Being a new manager or entrepreneur of an expanding team, is a thrilling yet daunting task. The complexity of managing individuals with diverse personalities often becomes a source of anxiety. In this exploration, we delve into the profound insights offered by the Enneagram, a personality system with ancient roots and modern psychological perspectives, to empower emerging your understanding and navigating the intricacies of human behavior.
Teodora Paucean, our training partner, is an experienced personalities and relationship coach with many years of conducting training for managers and companies in Europe and America.
Watch the video below to start!
The Enneagram, like the MBTI, is a personality system rooted in spiritual wisdom from ancient traditions. It’s a complex, philosophical, and intuitive system that many have contributed to over time. Despite its age, modern psychology has further developed it, emphasizing that each person is an expert in a coping mechanism reflecting insecurities, fears, and growth opportunities.
The Enneagram suggests that each person carries a lost message from childhood, shaping their need for love. For instance, if we lacked the assurance of love, we might feel compelled to prove our worth. It identifies nine types, each with dominant characteristics, yet we resonate with elements from various types.
Contrary to misconceptions, the Enneagram, like the MBTI, doesn’t box individuals; it illuminates patterns and growth potential. It delves into the dynamic aspects of personality, introducing the concept of Essence, our true self, beneath the mask of fears, beliefs, and reactions.
Understanding our Enneagram type offers benefits, helping us comprehend triggers, move past insecurities, and become more confident, compassionate, and empathetic. However, caution is advised against extreme typology use as an excuse for bad behavior. Flexibility is crucial, considering factors like culture, education, age, and maturity also influence how a person expresses their type.
Cultivating awareness, a lesson for all types, facilitates letting go of self-imposed limitations. Recognizing when we are in the trance of our personality enables us to move past triggers and insecurities, fostering personal growth.
As a type two, I often feel the need to please others. Acknowledging this helps me pause, reflect, and choose responses consciously. This self-awareness isn’t immediate; it’s a gradual process requiring time and patience.
An overview of the nine Enneagram types reveals distinct characteristics. For example, type one is the reformer or perfectionist, type two is the helper or giver, type three is the achiever, and so forth.
Enneagram types categorize individuals into distinct personality archetypes. Type 1 is recognized as the reformer or perfectionist, emphasizing a desire for autonomy through self-control. Type 2, the helper or giver, seeks validation through acts of kindness and support. Type 3, the achiever, focuses on success, striving to be outstanding in various aspects of life. Type 4, the individualist or romantic, craves authenticity and uniqueness, embracing introversion.
Moving on, the Enneagram divides these types into three groups or Triads: the heart Triad, head Triad, and instinctual Triad. The heart Triad, comprising types 2, 3, and 4, centers on self-image, shame, and ego defenses. Common to this group is a deep-seated feeling of inadequacy, prompting them to adopt specific behaviors for love and acceptance.
Type 5, 6, and 7 belong to the head Triad, characterized by concerns about security and safety. Suppression of anxiety is a shared trait as each type adopts strategies to find support and guidance. Type 5 seeks safety through knowledge mastery, driven by the fear of being useless. Type 6, the loyalist, craves support and guidance, fearing a lack thereof. Type 7, the enthusiast, driven by a fear of being trapped in pain, seeks happiness through constant novelty.
The final group, the instinctual Triad, encompasses types 8, 9, and 1, emphasizing autonomy or independence. Common to this group is a resistance to control, whether internal or external. Type 8, the challenger, seeks autonomy by controlling the external environment, often found in managerial roles. Type 9, the peacemaker, avoids conflict to maintain inner peace and stability. Type 1, the reformer or perfectionist, strives for autonomy through self-control, aspiring to be seen as having integrity.
In conclusion, the Enneagram is a tool for self-education, offering insights into personal and interpersonal dynamics. However, balance is key, ensuring it doesn’t become an excuse but rather a guide for personal growth.
Hello personality enthusiasts! We had the honor to be able to have Michael Pierce to do a public session for the Singapore Typology Community. Michael Pierce is a Jungian researcher and well-known figure online with his substantial work published under the book “Motes and Beams”. I hope his beautiful analogies and philosophical analysis can help many beginners to move from simple personality quizzes to the beautifully nuanced world of Jungian Typology.
