A reader writes on the relationship between sociopathy and the Myers-Briggs personality type, INTJ:
In short, I think a lot of people take MBTI too far. They base huge decisions about life direction on a general tendency to think in a specific way and use their psychological reserves in a particular direction. It isn’t a horoscope, the MBTI is supposed to be used to branch out into other styles and become a well-rounded person. No one is a pure type, and INTJs can be arrogant about their perceived purity of rationality, which, ironically, isn’t what a rational person would think. The website LessWrong is a pretty good breakdown of the kind of self-regulation a high-minded personality type requires. I type as INTJ myself and can’t help but facepalm over the self-appointed geniuses who never created a damn thing in their entire lives. It’s a potential, not a promise.
Personality typing is complicated when you bring in certain disorders. INTJs, being a hermitic type, are often judged for that literal and mental distance. The two common slurs are Aspie and Sociopath. What do these have in common? Blunted affect. Or so it seems.
There’s very little written on the connection between certain personality values and mental abnormalities (I mean that in the mathematical sense of rarity). It’s largely speculation and from what I studied at Uni, it’s imprecise. Like throwing at a dartboard and hitting the same place twice it may happen, but it doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
The similarities I can see between sociopathy and INTJs are best described as coping mechanisms. Both types of person deal with copious amounts of information on a daily basis and some form of filtration is required to thrive. Both types tend to live in their heads and this can fairly freak normal people out. The pressure release valve of INTJs is easily upset by undue amounts of stress in a short period of time, causing them to lash out. On the surface, this might appear a sociopathic 0-60 in temper.
Neither is automatically trusting and these belief systems about testing the world, changing things and treating the world like a gigantic experiment can appear manipulative in a damaging way, as many people are socially-oriented before ideas. The dark sense of humour in expression make it sound worse than it is. “I wanted to see what you’d do.”
INTJs and sociopaths value truth above socially-proscribed norms and among the common herd this can make them enemies. I agree with those who type BBC’s Sherlock as INTJ because his deep, alarmingly sharp processing of information screams INTJ to me.
That isn’t to say the guy is without faults. He’s full of inconsistencies, being the product of many writers, and one outright declared he isn’t a sociopath although “he wishes he was.” With all due respect, that guy is full of shit. If we place the INTJ typing aside, the Sherlock they wrote behaves in a sociopathic way. Whether it’s for dramatic effect and whether he intends to are irrelevant. SEASON 3 SPOILER ALERT: A person with no sociopathic bent could never shoot a guy in the head at point-blank range in cold blood. On a practical level, their fight/flight response would make it impossible. What annoys me about the character’s recent outings are the typical attempt to make him cuddlier and in the process lose the veracity of the Sherlock Holmes brand.
Those personality traits don’t need to be fixed, they’re valuable to society. However, sometimes the person who embodies them needs to branch out for personal reasons and that is to be encouraged.
If a pure INTJ met a pure sociopath, the latter would be irritated because the former would see them as a big puzzle and the latter would see somebody with a good theoretical brain being wasted on impractical goals. They overlap where they think: yeah, I know the social rules, I just don’t care.