We first need to define what we mean by smart. Smart can mean a lot of different things to different people. To one person it may be creativity. To another it may be mechanical. To another it may be interpersonal. And to yet another it may be impersonal. The way we define smart matters a lot on the application at hand.
But for the purposes of this article we are going to measure smart as the influence one has over others and society. People who are smart are people who have influence. People who are smart generally rise to the top of influence and are revered and sometimes even worshiped by others. This is what we mean by smart -- having other people rely on you where you don't need to rely on them.
Also, of course there are going to be exceptions. I am talking in general. There can be smart people in any type and there can be dumb people in any type.
The 4 Basic Dichotomies
Let's start by breaking things into categories. There are 4 main dichotomies:
Of these 4 dichotomies we should figure out which of these is more influential before breaking it down further. So in order of importance for intelligence I would rank these as follows:
- S/N - 85%
- E/I - 10%
- T/F - 5%
- J/P - 0%
I would weigh whether or not somebody is an S or an N as being the most important part of influence. This is the one big giveaway towards intelligence IMHO. I would estimate that roughly 85% of influence and intelligence can be ascertained through whether or not somebody is an S or an N. Following that we have E and I at around 10% which matters a lot, lot less than S/N. Following that we have T/F at around 5% and finally J/P at 0%. Again these are all my opinion but I am going to explain my reasoning below. As you can see most of this stuff doesn't matter that much except for S/N.
Digging deeper into each dichotomy
We first start with S/N. I am of the opinion that N's are smarter than S's. I have gone into more detail in another article as to why this is. N's are almost always more influential than S's. N's usually create things that the S's use. The N's pretty much run the world while the S's manage the world and work for the N's. If you really look around you will see this all over. The N's invent, innovate and build. This is less common with the S. So when we are dealing with intelligence we are dealing with N's more so than S's. Almost any N is going to have an edge over an S. So I would put N above S when it comes to who is smarter because the N has much more influence than the S.
As stated earlier, this probably is about 85% of which MBTI is smarter. The other letters really matter a lot, lot less. So if you want the quick way to find the intelligence of somebody just figure out if they are an S or an N. This will take care of most of it. Once you have figured this out you can break it down even further, but remember that all the other stuff is only around 15%. This needs to be emphasized because the other stuff really matters very little compared to the S and the N.
Are E's or I's more intelligent? This one is a bit harder to see. There are smart E's and smart I's. I can name countless influential E's and I can name countless influential I's. E's are usually influential in the foreground as leaders while I's are generally influential in the background as philosophers. Many of the influential E leaders that we see had influential I philosophers in the background working behind them. Many of the E leaders that we see were put in place by I's.
Moreover, I's seem to have a better attention span and are able to focus more and for longer. This doesn't necessarily equate to influence, but it does equate to where they derive their energy. E's derive their energy from I's. I's derive their energy from the universe. So E's are in a way dependent upon I's. The I's don't get their energy from the E's. The I's get their energy on their own. The I's are more independent than the E's. So because of this relationship I would give I's a slight edge when it comes to intelligence.
Okay, now what about T's and F's? Well, this gets even more tricky. T's are generally more mechanical and technical. F's are generally more involved with less mechanical things and more involved with personal things and emotional things. T's care about things. F's care about people. T's are more into reason while F's are more into emotion. Both of these aspects are extremely necessary and both of these matter greatly in influence.
With that said, I am of the opinion that reason is above emotion and therefore place T above F. The thing that separates humans from animals and lower species is our intelligence and our reasoning abilities. Animals share the emotional traits that humans possess, but they don't share the reasoning traits. Reasoning traits, in my opinion, are a higher end form of intelligence than emotion and therefore more akin towards being influential. I am not saying that emotion is not valuable and doesn't have its place. I am simply saying that I view reason above emotion. It could very well be that emotion is above reason in which case F would be above T. I see them both as much needed but I give the edge to the T when it comes to intelligence.
And how about J's and P's? At this point it is much harder to present an argument as to why one would be smarter than the other. This comes down to the task at hand. When it comes to imagining something new P's are great at that. When it comes to actually turning that imagined thing into reality J's are great. There are tons of influential P's and tons of influential J's.
If I had to give one an edge I would give a slight edge to P's as they are generally more involved with abstract things which are more primary and closer to a first cause than the more physical and real world things. I think P's have a slight edge here as they are influencing at a more esoteric level before the influence perverts itself to the physical level with errors. But it is so small I don't even think it is worth noting.
