NB: this article is now outdated. It was an early draft of the hunter-gatherer hypothesis and contained too many speculative ideas.
I have come across a couple of explanations what the distribution of the Myers-Briggs types means. One common explanation is that you either belong to a common type (good thing, because it means you aren’t so different) or to a rare type (good thing, because you are something special). Somehow that logic doesn’t seem watertight to me, but in my experience, people often feel pride or relief when they learn about their MBTI.
However, that doesn’t really answer the question. The answer is very simple, though. The distribution of types represents their past reproductive success.
Looking at the below table is easy to see that there is a rough correlation between income (particularly STJ types) and reproductive success for men. However, that is true for sensors only. For intuitive men, the reverse is true: the ambitious N(T)J types have fewer offspring than the more “relaxed” NP types!
For women, you can interpret the type distribution chart the following way: the more “girly” a woman is the more children she has. This corresponds to the superficial image of women with which we are constantly bombarded by the media.
One thing that is immediately clear from the chart is that intuitives have fewer children. There are several reasons for this:
- Intuitives are programmed by evolution to survive during hard times. This makes them want to have fewer children in the first place but invest more resources in the fewer children.
- Intuitives are programmed by evolution to delay reproduction. That makes them have children later in life than sensors.
- Intuitives are programmed by evolution to avoid reproduction during unsettled times. This explains why the reverse is true for intuitives: ambitious intuitive types give priority to their career than to having a family life until they feel they can settle down, However, nowadays it may seem to these types that no time is the right time to have children. For sensors career, status and reproduction go hand in hand. For intuitives it means more stress and more reason to delay child-rearing.
- Intuitives don’t have the traditional male/female roles. Typically, both partners want to have a career, which makes it really hard to have children. With sensors, the type who is most willing to stay at home (ISFJ) and take care of the children is also the most successful one at reproduction.
- Intuitives are choosier when it comes to mate choice (this was highly advantageous in times when survival was difficult) which makes it harder for them to find the right mate.
- Intuitives have become rare in our culture (not so in Asian countries like Japan, for example), which makes it even more difficult to find a partner.