Ahh,  to be Jung again!!




November 20, 1987

Revised and Extended August 13, 1996, November 13, 2003, March 20. 2008

Vincent E. Giuliano



This paper describes a modern adoption and extension of Karl Jung's personality theory (Ref. 1).  The presentation of the material and many of the ideas here are my own -- although I  believe they are thoroughly in the spirit of Jung.  My original understanding of the theory is based on the work of Siegler, Osmond and others in the late 1970's (Ref. 2).  My main teacher was Meriam Siegler.




Jung defines two pairs of important human perceptual activities;  Jung calls them "Functions:"


            (SENSATION - INTUITION)   and  (FEELING - THOUGHT)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Each pair represents a polar opposition, in the sense that when a  person is fully engaged in the activity of one element of the pair, that person is blocked from doing the other activity.  For example, when one is fully engaged in Sensing what is going on, one cannot at the same time be Intuiting about something.  If you are fully involved in Intuiting, you cannot be at the same time Sensing. 


It is very useful to represent all four activities on in a single  diagram (Fig. 1).  The diagram, called the Personality Circle, is essential to the rest of this presentation.  The four Jungian  Functions mentioned above define the axes of the diagram.  Even  more important are the areas bounded, named Volcanic, Oceanic, Territorial and Ethereal.  But first, a very short introduction to the Functions.


SENSATION is the human activity of sensing what is going on.   When we see a traffic light change from red to green, or when we hear the phone ring, or when we hear our mate tell us he (or she) just had an affair, we are sensing.  Sensation relates to highly specific events in time and space.  We sense with our eyes, ears, by touching and tasting and by kinesthetic balance.  Because sensations are terribly concrete and grounded, it is useful to label the SENSATION axis also as the CONCRETE axis.


INTUITION is the human activity of perceiving a mental construct,  from within oneself, not through sensation.  The construct does not come from "reality;" it comes from somewhere else.  It can be  perceived as a vision, an inner voice, an idea that spontaneously  blooms forth.  Because an intuition comes or seems to come from nowhere that is grounded in our senses, we can also label the  INTUITION axis as ABSTRACT.


While it is not immediately clear to the novice that SENSATION and INTUITION are opposites, it is obvious that CONCRETE and ABSTRACT are polar opposites. 


FEELING is the perception of internal value and emotional states,  often deep-seated.  Feeling is highly personal, so we can also label the FEELING axis as SUBJECTIVE.


THOUGHT is thinking, as described by Descartes and other  philosophers, and we usually understand it.  It is the domain of logic, induction and inference, dealing with concepts as if they are objects.  Clear thinking presumably is objective.  So we can re-label the THOUGHT axis as OBJECTIVE.


Lo and behold!!  While the opposition of FEELING and THOUGHT may  not be immediately clear to the uninitiated, the polar opposition of OBJECTIVE and SUBJECTIVE is clear.


The common-sense terms I have introduced (e.g. CONCRETE, ABSTRACT, SUBJECTIVE AND OBJECTIVE) can be used interchangeably with their Jungian counterparts.  Both are shown in the Personality Circle of Figure 1.  In the discussion that follows I will sometimes use the Jungian terms and sometimes the common- sense counterpart.  The choice of whether a Jungian term is used or its common sense counterpart is for clarity of presentation, nothing else.

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The Octants labeled SO, VF, FO, etc.  are important.  Each individual has dominant perceptual behavior corresponding to one of the Octants.


To some extent every individual can exhibit the perceptual functioning along any axis.  However, Jung teaches that any given  individual has inborn dominant and secondary perceptual Functions  - ones that come most naturally and easily to that individual.   Further, that combination of primary and secondary perceptual  Functions determines to a significant extent how the person sees the world and functions in it. 


Each such possible combination of perceptual Functions corresponds to an Ooctant in the Personality Circle.  While an individual may exhibit perceptual behaviors corresponding to other combinations of Jungian Functions (Octants) as well, his dominant and secondary Jungian Functions is his most natural way for perceiving reality and therefore the one usually first or most basically brought to bear.  People can thus be fairly readily personality-typed.


Fig. 1 shows the colorful names Siegler and her colleagues used  to name the Quadrants of the Personality Circle.  For example, people whose primary and secondary Functions are thinking and intuition (in any combination) are called Ethereals.  A Octant is named by an Axis and the Quadrant next to it.  That is, a person whose dominant Function is Thinking and secondary Function is Intuition is called a Thinking Ethereal, and is typed in the TE Octant of the Personality Circle.  One whose dominant Function is Intuiting and secondary Function is Thinking is called an Intuitive Ethereal and is typed in the IE Octant.


Personality Types


At this point, its best to plunge right in and talk about the eight personality types corresponding to the Octants in the Personality Circle.


Those people with dominant and secondary perceptual Functions falling within Octants closest to the Feeling-Thinking axis tend to see and react to the world continuously, while those with dominant and secondary Functions falling closest to the Sensation-Intuition axis tend to respond discontinuously.  In Jung's words the Feeling and Thought "Functions" are continuous, while the Sensation and Intuition Functions are discontinuous. 


To make this more clear, it is useful to briefly profile the typical "personalities" falling within each Octant.  Like Jung, I do not think any of these are better than any other; they are just different.


