What is jung’s theory of personality

Deborah C. Escalante

Have you ever felt like you learn best in a particular way? Learning styles affect how well we learn under certain conditions. Some students learn best by hearing information, while others learn best by seeing it. Different theories have emerged to describe how students prefer to learn best, including Jungian learning styles, the VARK learning style model, and the Kolb learning style model.

Jungian Learning Styles

Students learning

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One learning style theory is based on the work of analytical psychologist Carl Jung, who developed a theory of psychological types designed to categorize people in terms of various personality patterns.

Jung’s Theory of Personality Types

Jung’s theory focuses on four basic psychological functions:

  1. Extraversion vs. introversion
  2. Sensation vs. intuition
  3. Thinking vs. feeling
  4. Judging vs. perceiving

This theory later led to the development of the famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

These dimensions can also be used to assess and describe various learning styles. While each dimension represents a unique aspect of a learning style, individual learning style may include a combination of these dimensions. For example, your learning style might include elements of extraverted, sensing, feeling, and perceiving learning styles.

Extraverted Learning Style

Extroverted students

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The first component of the Jungian learning style dimensions indicates how learners interact with the outside world. Extraverted learners enjoy generating energy and ideas from other people. They prefer socializing and working in groups. Learning activities that benefit extraverted learners include teaching others how to solve a problem, collaborative work, and problem-based learning.

If you enjoy teaching others, participating in a group, and learning by experience, you are probably an extraverted learner. Approximately 60% of learners are extraverted learners.

Characteristics of Extravert Learners

  • Learn best through direct experience
  • Enjoy working with others in groups
  • Often gather ideas from outside sources
  • Willing to lead, participate and offer opinions
  • Jump right in without guidance from others

Introverted Learning Style

Smiling student with phone

Dan Schaffer / Caiaimage / Getty Images

While introverted learners are still sociable, they prefer to solve problems on their own. Introverted learners enjoy generating energy and ideas from internal sources, such as brainstorming, personal reflection, and theoretical exploration.

These learners prefer to think about things before attempting to try a new skill. If you enjoy solitary studying, individual work, and abstract ideas, you are probably an introverted learner. Approximately 40% of learners are introverted learners.

Characteristics of Introvert Learners

  • Prefer to work alone
  • Enjoy quiet, solitary work
  • Often generate ideas from internal sources

    

    

  • Prefer to listen, watch and reflect
  • Like to observe others before attempting a new skill

    

    

Sensing Learning Style

Learning by experience

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Sensing learners are focused on aspects of the physical environment. Jung described these individuals as being interested in the external world. They tend to be realistic and practical, preferring to rely on information gained through experience.

While people with a sensing learning style enjoy order and routine, they also tend to be very quick to adapt to changing environments and situations. Approximately 65% of learners have a sensing learning style.

Characteristics of Sensate Learners

  • Focus on the present
  • Practical and reasonable
  • Use experience and common sense to solve problems
  • Keenly observe the surrounding world

Intuitive Learning Style

Intuitive student

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Intuitive learners tend to focus more on the world of possibility. Unlike sensing learners, who are interested in the here and now, intuitive learners enjoy considering ideas, possibilities, and potential outcomes. These learners like abstract thinking, daydreaming, and imagining the future. Approximately 35% of learners are intuitive learners.

Characteristics of Intuitive Learners

  • Prefer to work in short sessions, rather than finishing a task all at once
  • Enjoy new challenges, experiences, and situations
  • More likely to look at the big picture rather than the details
  • Like theories and abstract ideas

Thinking Learning Style

Perceptive student

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Individuals with a thinking learning style tend to focus more on the structure and function of information and objects. Thinking learners use rationality and logic when dealing with problems and decisions. These learners often base decisions on personal ideas of right, wrong, fairness, and justice. Approximately 55% of males and 35% of females have a thinking learning style.

Characteristics of Thinking Learners

  • Interested in logic and patterns
  • Dislike basing decisions on emotions

    

    

  • Make decisions based on reason and logic

Feeling Learning Style

Smiling and studying

Tim Robberts / Taxi / Getty Images

People with a feeling style manage information based on the initial emotions it generates. They are interested in personal relationships, feelings, and social harmony. If you base decisions on emotions and dislike conflict, you might have a feeling learning style. Approximately 45% of males and 65% of females are feeling learners.

