The neurochemical evidence for Cognitive Functions
Published: 07-14-2016 Edited: 07-14-2016
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Do the cognitive functions exist? So far, nothing in neuroscience suggests cognitive functions can be divided into certain areas. But with Helen Fisher, support for the cognitive functions might finally exist. To create merit to the cognitive functions, we have to find that personality types with introverted thinking and extroverted feeling are distinct to types with introverted feeling and extroverted thinking. To do that, we must find that ESTPs and INFJs alike share a certain amount of personality traits, albeit they are different in most other regards. In Socionics, the sixteen personality types are divided into four quadras. But as they state themselves, coming up with good definitions that work for all types has so far proven difficult. If we could find evidence for it and good descriptions however, that would give solid evidence for the existence of cognitive functions.
And evidence may have been found in Helen Fishers four types, the Explorers, the Directors, the Negotiators and the Builders. Helen Fisher is not just any psychogoloy charlatan but an evolutionary biologist who has studied the influence of neurochemicals on love and romance. Her theory is far from complete, and it's mostly a hyphothesis that is yet to be confirmed, but it does offer some amazing perspective on personality and neurochemicals. If her theory is valid, the cognitive functions could be proven to be real as neurochemical impulses that influence your response to certain situations.
Negotiators / Alphas (ENTP, INTP, ISFJ, ESFJ)
Helen Fishers hyphothesis is that Negotiators are based on a high prenatal oestrogen and oxytocin, as prenatal and early exposure to estrogene has a large impact on the shaping of your brain. I would add to the theory that they also should have a higher responsiveness to Serotonin, providing further distinguishment from the other types. High prenatal and early age oestrogen would drive cooperative behavior in us, a higher agreeableness, and more empathy, generosity, and trust. I would categorize Negotiators as elaborate (oxytocin) in that they are aware of the group and good at discussing and building positive feelings towards their ideas. This is a salesman/politician like type, that enjoys abstract discussions and has a high social capital (roughly: they can be very popular.) It should be added that because of a weak response to dopamine, these types don't respond strongly to thrill and risk, and show a lower need for physical pleasure. Also, they show a low response to aggression and feel less threathened by competition.
Distinguishments here should be made that I believe, theoretically speaking, that introverted negotiators are more overall cautious with people, and that extroverts are more likely to approach new people. This would be because of the production of warning signals when oxytocin enters the brain. Perceivers on the other hand are overall more flexible with groups, jumping from group to group, where judging types are more consistent and loyal to specific groups. This would be because of the Val/Val gene or another similar gene influencing how fast your brain breaks down and needs more oxytocin.
There is an ongoing tug of war between these types, the NTPs and the SFJs, over who has the most social capital, who sets the norms on fashion and appropriate social behavior? What social behavior is right and what is wrong? How should we behave towards one another? How should we dress and treat our neighbors?
Explorers / Betas (ESTP, ISTP, INFJ, ENFJ)
Explorers are described as highly dopamine responsive types that build up enthusiasm and excitement quickly and that show a high degree of exciteability. I would further add that they most likely also have a high amount of oxytocin, but a weaker response to serotonin, than the negotiator types. These types would be characterized as being in pursuit of dopamine and thrill. But the introverts (due to more dopamine warning signals) would find a higher need to avoid high dopamine situations, while finding more safe ways of getting their kick. Their weaker response to serotonin and testosterone would generally be associated with a low aggressiveness and a low care for security and a lower than average care for social and cultural norms. Judgers, it should be added, break down dopamine slowly due to the met/met gene, which would mean they would be more narrow in their interests and their hobbies.
What I see here is a battle between NFJs and STPs on symbolical capital: who or what traits are impressive or fascinating? Which person is the most interesting? Who can break the most records? Who can accomplish the most dazzling feats? Who can have the biggest impact on society?
Directors / Gammas (ESFP, ISFP, INTJ, ENTJ)
Directors are characterized by a higher response to testosterone, competition, and conflict. They are more likely to trust their own objective judgement and less responsive to discussions and feedback from others. I also believe directors should show a higher response to dopamine than average, which would mean they become more excited by less exciting or engaged by things others would only find mildly exciting. The distinctions necessary here are that introverts will on average be more cautious before they initiate a conflict with others and more likely to work out a strategy first, while extroverts will be more overall intimidating. Adding to this, the introverts will be less likely to take risks, or more likely to plan ahead of them. Lastly, the judgers will be more narrow in their interests and their skills while the perceivers will have a more wide range of skills.
What I see here is that there is also an ongoing tug of war here between the NTJs and the SFPs where they are all trying to fight over the chain of command, who is the strongest, who makes the rules, and what rules are the best. This is a battle for legal and financial capital mostly.
Builders / Deltas (ENFP, INFP, ISTJ, ESTJ)
Builders are characterized by a higher response to serotonin and testosterone. This means they respond more strongly to conflicts, that they have a stronger trust in their own objective judgement, and a lower need for social discussions. Builders are like Negotiators more responsive to cultural and social feedback, which means they are always trying to create traditions and structures for everything they do, through lists, and order, but also through testosterone driven hierarchy and chain-of-command. They will be responsive to authority and to the natural order of things. But distinguishments should be made that the perceivers will be more norm-divergent and more likely to lose interest in a tradition or structure as soon as a new idea comes along, and that the introverts are more cautious towards initiating conflicts and making changes in the system.
What I also see here is a tug of war where Builders (ISTJs and ENFPs) are engaged in a tug of war on culture and what cultural norms and values should apply in society, and that there is always an ongoing rebellion from NFP types, but that all of these types are trying to establish some form of cultural values in their community. This is a battle over cultural capital.
This is a trait that refers to how strong your response is to certain activities. (How interested you get!)
Chemical breakdown speed:
This is a trait that refers to how fast you break down chemicals after you have respondeded to an activity. (How quickly you lose interest)
Response towards chemicals:
Caution and boldness refers to if your brain generates warning signals when your brain picks up on problems in an activity you are about to engage in. If you produce many warning signals, you become cautious, and if you produce fewer, you become more bold - your brain tells you to proceed!
While we have found strong scientific evidence for variations of all of the classic myers briggs traits, evidence for the cognitive functions has so far not been found. This would be my highly theoretical opinion on what scientific components could influence people to have different cognitive functions. Science has yet to confirm or study many of these things in depth, but Helen Fisher and many of the findings on neurobiology make this a theoretically valid possibility.
I have also tried here to explain that Pierre Bourdieus theories on different forms of capital are somewhat related to these four types.
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