Assessing Watchword Type




The Watchword Matrix

Principles of Type Assessment

In order to determine your Jungian Psychological Type from the Watchword Test, you need to consider the kinds of words written at each Key Location (these are the eleven words within the central rectangle of the form).

To begin, you should decide whether these words predominantly refer to either (a) the OUTER WORLD of physical objects or events, or publicly observable social realities, or (b) the INNER WORLD of thoughts, feelings, private opinions and other subjective experience. This will indicate which Jungian attitude (direction of conscious interest) is more strongly expressed (i.e., Extraversion or Introversion).

Next, you should consider your key words in terms of how they suggest that you comprehend your world. This will indicate which Jungian functions (i.e., SENSATION, INTUITION, THINKING, FEELING) are being expressed.

If you can, you should aim to identify:

  • Your dominant function (e.g., Intuition) - the one that is most apparent from your key words.
  • Your auxiliary function (e.g., Thinking) - the one that is expressed in a secondary or supporting capacity.

Identifying your dominant attitude together with your dominant and auxiliary functions will enable you to determine your final psychological type as, for example, Extraverted Intuition (with auxiliary Thinking), or Introverted Sensation (with auxiliary Feeling). if you wish, you can then convert this to your equivalent Myers-Briggs (MBTI)® Type (e.g., ENTP or ISFJ).

The following sections explain in more detail how to assess your psychological type from the Watchword Test, and how to compare this with MBTI type.


Assessing the Psychological Attitude

To determine your psychological attitude, you should consider whether the primary direction of interest indicated by your key words is in the OUTER WORLD (other people, work, nature, social realities, etc.) or INNER WORLD (thoughts, feelings, private opinions, impressions, etc.).

Extraversion (E)

Extraversion is indicated when key words point outward to (or suggest communication with) the physical or social environments. Even though your key words may mention thoughts, feelings or psychological processes, these are always clearly related to external events, physical objects or shared beliefs.

Examples of Extraverted Words

PARTY, HOLIDAY, TOWN, COLLEAGUE, OUTBURST, TELEPHONE, SPORT, FASHION

Introversion (I)

Introversion is suggested when key words refer to private, intimate, uncommunicated experience, or to the inner, psychological dimension. There is little reference to, or sense of connection with, the outside world of physical and social events. Instead the words generally imply an attitude of self-absorption and psychological insularity.

Examples of Introverted Words

STUDYING, DESPAIR, SILENCE, HIDDEN, SLEEP, THOUGHTS, MEMORY, HOME


Assessing the Psychological Functions

In Jung's theory of psychological types, the dominant and auxiliary functions come from different pairs of opposites (Sensation-Intuition, and Thinking-Feeling). This means that Sensation and Intuition can have only Thinking or Feeling as an auxiliary (and vice versa)

To determine your dominant function, consider which one of the following four functions is most strongly indicated by the eleven key words.

To determine your auxiliary function, consider which function from the other pair of opposites is more clearly indicated by the key words.

Sensation (S)

Sensation is suggested when key words refer to concrete objects or to purely physical or sensory experiences. There should be no strong evidence of an emotional or sentimental attraction (repulsion) towards these objects or experiences.

There should also be no suggestion of psychological metaphor or symbolism. Even though a major assumption of the Watchword technique is that seemingly banal, concrete words can represent or symbolize deeper psychological processes, such a possibility should not be obvious.

Examples of Sensation Words

CAR, CHAIR, SHOE, BOOK, CHALK, SNOW, TREE, PIANO, APPLE, TASTE, HOT, HUNGER, LOUD, SHARP, DRY, SMOKY, CANDLE, SHINE, RED, YELLOW

Intuition (N)

Intuition is often the most difficult of the four functions to identify in the Watchword matrix. It is implicated when words reveal a recognition or interpretation of basic processes and inherent possibilities.

Intuition thus involves a deeper appreciation of reality than does Sensation. Generally it points to underlying social or psychological phenomena, profound human experiences, or fundamental drives and motives. There is also invariably some indication that the individual is personally and creatively involved to a degree that goes beyond a purely conceptual understanding (cf. Thinking) or straightforward sentimental reaction (cf. Feeling).

Intuition is also indicated when there is a strong sense of psychological metaphor or archetypal symbolism in words that might otherwise be considered sensory.

Examples of Intuition Words

GROWTH, CAREER, AMBITION, ACHIEVEMENT, CREATION, DESTRUCTION, FREEDOM, ADVENTURE, TRAVEL, TRUTH, WISDOM, ENLIGHTENMENT, TIME, ETERNITY, FUTURE, IMAGINATION, FAITH, SACRIFICE

Thinking (T)

Thinking is suggested by words at key locations which are analytical, abstract and conceptual. Such words are generally emotionally neutral or, if emotional, imply conceptual understanding rather than an actual feeling response (e.g., 'punishment' rather than 'hurt', 'altruism' rather than 'help', 'attachment' rather than 'boyfriend'). Also there should be no clear indication that concepts have been derived from a deeper probing of reality that attempts to identify fundamental underlying processes or possibilities (cf. Intuition).

