other two will be from separate archetypes, leaving a single archetype untouched. Not only does this have the obvious effect of broadly reinforcing the archetype a person belongs to based on their core type, entrance into two of the three remaining archetypes should help significantly expand their ability to understand the views, stances, and actions of others, facilitate communication with them, and understand and accept their differences. Rather than merely knowing that types are different, a person will actually be able to experience some of those differences firsthand. Put another way, a person that has developed their five types is likely (though not guaranteed!) to be significantly more mature and well-rounded compared to someone that shares their core type but has not developed any additional types.
As a litmus test, imagine what a person of any particular type might be like with the broad strengths of those four extra types available to them as support for their core type, and whether that combination feels too forced or if it actually seems to fit together somehow. For me, the general result my mind gave back to me was "That person sounds pretty badass." A promising start.
Let's use Batman as an example litmus test. Because Batman. Sure, he's fictional and a larger than life character, but generally fictional characters won't be popular over a long period of time if they are designed poorly or written with a lot of inconsistencies. Also, Batman.
I'll suggest that he's an INTJ. World's greatest detective and all that. Also has to reach (correct) conclusions quickly to escape all the death traps villains throw at him and make snap decisions to generally not die via bullet spam from the hapless grunts that think they have a chance against Batman. There's also the inevitable 'if these two characters fight, who would win?' debates, which generally arrive at the conclusion "If he has enough preparation time, Batman automatically wins." I've seen Batman listed as a couple of other personality types, but let's just go into the types surrounding his (supposed) INTJ core type.
INTP: Is there any logical principle that Batman can't understand? He has ridiculous tech, and it seems like he designed at least half of it himself. Certainly a good complement to INTJ (and there are numerous anecdotal reports of INTJs/INTPs claiming that they often go between the two types) both in the batcave and while out dealing with the crazy plans of lunatics. Lastly, it makes a great pair with INTJ when dealing with all of the Riddler's off the wall references. Poor Riddler. If only he'd done some personal growth he might not get crushed by Batman so easily. Or at least he would be able to last a bit longer.
INFJ: "I swear Bats, I don't know nothing! Joker doesn't tell us grunts anything about where he keeps the goods!"
ISTJ: Cold night? Pouring down rain? Still goes out on patrol. Took a bullet or has other wounds? Virtually nobody in the city appreciates him? Batman keeps at his self-appointed duty, because it needs to be done and it's the right thing to do as far as he's concerned. His unwavering determination and ability to stick to his beliefs is practically legendary.
ENTJ: Batman doesn't perform on a small scale, it's citywide (sometimes even wider range than that - like with the Justice League). ENTJ's are also known for sometimes being able to get something done almost through sheer willpower. Yeah, sounds about right. I'm sure serious Batman fans can remember more than one situation where this fits. ENTJ also helps him successfully manage Wayne Enterprises when he needs to occasionally disguise himself as Bruce Wayne.
Don't know about you, but the litmus test is checking out for me. You may be able to find another core type that fits your image of Batman, but let's have that wonderful debate elsewhere. The example seems to illustrate the potential viability of the hypothesis reasonably well to me, so let's move on to how exactly we might manage to approach being half as awesome as Batman.
Crash Course in MBTI
It occurs to me that some people that eventually read this might need a crash course in MBTI. There's good info elsewhere so I'll be brief.
There's a judging trait, which divides into F (Feeling) and T (Thinking). The perceiving trait divides into S (Sensing) and N (Intuition). They are commonly referred to as preferences of their respective trait.
The F, T, S, and N preferences further divide into introverted and extraverted versions (such as Ti and Te) for eight total functions.
One function from each of these four preferences is placed into a functional stack based on a couple rules (one being all four of the above preferences are used). Sixteen possible combinations gives us sixteen personality types.
The functions alternate in order between being introverted and being extraverted. The top pair and bottom pair contain both a perceiving and judging function. If the judging function in the upper pair (dominant/auxiliary - preference of these two is used in the type name) is extraverted, it is a J (Judging) personality type. P (Prospecting) if an introverted judging function is used. Whether a type is considered an I (Introvert) or E (Extravert) is simply a reflection of which way the dominant function is orientated.
This is what the functional stack looks like for ISTP:
Here's a link to a cheat sheet listing the functional stack for each personality type.
MBTI Type functions chart.
I've concluded that there seems to be two (similar) paths to obtain five types when viewed from a top down level, though they follow the same principle when we get into functions.
Edit: Upon recent analysis (sometimes being a S type that requires personal experience is a pain in the neck), I believe that subtypes from Socionics influence the development path. Rather than change and update everything, I'll just add a few notes here and there about it. For the purposes of reading this hypothesis, assume that the type's dominant function is also their subtype. The order is slightly changed for the other subtype, but the formula is still the same.
For those whose dominant function is from the F/T preference, the suggested path is to first develop J/P, then N/S, followed by F/T, and lastly E/I.
For those whose dominant function is from the N/S preference, the suggested path is to first develop J/P, then F/T, followed by N/S, and lastly E/I.
Progression through archetypes also depends on which one the core type is from The end result is the same (3-1-1), but being aware of the difference can be helpful while in the middle of development.
As a side note, early on I briefly contemplated whether the perceiving functions or the judging functions might be harder to change. I eventually concluded that emphasis should be placed upon whatever the dominant function was, rather than my personal experience based, subjective opinion of which of the two may be more difficult to develop. Everybody is different, and I (having a core type that has Ti as the dominant function) shouldn't expect to understand how much weight N/S dominant types place on that preference's function in comparison to their F/T auxiliary (or rather, their combined auxiliary/tertiary combo).
Reasoning behind the path structure
Time to start getting into the nitty gritty of why I selected the path I did, and also explaining why it just might actually work.
An observation that I have arrived at is that typology seems to be based on uneven pairs. The most obvious of this is the Dominant/Auxiliary pairing. Both aspects are needed and valuable, but one side is more prominent than the other. It is not just limited to this, however. The Dominant/Auxiliary could be grouped as a single entity that is paired with the Tertiary/Inferior combo. Another example is SPs vs SJs. In the former, the perceiving pairing may look like Se-Si. Si informs Se how much the incoming sensory information varies from the current 'standard' as the SP seeks new, novel information. For a SJ, it is Si-Se and Se is used to determine how much variance there is in incoming information compared to the Si defined ideal state of things. This could be further expanded to Se-Ni vs Si-Ne. Another well known example is the dominant and inferior functions. The very synergistic nature of Fe and Fi in producing empathy is another in that for some types, emotions detected in others by Fe can sometimes be reproduced internally and then processed by Fi.
Both parts of this uneven pairing must be improved for forward progress to be made. The judging and perceiving traits need the other to be fully operational. If one gets too far ahead of the other, useful progress slows or even stops until the portion of the pairing that has been lagging behind catches up. And yes, this applies even to something like Thinking vs Feeling. As opposite as they may often appear to each other, both are part of the overall judging trait and it is only by strengthening both that true progress can continue to be made in the dominant preference of the pair. The strengthening of the mind by training both aspects of these uneven pairings is the true nature of this hypothesis.
The primary focus is on the weight that functions have within a personality type, the preferences they're connected to, and the importance the core type places on each. MBTI only uses four functions to describe each type's functional stack and leaves the other four unassigned, though as described above they're all still active to some extent. Socionics has a description for how all eight functions are placed within a core type. I will reference some of these labels based on what is known as, to my knowledge, Model A. I have found the slightly zoomed out perspective that the MBTI functional stack provides to be a better vehicle for explaining the core components of this hypothesis. Should others find parts of this hypothesis to be accurate, somebody motivated should be able to adapt the core component to the Socionics functional model - and the extra level of detail Socionics provides could prove quite useful to everybody.
Although this hypothesis generally refers to a 'typical' personality type in that it isn't too borderline in certain functions and thus useful for examples, the core of the hypothesis should be quite adaptable as the true focus is on personal growth rather than a specific description of functions. After all, there are psychology theories that attempt to explain the mind in a completely differently manner than the one used by typology. Just a note to try and help people not get too hung up on the specific details of one function over another. Within Socionics exists subtypes, to help further identify a person's strength and focus. Knowing details like these may be an additional help to a person in determining the exact natural progression path that is right for them.
Edit: As mentioned above - I now believe that a person's subtype will influence their development path. This helps explain a number of distinct differences I've seen within members of a type (such as for ISTP: INTP is the third type for some like me, but ISFP is for others).
Wiki link describing Socionics Model A: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socionics#Model_A
A brief thought on MBTI and Socionics
I will not lie. I initially formulated this hypothesis based on looking at MBTI information and only later learned about Socionics. There was nobody to tell me that Socionics had relatively widespread professional acceptance or that MBTI has failed to withstand close scrutiny in the past (at least according to a note on a wiki - grain of salt). All I knew was that I had some quality information in front of me and that it could be put together in a way that none of the articles I read had even hinted at. Learning of Socionics since then has only helped to strengthen and refine my hypothesis. When I first read an overview of Socionics, I was impressed with the amount of detail. As my core type is ISTP, I have a large appreciation for having lots of details available to work with. However, I have also learned the danger of getting too focused on those details to the point of missing the big picture. The (likely incomplete) image of Socionics I saw in front of me at the time seemed to be a poster child for this danger. Every little detail was identified, classified, categorized, and labeled. They were lined up next to each other, but they hadn't yet been combined to actually make something. Socionics (and MBTI) didn't seem to be -doing- anything with all the details they had identified. Perhaps because an ISTP hadn't yet come along to build an engine out of the high quality parts that they were manufacturing. There was even a Socionics chart that listed how every single type is likely to interact with every other type, as if to imply that all human interaction could neatly fit into the tidy package of a small 16x16 table. It was so neck deep in the little details that the entire point was getting hard to see. Zoom out! It is my hope that this hypothesis will enable people to gain some perspective. There's certainly a plethora of information to work with. Just needs a new approach.