I would put the smart P's and the smart J's pretty much in the same boat. They can both do the same things if they both really want to. A smart INTP can pretty much do what a smart INTJ can and a smart ENTJ can pretty much do what a smart ENTP can -- but a smart ENFJ probably can't do what a smart INTP can do. So I would say these are about even with a small edge going to the P just because it seems that abstract things are of greater importance than physical, concrete things.
Breaking it down
Okay, so being smart starts first with N. Then it goes to I. Then it goes to T. Then it is about even between the P and J. So if we were to list them from smartest to dumbest I would break it down as follows:
A few notes
INF vs ENT: The 2nd place showdown
According to this breakdown an intuitive, introverted feeler (INF) is usually going to be smarter than an intuitive, extroverted thinker (ENT). This is a tricky one because they both have pros and cons. On the one hand an INF has great attention and focus, while on the other the ENT goes more off reason and data. So who really is smarter?
Well I think we should first look at this from an accuracy standpoint. An introvert is going to be more accurate than an extrovert. An introverted feeler is going to bring in greater accuracy than an extroverted thinker. Even if an extroverted thinker is using reason, the way they are focusing and putting the data together may be lacking due to the extroversion. On the flip side, even though the feeler is using emotion the way that they are pulling the emotion through introversion is going to bring a great level of precision and accuracy.
So this begs the question, would it be better to have an accurate representation of something that is a little bit lacking (INF) or a less accurate representation of something that is a little bit more true (ENT)? And that is the paradox. It really depends. In some cases an ENTP may have more to offer than an INFP. But in other cases the INFJ may have more to offer than the ENTJ. These are both so close and it matters on the goal at hand. This is kind of like the J/P relationship. They are both so close and there are plenty of arguments on both sides.
But with all this said I would still give the introverted feeler the upper hand. Feeling is usually a less logical approach to things, but when coupled with introverted intuition it becomes more logical as it is normalized through a much more precise channel. An introverted, intuitive feeler (INF) is going to be more rational than an extroverted, sensing feeler (ESF). They are being rational with emotion. They are doing something that most emotional people don't do: being logical in a way. They are organizing emotion in a way and using it as a different means for pulling data. The introverted, intuitive feeler (INF) is more of an alternate lens to that of the introverted, intuitive thinker (INT). While the INT will usually reach a conclusion from a technical, more logical approach the INF will usually reach a similar conclusion from an emotional approach. Both will reach very similar conclusions but from different angles. So in many ways the INF is very similar and close to the number one spot of the INT.
So how close is the ENT to the INT? They are also very close. They share the same rational approach to finding conclusions, but like the S/N relationship, ENT's are like an S when it comes to precision and putting it all together. They don't have the organization and precision aspects that the INT's have. Like an S who hasn't quite developed their intuition, an ENT hasn't quite developed their focus, where the INF has.
And feeling doesn't always equate to emotion. Feeling usually involves people. Feelers are the social innovators of the world while thinkers are the technical innovators of the world. Being a good social innovator still involves much thinking and can easily be argued as important or even more important than technical innovation.
So with all this said I would put the INF above the ENT. Again, it is very close.
Feelers vs Thinkers
I am somewhat sticking my neck out by putting feelers above thinkers in many of the ways that I do. Thinkers almost always score higher than feelers when it comes to IQ. But IQ is just one way to measure intelligence. Using IQ as the main basis for being smart or intelligent is just one measurement. That is why early on I defined smart as something like influence as opposed to sheer technical ability. Being smart isn't about being a thinker or being a feeler. It is about being BOTH. That is why being smart is more than just one or the other. And that is also why IQ tests are just one piece of intelligence.
If you really want to know which one is smarter from an IQ metric you can just run a bunch of tests and crunch the results. But that still leaves a level of dissatisfaction for most people, especially feelers who know that they aren't stupid. And feelers aren't stupid. Which is why we need to broaden our definition of intelligence as more than just a technical measurement. Intelligence is a hard thing to define and even harder to measure and I feel AND think that our society leaves out many of the important emotional and personal aspects when measuring intelligence.
So there you have it
I am curious to see as what others think. How would you rank it?
Filed under:Personal Development, MBTI, Intelligence