The Physiology of Jung's 4 Psychological Functions

  • Why do Extraverts and Introverts need to take their Extraversion / Introversion into account when seeking or designing a comfortable place to work.

    Extraverts may be given a job that matches their natural lead function, but which is generally done in an isolated or subdued environment. When this happens, the Extravert will attempt to remedy the "problem" he senses internally as he notices he has difficulty focusing and or is falling asleep. He or she will adjust their environment so that they feel and actually are alert. They could do this by: 1) leaving their place of work for an area in which there is more happening — where there are other people talking or where there is more noise in general; or 2) increasing the noise / stimulation level where they work, by turning on a radio or if there are any other people working in the same area, starting to talk to these people.

    Similarly, Introverts may be given a job that matches their natural lead function, but which is generally done in the midst of lots of "action" or in an environment which is in some other way intensely stimulating: because there is a fire, or a crisis, for example. When this happens, the Introvert will attempt to remedy the "problem" he senses internally as he notices he has difficulty concentrating and to some extent is feeling overwhelmed by what is going on around him. He or she will adjust their environment so that they feel and actually are comfortable and once again able to focus. They could do this by: 1) leaving their place of work for an area in which there is less happening — where there are fewer people talking or where there is very little noise; or 2) decreasing the noise / stimulation level where they work, by closing their office door, wearing ear-plugs, or if there are any other people working in the same area, asking them to not talk so much / so loudly — or go somewhere else to talk.

    By contrast, those which Eysenck identifies as having a Balanced arousal level, have an easier time when trying to assure their own peak performance. While at work they may "adjust" to satisfy their employer, or their own drive to be successful, so that can work in an Extraverted, Balanced or Introverted environment. The difficulty is that if they adjust at work to perform a job which is more Extraverted, they will use the evening to achieve Balance — by Introverting, which may mean they do not spend much time or energy with their spouse or children, or dating for that matter. By contrast, if they adjust at work to do a job that is more Introverted, the person will use the evening to achieve Balance by Extraverting — partying, dancing etc.

  • So we see, bringing neuroscience to bear on Jung's model can enhance our appreciation for Jung's model while, at the same time, helping us to apply his model with greater sensitivity and accuracy.

    Bibliography on Extraversion / Introversion

    For those wishing to read more in-depth and technical sources, the following bibliography is recommended.

    • Aron, Elaine W. The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You. Birch Lane Press, 1996.
    • Eysenck, Hans J. A Model of Personality. Springer-Verlag. Berlin 1981
    • Hafen, Brent Q. Mind/Body Health: The Effects of Attitudes, Emotions and Relationships. Simon & Schuster / Allyn & Bacon 1996.
    • Justice, Blair, Ph.D. Who Gets Sick: How Beliefs, Moods and Thoughts Affect Your Health. Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc. Los Angeles, 1987.
    • Konner, Melvin. The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit. Holt Reinhart & Winston. New York 1982.
    • Loye, David. The Sphinx and the Rainbow: Brain Mind and Future Vision. New Science Library / Shambhala. London & Boulder. 1983.
    • Schlain, Leonard. The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image. Viking. New York 1998.
    • Totora, Gerald J. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology 7th edition. Harper Collins. 1992.

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