As for MBTI vs Socionics, I see them as essentially just being two different perspectives - just like two different personality types. Both have value and knowing of one can add to the other. They define the dividing line of functions a bit differently from each other, but this is not a particularly major issue since those dividing lines are drawn rather arbitrarily in the first place simply to facilitate a better understanding of the perspective that each particular theory is focused on. If the preference were a circle, one theory may divide it into two functions via a vertical line while the other uses a horizontal or diagonal line. The circle is still there, it is just being explained a little differently. So people will likely grasp one explanation far more readily than the other, depending on their own psyche and learning style. Every person starts at a slightly different spot in that circle, so the most accurate dividing line may simply feel slightly different for each person.
Edit: MBTI and Socionics are completely compatible as they're both describing the psyche. The only conflict between them is a human generated one based on terminlogy and definitions. Here's the two main things to know when converting.
1. The E/I axis of functions is flipped between functions. So MBTI's Fi would be Fe in Socionics. Same for the other functions.
2. The four main pairings (such as dom/aux) are also flipped. MBTI's dominant function corresponds to the creative function (function 2) in Socionics. This appears to stem from the Socionics model being set up based on the initial strength of each function (4D, 3D, etc.) and possibly how information was perceived to flow through them. MBTI simply used a different setup to make functional stacks, which resulted in each pairing reversing which function position it puts at the front.
I noticed the second difference rather recently. I'll try to edit my references to use the correct Socionics function position in relation to the MBTI postion I talk about, but I may've missed some here and there so just be aware of that.
Developing the second type: Swapping J/P
First up is the personality type that has the J or P that your base type doesn't have, while keeping the other letters the same. There is several reasons why, independent of the path I took, I believe that this is the best type to start with.
To begin with, the two types aim to do moderately similar things. Not the exact same, as there are significant differences which is why they're different types. Certainly, from the closer perspective of the two types themselves, they are quite different. However, the methods/goals of these two have a reasonable amount in common when taking a broad view, such as in comparison to the other fourteen types. When viewed from a vastly different type, they appear to share quite a bit in common. A different approach, using the same tools (preferences). Foreign, yet familiar.
One of the big benefits of developing this type is that this gets a person used to trying things from a new angle, without ripping them out of their comfort zone. They maintain their intro/extraverted tendencies, and their primary perceiving/judging preferences are also unchanged. This internal acceptance of there being more than one way of doing things helps pave the way forward as they work on flipping the preference of the other three traits one by one. In turn, this also means that the first few types developed beyond the core type will likely be the hardest. Especially as a person gets older, they are more likely to get 'set in their ways' in comparison to a young mind that more easily accepts new ways of doing things. Puberty might represent a significant point in development as it relates to personality types, but I'll leave that analysis to actual experts.
Perhaps the reason behind why the two types are similar, yet different, is that the preferences of the functions in their dominant/auxiliary pair are the same (and thus the same in the tertiary/inferior). However, they're flipped. As the E/I didn't change, the order that functions are introverted or extraverted in the functional stack won't change either. From our Batman example, he started with Ni/Te and gained Ti/Ne when he developed his INTP type. Both types are _NT_ so the top two functions of the stack are also an NT pair. With the J/P preference flipped, what this actually accomplishes is that we now have all 8 functions participating in an active personality type from a prominent position. No more floating functions in the background. A quick glance at the MBTI functional stack would show that these two types have no functions in common and some may assume the two types are too different and can't work together. This is merely a conclusion from staring at the function level of magnification for too long. Pulling back slightly and viewing the uneven pair relationship of the functions within their trait preference should make the connection readily apparent. Not done with those extra four yet, but at least they have the structure of a personality type to start operating in.
In Socionics terms, the new dominant/auxiliary pair is made up of the restricting and background functions - both deemed to be quite strong within the core type. The new auxiliary function being the only other 4 dimensional function and the new dominant being 3D - both come from the id block whereas in the core type the dominant and auxiliary functions are in the ego block. Additionally, this type is the only one of the five where the perceiving/judging functions within the dominant/auxiliary pair reverse their intro/extraverted nature. So to use our Batman example, his second type is INTP. It is the only type out of his five that uses introverted judging (Ti) and extraverted perceiving (Ne). The other three types developed follow the example of his core type. Carl Jung wrote about the unhealthy dangers of focusing too much on one aspect and ignoring the other - such as an introvert that completely disregards extraverted perspective or vice versa. This danger can be applied to any pairing.
For these reasons and others, I view this type as the 'backbone' of this five type development.
There's a popular expression that states: "There's more than one way to skin a cat" and it refers to the fact that there is almost always more than one way of doing or accomplishing something. Likely not a surprise to hear from an ISTP. This should be the overriding motto and theme as a person works to bring type two online. The purpose is not to ignore or give up on their core type. Instead it is to recognize that although they have many strengths, there are also weaknesses and limitations - additional types are there to help address these weaknesses. The core type and its strengths won't be going away and will instead only grow stronger as progress is made.
It's a start, but how about the next step?
Third type: Swapping N/S or F/T
Simply put, next it's time to swap the preference of the core's auxiliary and at the same time strengthen the core's dominant function. The core personality type has not gone away and it is still the center of who a person is, though this can be difficult to see at times for people stuck at the backbone stage. Swapping the auxiliary's preference first allows a person to obtain a second personality type that share's the core type's dominant (and thus inferior) function - the only other one that does so among all sixteen types. This gives the dominant function a new type to express itself alongside a completely different auxiliary/tertiary combo which should enable exploration of the dominant trait from a different angle and perspective - which will complement the already present abilities of the core type. This strengthening of the core's dominant function will likely lead to a much better understanding of it, and a greater ability to use it in either type.
As an example, at this step ISTPs and INTPs would be developing the other type. ISTP generally focuses on details and how they interact with each other, whereas INTP is often better at examining the broad conceptual level of why certain concepts are connected to others. In comparison, INFJ is N dominant and will actually be developing INTJ at this step. Initially seemed abrupt to my T dominant thinking, but when putting importance on swapping/reinforcing the dominant/auxiliary functions in a proper order, it is the next logical type to be developed.
This is likely to be the hardest type to fully develop. Not a lot of people even get type two started, but we do have plenty of anecdotal accounts from people stating that they go between more than one type. So for some people it may be easier to develop type two than it is for others. Quite a few people may have done so naturally without even noticing, thinking it was just 'part of growing up.' Also of note is that for the intuitive types, they get to stay inside their NT/NF archetype during the development of type two, potentially further easing the process. One thought I've had is that during/shortly after puberty, some people may start developing this second type automatically based on their experiences. Can't prove or disprove puberty being a potential milestone in type development at this time, but worth mentioning the possibility for those that'll come after me as the ones who will streamline this process as much as possible.
Most people will likely have to put a fair bit of conscious effort to transition into the backbone. Type three, on the other hand, is almost certain to require a concerted effort to develop for just about everybody. With all eight functions equally represented and having a place to develop, breaking that balance and working to start specializing in the core's functions is unlikely to come easily. A person may vaguely feel like they are in a state of stable limbo after spending an extended amount of time with only two types being active, and that their core type is weakened. As mentioned above, that will only be temporary - completing the third type will greatly assist in breaking them out of this state.
The new auxiliary function, when viewed from the perspective of the core type, would be considered in Socionics to be the role function, which is two dimensional (indicating that the model is essentially a snap shot of the start of development). Strengthening that function to the point of it being able to function as an auxiliary is no small task, yet it is the only other function capable of pairing with the core type's dominant function as an auxiliary within the structure of a functional stack. Actually making use of it within this type's functional stack should significantly help grow and strengthen the function from its initially weak state. For me, it took around a decade of blindly stumbling my way forward before I could really use it effectively. Those that are armed with more information and a better plan should, hopefully, be able to beat my time by a significant margin.
If type two is the backbone, this type could be considered an 'expansion' of the core type's major strengths.
Fourth personality type: Freeeedoooom!
Now that the core type's dominant function has been strengthened, it is time to boost the auxiliary function by swapping the preferences of the dominant and inferior functions.
There's a couple of significant things that happen here. It's the first type since the core type that shares the same auxiliary (or even has the core's auxiliary function within its functional stack at all). Type two placed the other four functions and type three was about swapping out the core's auxiliary to boost the core's dominant, so we're finally getting back to our baseline auxiliary/tertiary combo. There is potential that as a person developed the second and third type, they might feel that their core's auxiliary was starting to weaken a bit. Not to worry. Not only does this type contain it, the fifth type also has it - but we'll get there. If you recall, the premise of this hypothesis is that all of the extra types that are developed actually feed back into the core type to strengthen it. Although the functional stacks of other types are being developed, the core type is still the same and there is a difference between someone that has a type as their core and someone that has developed that type.
As an example, although INFJ and INTJ overlap into each other during development of additional types (type three for them), an INTJ who develops the INFJ type will likely not have underlying emotions that are anywhere near as strong as much of a driving force as they might be for a person whose core is INFJ. This is because the INTJ's Fi is actually tertiary in their core type, which also means it will never rise higher than tertiary among their five types. Their Fi even becomes the inferior function in the fifth type. A Fe auxiliary in INFJ is as high as either function of the F preference reaches in the INTJ's group of five types. The other four F function placements for them is twice in the auxiliary and twice in the inferior.