Examples of Thinking Words

SIMILAR, DIFFERENT, OPPOSITE, FORM, PATTERN, CIRCULAR, POSITION, HERE, SOMETIMES, MANY, MIDDLE, SUBSET, NEARLY, THEORY, OBJECTIVE, LINK, READING, LIBRARY, QUOTATION

Feeling (F)

Feeling is indicated when key words reflect a personal emotional reaction or sentimental response to the object, person or concept mentioned. The words always clearly imply a sense of liking or dislike (pleasantness or unpleasantness) which should dominate any other considerations.

Examples of Feeling Words

GOOD, BAD, HAPPY, SAD, ENJOY, HATE, PRETTY, LAZY, VIOLENT, ANGRY, LOVE, SMILE, COSY, SCREAM, PANIC, ALONE, DANGER, RAPE, ILL, PERVERT, CONFUSED, MUM, TEDDY, BABY


Assessing Final Type

To determine your final psychological type, you should combine your dominant attitude with your dominant and auxiliary functions.

The various combinations result in 16 possible psychological types. These are listed in the table below, with their corresponding Myers-Briggs® Types.

Note that Watchword uses a different letter system from the MBTI. Watchword (WW) includes the two letters that identify the dominant attitude and function, followed in brackets by the letter for the auxiliary function. This dispenses with the need to specify the MBTI's Judging-Perceiving (J-P) polarity, although this can be inferred from the Watchword notation (see Jung's Theory of Psychological Types for further explanation.


Dominant
Attitude & Function
Auxiliary
Function
WW
Type
MBTI®
Type
Extraverted Sensation Thinking ES(T) ESTP
Extraverted Sensation Feeling ES(F) ESFP
Extraverted Intuition Thinking EN(T) ENTP
Extraverted Intuition Feeling EN(F) ENFP
Extraverted Thinking Sensation ET(S) ESTJ
Extraverted Thinking Intuition ET(N) ENTJ
Extraverted Feeling Sensation EF(S) ESFJ
Extraverted Feeling Intuition EF(N) ENFJ
Introverted Sensation Thinking IS(T) ISTJ
Introverted Sensation Feeling IS(F) ISFJ
Introverted Intuition Thinking IN(T) INTJ
Introverted Intuition Feeling IN(F) INFJ
Introverted Thinking Sensation IT(S) ISTP
Introverted Thinking Intuition IT(N) INTP
Introverted Feeling Sensation IF(S) ISFP
Introverted Feeling Intuition IF(N) INFP

Online Method

If you take the online version of the Watchword Test, you are presented with an alternative way of assessing your psychological type.

Each of your key words is shown, together with four pairs of ideas. You are asked to decide which idea in each pair best describes your word. The four pairs of ideas represent the following type polarities (based on the MBTI dimensions).


Ideas Polarity
Inner -- Outer Introversion (I) -- Extraversion (E)
Feeling -- Reason Feeling (F) -- Thinking (T)
Concrete -- Abstract Sensation (S) -- Intuition (N)
Static -- Changing Judging  (J) -- Perceiving (P)

Because the online method is based on relatively crude distinctions between the ideas representing each polarity, the final four-letter type you obtain should be considered as a tentative assessment only. However, its accuracy will be improved the more you study and understand the theoretical distinctions that define each of the four polarities.


Characteristics of Psychological Types

If you complete our online test, you will be given a brief description of your psychological type.

The eight major psychological types (ignoring auxiliary functions) are described at Jung's Theory of Psychological Types.

Extensive profiles of all sixteen types can be found at TypeLogic (you will need to know your four-letter MBTI type).


What if your Watchword Type is "Wrong"?

Because many people first approach their psychological type via the MBTI, there is a understandable tendency to consider the MBTI result as the "correct" assessment and to dismiss any inconsistent result as simply "wrong".

In practice, Watchword Type correlates only moderately with MBTI type. This is most likely because it taps into rather different psychological processes.This is discussed in my book Self-Discovery the Jungian Way but, briefly explained:

  • The MBTI assesses consciously expressed preferences. It is therefore more likely to reflect the acquired, socialized aspect of psychological type.
  • In contrast, the Watchword Test (because it is a projective measure of performance) is more likely to reflect "natural" or spontaneous tendencies which are more influenced by unconscious processes.

Because of their different methodological and interpretive approaches, you should not expect Watchword Type to be identical with MBTI type. While there is usually some commonality, sometimes the differences are very marked.

For these reasons, it can be interesting and informative to consider the possible significance of the similarities and differences between your MBTI and Watchword types, particularly in relation to your socialized (or conscious) vs. natural (or unconscious) tendencies.

Also, because of the spontaneous nature of the Watchword Test, you may find that your Watchword Type is more variable than your MBTI Type when tested on different occasions. This can often give insights into your changing psychological situation. For example, a normally Thinking type might find that Feeling is indicated on the Watchword Test, suggesting that the Feeling function is particularly strong at this time.

Importantly, but often overlooked, everyone is able to express both attitudes and all four functions. Psychological type (as Jung himself noted) is never a static thing.


® Myers Briggs Type Indicator and MBTI are registered trademarks of Consulting Psychologists Press Inc.
Oxford Psychologists Press Ltd has exclusive rights to the MBTI trademarks in the UK.





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