A Thinking-Ethereal's (TE's), dominant mode of perception is thought and a TE tends to see the world as objective, continuous and best dealt-with in terms of abstractions.  A TE is very concerned with relationships among concepts, with different ways of  looking at things.  Thinking Ethereals are good at laying out the "big picture," analyzing it, anticipating long-range problems, and recommending a best general course of action.  They see matters not as isolated but in relationship, and are good strategists.   Thinking Ethereals tend to seek unification of their base of knowledge at any time, and love theoretical frameworks (like the one presented in this paper).  They are weakest at knowing what their feelings are in response to a strong stimulus.  Einstein is an archetype of a Thinking Ethereal.


Thinking Territorials (TT's) tend to see the world in terms of structuring objective reality in a concrete manner.  They believe in creating and respecting boundaries, and like to conquer and organize territory.  They see the world continuously, and tend to "peg" concrete situations into their existing frameworks whenever possible.  They are excellent at organizing to perform a complex task.  Thinking Territorials tend to focus on the practical "how" of doing things, with rules and procedures, and may have difficulties with feeling-type abstractions.  Because of their attention to here-and-now details and the "how" of making things work, TT's can be good administrators.  Because they may not be in good touch with the sources of their own personal creativity, however, they may not be good leaders when the challenge involves growth and change.


Sensation Territorials (ST's) are also concerned with structuring things to conquer reality, but in a much more immediate fashion where the most important thing is dealing directly what is real -- the action -- right now.  They start out by reacting to specific stimulus, and tend continuously to revamp their thought structures to respond to the latest stimulus.  As such they are discontinuous, and may see the world differently from time to time.  They are excellent at battlefield tactics where reality is uncertain and always changing.  They can also be ruthless, Stalin being an example.  Sensation Territorials like to deal with situations and learn in terms of highly concrete examples, adopting their understanding to those examples, and tend to be impatient with theoretical or moral frameworks.  Jabba the Hut in Return of the Jedi was a ST.


Sensation Volcanics (SV's) tend to function completely in the "now" of a situation.  They can react instinctively to the specific dynamics of the situation out of their self-referential base of feelings, with abstractions entering only secondarily if at all.  What is important is the feelings that come up at any moment, and those feelings can be discontinuous.   Feeling Volcanics make good fighters and lovers.  They are the first to "smell a rat" in a situation that is not personally right, and they can play a valuable role in identifying situations in a work organization that are incongruous with good human values.  They are best at learning through doing, less-adept at learning through theory.  They tend to have little patience with conceptual frameworks.  Hans Solo in Star Wars was a SV.


Feeling Volcanics (FV's) tend to function more calmly, their main frame of reference being deep-seated feelings which remain continuous.  The FV senses the specifics of a situation, and responds directly and instinctively out of his or her internal frame of reference. FV's naturally translate from the "now" of a  situation into the actions required.  Because of their even-handed way of relating to situations, they can make excellent leaders of men in battle and other ambiguous situations, reacting without need for words or abstractions.  They can also bring an excellent personal feeling tone into organizations they run.  John Wayne was a FV. 


Feeling Volcanics can be good at learning isolated facts, but tend to pay  attention most to things that derive importance through being integrated into their network of existing feelings.  This can often best take place through repeated experience and sharing of experiences through discussion.  They can have difficulty responding to someone else's intuitions that do not match their own internal "map" of what is important.  Luke Skywalker in Star Wars was a FV.


Feeling Oceanics (FO's) also function primarily out of a self-referential feeling base, but more in terms of visions, ideals and imperative abstractions (what  "should be") than in terms of specifics of what is.   Responding largely to internal reality, Oceanics are opposites of territorials, who tend to be preoccupied with external reality.  FO's tend to function more in the mode of "Let us go for what is right; reality will follow."  Their visions can have a spiritual quality, and FO's can be powerful spiritual or political leaders, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Winston  Churchill being good examples.  FO's like FV's see the world as continuous, out of the reference set of their  feelings, so are apt to pursue the same visions for long periods in their lives.  In terms of learning, they are apt to dismiss isolated facts that do not  match their frameworks of what should be.  They tend to rebel against structures and find ways to flow around  them.  Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back was an FO, as was Mr. Miagi in Karate Kid.


Intuitive Oceanics (IO's) are less continuous, and react with their feelings to intuitions that may change from day to day.  Oceanics, both IO's and FO's because of their ready access both to their feelings and intuitions, can be very creative writers and artists.   IO's like FO's may hear voices or see visions, but are likely to take them more seriously.  Such voices and visions can contribute insight and creative content to the Oceanic's personal life and work, and are not necessarily pathological.   Intuitive Oceanics can learn from their experience, but are more likely to represent their learnings as "insights" which are not directly related to any specific experience. 


To confirmed sensation types, Feeling Oceanics (like Intuitive Ethereals) can seem to be flaky and "off the wall," but their intuitions can be very valuable.  The practical seems not to concern them too much.  To their opposites  (Sensation Territorials) they can seem to be quite irresponsible for this reason.   


Finally, Intuitive Ethereals (IE's) tend to be creative "idea people," who tend constantly to come up with new ideas and idea frameworks, not necessarily continuously linked with previous ideas.  Such individuals can do well in environments which prize such creativity, such as advertising agencies, creative design environments and the performing arts.  Their process of learning can be mysterious to more grounded types, in that IE's might  seem to be paying a lot more attention to their internal insights than to the reality that is going on at a given moment.


