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Body and Personality Type - Links to the MBTIģ
by Dario Nardi, Ph.D.


Many people are familiar with the 16 personality types as popularized by Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs. A four-letter code is often used to distinguish types, such as ENFP or ISTJ. However, the code represents more than dichotomous preferences such as extroverting (E) versus introverting (I). The code represents a habitual mindset, as described by 1920ís Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.

How do the 8 biotypes relate to the 16 psychological types? This is a hard question. Two people of the same personality type may have very different biotype profiles. There are short, tall, fast, slow, muscular, fat and thin ENFPís to name some varieties of one personality type! It appears there is no set correspondence. People of the same personality type do vary, however, in ways other than body type. One variation is attitudes and beliefs. Preliminary results from on-going research suggest this is a link between biotype and personality type.

Human Development
Individuals mature within larger contexts of relationships like family, peers, work organization, and social culture. Unlike personality type, human development focuses on themes that all people usually face - coupling, career choice, puberty, parenthood, identity, death and so on. Attitudes and beliefs play a role. Within each developmental arena we encounter various developmental tasks, issues and challenges. We can respond positively or negatively, in moderation or extremity, with simplicity or complexity. How we respond reflects attitudes and beliefs about our relationship to ourselves, others, society and the world, and the process of living life. Over time, with choices and experiences, a discernable pattern of development emerges. Here are some ways we can respond to lifeís challenges:

The Individual-Interpersonal Arena
a) Expressing - natural free expression of true self, needs and values are met, talents are engaged without fear, learning to trust others.
b) Defending - protection and negotiation of true self, needs and values are held back, talents are hidden or adapted, learning to handle danger.

The Social-Cultural Arena
a) Fitting in - match or adopt cultural norms, acceptance of talents by mainstream society, imitate others' strengths, learning to make positive contributions.
b) Rebelling - oppose or negate cultural norms, rejection of talents by mainstream society, avoid others' failings, learning to think, feel and act for oneself.

The Values-World Arena
a) Believing - know truth, success with own values, believe in own beliefs, question opposition, self-control, change the world, empowering, learning to take on a greater purpose.
b) Wondering - try various truths, be someone new, find own meaning, discard beliefs, self-awareness, wander the world, perspective shifting, learning to internalize own commitments.

The Transcendent-Meta Arena
a) Creating - trust the unconscious, self-leadership, business of living, professional creativity, access resources for daily choices and changes, learning to just be.
b) Leading - trust collective human nature, leader for opposing groups, daily self-testing, self-sacrifice for free, maintain grace and humility, learning to pass on.

When we are younger, it is often easier to pin-point attitudes and beliefs; when older, it is usually easier to characterize our lives as a journey. Tests of character may resolve, soften or intensify issues and attitudes. For each of us, there is a pattern of development. Is someone responding by fitting-in and believing, rebelling and expressing, or some other pattern?

Body, Beliefs and Personality
Developmental pattern, biotype and personality type are interrelated. Two ENFP thyroid-gonad types will share a similar developmental pattern, while an ENFP thymus-adrenal type will have a different pattern. A hypothesis is that this relationship varies on a type-by-type basis. So an ENFP and an ISTJ, though both thyroid types, would not share necessarily a similar developmental pattern. The implication is that what we believe influences our health and well-being, our body shape and metabolism, and vice versa. This is an ancient insight and the fruits of future research await discovery.

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