As such, it may be reasonable to speculate that although capable of being more aware of the emotional state of others after developing the INFJ type, an INTJ may view this more as another piece of information, rather than being prone to experiencing significant levels of empathy for that person like a core type INFJ. At the very least they would be unlikely to experience empathy to the same degree as a core INFJ or INFP experiences it because the Fi ability to process internal emotional information is far less developed and of significantly lower priority to an INTJs core functional stack and overall psyche. This hypothesis is about addressing weaknesses in the core and obtaining strength from the functional stacks of other types to further boost the core type, not copying the entire identity of other types. Hopefully this serves as a clear enough example of this point. Still, the developed Ni-Fe decoder ring does feed into the Fi function native to the core type of the INTJ. They might warm up enough to be a floating ice cube instead of the solid block of ice that some of them often claim to be. ;)
I mentioned that there was a couple of things happening when this fourth type is developing. The next, that some people may've noticed, is that the preference linked to the core type's inferior is actually the preference of the dominant function in this type. This dominant function is, of course, the alternate function of that preference (using ISTP as an example, Fe inferior in the core type and Fi dominant in type four). None of the four additional personality types obtained by developing around a core will boost the core type's inferior function above the core's dominant function. Although the functions are different, they are still connected to the same preference. Different sides of the same coin, though one side holds more weight than the other due to uneven pairs. It would be unusual for both functions to perform at exactly equal strength (the difference is part of what leads to developing a core type, after all). That, and functions are just that - a function of the overall preference. Now if you've been following along you might've noticed that thus far, the preference of the core type's inferior function has been very low key. In the three preceding types, there have been two appearances as the inferior function and one appearance as the tertiary via the alternate function (back in the second type, when we were getting all the functions up and running).
The preference of the core's inferior has been waiting while both the core's dominant and auxiliary preferences were strengthened - particularly via type two, which swapped functions but kept the same preferences within the dominant/auxiliary pair. Here in the fourth type is where the preference of the core type's inferior is finally able to surge forward all the way to a dominant function position and is finally able to experience the freedom to significantly develop. A significant amount of catch up to the other three preferences (among N/S/F/T) can be expected to occur. As the other function of the preference is the core type's inferior function and thus relatively muted initially, a significant degree of potency is to be expected from the dominant function of type four so as to keep the combined preference balanced in its uneven paring with the other judging/perceiving preference that it is connected to.
The massive growth and freedom that the preference of the core's inferior preference receives via this fourth type should finally allow it to relax and stabilize within the core type. As the overall preference now has a place to express itself and grow, the dominant and inferior within the core type should be far less likely to clash compared to a person who only has their core type active. Because of all this, the fourth type may be following hot on the heels of the third type solidifying - though activating it won't be automatic - as if the until now suppressed function knows that it is almost time for it to be set free. This may be in stark contrast to the difficulty of obtaining types two and three.
Some of you may be familiar with the apparent trouble that sometimes occurs in a core personality type between the dominant and inferior functions. I have seen it described as a tug-of-war relationship, but I feel a dog on a leash going for a walk seems more apt. If the dog and its owner travel at the same speed, everything is fine. If they try to travel at different paces or go in different directions, conflict occurs. The best results come about when they synchronize their actions. What MBTI labels as the inferior function (an unfortunate and possibly misleading name, I might add), Socionics instead refers to as the suggestive function. Similarly, with the top function being called 'dominant' it can give the impression that it needs to keep the inferior suppressed, as if one is better than the other. I disagree and view it as more of a collaborative relationship (an uneven pair). Some may focus on the relative lack of finesse that the inferior function possesses compared to other personality types that use the same function at a higher position within their functional stack. I instead see the inferior as applying the broad concept of its function to the personality type as overall guidance, due to being deeper in the stack, which contrasts with the detailed level of control/understanding a person has over their dominant function. It is quite similar to my earlier reference of getting too caught up in the details and sometimes having a need for a more zoomed out perspective. To make another comparison, let us consider an automobile and the driver. The automobile possesses vastly more physical power than the human, but it is through relatively small inputs that the driver directs where to put to use the automobile's strengths. Each has their part to play and only by working together can the two move forward.
In even broader terms, it is related to how the introverted and extraverted functions are still linked to the same preference (uneven pairs again). The growth, or lack thereof, of one impacts the other. This is also true of the preferences as whole. This would indicate that T and F are not actually opposing, mutually exclusive forces, but collaborative ones (this is also true of N/S, of course). In some people T takes the lead with a focus on logic and rational thought. In other people F takes the lead with an emphasis on feeling (or ethics, as Socionics so nicely puts it) and the principles and lessons that can be learned through examination and processing of feelings. They're still a pair, just like the dominant/inferior relationship, and through mutual growth both can happily move forward together. Depending on a person's core type, one of those is designed to lead while the other happily follows along providing guidance and suggestions.
If the leading preference tries to rush too far ahead, the preference that was following might yank on the leash to rein in the leader's overzealous ambition. That second preference isn't designed to lead though, and problems will continue to mount until the lead preference calms down and starts working in tandem with the other preference once again. Should the leader stubbornly continue and all but sever their connection to the follower, ignoring the subtle guidance provided, the leader will soon find themselves lost, without direction, and will have significant difficulty making forward progress. Pulling back the viewpoint even further, if the (F/T) judging pair is too far from the (N/S) pair, then no matter which is dominant we end up with a situation where either the judging trait doesn't have enough information to work with or the perceiving trait is gathering too much and the judging trait is unable to handle all the incoming information. A similar parallel could be drawn out to the person as a whole or even further to how it reflects in society when multiple individuals come together. The core concept of electricity, which can be considered to be the veritable lifeblood of modern civilization, is built upon the force of an excess of one type (generally the negative charge of electrons and their abundance or scarcity) seeking to obtain a more balanced state of being. Should it come as a surprise that the human mind may be striving for a balance of its own?
In relation to that (slight tangent time!), Norman Schwarzkopf - the four star general that led the US forces in Operation Desert Storm in the early 90s - said this during an interview with Barbara Walters (which can be found on YouTube): "...and frankly, any man that doesn't cry scares me a little bit.... I don't think I would like a man who is incapable of enough emotion to get tears in his eyes." That's from the mouth of a four star general of the entire US forces while on national television. Many like to deride the US for spending a large amount of money on their military in comparison to other nations, but I bet one of the top things that money was invested into was learning what factors are needed to comprise the best military leadership methods, and they then formed a plan to instill these characteristics into the leaders that they train. When the lives of the army of an entire nation is potentially on the line, you want to be extremely sure that the person calling the shots is equipped to arrive at the best decision for the situation at hand as efficiently as possible - because there will be hard decisions to make. Leading with their ego can lead to a lot of people getting needlessly injured or killed, and the military simply won't allow such indulgence just for the sake of one person's ego or to indulge in some misguided concept of being 'manly.' Norman Schwarzkopf knew what was up when it came to being a man and getting a job done. Might wanna go take some notes.
Back to type four, though. In Socionics terminology, the dominant function of this type comes from the core type's vulnerable function. Considered important, but often underdeveloped or not well understood by the core type. In addition to that, the premier function in type three would be considered the role function in Socionics (both from the super-ego block). How could these reach the point of functioning as a dominant or auxiliary? The astute reader may recall that in type two, these two functions were paired together. Whether MBTI or Socionics, it is generally accepted that between a primary pairing of judging and perceiving functions, one must be introverted and the other extraverted. The importance of this pairing is evident not just in MBTI's functional stack, but also in how Socionics indicates their importance and relation to each other with their three letter type acronyms that refer to just two functions, despite their model including all eight.
The dominant function of type four may very well represent the 'hot button' of a person's core type - a source of frustration that the core type experiences due to an inability to use the function properly. Thus, in a core type, when the function is offended it tries to strongly express itself. Being that it is eventually able to perform as a dominant function, as it does in type four, may partially explain the strength and potency of some of these 'hot button' reactions. This is not out of the two preferences (such as T and F, in my case) actually being opposites, but is rather simply a symptom of the lack of type development that we all start out at. When this function tries to express itself during these 'hot button' moments, the inferior function (being the same preference) is likely to resonate with it and also reject whatever event is causing the negative reaction. The combined force from both functions of the preference is likely to catch a person's psyche off guard, as in a default state it is ill equipped to handle such a situation.
The pairing done in type two (where type four's dominant is placed as the tertiary) allows this function to slowly start to express itself in a healthy manner, and the underlying potency helps pull the inferior it is paired with along that path of growth - which is a good thing because, as we covered, the inferior it is paired with in type two needs to grow enough to serve as the auxiliary in type three. By the time this function has done enough growth for the linked type three to start functioning, the paired tertiary function will likely be well on its way to being capable of performing as the dominant function of the subsequent type four. The multiple services that type two performs really helps it live up to its moniker of being the backbone of type development.
This type could be considered to be a stabilizer or 'anchor' for the psyche.
The Fifth type: Can I actually change to an Intro/Extravert?
It's time. Time to swap that I to the oft-perceived super scary E, or vice versa (oh noes, my social life will be over!) and obtain the final type in this progression. Don't worry too much about it at the start - by the time a person gets to this point it should actually feel like a fairly natural and smooth progression compared to the first two types. Additionally, the person will have the four other types that lean in one direction along this axis and it's just this type that'll break new ground. Also, to refer again to Jung's caution about focusing too much on one aspect - this type will help balance out a person's natural leaning towards one side or the other on the E/I axis. Remember how type two is the only one of the five to have the intro/extraverted nature of its judgement and perceiving functions flipped? It was laying the ground work for the major shift seen here, which won't be such a major shift by the time a person gets here. Another example of it being the backbone. Type two really is a workhorse. All the core type does is sit around ordering everybody else about and waiting to reap the benefit of the backbone's efforts. Core type is a jerk, why are we helping it again?