Michael: “You’re about to join me down the rabbit hole of this more complex, advanced system known as Cognitive Function Theory or Jungian Theory. So, we begin with Perception and Judgment. These appear in the MBTI test as a dichotomy pair. In Jung’s Theory, they serve a bit of a different role. Perception simply refers to how you perceive the world. It takes in information and it doesn’t categorize it, it doesn’t make any judgments about it. It is only interested in what the things are that are being perceived and are coming into the personality, into your mind. Judgment, as it’s been laid out here, assigns some sort of value to these things. It categorizes them, it judges them. So these two are opposites, but they’re complimentary. Perception has two flavors, or there are two kinds of perception, and in the same way, there are two kinds of Judgment. There are slightly different theories about precisely the correct way to justify splitting them into two flavors, but for our purposes, we’ll just take it for granted and say Perception has two flavors. One is Sensing or Sensation. That’s the perception of what is actually there, the here and now. It has to do with the present, and it also has to do with concrete objects, a lot of the time. Whereas Intuition is a perception of the future, of underlying patterns, of the possibilities of things. That’s how I often try to refer to it. So Sensation is almost like a more direct line to the object, whereas Intuition tends to go around it to things that are implied by the object. So, Sensation is generally very concrete, down to earth. Intuition is very creative but can also be very head in the clouds about things. Those are two ways of just perceiving the object. Judgment also has two kinds: Thinking and Feeling. It’s important to note that we use the terms Thinking and Feeling in a very different way from how they are more precisely used in Jung’s Theory. But as Ching has laid it out nicely here, Thinking is judgment of the quantifiable, and Feeling is judgment of the unquantifiable. There’s a correspondence, at least in my theory, my approach to it, between Thinking and Sensation and Feeling and Intuition. Thinking has to do with judging things in terms of rigid categories and logic, whereas Feeling has more to do with values, ethics, how you and other people are feeling. So that’s sort of the distinction. Okay, so now we have four functions, and note we’ve just sort of built them beginning from Perception and Judgment, and we’ve built our way up to Sensation, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling, which again you would recognize those from the MBTI, the Myers-Briggs test, and other tests online.”
The Dichotomy of Extraversion and Introversion
Michael: “So now we’re going to do the division game again. We’re going to introduce a new dichotomy, Introversion and Extraversion, and by doing that, we will multiply the four functions into eight cognitive functions. Extroversion is an attitude. It’s a focus on what we call ‘the object’. So I perhaps should have started with this, but just so you understand the terminology, the object is anything that is not you. It is the thing that you are focusing on, in order for anything to happen in psychology, you have to have an object and you have to have a subject. The subject is the mind, the subject is the person or the being that has the psychology going on inside them, as it were. And for every subject, there needs to be objects that that subject can think about and can focus on. For Extroversion, there is this, as it were, outward turning and outward focus towards the objects that are out there in the world. And Introversion is a turning inwards to the way that your own subject is. So in some sense, Introversion, you could say, is making an object of your own subject. But I don’t want to start getting into loops of language and so forth. The more important thing is the outward motion versus this inward motion. And so we can split up Sensation and Thinking, and Feeling and Intuition via Extroversion and Introversion. So we would get extroverted sensation, introverted sensation, extroverted thinking, introverted thinking, so forth.
You’ll notice in the little chart up here, they are abbreviations. So Fi would be Introverted Feeling. So the F is for Feeling, the T is for thinking, the S is for Sensation, and the N is for Intuition. Even though intuition starts with an I, it’s abbreviated with an N so it doesn’t get mixed up with Introversion. And then each of those has a little I for Introversion after it or a little E for Extraversion after it. So that’s the notation and how that works. It’s a lot faster to just write, say, Fe rather than Extroverted Feeling because that would get a lot of letters on the page. So finally, we have eight cognitive functions. And now what we’re going to do is we’re going to arrange these functions in order to get 16 different personality types. Let’s just run over what these cognitive functions are and how they work.”
What is “Sensation”?
Michael: “There are two kinds of Sensation: Introverted and Extroverted. I’ll start with Extroverted Sensation. Going by our definitions, Extroverted Sensation would be sensation but directed outward, as it were. It is directed to objects in the here and now. Somebody who is using Extroverted Sensation is someone for whom that is the dominant function they prefer to use. There tends to be a very, as it were, carpe diem, YOLO, living in the moment, thriving on uncertainty. People who are Extroverted Sensing types in my experience thrive in situations where there’s a bit of chaos, and it can stress them out as well, but they’re often much better than introverted types at dealing with that because they’re just going moment by moment. They see what concretely is happening around them, and they just keep track of everything and flow in order to adapt to what is happening in the moment. So, you know, emergency workers, firefighters, police, a lot of people who have to deal with emergency situations. It doesn’t just have to be that. You can still find them in more academic disciplines at times, though that is usually through focus on other functions. So that’s Extroverted Sensation, very in the moment. Introverted Sensation reverses that in an interesting way, because the sensation is directed inwards. So Introverted Sensation people, not in a political sense at all, per se, but there’s a kind of conservatism, they’re much slower and more removed from the outside world, as compared to the extroverted sensor. It is perception of the here and now but brought inwards.