Characteristics of Feeling Learners

  • Interested in people and their feelings
  • In tune with their own emotions and those of other people
  • Base decisions on immediate feelings
  • Generate excitement and enthusiasm in group settings

Judging Learning Style

Serious student in class

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Judging learners tend to be very decisive. In some cases, these learners may make decisions too quickly, before learning everything they need to know about a situation. These learners prefer order and structure, which is why they tend to plan out activities and schedules very carefully.

If you are highly organized, detail-oriented, and have strong opinions, you might be a judging learner. Approximately 45% of people are judging learners.

Characteristics of Judging Learners

  • Do not like ambiguity or mystery
  • Tend to be firm in their decisions
  • Very organized and structured

    

    

  • Have strong opinions
  • Generally follow the rules

Perceiving Learning Style

Student looking at molecular model

Hill Street Studios / Blend Images / Getty Images

Perceiving learners tend to make decisions impulsively in response to new information and changing situations. However, these learners tend to focus more on indulging their curiosity rather than making decisions. Unlike judging learners who tend not to change their minds, perceiving learners prefer to keep their options open.

If you tend to start many projects at once (often without finishing any of them), avoid strict schedules, and jump into projects without planning, you might be a perceiving learner. Approximately 55% of people are perceiving learners.

Characteristics of Perceiving Learners

  • Often make impulsive decisions
  • Change decisions based on new information
  • Dislike structure and organization

    

    

  • Tend to be very flexible and adaptable
  • Sometimes have trouble making decisions

Can You Change Your Learning Style?

No matter how you feel about how you learn best, branching out and trying other learning strategies can help maximize learning. Sticking to what you believe is your preferred style may not help you get the most out of your study time.

One study found that learning styles can change for a variety of reasons. Factors that can contribute to changes in learning styles include:

  • Context
  • Environment
  • Teaching method
  • Subject matter

How to Change Your Learning Style

So if you want to work on changing your preferred learning style, try changing where you study and experiment with different learning methods. Intentionally incorporate other tactics and learning formats—such as videos, visuals, lectures, readings, and group discussions—into your studies.

While the concept of learning styles has become very popular, it has also been the subject of considerable criticism. Labeling students with one specific style, critics suggest, can hinder the learning process.

Research has also demonstrated that matching instructional strategies to student learning styles does not improve educational outcomes. So while you might feel like a certain style matches your learning preferences, drawing on various learning and study strategies is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your educational experience.

Different approaches can also help improve your capacity for learning and challenge your brain to tackle different challenges. So if you know that you prefer to learn by quietly reading on your own, you might augment your solo studies by participating in a study group where you can further cement that knowledge (and pick up other new information) through group discussions or guest lectures. 

Varying your approach to learning can not only help introduce you to new study strategies, but can also help make learning more fun and interesting.

A Word From Verywell

The learning styles based on Jung’s theory of personality represent just one way of thinking about how people learn. While the concept of learning styles remains very popular, research has found little evidence to support the idea that offering instruction based upon learning preferences leads to improved learning outcomes.

But learning styles can still be a helpful way to think about some of the ways that you enjoy learning. As you look at each style, think about which strategies appeal the most to you. In all likelihood, you will find that your own unique learning preferences draw upon several learning styles.

Carl Jung’s Theories: Archetypes, & The Collective Unconscious

By Dr. Saul McLeod, published 2018

Carl Jung was an early supporter of Freud because of their shared interest in the unconscious. He was an active member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society (formerly known as the Wednesday Psychological Society).

When the International Psychoanalytical Association formed in 1910 Jung became president at the request of Freud.

freud Wednesday society

Wednesday Psychological Society

However in 1912 while on a lecture tour of America Jung publicly criticized Freud’s theory of the Oedipus complex and his emphasis on infantile sexuality. The following year this led to an irrevocable split between them and Jung went on to develop his own version of psychoanalytic theory.

