Hey guys, as you might be able to tell I'm new here! I've been really getting into cognitive type lately and after a while I started wondering, is it possible to change your type or functions (or even "develop" ones you don't have)?
For example if, let's say, a Ti user were to start thinking exactly like a Te user and essentially push their Ti aside would they eventually get in the habit of using Te?
From the theoretical standpoint, the answer would be.... that the person would start using a mixture of Ti and Fe to almost hybridize Te behavior. For example, a TiNe who wants to become more practical and efficient will inevitably end up doing it in relation to the domain of people (Fe).
In all likelihood, the desire to be more Te in one's thinking (for a Ti user) would come from a type of depreciation of their own subjective dignity. Ti tends to develop a concept of being truth-seeking and 'objective', so in a way Ti can come to conceptually realize that it is a subjective function and dislike that about itself. The sterility of logic seems, to some Ti users, ultimately dissatisfying when faced with trying to understand the whole Truth outside of themselves. It may then proceed to devalue its own philosophical and isolated logic for a more "consensus" based sort of thinking.... where it aims to figure out the truth if other people also independently conclude that to be the case.
But the nuance here is that Ti would want other people to form a consensus, but by examining the idea in that same Ti-axiomatic way. This is different from Te, since Te isn't consensus-driven, even though it's object-oriented. So often you'll see academic Ti's either be philosophically minded (Ti) or very democratically minded (Fe). But rarely are they straightforward engineers.*
So being more logistical and object-ive, for a Ti user, translates to "thinking more about the cause-and-effect of people dynamics and how to best execute strategies within that realm". There may be an absent emotionality still, which would seem "Te" at first, but the trails of thought they follow remain people-oriented.
That said, there's some debate about this topic, and it is possible for CT to do rigorous testing of it to find out if people have all the functions or just 4. From more of a neurological perspective, the answer is that... we don't entirely know. Dario Nardi is doing some work on mapping cognitive functions to neural activity, and it could prove that we all display all neural pathways (of the 8 functions) and could indeed develop our brains to utilize less native strategies.
* = While the mind of the Ti person can be fully turned toward solving "objective" riddles/problems, it'll convert the information into concepts/theories that it can mentally manipulate like grammar or semantics. And then the solutions it will churn out will "make sense" according to their best grammatical acrobatics... but in all likelihood they may be somewhat skewed because the processing wasn't done in the consideration of the whole landscape. They can be exceptionally sharp, though, if they have all the information they need from the environment. (i.e. closed system)
In contrast, Te is very pragmatic and thinks relationally in terms of "better", "likely", "unlikely". It's about function, not conception. So the attention is trying to match the environment 1-to-1, not an inner scaffolding. This makes Te more efficient because its whole thinking apparatus is outer-oriented from start to finish, and it only dips into theory if the theory can be a useful tool to organize causality as they see it happen themselves.
Roughly speaking... for Te, theory forms after experience. For Ti, theory forms first and tries to anticipate experience -- then it fails somewhat, and is readjusted -- and tries again to anticipate experience. This is why Ti builds castles, or "truth-paradigms" the same way Fi forms virtue-paradigms.
There's also the fact that "thinking exactly like a Te user" is a daunting task to propose, since we can't communicate our experience without reducing it to words, or drawing pictures, or some other sensory input. We can only understand what it would be like for *us* to be another person. Even if we could chart out exactly what's going on in a person's head, we can't experience it in a real, personal way and can only interpret it through our native perceptions, functions, and perspectives.
On top of all that, I can't really think of a reason to switch types. Kinda the whole point of different functions is to give our minds a balance of thinking methods. Sometimes I wish I could relax my brain and just experience life, but that's gonna come from me being a TiNe with better Ne and Si, not changing to a perception lead. Perceivers have their own list of pitfalls that aren't any worse or better than mine as a Judger, and they have their own path to maturity to follow. If I worked really hard to become an NeTi, and it worked, I'd have to turn around and start balancing out with my Ti again.
Same thing for different functions, I think. Te-users aren't any more naturally good at life than me. Many Te-users lack the ability to reign in their speech and end up funnier, but they in turn have to learn to use Fi to be judicious with their speech. I value my natural ability to perceive when my voice is too sharp and can soften up, and I've learned to be funny in my own Ti-Ne-Si-Fe way.
tl;dr It's probably impossible and I don't think there'd be any benefit anyway.