So first thing's first. This type has the exact same functions as the core type does. We've come full circle, though there's certainly some differences now. As this type is swapping the E/I preference, the order in which functions in the functional stack are intro/extraverted also changes. In order to continue using the same functions, this of course means that they'll swap places compared to their positions in the core type. As is to be expected, no core preference will cross the line between auxiliary and tertiary.
You might notice that the core type's dominant and inferior are now sitting snugly next to each other as the auxiliary/tertiary. If an attempt to obtain this type was made from the start, there is a very strong possibility of the psyche throwing a bit of a tantrum. Following the outlined type progression, a person arriving at this as their fifth type would have just gotten done a lot of strengthening of various preferences and functions. Skipping that and going from the core to this fifth type will strengthen an already strong dominant function while giving little room for the core's inferior function/preference to grow. That's not all, though. Remember those other four functions not contained in the core type? If someone were to jump straight to type five, then those functions still wouldn't have the structure of a functional stack to prominently grow and express themselves in. As we just covered, the preference of the inferior gains the most room for growth in type four via the alternate function becoming the dominant function in that type. Skipping all of that and going directly for type five is a recipe for disaster. Some people may be able to find a delicate equilibrium and manage to happily use both functional stacks, but this is likely to be rather unhealthy long term as they still need to develop the rest in order strengthen their other functions and preferences to obtain a much sturdier and stable foundation. Others may have a rather draining yoyo-esque experience as they bounce between an introverted and extraverted functional stack without any support structure.
Let's say someone did follow the progression I'm describing (as I feel it's the natural, healthy, and logical path to take based on my analysis). How well would they fare then? Well, let's recap. In the first four types, every one of the eight functions appears twice each. It's an even distribution. Furthermore, the second appearances of the core type's four functions were all at the same place in the functional stack as their position in the core type's stack. Thus the core type itself has been strengthened by each of its functions having another personality type to develop in, alongside different functions than they're paired with in the core type. We also just got out of type four, which let the inferior's preference stretch its legs and have somewhere to express itself and grow. Since the preference of the core's dominant function (via the alternate function) became the inferior in that type it also helps to prevent the core's dominant preference from doing runaway growth.
By this stage of development, the functions of the core type will have gotten fairly comfortable with their role in the stack. While this fifth type does place the core's dominant and inferior functions next to each other, they should now be much more comfortable where they are and negative situations should be easier to process and less likely to cause an outburst. I would refer back to the dog on a leash analogy. The size of the leash hasn't changed (core type's functional structure is still what is being used) and so as long as the dog and owner walk in tandem there's no problems. From the viewpoint of a picture taken from where they started though, the further away they are from that starting point the closer together they appear to be. If we are zoomed out, looking from the static point a picture would be taken from, the physical distance on the picture itself between the two seems small. Relative to their size and distance though, they're the same distance apart and can continue enjoying themselves. Additionally, the fifth type using the same functions as the core now means that all functions of the core appear three times, while the functions that were absent from the core's functional stack have appeared twice each. This is another way that the core type is strengthened. Lastly, the core's dominant and auxiliary have swapped spots (same has happened in the tertiary/inferior pairing, of course) which will prove useful providing a different, fresh perspective.
Let's recall back to type two and how it generally handles similar issues to the core type but in a different way, due to how the stack of that type is set up. Type five approaches situations in a manner much closer to how the core does, though this time the differences are along the E/I axis rather than J/P. Another example of type two laying the groundwork for future development and why I refer to it as the 'backbone.' Type five however, I consider to be the 'capstone.'
The way that this 'capstone' type differs from the core type is of course the E/I preference. The introverted type is generally narrower in scope than the extraverted version, but the introverted version is often more intensive, deep, or focused. In contrast for giving up some of the introverted version's strength, the extravert version provides much broader scope and area in which it can work, dealing with things that the introvert often fails to even detect. I'll stop there, as many who have even a passing familiarity with typology should understand the core characteristics of introversion and extraversion well beyond society's common misconception that it relates to whether or not someone is a 'people person.' There's been plenty written on the concept by better, more informed writers than me.
What does this mean, though? Well, since the capstone and the core types are designed for similar situations, their abilities should actually overlap and function simultaneously. All developed types are active at the same time as there is no real 'type selection screen' for which functional stack to use like a video game might have for which character you want to use. This creates a synergy that allows the strengths of both the capstone and the core to be utilized at the same time. This means that an extraverted core type that has a naturally broad scope will now be able to plunge deeper into their area of expertise, supported by the massive breadth of their newly increased range. The inverse can be said for an introvert being able to apply their intensive focus across a significantly broader area.
Ok, so how do I do all that?
It actually sounds fairly easy and simple on paper, though remember that development of the initial few types is likely to be the most difficult part of this process.
Just pop the clutch.
I bet nobody ever told you that the psychological engine your brain uses isn't actually an automatic. It's a manual transmission. A stick shift. Rather hard to switch gears if you weren't aware you needed to manually do so in the first place. Just like someone learning to drive a car with a manual transmission, it will take some time before using the clutch and switching gears is a smoothly practiced motion that's done nigh unconsciously. There will be some growing pains early on, though they'll hopefully be relatively light due to actually having an operation manual to consult.
So how does a clutch work in a car? Well, it's used for three major purposes. Starting, stopping, and changing gears while in motion. The gears of the psychological engine could be considered the functional stack linked to each type. The engine itself would actually represent the core type. The functional stack a type starts with is simply first gear, not a functional stack exclusive to their type nor the entirety of what a personality type is capable of achieving. A person only using first gear would be like a car puttering down a driveway. Someone that has gone through the full development process would be akin to a vehicle roaring down a highway.
So much like a car has to be taken out of first gear to be put in second gear when the engine reaches a high RPM, the psychological engine has to reach a point where it needs a higher gear. A situation in which first gear isn't meeting all of the psyche's needs. You'll need to manually concentrate on it at first, but now you'll have an idea of not only when to shift but also what gear to shift into. Having a grasp of the functional stack you're attempting to shift into (aka, develop) and how it works should help the process as well.
Time to start the most epic road trip in history. Wanna join us?
As it should prove helpful, I'll try to expand on how all eight functions are working within a single functional stack rather than just the four listed by the common MBTI model. The judging/perceiving functions pair up to make four pairs + two more from auxiliary/tertiary pairs. This six pair composition is what makes a particular functional stack's way of handling information unique. The process starts from type four's dominant function, the function which gives the core type so much trouble pre-development, and eventually arrives at the core's dominant function. Let's use a term MBTI already has around and refer to these 'unlisted' functions that still operate within their own, secondary functional stack as the shadow functions. Their positions are automatically determined by the related preference's positions in the main functional stack. In my case as an ISTP, the process would start from Fi (opposite preference of Fe inferior and dominant function of type four) which is the inferior's shadow function. Fi is paired with Ne, Si pairs with Ne, followed by Si and Te. It then moves to the main ISTP stack where a similar process occurs.
Here's a visual representation:
Shadow Dominant: Te
Shadow Auxiliary: Si
Shadow Tertiary: Ne
Shadow Inferior: Fi
A lot of current function definitions relate to what they are or why certain results and behaviors happen when they're involved - particularly when they're in a prominent position such as dominant or auxiliary. There's less information on 'how' they work no matter what position (shadow or main functional stack) that they appear in, especially from a mechanical standpoint. Here's a short definition of each that should help provide understanding of how a particular functional stack operates when combining all eight functions. Examine the dominant/auxiliary to determine what goal it is trying to accomplish, and then start from the inferior shadow function and loop your way around through all eight, ending at the dominant function.
Si - what has occurred/worked previously - endurance - precedents
Se - immediate surroundings - whole environments - situations
Ni - what might work in the future - possible improvements
Ne - details - specific parts of a whole - patterns
Ti - determine how to join multiple pieces together - efficiency
Te - constructs: order - structure - systems - planning
Fi - determine causes of positive and negative responses - provides vigor
Fe - harmony - smooth conveyance - minimizing conflict - provides warmth
Ne and Se are actually the reverse of what might be the common perception (based on behavior of related types). This is due to how the functional stack process works. Although a type like ISTP may be known for working with details, it actually starts processing those details early on in the functional stack process via Ne and then ultimately compares how those details fit into an environment (like an engine of many parts). For a Ne user like INTP, they ponder whole environments (Se early in functional stack) and eventually pull out important pieces via Ne by combining the overlapping/common points of differing situations. An ISTP is 'good with details' because they start processing them early in the functional stack, not because Se is about details.
The descriptions are a bit broad/vague because all of the functions are used at all times to some extent or another, so the descriptions need to be adaptable enough for those needs. I'll specifically point out that I did not reference the F functions in terms of emotions. I believe that their true abilities encompass a realm that is much larger than just the conventionally accepted idea of emotions or social interaction. Further definition refinement is surely possible, but these descriptions should be serviceable enough to get the ball rolling. Furthermore, I'll provide a rough example of one of the types and the steps/thought processes that may help someone that is trying to develop that type. I'll select ESFP - I have been neglecting the extraverts a bit in my examples, after all.
Starting from the inferior's shadow function and going up to the shadow dominant, then from the inferior up to the dominant the function list would be: (shadow) Ne-Ti Fe-Si + (main) Ni-Te Fi-Se.
Broad goal of type (aux/dom pair): Increase level of positive responses in surroundings.
1. (Ne-Ti) Take account of specific details/patterns and to determine how they might be combined together cohesively.