To their opposites  (Volcanics), IEs can seem hopelessly ungrounded and off-the-wall. 




The framework just presented can be applied in a number of ways.  I will concern myself here with only a few, namely implications related to: "dark-sides," learning, relationship and marriage, and organizations.




Jung holds that every individual has a "dark" or less-known, more  unconscious side.  The dark side perceptual Functions are opposite to the dominant and secondary Functions in the Personality Circle.  If you are a Thinking Territorial, your dark side is Feeling Oceanic.  The dark side is always there; it affects our behavior and thoughts and emotions.  It is just less developed and less consciously available to us. 


Jung points out that the process of personal growth, "individuation" in Jung's jargon, involves getting to know your dark side.  I provide four examples.


Dark Side -- Thinking Ethereal


(I wrote the following in 1987 shortly after encountering a difficult personal situation.  My dark side is somewhat less dark today.)


As a Thinking Ethereal, my dark side is how my feelings respond to and process sensations.  If something very hurtful is said or done to me by somebody I trust, my first response is likely to be intellectual, with numb emotions, e.g. "stiff upper lip."  It is  not that I don't have feelings.  They are there seething underneath, confusing me.  I don't know what they are trying to  tell me.  I really won't know where I am in response to the stimulus until I take enough time out to listen to my emotions.   That might take hours, days or even weeks to happen. 


Such immediate inhibition of emotions can be good in some situations, such as keeping cool after being involved in an accident.  In other important situations, however, lack of initial contact with my emotional response inhibits and hurts me.  The process of getting in touch with my emotions is not only slow; it is painful.  And while I am doing it I may not be very functional.   In an existential situation where something hurtful is said to me, an ability to immediately respond from the heart could transform the situation then-and-there, instead of having it fester for hours or days or longer.  Being in touch with my dark side responses would allow me to suffer less and be more effective in getting what I want in life.


Dark Side -- Sensation Volcanic


Here we have nearly the opposite situation.  The dark side is underdeveloped intuition and thinking about intuitions.  A Sensation Volcanic often experiences difficulty in seeing a complex situation in its entirety, and does not know where he or she fits in that situation.  The sensation volcanic tends to see things simplistically, only in terms of here-and-now specifics, and may not value theories, insights or generalities.  The result is a lack of a cognitive map that shows a richness of relationships and facets.  Without such a map, the sensation volcanic easily gets lost or disoriented -- often accompanied with outbursts of feeling that seem inappropriate to the circumstances. 


While a sensation volcanic will be quick consciously to experience and probably express his feelings in response to a strong stimulus, he or she may be completely at sea with respect to the appropriateness of the feelings and the expression of them, given the total situation.  Because SV's are so expressive of their emotions, they are prone to intense but very short outbursts (thus the use of the volcano metaphor).  They don't hold negative feelings in.  Examples might include  defensive behavior in a business setting and attacking remarks that create defensive attitudes in others.  A person who knows the Sensation Volcanic, or who understands typology and knows the  person is an SV can ride through an outburst, knowing that SV will settle down shortly.  For people who know then less-well or in straight-laced business settings, though, the behavior of an SV can sometimes seem bizarre and completely inappropriate. 


For this reasons, SV's sometimes have difficulties in corporate environments; I know of cases where quite senior people have been not promoted or even fired because of their behavior.


Another dark-side problem for SV's can be dread of the theories, plans and machinations of Ethereal types.  Because these ideas and structures are so foreign, they can be immensely threatening.  I was married to an SV once, and she was grossly distrustful of  any theories or explanations or ideas I had about our relationship or about our family, for she feared they were simply instruments that would manipulate her.    In my own obstinate Ethereal way, I could not come to accept that she would not accept my concepts, and did not do enough to bring them down to tangible specifics.  While she was sometimes justified in this fear and I in my affinity for ideas, a whole area of communication was blocked off between us.  Now, many years later, we are closest of friends, partially due to our final acceptance of each others personal styles.


Dark Side -- Thinking Territorial


The dark side for the TT is the combination of intuition and  feeling -- the spiritual, visionary and personal charisma.   Territorials are down-to-earth, much more concerned with the "how" than the "why," with the objective instead of the personal and with the practical instead of what possibly "should" be.  TTs thus tend to come to situations, even personal ones, from a viewpoint of how to handle them -- and may not be in touch with what it is they really want.  This is fine, as long as the situation is objective, does not involve them personally, and goals are clear.  But if the self and all its emotions is key to the situation -- such as in handling emotion-laden personal relationship or job issues, there is a real problem.  If the TT is not in good touch with the "why and therefore what" of a situation, he could be busily organizing a "how" for the wrong "what." 


A classical example is the man who organizes all his efforts to  making money and having a smooth-running family -- never asking why and never thinking about spiritual values -- until some time in his mid-40's when he has a beautiful house and an expensive car, but his wife leaves him taking the children -- and he discovers that his life in fact has very little meaning.  That discovery, when it happens, is the dark side finally emerging.   The example also indicates something else -- it may take a serious emergency that disrupts the ongoing situation for someone to become conscious of his or her dark side.  In this sense every breakdown in someone's usual framework of perception is also an opportunity.


Dark Side -- Feeling Oceanic


Not surprisingly, the dark side of the Feeling Oceanic is  inability to create or relate well to structures, systematic  organization or agreements.  The inner world of the FO is boundless; it contains the richness of all possible feelings and  intuitions.  It contains the ideal conditions the FO would like to see and create.  Those ideals, those "shoulds" are more vital and important to the FO than what exists in the objective world.   Compared with those ideals, the structures, rules and organizations of the real world can seem harsh, limiting, inhuman. 