Most of Jung’s assumptions of his analytical psychology reflect his theoretical differences with Freud. For example, while Jung agreed with Freud that a person’s past and childhood experiences determined future behavior, he also believed that we are shaped by our future (aspirations) too.

Differences between Jung and Freud

Jung - Freud Comparison Table

Theory of the Libido

Jung (1948) disagreed with Freud regarding the role of sexuality. He believed the libido was not just sexual energy, but instead generalized psychic energy.

For Jung, the purpose of psychic energy was to motivate the individual in a number of important ways, including spiritually, intellectually, and creatively. It was also an individual’s motivational source for seeking pleasure and reducing conflict

Theory of the Unconscious

Like Freud (and Erikson) Jung regarded the psyche as made up of a number of separate but interacting systems. The three main ones were the ego, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious.

According to Jung, the ego represents the conscious mind as it comprises the thoughts, memories, and emotions a person is aware of. The ego is largely responsible for feelings of identity and continuity.

Like Freud, Jung (1921, 1933) emphasized the importance of the unconscious in relation to personality. However, he proposed that the unconscious consists of two layers.

The first layer called the personal unconscious is essentially the same as Freud’s version of the unconscious. The personal unconscious contains temporality forgotten information and well as repressed memories.

Jung (1933) outlined an important feature of the personal unconscious called complexes. A complex is a collection of thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories that focus on a single concept.

The more elements attached to the complex, the greater its influence on the individual. Jung also believed that the personal unconscious was much nearer the surface than Freud suggested and Jungian therapy is less concerned with repressed childhood experiences. It is the present and the future, which in his view was the key to both the analysis of neurosis and its treatment.

The Collective Unconscious

However, by far the most important difference between Jung and Freud is Jung’s notion of the collective (or transpersonal) unconscious. This is his most original and controversial contribution to personality theory.

The collective unconscious is a universal version of the personal unconscious, holding mental patterns, ormemory traces, which are shared with other members of human species (Jung, 1928). These ancestral memories, which Jung calledarchetypes, are represented by universal themes in various cultures, as expressed through literature, art, and dreams.

‘The form of the world into which [a person] is born is already inborn in him, as a virtual image’ (Jung, 1953, p. 188).

According to Jung, the human mind has innate characteristics “imprinted” on it as a result of evolution. These universal predispositions stem from our ancestral past. Fear of the dark, or of snakes and spiders might be examples, and it is interesting that this idea has recently been revived in the theory of prepared conditioning (Seligman, 1971).

However, more important than isolated tendencies are those aspects of the collective unconscious that have developed into separate sub-systems of the personality. Jung (1947) called these ancestral memories and images archetypes.

Jungian Archetypes

Jungian archetypes are defined as images and themes that derive from the collective unconscious, as proposed by Carl Jung. Archetypes have universal meanings across cultures and may show up in dreams, literature, art or religion.

Jungian archetypes are defined as images and themes that derive from the collective unconscious, as proposed by Carl Jung. Archetypes have universal meanings across cultures and may show up in dreams, literature, art or religion.

Jung (1947) believes symbols from different cultures are often very similar because they have emerged from archetypes shared by the whole human race which are part of our collective unconscious.

For Jung, our primitive past becomes the basis of the human psyche, directing and influencing present behavior. Jung claimed to identify a large number of archetypes but paid special attention to four.

Jung labeled these archetypes the Self, the Persona, the Shadow and the Anima/Animus.

The Persona

The persona (or mask) is the outward face we present to the world. It conceals our real self and Jung describes it as the “conformity” archetype. This is the public face or role a person presents to others as someone different to who we really are (like an actor).

The Anima/Animus

Another archetype is the anima/animus. The “anima/animus” is the mirror image of our biological sex, that is, the unconscious feminine side in males and the masculine tendencies in women.

Each sex manifests attitudes and behavior of the other by virtue of centuries of living together. The psyche of a woman contains masculine aspects (the animus archetype), and the psyche of a man contains feminine aspects (the anima archetype).

The Shadow

Next is the shadow. This is the animal side of our personality (like the id in Freud). It is the source of both our creative and destructive energies. In line with evolutionary theory, it may be that Jung’s archetypes reflect predispositions that once had survival value.