2. (Fe-Ti) Select pieces that harmonize and combine them into a cohesive whole.
3. (Fe-Si) Consider how to smoothly convey these crafted pieces while minimizing conflict potential based on precedents.
4. (Ni-Te) Based on perceived future potential, structure and orderly arrange current pieces.
5. (Fi-Te) Assess the ability to influence positive/negation responses and rearrange/reorder.
6. (Fi-Se) Look for what causes positive responses and negative ones by applying the details from previous steps to immediate surroundings.
Appropriate wording may change from situation to situation, but that should serve as a reasonable example of how all eight functions operate within the functional stack. The first function of each stack performs 'multiple' times to make a 'single' result for the second function. I tried using a four pair version of the above process, but six pairs currently seems to yield a smoother, more accurate depiction.
When attempting to trigger a new type, the most likely obstacle will be wherever the core's shadow tertiary and shadow inferior appear in the new functional stack, rather than always at the new dominant/auxiliary pair.
I'll reiterate the difficulty of initial progress into a new type. For example, when I was initially developing ISFP I more or less had to beat myself over the head with content that was ridiculously emotionally charged that also contained situations I could relate to (manga is what worked for me). It still took quite awhile to see solid progress, and I was even managing to use manga to train both INTP (pattern recognition of Ne - core's shadow tertiary) and ISFP (Fi - core's shadow inferior) at the same time. At first, a type will not have a fine level of control. Broad/strong concepts (depending on type) may be needed to get things started. It's like the chart at the eye doctor that has letters that get smaller on each line. Start at the top with the big letters and work your way down from there.
Lastly, be vigilant against growing lax and taking the easy, comfortable method of doing things. You need high RPMs to shift gears and likely also need extra RPMs on top of that as a margin for error due to initial clumsiness with shifting into the new gear. A quote by Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sums it up quite nicely.
"Master Splinter is constantly telling us that when given two choices, always choose the harder path."
If you're still faced with a paralyzing fear leading to inaction as you fight against fears from your past, or have feelings of inadequacy about your current progress, here's the ISTP version of poetry to help you through: I'm better than you
Don't get too far ahead of yourself
Focus should primarily be kept on what is needed in the next step. Much like trying to do steps 1-8 all at once when putting something together isn't too useful (though being prepared and having everything needed available could certainly help increase the speed and efficiency), neither is skipping backwards and forwards in the instructions likely to yield the end result that is desired. If the person thinks the instructions are wrong or missing a step, they can get someone else to help look it over, and once satisfied just go through the steps one at a time. Or just play it by ear in terms of what to work on next - that's what I do (it's a SP thing). Might take longer than using an actual plan, though.
Developing five types is not to be confused with disliking the core type or being envious of other types. It is more about recognizing the current limitations and weaknesses of the core type and having a genuine desire to grow and overcome them, even if that means putting development of the core's strengths on hold for a little bit. Would have eventually been held back by an underdeveloped shadow tertiary/inferior anyway. As I mentioned in the type two section, it is about accepting that there are alternate ways of doing things. And as we just covered during type five, the end result is basically a more badass version of the core type. Just wanting to be a badass won't get anyone there of course, or every other 20 something male would be jump kicking the moon powered by nothing more than the strength of their ego. I also highly doubt that it's possible to fake type development particularly well. Trying to emulate and pretend to have characteristics from the next type in line is unlikely to work (seriously, how do you even pretend to have that INFJ decoder ring?). Some of you may've grasped from the nigh nonstop talk about the functional stack that this is a change that happens at the foundational level, after which the characteristics of the new type will naturally show themselves. Some characteristics and behaviors of a type are because that is their core type - another type developing the related functional stack would be less likely to share those same behaviors (refer back to INTJ vs INFJ empathy potential), thus trying to just emulate how people of the type to be developed behave is unlikely to yield particularly useful results.
When the right pieces are in place, the associated personality type will naturally grow and assert itself as it receives more and more practice. Slowly bringing more of its components online until it's fully functional. To get the ball rolling, a person can identify areas where the strengths of their personality type(s) aren't quite enough - it's something outside their specialty, and possibly trying to forcibly use the person's strong suit in those situations is yielding disagreeable results. In such a case, one could focus on trying to soften the use of their core strengths, so that a different perspective and plan of action can be pursued.
I would liken developing a new functional stack to leveling a character in an MMORPG. While the new type is being formed it is like leveling a character towards the level cap, as those games generally don't have all of the tools and abilities available during the leveling process. Some are saved for the end and others are given partway through. Reaching the level cap would be when the personality type has become fully active. All the tools and abilities are there, but the person is not completely familiar with them quite yet. Ability usage is a bit suboptimal and the character likely hasn't obtained high quality equipment yet. Just like in an MMO, the new type has to be put to use. Give it food to digest. Which is essentially (once a person notices enough components of the new type coming online), seeking out situations in which the developing personality type would perform well (aka, the new dominant-auxiliary pairing) - though these activities will have probably already been underway to facilitate initial type growth in the first place, so just expand the range/depth. There'd be no surprise if someone who has the new type as their core was also engaging in the same activity. Doing that should help to solidify the newest type. It won't happen all at once and different people proceed at different rates.
Suggestions for progressing through each type
The first type to develop, as we covered above, is from swapping the J/P preference. Again, this will likely be one of the hardest ones to do if it does not naturally occur early on in life. The largest hurdle will likely be the inferior/tertiary of the new functional stack, as these are the shadow inferior and shadow tertiary of the core type and have merely altered which of the two comes first in the mental process (as well as being in the main functional stack of the new type).
Furthermore, since a person will know what type they'll be getting, the person can look up and be aware the different strengths between it and the core type, which should help identify situations where the new type's functional stack is stronger/more appropriate. As long as a person doesn't try to force their core type to fill that strength, and instead tries to approach those situations from the new perspective that their upcoming type might have (and thus via it's functional stack), it may be a method that will help them progress. Should merit be found with the core of what I'm presenting, I'm sure input from other types will be helpful in putting together a much better, more extensive and streamlined plan for activating additional functional stacks. As an ISTP, I generally have to wing it to some extent the first time through. ;)
If a person has a good grasp of the various personality types, they'll likely have a solid idea of when it is active but still struggling to hit its stride, and when it is a 'fully armed and operational battle station.' Once type two is settled in, they'll be able to move on to type three - the first time they'll swap functions in the core type's functional stack. This one is a bit simpler to explain. As before, they'll want to focus on the preference that is being changed. I knew nothing of functions or MBTI while I was progressing and still managed to get it online eventually - and so has a significant portion of the adult population. Knowing the actual function to focus on should help greatly. Personally, though I needed Ne, I tried focusing on Ni first after determining that my S preference wasn't sufficiently covering all situations I was coming across (particularly when playing video games - look Mom, all those years of gaming weren't a waste of time after all!) - maybe that was just me reinforcing the preference via the core's tertiary before working on Ne, though. An idea for the streamliners to play around with.
The tertiary/inferior combo of type two can also help, as mentioned previously. Also, keep in mind that currently all eight functions are represented once each in a main functional stack. The core type generally has more sway than other types that have developed, but the most recent type seems to stay on top as the 'default mode of operation' so that it can continue to practice using functions in an order that differs from the core type. Type three also represents there being more than one 'gear' to shift to in the psychological engine, which is an important precedent to teach the mind and thus can take a bit of effort.
After type three, there's a chance of it being relatively smooth sailing fowards to type four, as it's similar process to type three except that now the core is strengthened, making further progress a tad easier if the right activating event is encountered. That and since it's the type where the inferior's shadow function gets to finally run around, it may be all but dashing onto the scene at top speed, as it likely experienced growth as part of the tertiary/inferior pair in type two. Type two should now be firmly set in its 'backbone' position in the background to the core in terms of outer behavior, though right behind it and ready to assist as needed.
I will take this time to bring up a possibility, which seems more and more likely as I have examined it. The possibility of type three and type four needing to be developed simultaneously (which is roughly how it occurred for me), rather than sequentially with type four not starting until three is fully complete. The principle of uneven pairs seems to apply to type development from here on out. Type three will take the lead, but it will likely need to repeatedly wait for type four before more progress can be made. A bit like waiting for everyone to finish one leg of a race course before moving on to the next section. The reason for this relates back to the dominant/auxiliary combo in the core type. Type three gives the core's dominant function a new auxiliary to connect to, which is not a problem by itself. The issue is that too much solo growth by the core's dominant would bring unbalance to its pairing with the core's auxiliary. This continues out to all functions needing to be trained for any one (such as the dominant) to be able to continue forward. Thus a way of training multiple functions at once is required - a rather tall order in some cases.
A related note of interest is that much like types one and two, types three and four also share no common functions in their MBTI functional stack. All eight are represented. They also do not share any preferences in their judging/perceiving traits - such as, in my case, type three being NT and type four being SF. All are represented and the entirety of the psyche is trained simultaneously between them, rather than only a specific portion. Training all eight functions evenly so that none fall too far behind seems to be one of the steps needed for mental development.
Additionally, there exists in Socionics the concept of subtypes: a significant difference of people who have the same core type between favoring their type's dominant or auxiliary function (though remember that Socionics defines functions from a different perspective than MBTI even though similar terminology is used). Examining and expanding on this concept may help point towards the 'training' methods most suitable for developing additional functional stacks for either subtype.
Edit: So yeah, subtypes are important and determine which order a person develops extra functional stacks. They'll end up with the same ones in the end, but it does cause variance during development - and of course what a person focuses on.