The biggest fear of the FO is being trapped, contained, bound up in structures that limit their freedom to flow as they might want to choose.


Feeling Oceanics thus tend to avoid systems with structure, or to flaunt structures they are supposed to conform to.  I know some  FO's of the "flower children" generation who have never chosen to do ordinary jobs in organizations, for example.  This has limited the participation of some, but others have managed to lead wonderful lives without ever joining the mainstream.  Others yet have of course become great mainstream leaders.


Feeling Oceanics tend to be slow at drawing boundaries and refuse to create structures.  They may be very fine leaders, but poor managers and administrators.  I know of a charismatic and highly intelligent FO that, wisely with the aid of the TT as Chief Operating Officer, built a 70-person organization.  The FO was President and the TT's boss.  The FO President created chaos by constantly undercutting the structures that his subordinate was creating.  Morale in the organization was very poor, and the FO had to retire. 


Split Personalities


Each personality type is subject to the possibility of a split personality.  This happens when the dark side emerges in a way not well integrated with the dominant side.  In the case of a Feeling Oceanic, the split is likely to be between one part of the self that dwells in ideal inner world where really important things happen, and another part of the self (territorial) that has to adopt to survive in the harshness of the real world.  A person who experiences a deep split of this kind may be moderately functional in the real world, but experiencing himself or herself as faking it, not really being comfortable while out-there.  This kind of person can yearn above all for integration, and Jung's Individuation is the bringing together of these two parts into a seamless whole.




There is a lot to be said about the relationship of personal  growth and learning to the classifications in the Personality Circle.  I will confine myself to a few key points.


1. Individuation


A well functioning and complete person is one who can consciously  choose to apply perceptual behavior from any Octant in the  Personality Circle.  Jung's Individuation is the process of getting to that point -- a process that never ends.  To a large  extent, individuation is a process of getting in contact with and making conscious one's dark side.  The process does not change one's basic perceptive Functions; it just opens up a wider range of conscious behavior.


There are learning experiences applicable to developing understanding and skills in each Octant of the Personality  Circle.  For example:


Volcanic Learning: 


encounter groups, psychodrama, role plays, tennis, Judo


Oceanic Learning: 


meditation, yoga, centering exercises, free-association and dream workshops


Ethereal Learning: 


classroom presentations, reading, discussion


Territorial Learning: 


drill-and practice exercises, computer-aided instruction, workbooks


2. Communicating Something New and Important


Each individual's personality classification also tends to determine his or her dominant information-acquisition and learning style.  Thus to communicate with or teach:


a Volcanic - start by providing him or her with direct experience


an Oceanic - start by declaring why the matter to be learned is important to him or her as an individual, and what the general principles are


an Ethereal - start by relating the learning to existing knowledge


a Territorial - start with some practical examples to be generalized later


To really teach something, you have to teach it all around the circle


If you want to communicate something new and important to someone, make sure you cover it from each of these perceptual viewpoints.  In designing a curriculum, it is important to teach each topic from the viewpoint of each Octant, to make sure that each learner's dominant learning style is accommodated. 


To know something, you have to know it all around the circle


I assert, further, that regardless of type of the learner, knowing something from the viewpoint of all Octants is essential for the knowing to be really complete.


Here are some guidelines for designing a curriculum or a teaching  process or product:


a.         All Octants of the Personality Circle must be covered for each element of knowledge to be conveyed.  Several closely related elements can, of course, be covered together.


-           Learning in any one Octant by itself is insufficient.


-           Different people will be better able to respond to the learning in the different Octants.


b.         The sequence of instruction moves clockwise around the circle; never counter-clockwise. 


c.         It is important in instruction to keep moving around the Personality Circle and not get bogged down to much in he typical mode of instruction of any one Octant of the circle.  There are several basic reasons for this: first, because the learning is in fact incomplete until all Octants have been covered, second because different people naturally learn better in the styles of the different Octants, and, third, because dwelling too long in any Octant can produce undesirable learner states (E.g. too long in ST can produce boredom; too long in SV can produce more confusion than is desired; too long in FO can lead one to feel preached at, etc.).  Uncertainty or confusion in learning that comes up in one Octant can often easily be cleared up only through moving to the same learning in another Octant.


d.         Having moved from one instruction in one Octant of the Circle to instruction in another Octant related to a given content objective, it is often useful to to remind the student of what was already learned about that content objective as the new learning is taking place. 


e.         As a general rule, the best way to kick off an instructional sequence (to reach a new learning objective) is in the top half of the Personality Circle, where attention, importance and the basic message are conveyed in personal terms.


f.          It may be desirable to go around the Personality Circle several times in the course of teaching a knowledge point.  Instruction is complete only when all Octants have been presenced for the learner with respect to the knowledge to be learned.




A lot of fascinating things can be said about what can happen when two people of given personality Function types form a strong partnership or marry.  I can only scratch the surface of that topic here.  Jung hypothesizes two periods in marriage relationships -- an early period largely dominated by unconscious factors, and a period after mid-life in successful marriages, in which the partners begin to know themselves and become individuated.  In the first period, they are looking for their dark sides in the other partner, and this search is less and less satisfying.  In the second period (if they make it to that period as a couple) they find their dark sides in themselves and are each complete.  According to Jung, other conscious and unconscious factors apply during these two periods besides ones relating to the perceptual Functions (such as Jung's Animus and Anima projections).  I can't get into all these here, and will confine myself to what typically happens in the early period, before individuation.


