Type "inheritance"

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Type "inheritance"

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Fev 3, 2009, 8:00 pm

I am an INTJ. I have only one sibling, a sister, and she is an ESFP. It strikes me as sort of curious that the two of us have fully complementary MBTI preferences. I was wondering if anybody is aware of any research on distribution of types within family units, that would explain whether, say, siblings possessing opposite preferences is a common thing or not, and why. Or does anybody just have his or her own anecdotes about MBTI types within their own or other people's familes? Or any personal theories about how upbringing affects type?

Fev 4, 2009, 2:34 pm

I've always thought it is inherited - but what that means in practice I don't really know.

As for upbringing - I don't think it has a great deal to do with it. I am a believer in nature rather than nurture in personal character (of which MBTI is one facet).

I am an INTJ, my brother is an INTP.

My mother is an INFP, my father a _N_J.

Whenever I meet up with them (which is rarely - as they live on the other side of the world) I find myself trying to organise them - but it is like herding sheep! I cannot even get them all to sit down together at a restaurant (for instance). One will wander off, then another....

My wife (ESFP) thinks its hilarious.

Fev 4, 2009, 3:55 pm


I have to think that nurture has something to do with it. Maybe not "upbringing" per se, which may have been a poor word choice on my part initially, but I have a hard time believing that environment plays as limited a role as you think it does.

For instance, in my case, I can tell what seems to me a plausible story suggesting that, had my sister been an only child, she may have wound up with a different type in adulthood. My sister was born when I was two years old, and she was always competetive with me. It seems natural to me that in such a case, where I was already occupying certain niches in the family, and she was competetive with me for attention, her personality would develop to fill the roles that I was not filling. So for instance, where my dominant function was Ni, hers developed to be Se. Likewise for the secondary functions, Te and Fi, and so on.

On the other hand, if she had been born without the external pressure of a brother taking up some roles, I don't see any reason to believe that she would have necessarily turned out an ESFP.

Of course, that's just a plausible story that I tell myself. Even if the personality types of siblings were totally independent variables, still roughly 3 out of 1000 pairs of male and female siblings would register an INTJ brother and an ESFP sister (based on these estimates: http://www.mypersonality.info/personality-types/population-gender/). What could confirm my hypothesis is if we were to actually count pairs of siblings, and see if the frequency of these "supplementary pairs" is higher than projected based upon an assumption that sibling personality types are independent.

Fev 4, 2009, 5:00 pm

Based on my family i would have said that family members tend to be more alike than different MTBI-wise. I'd be curious to know if there are more counter-examples.

Fev 5, 2009, 2:47 am

Just to throw something else into the mix: Socionics theory has it that your 'Dual' (whom they claim you are most compatible with) is your opposite in many ways (so a Socionics INTj - which is a little different from an MBTI INTJ - has a Dual in the ESFp).

And MBTI theorists also have written that INTJs (using this type as it is my own) are attracted to ESFPs.

In my case that is true - my wife is an ESFP.

So therefore my family is not alike - and if my son inherits from us as parents, he could be any type.

Fev 5, 2009, 12:47 pm

I don't think it is uncommon for young children to stake out different personality areas from their siblings.

When I first dealt with the MBTI in a classroom setting, our teacher tried matching all up in pairs with as opposite a personality as possible to see what would happen. I think most of us found it difficult to establish commonality, but most of us did work our way through the exercise. This was back in 1984.

Fev 5, 2009, 4:27 pm

I am an ISTJ born on ESTJ parents married to an INTJ.

I have to admit tht it is easier for me to comunicate and agree with the INTJ then with the ESTJs. Maybe al the STJs can't allow someone else to take charge and have to be in control themselves. I would think that one sister is an ESTJ and another is an INFP. The third sister I would think is an INTJ.

I'm not sure that I will ever know.

Fev 7, 2009, 12:43 pm

My new boss is an ISTJ, and I am getting used to him. I am an ENTP, so we come at things quite differently. We're both fairly intelligent, but our scripts are so different, particularly because I am a big P.

Maio 5, 2009, 2:52 pm

I am an INFP married to an INTP with an ENFP sibling. Yet, my parents were ESFP and ISTJ, and brother was an ISFJ. I suspect it is like inheriting anything else; traits can be inherited from a couple of generations back, yet most traits will likely come directly from ones parents.

Maio 6, 2009, 3:11 pm

#9 Yes my thoughts exactly re inheritance.

I rather think my father's father and mother's mother were both INTJ's like me (although I will accept my mother's mother may have beeb ENTJ).

Neither of my parents are NTJ's so my type may have skipped (just like other characteristics skip) a generation.

Maio 6, 2009, 11:36 pm

I don't know. All this talk about skipping generations makes it sound as though we're supposing that each temperament preference is inherited in a single gene, like blue eyes versus brown, or attached ear lobes. That just doesn't ring true for me. In the first place, temperament almost certainly is influenced my nurture at some stage, even if only during early childhood development. Secondly, to the extent that temperament IS governed by genetics, I'd be extremely surprised to learn that, say, I and E phenotypes are the expressions of a single pair of alleles.

Maio 7, 2009, 2:50 pm

#11 Good point. I suspect what makes a particular preference are more connections to particular parts of the brain. If that were true, I have a strong suspicion that it is not one pair of alleles. In addition, my son looks exactly like my uncle on my mothers side. There are definitely more than one pair of alleles for that. On a related point, I was reading recently that there was a study done that showed the T/F is more like a bar chart, in the sense that a each is independent. Hence, a person can be strong in both, one, or neither.

Maio 19, 2009, 10:10 pm

When I took my first MBTI test over 15 years ago, I tested as an INTJ, but I didn't think the type completely fit. I kept taking verions of the test over again to see if the results would change but they did not.

I believe the explanation has to do with my relationship to my mother, who has been an unusually influential presence in my life. She is an INTP and I think, unconsciously, I internalized her logical approach because I admired it. While I have a strong thinking side, I believe I am more of a feeler. My guess is that the majority of my immediate family members are introverted and thinking with variations in sensing/intuition and judging/perceiving.

Set 20, 2009, 12:28 pm

#11 Certainly I think your allele suspicion may be correct; and others that have said MBTI skips a generation may be correct; my case in point(s):
I had my DNA done for ancestry; my top 4 matches were: Lille, France, Germany, Turkey and Greece (what?) I was expecting Ireland or Scotland and England, so it was a bit of a shocker. (ie no stated or documented family background from France, Turkey or Greece) Germany came as no surprise as everyone in the family said I took after a great aunt from the German side of the family....My point is that France, Germany, Greece, and Turkey may be or have been characterized in MBTI literature as Extraverted populations and I'm an INFJ. The other point is that I'm the only introvert in a family of Extraverts and my father was the only Extravert in a family of Introverts. The breakdown of MBTI in my family was: father, ENFP; mother, XNFJ; sister, ENFP. However, my father, ENFP, came from a family where INT/ISTs predominated. I'm thinking that I/E may not be a genetic inheritance, but may be a mutated, recessive gene as is my redheadedness (no direct antecedants) So while I don't think I/E has to be inherited, I do think there may be a gene for it, albeit a mutation; the case could be made, too, that as personality is developmental, nurture may explain I/E expression with an underlying genetic predispostion. Someday we'll know as gene mapping progresses.....

Mar 1, 2010, 6:40 pm

I'm an only child, and for what it's worth, I don't know any other INTJs in my family, nuclear or extended.

As best I can figure, my mother was ESFJ and my father was ISTJ. Well, we all had the J in common, anyway...