By the time someone is capping things off with type five, they'll be an old hand at this. The 'shift' should happen more or less automatically, but it does still need to be used and trained to really solidify it just like the previous types. As discussed, the psyche should now be able to focus on the core's auxiliary as the new dominant function without nearly as much trouble, as the previous types will have settled the core's four functions into place fairly well and the relatively mild, at this point, move of flipping the core's auxiliary into the dominant position shouldn't encounter much resistance. It will also let the auxiliary catch up to the dominant even more closely than was provided by type four and their synergistic output should be increased immensely. As this is the first (and only) type that has the core's dominant/auxiliary combo also occupy the top two positions, it will even further reinforce the core's tendencies and strengths while providing its own style of additional assistance.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how we might be able to approach being half as awesome as Batman.
But wait, there's more...
Holy crap, he's still rambling (welcome to crazy town)
So for an ISTP like me up to this point, there is access to three of the four introverted thinking types. Just missing INTJ. It wasn't included on the way to the capstone, but it's still sitting there... looking like it should fit in. An incomplete collection (my subconscious is playing Pokemon, remember?). I could certainly see how it might help to have access to the INTJ strengths, but is that possible? It's Ni dominant with a Fi tertiary, the opposite of type four where Fi finally got to run around and bring things into a better balance. Well, it's far enough removed from the core type that maybe we can get away with it. And the capstone is able to flip the dominant/auxiliary pairing after reinforcing the primary core layout. After all, Ni is part of my ISTP core functional stack and hasn't received any specific reinforcement. So maybe, just maybe.
Let's go back to Batman, because nobody gets away from Batman. There are still some things missing from our litmus test of him that sound really Batman-like. For example, an ISTP's strength with details. Batman is good with that stuff. You can probably think of some other types that may fit him in some way. So let's take a leap and do another litmus test with him. This time, it'll be the personality types that differ from his core (supposedly INTJ) by two preferences.
ISTP: As mentioned, Batman is good with details. Nothing escapes him, no matter how small or insignificant. He'll notice it, process it through his vast NT abilities, and determine what it means. Also, utility belt. If there's one thing that made me think 'that's so awesome' as a kid when I watched Batman cartoons, it was all the little gadgets he could pull from his utility belt whenever they were needed. Always seems to have a solution to whatever problem he ran into. Like dealing with small, nigh inconsequential details such as "I'm on the ground, but I would prefer to be on the roof of this skyscraper instead." Other types might find this a challenging problem (superheroes in elevators, anyone?), but not Batman. An ISTP finds an ideal solution to such a problem rather obvious, even if the implementation isn't always easy. Gadgets are cool.
INFP: I'll just point at his ironclad decision to never kill. Ever. The Fi dominant INFP type would've certainly helped produce the conclusion that it really isn't worth it no matter what. Good thing he's so adept at finding alternate solutions and generally evading the feeble attempts villains make trying to get him to kill somebody.
ENTP: Ah, the final NT type. This will expand the range of his INTP backbone's abilities significantly. No wonder the Riddler never stood a chance. Batman has the entire suite of NT types available to tackle rational problems from every angle. Rarely is he 'stumped' when it comes to logical issues, though some solutions do take longer to come together than others. The batcave has a computer that is well equipped to do research for a reason.
ISFJ: Batman provides his unique version of long term care for Gotham City and its citizens. Even when the city doesn't believe in itself, he's working to improve and make it better. Even if it requires years or even decades, he's in it for the duration.
ESTJ: Bringing effective solutions to large areas. Also, when he has a plan that involves a dozen other heroes doing stuff, he can get them to do it and they all know their role. Of course they do fail at times because they're not Batman. He then has to clean up after their mess, but at least he lets them try. Occasionally it actually succeeds in saving him some effort. He also must have quite the system worked out for exactly where he stores things in his utility belt.
ENFJ: Hmm, Batman basically never really smiles or forms emotional connections with people. Everyone does pay attention when he has something to say though. If he speaks, the audience is his captive (because nobody gets away). This may also be his 'go to' type for Bruce Wayne public relations.
Huh, that somehow turned out better than expected. Maybe there's something to it. An expansion to build after the capstone is in place and the core is firmly strengthened. A nice thought.
Why stop there though, this is crazy town! How about types that only have one preference in common with the core type! We are kind of reaching at this point though (and likely were on a few from the set just covered). Batman really isn't an ENFP, for example. ESFJ also doesn't seem to fit him. At this point my INTP side started tapping me on the shoulder saying I am too focused on the details, and then pointed out a perspective that's even further zoomed out.
Dominant: Core type (INTJ for Batman)
Auxiliary: Types that differ from the core by one preference
Tertiary: Types that differ from the core by two preferences
Inferior: Types that differ from the core by three preferences
Hmm. Well, one of the things that the inferior is known to provide is a sense of purpose and overall guidance (suggestive function, in Socionics - and the tertiary would be mobilizing, which puts the above litmus test under a new light). What do the types that are in his inferior function have in common? Well, we have ESTP, ISFP, ESFJ, and ENFP. Bit of a broad mix. Actually, all of those types seem to be pretty good on their feet. You could drop them into large variety of situations that are remotely related to their strengths and they'd likely find a way to manage or even thrive. Ready for and able to adapt to just about anything. That... kinda sounds like Batman.
But what about ESFP, the last remaining type? Well, as the complete opposite of Batman's INTJ type it completely inverts the functional stack. This would indicate that ESFP is the one thing Batman doesn't have access to, the one thing he can't do, and should never try to obtain. The Forbidden Fruit, as it were. What are ESFPs in very broad terms? They're often the people at a social gathering exuding energy to entertain or otherwise make sure as many people as possible are having a good time. The life of the party.
There's also this amusing concept to consider:
Uh... I think I just did a reverse litmus test and somehow the insanity didn't immediately crumble.
So Batman might very well represent an INTJ that has developed a whopping 15 of the 16 types. At this point, some of the INTJs out there may be cursing their shortsighted vision of trying to plan out world domination when they could've been transforming themselves into a real life version of Batman. No time like the present to get started, right? Can't help with the wealthy inheritance component, though.
There's nothing to guarantee that these tertiary personality types can't start developing before the capstone of the auxiliary personality types is in place. And indeed, upon a closer examination it seems likely that at least a few will need to develop before the capstone can be activated. In my personal experience, I have experienced a bit of 'bleed over' into other types. Not major stuff, but I've noticed myself doing small things or acting in a way that is often characteristic of other types outside my basic five types. Specifically, INTJ and ISFJ stand out (and as they're tertiary types, they would naturally be less noticeable or potent compared to the auxiliary and core types). A function in each of those pairs is actually from the dominant/auxiliary of type two, because for the progression of the core type's backbone (ISTJ for me) these two tertiary types are actually types three and four in its own progression. Additionally, the other prominent functions in these two new types (that aren't from the dominant/auxiliary pair of the backbone) are from the tertiary and inferior functions in the core type. So those functions will finally receive a type specifically for boosting them. So while the backbone is being reinforced, it is also strengthening the core type (does it ever quit being helpful? No, it's the backbone). ISFJ seems to be first (backbone's type three), followed by INTJ. In this way all four functions from the core type are reinforced before the capstone is put in place.
Adding to that, proceeding directly to the capstone type would've put me at a 4:1 ratio in favor of T, P, and S types. A rarther unbalanced state of affairs. Adding two tertiary types first would instead yield four T and S types, two F and N types, and three each of P and J types. The latter indicates an interesting mechanism of maintaining a balance between J and P type functional stacks as more are developed. Without the tertiary types coming in before the capstone, the psyche would've had to process data via three P types in a row. The reverse, of course, is true for core J types. Not enough P types would leave the J functional stacks starved for information to process and performance would be suboptimal.
This does mean the ratio between the E/I preferences will seem quite lopsided, but the J/P preference can be seen as the less extreme middle ground between the two due to the J/P preference indicating whether an introverted or extraverted judging function is primarily used.
This pattern of uneven pairs being used to reinforce previously developed types (much like the core's backbone was just reinforced) can be followed all the way to the final type. Also remember that an uneven pairing of types will train all eight functions. There are a couple of principles that these major pairings past the backbone adhere to:
1. All eight functions are represented between the functional stacks of the two types.
2. All four of the preferences of the judging/perceiving traits (T, F, S, and N) are present between the two types.
3. Both types are P or both types are J.
Following this line of logic, while considering what function may need a boost next and what types need reinforcement, the remaining type pairs can be determined. For Batman, he would've developed ISTP and INFP as tertiary types (because they're types three and four of INTP, his backbone type) before his ENTJ capstone. However, the capstone has to be part of an uneven pair as well, and ISFJ is the partner to it for an INTJ core type. Next would be the 'backbone' type of ENTJ, which is ENTP (which is also the capstone of INTP, the backbone of the INTJ core) and it is paired with ISFP, the final introvert type and the first type to be placed in the inferior. Types three and four of the ENTJ capstone are next, those being ESTJ and ENFJ, finishing up the tertiary. Next would be ENTP's type three and four which are ENFP and ESTP. Finally is the last type - ESFJ. It is not paired with the 16th type (ESFP), as that type is a complete inversion of the core type's functional stack. Instead, this last type actually forms a pair with the core type, as they have opposite functions, finally completing a person's type development. It is interesting to note that Socionics has termed this type the 'Dual' of the core type, proof that their work was laying a strong foundation (I am curious to see how Socionics might eventually revise and update their 16x16 type relation chart, and what the new version might look like).
That would be the major pairings, such as the case of types three and four in the auxiliary alongside the backbone and capstone type. The exact, type by type progression, follows a slightly different pattern. After the core and backbone, the psyche does engage in having the four main preferences represented every two types. However, it always alternates between J and P types starting from the core type itself.