 1.  Opposite Types as Partners


Opposite types can be strongly attracted to one another at first, for each offers what the other has hidden.  The pull is unconscious and powerful, for each party can live-out his or her unconscious side through the partner's overt actions.  Division of responsibility along typological lines can work for a while in a marriage.  Thus a Thinking Territorial husband can earn a living working in a structured job, be very grounded in the realities of the world, bowl and watch baseball, be the paragon of responsibility as conventionally defined, while his Feeling Oceanic wife can create abstract art, write poetry, practice meditation, study Tai Chi, and bring spiritual values to the family.


Despite the initial unconscious pull, opposites constitute an explosive combination.  It becomes clear sooner or not-too-later that there is precious little communication or in common between the two partners.  By this time there are usually children, so there is a stake in staying together and the fun begins.  The only way to make it work is for the individual partners to discover enough about their own dark sides to allow them to communicate and find common ground -- and this is hard hard work.  If they can make it, they can come out with a rich and exciting marriage. 


2.  Other Partner Combinations


Here are some typical patterns; again, much more could be said.


Volcanic and a Territorial


Both are grounded in the world and concerned with what is practical.  Reality is usually well-handled.  On the other hand,  there can be a dearth of innovation or spiritual values and  boredom.  Unless there is growth, sooner or later one partner is apt to go out and look for somebody more exciting (e.g. somebody  that fills a dark-side projection).


Volcanic and an Ethereal


A cross-combination that can result in out-and-out war.  I had such a marriage once.  My weapons, as an Ethereal, were insight, logic, understanding, ability to use words well.  My ex-wife's weapons were zapping me for the reality of what I was doing, easy access to her emotions while mine were all tied up in knots, and ready access to her own sexual energy.


Territorial and Ethereal


This can be a smooth-operating but ultimately very boring  combination.  The reference points tend always to be objective --  ideas and structures -- and emotions that are suppressed but nonetheless very important for the partners can stay deeply buried for a long time.  Again, what typically happens is that one or the other partner becomes dissatisfied, and may wander away from the relationship, looking for their own dark side as projected into somebody else.  But real growth and satisfaction does not come until each partner begins to consciously experience their own emotional dark sides.


More on Opposites


Any combination of opposite types is apt to be very difficult from the beginning unless the two parties are highly developed in their non-dominant perceptual Functions.  There is simply too little common round for communication and understanding.


Ethereal and Oceanic


My present marriage is of this type, and we have had some difficulties along the lines of the Territorial-Oceanic problems described in an example above.  My thoughts and my wife's feelings  are not always in alignment.  Some of our growth has been in increased willingness to accredit the other's way of holding  reality.  We share visions, intuitions and ideas, and that is very powerful.  But we have a problem of grounding them in the world.  Neither of us is very good at structures (Territorial behavior), so we have had a lot of trouble coming up with an adequate set of boundaries and rules for our 10-year old son, who particularly needs them since he is a Volcanic.  It has and is constantly becoming a very rich marriage as we work on developing our dark sides and the communication that then becomes possible.  (This was written 9 years ago, and our son is now 19.  We are getting better and better as partners, now in the domain of business as well as family, but the typological gap that separates us is as real as ever.)




No particular surprise, that a well-balanced working team will  combine strengths in each of the Functions.  Here is how it might work out:


Somehow, things are not working well in the organization, although nobody seems willing to admit it.  Finally, it takes the explosive energy of a Volcanic -- grounded both in  what is really happening and in feelings -- to make it clear to everybody that something basic is not right.  While it is clear to the Volcanic that there is a problem, the problem is likely to be seen in emotional and highly personal terms, and there may not be a very complete formulation of what should be done about it.  For example a secretary could burst out at her boss that "You are very insensitive.  This is the fourth time in a week that you have asked me to work late, and you don't ever tell me until after 4 PM, and I happen to have a very important date tonight."


A feeling volcanic may pick up the situation at this point and generalize what was learned in terms of feelings, but still in terms of very concrete actions, such as "We simply have to be more fair to our secretaries; we can't make them work overtime so much and we have to let them know well in advance when we want them to work late."  Everybody may agree with this, but the problem may still persist. 


An Oceanic picks the issue up at this point, perhaps after some similar incidents, and, drawing on both feeling and intuition, declares in very general terms how the situation "should" be, what must be done, a direction to go in, what "should" be done, usually without reference as to how to get  there.  The formulation is likely to be abstract and not actionable, like "To build this business further we need to care as much about our employees around here as we care about our customers.  We need their support and with it we can do a better job for our customers." 


An Ethereal picks the matter up at this point and analyzes and evaluates strategies and plans for action.  All kinds of factors are taken into account; risks weighed, experience of other organizations considered, costs and benefits analyzed.  Out of all the possible courses for action, the Ethereal recommends the best ones, and carefully articulates the reasons why.  The resulting plan may be long and detailed, and could be in a 100 page report entitled “Corporate Strategy and Approaches to Enhancing Employee Effectiveness and Well-being.”  So far, though, there is only a plan, no action. 


