Three paradoxes of MBTI explained by the hunter-gatherer hypothesis
When I first came across the Myers-Briggs indicator I found the usual statistics which seem both plausible and paradoxical at the same time. The hunter-gatherer hypothesis has the potential to explain them. According to my HG hypothesis, this is where the four temperaments come from:
So, here are the paradoxes:
This is one of the statistics most commonly found on the Internet and on online fora. I have never seen the source so that I could verify its validity. However, it does seem fairly accurate. The most frequent type among Mensa members is ENFP, which is the most frequent N-type.
The paradox is immediately visible: INTPs, who are right at the top when it comes to giftedness are among the lowest earners and so are INFP, INFJ and ENFP. N-types earn considerably less than S-types.
If N-types are evolutionary hunter-gatherers this paradox can be resolved: we live in a mostly farmer (SJ) world and hunter-gatherers aren’t adapted to farmer work (9–5 routine, permanent focus). Louis Liebenberg (2021) has shown that the origin of science can be found in hunter minds as science work similarly to a hunter’s mind when tracking animals (systematic deduction and creating hypothetic scenarios).
Despite their excellent cognitive/tracking abilities (also scout mindset), hunter-gatherers all over the world are among the poorest people who have always found it hard to take up farming, working as wage labourers instead. So, if you meet an INTP who sells hot dogs or who delivers mail, don’t be surprised, it’s not uncommon.
In most statistics ENTJs have overtaken ESTJs as the highest earners of all. ENTJs have flexible hunter minds that are better adapted to the fast-changing world of business than ESTJ farmer minds who rely more on tried-and-true traditional methods. Little surprise that so many of the top-earning CEOs are ENTJs (Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates, Satya Nadella, etc.)
Evolutionary Psychology would predict that the richest and most prestigious individuals have the highest number of viable offspring. While this is true for most types, especially farmer/SJ types, the same isn’t true for N-types. The lower-earning NP types are more frequent than the financially more successful NJ ones.
Markus Jokela (2012) has found in a study that since the availability of the pill “Higher levels of openness to experience in both sexes and higher levels of conscientiousness in women were associated with lower fertility […]” This describes why N types, especially NJs are the rarest types. Hunter-gatherers have far fewer children over a lifetime than farmers. HGs who live in the modern world and have a successful career often find having children more burdensome than S types do. What works for farmers (higher success=more offspring) has a detrimental effect on N types (from an evolutionary point of view).
So, if you meet an ENTJ who says that children aren’t their cup of tea, don’t be surprised, it’s not uncommon.
There are whole online fora dedicated to how INFJs are the victims of narcissistic abuse. If you can trust this statistic it’s no big surprise either:
The thing that is even more surprising: ALL N-types have a higher risk of being abused, even the highly rational NT/hunter types. How come? My hypothesis is that hunter-gatherers have higher levels of trust regarding outgroup members than farmers/herders who frequently were in conflict with each other over property, which is mostly absent in hunter-gatherers.
During the Covid lockdown romance scams soared. The victims were often middle-aged single women (it’s hard for IN types to find a partner), often with high educational attainment. Victims of romance scams lose money via money transfers, and sending fraudsters gift cards and vouchers or presents such as phones and laptops. Some even provide access to their bank account or bank card.
A lot of N types (especially INFJs) have trust issues. They stem from the fact that that the majority of people are programmed with a farmer or herder operating system. On the flip side, we do want to be able to trust people (“Trust I seek and find in you” Metallica, Nothing Else Matters). Abuse is very common in neurodiverse people (ASD, ADHD), most of who are hunter-gatherer types.
Read more about the hunter-gatherer mindset of intuitives in my book