Thus an INTJ's/Batman's full development path of types looks like this.
INTJ (core), INTP (backbone), INFJ ('type three'), ISTP (backbone's type three), ISTJ ('type four'), INFP (backbone's type four), ENTJ (capstone), ISFP (paired type of capstone's backbone), ISFJ (capstone's pair - and dual), ENTP (capstone's backbone), ESTJ (capstone's type three), ENFP (capstone's backbone's type three), ENFJ (capstone's type four), ESTP (capstone's backbone's type four), ESFJ (core's dual).
Edit: This, of course, would be for a Ni (dominant function) subtype of INTJ. For an auxiliary subtype (INTJ-Te), the type that corresponding to 'three' and 'four' would be swapped, which'll cause adjustments in other areas. Formula is still the same.
A more simple view would be as follows:
Auxiliary: INTP, INFJ, ISTJ, ENTJ
Tertiary: ISTP, INFP, ISFJ, ENTP, ESTJ, ENFJ
Inferior: ISFP, ENFP, ESTP, ESFJ
An interesting note is the types at the end of each layer (last developed type tends to stay on top in terms of default behavior, remember?). If we combine the inferior and tertiary we get ESFJ + ENFJ. Aka, behavior of Bruce Wayne for public relations. Going to the auxiliary we have ENTJ - Bruce Wayne when running Wayne Enterprises and when in a private setting. And then of course INTJ - Batman in his true form. I actually picked Batman as an example to use back when I was only thinking of just the first five types. Funny how it all seems to have naturally worked out and fit together, huh?
If this section was rather confusing for some of you, don't worry too much. Actually getting to the capstone is one of the hardest parts of the entire process. Development will be relatively automatic after that point, if effort is still being made. So just focus on resolving the current issue you face one step at a time. You can also ask for assistance.
Before we leave crazy town, I have two last concepts to toss out for fun that have popped into my head.
The first is based on a recent observation over just a few weeks (as the tail end of development occurred for me while polishing this hypothesis) and thus, far more information will need to be gathered before anything conclusive could be claimed. Part of the observation is that, although it is currently summer and exceptionally warm for the area I live in, I haven't really felt a sweltering heat even though this has been the case at times during past, less severe summers. Sometimes there'll be sweat on my forehead, but it's been more akin to duly noting that it's warmer than usual without it really impacting my ability to function.
The possible cause of this is that by developing types and training all of the functions, the way that the psyche uses those functions to internally regulate the body may also have been improved. All SPs have Ni in their tertiary/inferior combo, and Fe is the other function for me. This would point to the body attempting to predict, adapt to, and harmonize with the environment around me before it gets too uncomfortable. So there's a possibility that consciously training the functions via type development will also improve the body's ability to internally monitor and regulate itself.
The second main observation, that seems to support that reasoning, is that I used to have significant trouble falling asleep. My body would feel physically tired, so I would attempt to go to bed, but my mind would stay active for hours and hours as I lay in bed not actually getting any rest and I'd be up and down all through the night - a rather inefficient setup. This seems to be a result of when I was first developing INTP, but had not yet developed ISFP significantly. As such, Ti would have been stronger than Se. The mind still had energy to keep going, but the body couldn't keep up, and this imbalance in functional strength (of the Ti-Se pair in my core functional stack) may have led to the above issue. I would sometimes joke that my body decided that a day didn't have twenty four hours, and that instead some days were shorter and others were far longer.
Lately though, I have been sleeping much better. When finally tired, I fall asleep much faster and the sleep I do get is far more restful. On one recent occasion, after being awake for a significant amount of time through the night (close to twenty hours or so), I finally went to sleep the next morning as my friends were coming online. I was asleep within minutes of lying down - and I woke up less than four hours later feeling fully rested and popped right out of bed. My friends commented "I thought you went to bed" as so little time had passed. Why yes, I did go to bed. And I finished resting already. I was awake and functioning for another extended period of time without feeling any real fatigue. It was, almost literally, a night and day difference from past experiences. As I mentioned, this is still a recent change and it will need to be monitored over a long period of time, but so far it appears that developing all the functions of my psyche has increased my body's operational endurance while also vastly boosting the regenerative effects of rest. The two combined together multiply productivity potential immensely. My body may still be undecided about how many hours are in a day, but the actual number of hours decided upon doesn't seem to be a split decision nearly as often as it used to be.
What might be causing this increase though? It is one thing for the mind and body to get tired at the same time, but there's clearly something else going on. Well, let us hearken all the way back to the Socionics model that depicts the starting line of functional development. The two weakest functions are Fi and Ne - the shadow inferior and shadow tertiary function respectively. Having gone through type development, these functions are now strengthened and working synergistically with the rest of the psyche. The result is that Fi can now much more effectively internally determine what would produce a positive or negative impact and Ne is now able to provide my psyche with information on specific areas that need attention. This added strength seems to synchronize with the rest of the (also bolstered) functions to produce the recent changes that I have observed. I have noticed a few other changes in my body's operation that seem to have coincided with recent development, but the above are the ones that really stand out.
The truly interesting part, which is quite the conceptual jump, is how this may pertain to current medical illnesses that have no known cause or cure. I have an INFP and ENFP friend that currently deal with issues of that nature. Their shadow inferior/tertiary pair is composed of Ti and Se (just a different order between them) - functions which may very well represent the psyche's ability to cohesively repair damage to the entire body. Perhaps training the mind will allow a person's body to better assist in naturally resolving some of these ailments, if some of them are indeed actually resulting from an imbalance of the psyche's functions. I will (firmly) reiterate that it is far too soon to come to any conclusions, but it is definitely something to keep an eye on. I certainly have a renewed motivation to help my two friends through their type development the best that I can. Considering the prospective benefits of type development on overall health can be rather exciting. I can't wait to see more results.
See? Told you the F functions were involved in a tad more than just emotions. :)
Here is the other fun concept.
Following the concept of uneven pairs, in that one aspect leads and the other follows as the (equally important) support role, we can examine some of the aspects of typology in relation to reality around us. For example, we mainly see concrete, solid matter so S would be the leader to N in the perceiving pair. On the judging side of things, it is fairly easy to see T taking the lead over F. We can then take these and a few other factors into account, such as rough population percentages, to produce something that looks like this:
Possible functional stack of humanity:
NFs will probably have a field day with how that potentially connects everyone together. Enjoy.
Having observed a few others, reflected on my own experience, and compared against the related functional stacks, it would appear that a major roadblock comes just after activating initially type four (five functional stacks total). I have met a number of people (especially fairly healthy, mature adults) that seemed to be stuck at this stage of development - which makes it stand out.
An individual type can only be trained so far before progress stops, otherwise the dominant function would experience too much runaway growth (as noted above in previous sleeping irregularities observed). Based on my experience, compared against the order the types train and develop functional stacks, significant forward progress seems to be required for even the third type to really start providing major contributions. All seem to require a significant 'activating' event.
For me, this order looked like this: ISTP > ISTJ > INTP > ISFJ > ISFP... > ... INTJ > ESTP > INFJ > INFP > ESTJ...
Edit: Remember that the ordering will be based off of subtype.
A lot of people get the first tertiary type and the fourth (anchor) type started, though it can take many years to get there and may never occur at all for some people. It's more or less the point we often consider someone 'mature' by today's standards. That second tertiary type is very hard to get started, likely because the dominant function in the shadow functional stack of that next type is the core's shadow tertiary.
To show this with an example, the ISTP shadow tertiary is Ne and shadow inferior is Fi. Here's INTJ (the major roadblock for ISTP) with all eight functions shown.
Dominant: Ni --- Ne
Auxiliary: Te --- Ti
Tertiary: Fi --- Fe
Inferior: Se --- Si
The issue may be perceived as an inability to connect Te and Ni, but Ne is very clearly in a prominent position within the shadow functional stack and would be the actual problem area. An interesting note to make is that the shadow functional stack corresponds with the main functional stack of ENTP. The backbone of the capstone type (ESTJ for an ISTP) is similar in that is also has the same ordering for the main and shadow functional stack. The two types just swap which of the two is the prominent functional stack. This seems to be the case when swapping the E/I and J/P letters of a type. So that may be an interesting avenue to explore when looking for advice on a current mental hurdle.
Fortunately, it seems to get a tad easier after that major hurdle is overcome, though still not easy. Each type needs to be activated, but the mind is already used to it by this point and the initially weak functions have also been significantly bolstered. The required trigger should be less severe for types past this second tertiary type.
The major obstacle when activating a new functional stack seems to often be related to where the core's shadow tertiary and shadow inferior (especially the former) appear in the new functional stack. So don't get too distracted by the dominant/auxiliary combo of the new type, as the real road block might be slightly different and located elsewhere. Knowing what to look for should help tremendously, as will knowing why to focus on resolving it and what may lie on the other side of overcoming that mental obstacle.
A last word of caution would be about the capstone's backbone. Much like with the original backbone type, a stability may set in that'll require a bit of extra effort to break out of before proceeding to the last few types. It is interesting to note that the first major roadblock many people are stopped at is after five types, or a third of the way through type progression. This second potential hurdle is after ten types - two thirds of the way through.
FAQ/observations and thoughts
Q. How can I determine my core type so that I know what to focus on?
A. There's a lot of information already out there to help in this area, but some of the observations I've mentioned should also help - especially if someone has managed to get more than one type online, such as the core and the backbone (a common roadblock). Knowing the order itself should prove very helpful of course, but looking for the core's inferior shadow function via what types of situations cause a 'hot button' reaction may also prove useful in identifying the core type. Also, the shadow tertiary would be an incredibly weak function of the psyche for an undeveloped type, so that may serve as another clue. To add to that, looking at not just the person's current state but also their past should prove very useful. In particular, examining how they acted as a child (pre-teens, mainly). It may be easier to find behavior that'll lead to determining the core type by examining that part of a person's history. Not everyone is cut out for analyzing data of that nature, so asking for assistance would make quite a bit of sense for some types.