A Territorial takes or is given management responsibility for implementation, and immediately begins organizing to make it happen.  Only selected recommendations from the Ethereal’s plan are implemented at first, and others are modified “to make them practical.”  Roles and responsibilities and reporting structures are created.   Job descriptions are written and people are hired.  If necessary, space is rented and furniture is acquired.  To the Territorial what is important is the current action; what went before was theoretical.  The typical Thinking Territorial manager is an organizer but not really a doer.  I know of several Territorial managers who like to structure all the action in jobs that others will do.  One potential problem at this point is that the handing out of responsibilities may not sufficiently reflect the original insights and feelings applicable to the situation.


Here is where we come full-circle, and a Volcanic gets right in the middle of the rather chaotic task of actually doing some of the key work.  The Volcanic brings to bear both an acute sense of what is really real and feelings, to breath life into the rather cold and possibly arbitrary structures  created by the Territorial.  The wise Territorial manager will support this.  Everything is fine until the structure and the Volcanic simply cannot handle the situation, at which point the Volcanic erupts again, and we start around the circle again.


Notice how the transitions neatly proceed clockwise around the  Personality Circle.  I believe this is more than by accident.  Each Quadrant fits nicely on top of the one before it, like in the Rocks-Scissors and Paper children's game.


Teams, task forces and committees that are unbalanced with respect to personality Functions won't work very well.  Too many Intuitive types will produce lots of talk, inspiration and ideas, but no real action.  Too many Sensation types and the group will be so busy organizing and doing that it will forget what its purpose is.  Too many Territorials will produce little more than structures.  I know of a committee of 5, heavily biased to Territorial types, that requires the use of Robert's Rules of Order in order for them to have a conversation.  Too many Ethereals, and the process gets to be academic in nature.  Too many Volcanics and you will probably get personality fights.  Too many Oceanics, and you might get wars about principles that are fought with religious fervor.






Fig. 2 shows the Personality Circle again, but this time filled in with the kinds of activities or things that live in the Quadrants.  For example, Wisdom, Insights, Purposes, Goals and Commands live in the Oceanic Quadrant.  Generally speaking, the diagram shows what the different personality types are best at and (looking at the opposite dark side) worst at.  


This time I will look at the dimensions using the more common-sense names I identified earlier (e.g. Concrete-Abstract instead of Sensation-Intuition).  There are two main dimensions:  Concrete-vs-Abstract shown as left-to-right x-axis, and Subjective-vs-Objective shown as top to bottom y axis. 


To the left we have concrete activities, sensations, practice, specifics.  To the right we have abstractions, intuitions, insights, concepts, generalities, universals. 


At the top we have the personal, the subjective, feelings, the self-referential.  What is important is the relationship of self to what is going on.  At the bottom we have the domain of the objective: principles, things, events, thoughts.  Reference is to something presumed to exist outside of and independently from the self.


The Octants distinguish further. 


The upper left Octant (FV) relates happenings, events and  sensations to the self, to feelings.  This is the domain of  experience.  The source of prevailing authority in this domain is personal experience.


The upper right Octant (FO) relates the self to insights and  declarations of purpose, goals and intent.  This is the Octant where the individual takes a stand of principle, makes promises, gives commands.  This is the domain of declarations, powerful statements which are not true or false but which serve to shape reality.  E.g. "All men are created equal," or, on a more mundane level, "I will be there a 3pm tomorrow."  The source of prevailing authority in this domain is personal wisdom.


The lower right Octant (TE) deals with insights, intuitions and thoughts.  This is the domain of ideas and conceptual analysis: looking at, thinking about and analyzing in an impartial impersonal manner.  The source of prevailing authority in this domain is knowledge.


The lower left Octant (TT) is also impersonal and objective, but deals with the realities of the world.  It is the domain of organization, the domain of boundaries and structures.  Authority in this domain is reality.

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In a separate and yet-unpublished work (Ref. 5), I have built a  learning theory on the basis of the perceptual typology presented here -- it is a theory designed to assist in the selection of  communications media in a teaching setting, when there is a rich  range of choices of interpersonal and technology-aided approaches.  The following, excerpted from Ref. 5, describes the kinds of learning and communication typical of each Octant in the Personality Circle.


SV Octant


Learning in this Octant involves observing or participating in an  unstructured situation in which happenings are unpredictable and  possibly discontinuous.


FV Octant


FV Octant learning typically involves a situation where a student reflects on his or her experience and integrates it in terms of his or her feelings and frame of reference.  This process is self-centered and introspective in nature, and usually involves a lot of thought.  Learning involves absorption and integration of specific personal reactions to observing (knowledge level) or being in (skill level) a role play, simulation, fight or other existential exercise.


Approaches to FV learning typically involve thinking by oneself, talking things over with others, talking with a more experienced  person.  Writing out one's reactions can sometimes be very useful.  If the situation is important, having a trusted confidant can be very valuable. 


Human reflection and conversation remain the main approaches for  learning in this Octant.


