Thinking or Feeling (MBTI)

Over the last few days, I have been contemplating how individuals raised in broadly the same social structure can have marked differences in values and the way they make decisions. They can be on completely different pages, maybe not even in the same book or library. Their values can be so at odds as to seem alien to one another.

I was reminded of a course that I gave for Ph.D. students at the Babraham Institute a part of Cambridge University.

There were a few slides used in group work that revealed the notion of living among “aliens”. It is to do with the thinking (T) – feeling (F) MBTI dichotomy.  I asked people in groups {F and T} to brainstorm answers to these questions:

Because of government cuts they are

going to close your youngest daughter’s


You live in an urban area.

There are a number of schools in the

borough she could transfer to.

What factors would you consider in

your choice of the new school?

The T types went for “league table position” as first option and the F types went for “where are her friends going?” The two groups looked at each other’s responses in mild horror. Their friends and colleagues were in fact aliens…

I then proceeded to ask:

In a situation of conflict, what is your worst fear?

I made some predictions which were revealed after they gave their results.

Typical T answers:

Death, violence, losing, being wrong, losing control, getting emotional, not resolving the problem.

Typical F answers:

Hurting feelings, losing a friend, being upset, damaging the relationship, ongoing bad feelings.

These predictions were often highly accurate.

People are worried about being wrong or dying…hmnn…

People brought up in roughly the same social structure can be on very different “planets”….