Q. How about determining my current progress?
A. This is a bit trickier and requires some personal honesty. Claiming to have progressed to a stage you aren't yet at will only cause you to waste time trying to activate a functional stack that isn't actually next in line for you. Take note of how your type might use each functional stack, rather than how the type linked to it behaves (especially in the case of tertiary types), and compare to whatever currently worries you. Obtaining assistance in this area can be extremely helpful, but caution is still advised. Even with all I've learned while writing this, I sometimes incorrectly estimate a person's current state of growth or even core type. Particularly for types I currently have less experience with (and when I try to make an initial analysis off of minimal information, before really talking to them about it). I've gotten fairly decent at revising my evaluation rather quickly as new information becomes available, but just a word of caution about assuming the first answer to be absolutely true.
Q. What about the facets of each preference?
A. Facets are a relatively fine level detail in comparison to types, preferences, and even functions. They also might be on the characteristics side (grows out of the type) rather than a building block - haven't inspected them thoroughly enough to determine that, but that's my impression of them. From my experience in dealing with details, facets did not strike me as being important/requiring attention to be able to progress. Someone else may be able to do a better analysis and show if awareness and focus on facets can help expedite the journey through type development or not. Perhaps they could be a useful thing to focus on changing while moving through the type progression. I'll leave that streamlining analysis to someone that's better suited to it.
Q. What about Ambiverts?
A. To my knowledge, Ambiverts are basically a 'we're not sure if you're a thing, but you're obviously a bit different from someone clearly E or I so we kind of have to recognize you're there.' Aka, it hasn't really been decided (especially at a professional level) if they're an actual thing or merely a symptom of something else. I won't try to answer that, so I'll just give both answers (typical P type, right?).
If Ambivert is not a real preference, and there is a single core type as many professionals have expressed, this type progression may actually help clear up the confusion. If this were the case, then it is likely that an Ambivert has their core type and the type five 'capstone' developed without all of the support structure (a possibility mentioned above). As it simply reverses the four pairs of the eight functions without moving the pairs themselves, it seems plausible that a person might be able to activate the capstone type pre-maturely. By going through the development of additional types, they'd end up with both types at the end anyway, but the types in the middle will have been based off of the core type. This may prove especially helpful to those that sometimes feel energized and sometimes feel drained from both E/I activities. Since there is a core type, that means there's a backbone type to place the four functions into that are still floating around as shadow functions. This will also give an additional type on the same side of the E/I line as their core, which should help stabilize things. If they can't identify their core type (see above for a few tips), then some generic J/P changes may need to be focused on until type two emerges. They might also be partway through their natural progression as well, so the next type may be something other than the backbone type.
If Ambivert is a real preference, then (assuming this progression works for them as well) how the new types emerge could prove interesting. Recall how I mentioned that Socionics and MBTI divide and define things a bit differently. Like picking a different spot to draw a dividing line of the same circle - and different people having different starting points in that circle. Ambiverts could very well just be someone that started right on top of that E/I dividing line. If that is the case, it would just be a matter of needing a different classification/dividing line to explain where they start and where they grow into. They may only be partially developed in the common definition of each type (which combine to make a full Ambivert type), but going through type progression should eventually give them the stability needed just like with other types. That and using a different dividing line for E/I, to account for Ambiverts, would mean they'd have the normal amount of types.
I'm rather leaning towards the first option after looking at both, but I wouldn't rule anything out without strong evidence. Real answer may very well be something else entirely.
Q. Can I go out of order and development a type outside the four adjacent to my core type right away?
A. It is hard to be absolutely certain, but it seems being able to pick and choose would be rather improbable. It'd likely be similar to shoving a square peg into a round hole and would have a high possibility of being rather unhealthy - possibly triggering a tether effect. No reason to be jealous of other types. Half the point of typology in general is for people to appreciate their own gifts rather than being envious of others. It does make me think of those old family run inns that were passed down through the generations, especially the ones where the daughter was forced to learn numerous rituals and behaviors even if it clashed with her personality. Possibly forcing the emergence of the type deemed the 'best' to provide the service that establishment was known for providing. I recall reading an article on a similar situation, such as a job that's a poor fit for a person and they forced themselves to adapt to it. It basically amounted to soldiering through it despite internal protests from their core, but as soon as the person leaves the situation their core type would reassert itself. Sounds more like emulation of behaviors rather than true type development. If, for whatever reason, someone's experiences in life has caused them to fully develop another type out of order and it's causing issues, the best that I can recommend is just following the type progression from their core. As each aspect gains a place to express itself, the overall balance and health of the person should improve and they'll be more readily able to support the ways that the extra type varies from their core.
Closing thoughts (really)
I will take some time to share a perspective in regards to these seemingly opposing dynamics. I'll use the T vs F relationship, as it is by far the most widely recognized difference, even by people among general society that are unaware of typology. I'll approach it from my own position as a T developing F (and why to bother doing so), as I believe that this is generally the biggest point of contention. T types have a tendency to dismiss emotions and focus on their logical side. F types don't necessarily dismiss the value of logic (many value it quite highly, even if it does not come naturally to them), they just place higher priority and value on the emotional side of things and would like to share those values with the T types.
T types prize strong logic. When properly exercised, it allows us to learn more about the very nature of things and why they are the way they are. Incorrect conclusions can often be reached, but this is generally due to incomplete information or poorly executed logic by the person rather than an issue with the way the world is structured. The world will continue to work the way it does whether someone understands it or not. Emotions are often viewed as inconsequential to the process of determining the logical nature of things. As T types generally have an underdeveloped F preference, they have significant trouble learning or understanding the lessons and principles that many F types do as a matter of course. Thus, T types often only see the emotions and are stopped short of the actual goal and purpose of said emotions. So it is no wonder that they place a significantly lower value upon them. Emotions are often seen as whimsical and as having no true basis in a logical reality.
Consider this, though. Do not many F types reach the same conclusions and hold the same values as their peers? Such as caring for the needy, the sanctity of all life, the importance of trust and honesty, and many other values. There may be some variance, but just like improperly applied logic can lead to an incorrect conclusion, so too can poorly handled and processed emotions lead to a conclusion that is inaccurate. How many principles and values, that are foreign or unimportant to many T types, are agreed upon almost universally by types such as INFPs, ENFPs, ISFPs, and so forth? On top of that, there have also been people espousing many of these same values all throughout history. Does this not indicate that there may in fact be an underlying, unchanging emotional foundation to the world that serves as just as much of a universal constant as the logical structure that T types so eagerly pursue and attempt to know? Furthermore, it does not seem altogether likely that these two entities are completely separate. It instead seems a much stronger possibility that the two are interconnected with each other (much like both are represented within every person's functional stack). This would indicate that both sides of the equation need to be employed, even if a person is primarily pursuing only one end of the spectrum. The reverse would also be true, in that logic may at times be required to obtain a further understanding of emotion based values. If all of this is indeed the case, then by completely ignoring and devaluing one side of the equation a person will never get the full picture and will be forever basing their actions and perspective off of an intentionally incomplete understanding of things. Carrying on in such a manner when there's an alternative seems, to me, to be extremely illogical and inefficient.
The psyche didn't start operating in the manner I've described recently. A large number of history's influential figures may very well have been people that managed to stumble their way through type development, whether in part or in full. Albert Einstein, for example. Often considered the poster boy for the INTP type. Sorry, my Ti-dom compatriots, but I will suggest that this was not the case. Einstein was instead a developed ENTP and the INTP capstone caused the mix up. Might be hard to hear, but I have confidence that your Ti will allow you to accept it.
However, as your Ti-dom sibling, I still have your back. There's someone else that I can confidently point to as a fully developed INTP. Bill Gates. Simplest method of pointing this out is that his fourth 'anchor' type is INFP. The Gates Foundation is specifically setup to find logical solutions that can be used to improve the entire world. In contrast, an ENTP's anchor type is ESTP.
This does suggest the amusing idea that developed ENFPs are the 'Einsteins of emotions.' Mahatma Gandhi may have actually been an example of this, based on a relatively quick initial analysis. I've seen varying one word descriptions of each personality type, so I'm picking and choosing from different sources here, but If we take the ENFP type progression functional stack and look at the last developed type of each line and piece them together, we'd get this (starting from the core and going to the inferior) to describe a developed ENFP: A 'Campaigning Mediator' that is a 'Thinking Virtuoso.' Another pairing of the core and capstone (ENFP > INFP) using descriptors I've seen would be "Inspiring Idealist." Doesn't sound too far off the mark to me.
Many more people that have developed their type beyond the common road block can likely be identified, now that you know what to look for. This may be the case for many prominent world leaders. They aren't formed from a different mold like one might think, they're simply normal people that are the early adopters of becoming awesome.
Soon, awesome will be the new normal.
About a decade ago, I played an online game that allowed players to set a personal motto. This was displayed to anybody looking up that player's information. That game was also one of the first places where I really put into action that ISTJ ability to push through the thick and thin of something once committed, due to the belief that the end result is worth it. It remains an extremely meaningful experience for me to this day for that and many other reasons. The motto that I eventually chose is as follows:
"The path to greatness does not have any shortcuts."
"Come into this world of mine..." -Gavin Dunne, a developed ISFP
Your friendly neighborhood ISTP troubleshooter
P.S. Problem solved. Problem staying solved.