FO Octant


Communication in this Octant is from a viewpoint of established  personal authority, which can be authority of position or of experience or both.  The authority is presumed to know important  things that the learner does not know, and one of his or her main  roles is to differentiate what is really important from what is not.  What may be conveyed include insights, declarations of purpose or goals, promises or commands.  The context is interpersonal, from the authority figure to the student.  Messages tend to be cohesive statements of personal philosophy.  Basically, the authority is in the position of saying something  like "Listen to me; I know what is important for you, and I advise you to pay attention to and learn the following: --- "   If skill-level learning is involved, the message is "I know; do it this way: --- "


IO Octant


Communicating from the viewpoint of this Octant is significantly  different than from the viewpoint of Octant FO.  On the FO Octant, the basic authority is the person; the importance of the abstract message derives from the authority of the person.  In the IO (and in the IE Octant) the basic source of authority is the abstract message itself.  The viewpoint of the IO message continues to be personal, however.  Messages from this Octant's viewpoint are likely to include declarative statements of intention (e.g. as in the Declaration of Independence), promises, invitations and injunctions.  Presentation from the IO Octant viewpoint can have emotional content.  Persuading can be more important than informing.  Unlike knowledge-level teaching, an IO Octant presentation need not be neatly tied together; it can be fragmented, even poetic (e.g. Bob Dylan).  Charismatic preachers and politicians often base their approach from the viewpoint of  this Octant. 


IE Octant


In the IE Octant, as in the IO Octant described above, the basic  source of authority is the abstract message itself.  Like IO  communications, IE communications are not necessarily logically  consistent with other knowledge.  They are abstract, requiring only minimal reference to specific facts or experiment, and not  necessarily grounded in any reality.  However, instead of being  personally-oriented, IE communications content is (or at least  purports to be) more objectively oriented.  Content may  typically consist of individual insights, intuitions or interpretations, not comprehensive theories or frames of reference (which would belong to the TE Octant). 


Sharing of insights can be a valuable aspect of training, not only from instructor to student but among students.  IE Octant communications also play important roles in discovery-oriented  situations and creativity-oriented exercises.  They figure less importantly in systematic instructor-to-student teaching, where the content is well worked out, cohesive and comprehensive, where  communication is more from the viewpoint of the OA Octant.


TE Octant


Basic authority of communications from the viewpoint of this  Octant is knowledge -- integrated, systematic, established organized knowledge, knowledge that is tested and grounded in measurable reality.  Communicating from the viewpoint of the OA Octant is basically expository, and could consist of teaching a new theoretical framework, adding to such a framework, or relating some new knowledge to such a framework.  


Traditional lecture-based university teaching is mostly from the Ťviewpoint of the OA Octant. 


TT Octant


Teaching from the viewpoint of this Octant involves laying out objective and concrete structures that are no longer in the domain of knowledge, but now are in the domain of practice in handling reality.  In management training, TT Octant teaching involves teaching rules, standards, procedures and guidelines --  the "how to" aspects of a topic. 


TT Octant content can fill vast books, income tax manuals, computer programming standards and army regulations being examples.  Unless the student is properly motivated (FO Octant) and understands the theory behind the rules (TE Octant), teaching TT Octant rules and procedures can be most boring.  Because TT Octant content can be very complex and legalistic, it is best recorded and studied using a written medium.  Print is therefore the basic domain in which this kind of content lives.  


ST Octant


This domain is concerned with specific highly concrete objective situations.  The ST Octant is concerned with rules for practice; this Octant is concerned with the practice itself.  This is the domain of drill-and-practice exercises, working through specific exercises that may be hard, but which are not particularly personally challenging (if they were so, they would be up in the  SV Octant).  Simulation exercises can provide exciting learning in the ST and SV Octants, while drawing on capabilities from all other Octants as well.




Another domain to which I have given some thought is application of the Personality Circle in the domain of theoretical physics, quantum physics in particular,   Although my ideas are not completely concisely formulated yet, I will suggest how the Personality Circle might be generalized to represent some aspects of quantum physics that are strange in terms of ordinary phenomena.   


First, a little background on “Classical” quantum physical phenomena - things that have been known for 60 or 70 years now and familiar to philosophers and other non-physicists.  There are certain apparent dichotomies that apply to subatomic particles like photons, electrons and their many less-familiar cousins - things that make no sense in terms of our ordinary reality.  For example such particles have a dual wave and particle nature.  They exhibit properties of both waves and particles, but never at the same time.  For many purposes, an electron revolving around the nucleus of a hydrogen atom is a wave function that is simultaneously all around the nucleus, for example.  But if you measure where it is, a given electron at a specific point of time has a specific position, and no other.


More concisely, a Quantum Operator is an abstract entity that describes a physical state of a particle or system that can be measured - like its position or momentum.  It is generally a mathematical entity that describes a Wave Function, which is a probability distribution of possible outcomes of measurement.  When a measurement actually takes place, as some quantum physicists say, the Wave Function collapses and all that is left is the specific outcome of the specific measurement - like where a particle was when the measurement took place.  The process of measurement itself can greatly perturb the system (or our possible knowledge of it) in certain ways.  For example, some physical variables are “complementary, ” meaning that to the extent somebody has measured one of the variables (such as position of a particle), he is in ignorance of the complementary variable (momentum of the particle in this instance).  This is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, simply stated.


The observer plays a very central part in classical quantum physics.  Without the observer there, ultimately a human, there is no observation and no collapse of the wave function.  This has puzzled physicists and philosophers to no end - that a human seems intrinsically to have to be part of the quantum measurement process.  What is difficult to swallow is that some physical processes require a human to be there for them to make sense.  You may have read about Schroedinger’s Cat, a mental experiment in which a cat in a sealed box is either killed or not killed depending on the polarization of a subatomic particle as detected by a machine in the box.  If the polarization is “up” the machine gives the cat a lethal injection.  The polarization of the particle is subject to quantum uncertainty, and, until measurement, therefore exists simultaneously in a “up polarization” and in a “down polarization” state.  According to quantum theory, then, the cat is simultaneously dead and alive until somebody opens the box to find out.