The Self

Finally, there is the self which provides a sense of unity in experience. For Jung, the ultimate aim of every individual is to achieve a state of selfhood (similar to self-actualisation), and in this respect, Jung (like Erikson) is moving in the direction of a more humanist orientation.

That was certainly Jung’s belief and in his book “The Undiscovered Self” he argued that many of the problems of modern life are caused by “man’s progressive alienation from his instinctual foundation.” One aspect of this is his views on the significance of the anima and the animus.

Jung argues that these archetypes are products of the collective experience of men and women living together. However, in modern Western civilization men are discouraged from living their feminine side and women from expressing masculine tendencies. For Jung, the result was that the full psychological development both sexes was undermined.

Together with the prevailing patriarchal culture of Western civilization this has led to the devaluation of feminine qualities altogether, and the predominance of the persona (the mask) has elevated insincerity to a way of life which goes unquestioned by millions in their everyday life.

Critical Evaluation

Jung’s (1947, 1948) ideas have not been as popular as Freud’s. This might be because he did not write for the layman and as such his ideas were not a greatly disseminated as Freud’s. It may also be because his ideas were a little more mystical and obscure, and less clearly explained.

On the whole modern psychology has not viewed Jung’s theory of archetypes kindly. Ernest Jones (Freud’s biographer) tells that Jung “descended into a pseudo-philosophy out of which he never emerged” and to many his ideas look more like New Age mystical speculation than a scientific contribution to psychology.

However, while Jung’s research into ancient myths and legends, his interest in astrology and fascination with Eastern religion can be seen in that light, it is also worth remembering that the images he was writing about have, as a matter of historical fact, exerted an enduring hold on the human mind.

Furthermore, Jung himself argues that the constant recurrence of symbols from mythology in personal therapy and in the fantasies of psychotics support the idea of an innate collective cultural residue. In line with evolutionary theory it may be that Jung’s archetypes reflect predispositions that once had survival value.

Jung proposed that human responses to archetypes are similar to instinctual responses in animals. One criticism of Jung is that there is no evidence that archetypes are biologically based or similar to animal instincts (Roesler, 2012).

Rather than being seen as purely biological, more recent research suggests that archetypes emerge directly from our experiences and are reflections of linguistic or cultural characteristics (Young-Eisendrath, 1995).

However, Jung’s work has also contributed to mainstream psychology in at least one significant respect. He was the first to distinguish the two major attitudes or orientations of personality – extroversion and introversion (Jung, 1923). He also identified four basic functions (thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuiting) which in a cross-classification yield eight pure personality types.

Psychologists like Hans Eysenck and Raymond Cattell have subsequently built upon this. As well as being a cultural icon for generations of psychology undergraduates Jung, therefore, put forward ideas which were important to the development of modern personality theory.

How to reference this article:

McLeod, S. A. (2018, May 21). Carl jung. Simply Psychology. www.simplypsychology.org/carl-jung.html

APA Style References

Jung, C. G. (1921). Psychological types. The collected works of CG Jung, Vol. 6 Bollingen Series XX.

Jung, C. G. (1923). On The Relation Of Analytical Psychology To Poetic Art 1. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 3(3), 213-231.

Jung, C. G. (1928). Contributions to analytical psychology. New York: Harcourt Brace

Jung, C. G. (1933). Modern man in search of his soul.

Jung, C. G. (1947). On the Nature of the Psyche. London: Ark Paperbacks.

Jung, C. G. (1948). The phenomenology of the spirit in fairy tales. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, 9(Part 1), 207-254.

Jung, C. G. (1953). Collected works. Vol. 12. Psychology and alchemy.

Roesler, C. (2012). Are archetypes transmitted more by culture than biology? Questions arising from conceptualizations of the archetype. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 57(2), 223-246.

Seligman, M. E. P. (1971). Preparedness and phobias. Behavior Therapy, 2(3), 307-20.

Young-Eisendrath, P. (1995). Struggling with jung: The value of uncertainty. Psychological Perspectives, 31(1), 46-54.

How to reference this article:

McLeod, S. A. (2018, May 21). Carl jung. Simply Psychology. www.simplypsychology.org/carl-jung.html

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