Now, what light can an adoption of the Personality Circle shed on this kind of strange stuff?  A lot, I believe, though I can only suggest a start here.  I draw the same Circle yet-again in Fig. 3, but this time using some labels from physics and calling it “The Physical Reality Circle.” 


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Quantum Operators and Wave Functions are intrinsically abstract entities.  I suggest they live at the Abstract extreme of the horizontal line of the Circle.  The Particle, or other specific measured physical entity corresponding to the wave function lives at the Concrete extreme of the same line.  The Observer, a human, obviously lives at the top of the diagram, in the Subjective.  Physical Reality (or whatever is out there independently of the Observer, lives at the bottom of the same line, the Objective extreme.


So here is what happens with physical science.  A lot of subatomic particles and other physical phemenona have come to be known from a process like that I am going to describe. 


I.       A human in Quadrant I hypothysizes that there is something out there in the world, something real but possibly elusive, but that can in principle be measured (such as a Top Quark).  The something would fill a gap in knowledge, explain things better if its existence could be established.  Before that, nobody has seen this kind of thing before, or even imagined its existence.   He possibly gives this something a name (like “positron,” “quark,” “black hole,” etc.) and formulates an representation of this something in abstract mathematical terms.  This is a creative process.  The “something” is created at this point, and years may pass before actual existence of the “something” is demonstrated by experiment.  The something is purely theoretical and abstract at this point, probably created to make the mathematics of a theory work better.  This was the case for the neutrino, for example, as well as for black holes in space.  Papers are published and speeches at scientific meetings made, and the existence of the “something” is shared with others.  Soon, there can be a whole community working on that “something.”  The Operators and Wave Functions at the Abstract end of the horizontal axis are such somethings.


II.    Other scientists start devising experiments to confirm or dis-establish the existence of the “something.”  These experiments will have to take place in the real world and have concrete results.  Existence of gamma rays in a given frequency range could be evidence of the annihilation of a pair of particles of a given mass, for example.  The experiments can lend more and more evidence to the existence of the “something” but can fact they never can conclusively establish the reality of something.  So the experiments are devised to be both practical and to establish consistency with what is already known about the physical world.  The process of creating these experiments involves thinking, abstract thinking and thinking about concrete experimental design, and lives in Quadrant II.


III.  When the experiment is launched, concrete things start happening in the real world.  This occurs in Quadrant III.   The action in this Quadrant III is independent of humans.  Most of what goes on there is unobserved and unknown to human beings.  Just because the theory postulates an Objective Reality does not mean that that reality, whatever it is, can be known.  What can be known about this objective reality is what can be observed and measured.  And that is properties or characteristics of the reality, never the reality itself - whatever that may be.  Some physicists say that it is completely meaningless to speculate about anything in the universe except that which can be measured.


IV. The results of the experiment - application of the quantum operator - results in certain observations and measurements known to a human.  This observation is in Quadrant IV.  The human observer is an intrinsic part of what happens there, and “What Happened? is a meaningless question without a human or humans to ponder this question.  Quadrant IV is where the Wave Function collapses to yield a specific position of an electron, for example.   “What is going on?” is also a matter of human interpretation, again in Quadrant IV.  Later, consideration of  What happened” could be part of the activities of Quadrants I or II.  The cycle starts again with other concepts, other experiments, other measurements.


The outcomes of the experiments could be interpreted to confirm the existence of the original “something,” or to suggest that the “something” does not exist.   But history shows that many things of science are like fashions in clothing.  Black holes are pretty universally accepted as real astronomical objects today, although nobody has ever seen one and a few scientists think they don’t exist.   One of the many “somethings” that is much discussed today that may or not last is the existence of Dark Matter in the universe.  Phlogiston and Ether Drift were two popular “somethings” in the world of physics early in this century that went completely out of style.


This is all to say that science involves all of the key dimensions - Subjective, Abstract, Objective and Concrete.  It cannot get by leaving any out.  All we can know anything about are things we first conceive of and invent in language on the right hand side of the diagram.  And all we can know is what results from our interactions.  We can know about our interaction with reality, but never about objective reality itself.  Finally, what is needed in done in science is pretty much what is needed to get by in ordinary life itself.


Copyright @ 1996, Vincent E. Giuliano All rights reserved





1.         Jung, Carl Gustav, Psychological Types, Pantheon Books, Great Britain, 1923.


2.         Osmond, Humphry and Siegler, Meriam and Smoke, Richard  "A New Perspective on Jung's Psychological Types,"  Psychological Perspectives, 1977


3.         Gray, Horace, and Wheelwright, Joseph, Jungian Type Survey, Society of Jungian Analysts, San Francisco


4.         Myers, Isabel Briggs, Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, (Manual), Educational Testing Service, Princeton, 1962


5.         Giuliano, Vincent E. A Theoretical Basis for Selection of  Instructional Media, unpublished; available from author,  1987



I have written a number of other works which touch on themes in this paper from various viewpoints, both serious treatises and fiction stories.  I encourage you to look over the items I have online by going to my Writings Index Web Page.