My mother, for example, is a dominant Introverted Sensation type, and she has a very sensitive palate. She usually does a lot of the cooking. She prefers to do the cooking because she can cook the things right. And every time we sit down to dinner, she will eat the food and she will be comparing what she is tasting here and now with these sort of ideal sensations that she has in her own mind. And she compares those sensations to that ideal sensation, and it’s that ideal sensation which is more real for her than the sensations in the here and now. And so she will taste and say, “This tastes like it has too much salt. This shouldn’t have as much salt as it does at the moment,” whereas I’m sitting there, and I’m like, “Oh, this is a salty dish“. But for her, it’s like, “No, it’s more salty than the way it should have salt”. And if you’re clever, you might notice there’s some relation with judgment, which I don’t really have time to get into that right now, but it’s a valid observation. So anyway, you get a conservatism there. It’s not “live-in-the-moment”. One of the other things my mother would do is when something flashy or wild or very quick would happen, she would take a moment and she would just say, “I’m just processing what just happened”. And she’s processing the sensory aspect of it. So they all also will often be very good journal keepers, very meticulous, able to remember all of the details and repeat those back.
What is “Intuition”?
Michael: “So now we move on to Intuition. We have Extroverted Intuition, which is a perception of implications and possibilities brought outwards. It is a focus on ideas and possibilities. Almost like they’re juggling a lot of different ideas at one time. But more importantly, it’s the fact that those ideas are out there. A better way of putting it is it’s almost like ideas are actual objects for them that exist outside of themselves and exist on their own. So the result of this is that ideas tend to diverge for them. From one observation, you can derive ten new and distinct ideas from it. So there’s this branching out, and it very quickly can turn into a kind of chaos for them. But it’s very, very fruitful because they will see all of the ways you can split up one topic into different topics.
Introverted Intuition does sort of the opposite. Introverted intuition, because it turns inwards, has a tendency to see similarities between things to a certain extent and to say, “This idea is really just this idea if you put them next to each other.” You can sort of collapse things into each other. From 10 observations, you derive one sort of vision or one underlying principle. Extroverted Intuition is almost like, you have one point, and then you draw an infinite number of lines through that one point to show all of the different ways you can diverge from that one point. Whereas intuition or introverted intuition, you have say 10 points, and then you try to draw a line of best fit, if you know that from algebra, you try to draw a single line that sort of averages out all of those individual observations, and that is the single idea which is then kept in Introverted Intuition. So kind of like with Introverted Sensation where I mentioned this notion of having ideal sensations that you kind of use to organize the sensations in the outside world, similar idea with Introverted Intuition, but with ideas, you have sort of a single idea that you are relating things back to. So Extroverted Intuition is stereotypically… it doesn’t necessarily look like this, but stereotypically, lots of different ideas. Very kind of scattered brains, running all over the place, whereas introverted intuition is like, “I have the eyes that stare into your soul,” you know, kind of like the chess grandmaster or something like that.”
What is “Thinking”?
Michael: “Thinking is judgment that is based on logic and facts, and it’s broader than that, but that’s the quickest way to explain it. So Extroverted Thinking is very goal-oriented. It’s very, “I want to accomplish things out there in the world. I want to organize the actual materials or people or resources that I see outside of me. I want to work with the external facts of a situation. Here’s where we should go with something. Here’s how we make things more efficient.’” Ching: “Everyone always has this mindset that Extraversion means party animal, you know? So when I meet someone and I say, ‘Oh, I think you have a very strong Extraverted Thinking,’ they often say, ‘Oh, I’m not an extrovert. I’m just doing all the work in the background,’ but it is precisely the fact that they are doing all the work that is the Extroversion, and that is the Jungian definition of Extroversion that is that we don’t really use nowadays.” Michael: “Thank you, Ching. Yes, that’s a very good point. It’s important to leave aside some of your preconceptions about what Extroversion and Introversion mean in order to properly understand these. You can get people who will seem very introverted in a colloquial sense, in an everyday sense, but the way that their mind actually functions would be described better by one of the extroverted functions. Perhaps, and as we shall see soon, everybody has extroverted sides and introverted sides. It’s just a matter of how they are arranged in relation to each other. So it’s never as simple as whether you’re a party animal or you want to stay home and read books.
So that’s Extroverted thinking, very pragmatic. Introverted Thinking, again, we have this idea where it’s almost the thinking idea inside of one’s own subject which takes precedence over the facts out there. So there’s a focus on refining logical ideas, refining and making those ideas perfectly precise, pure mathematics almost all the time. That’s where you’re going to find more Introverted Thinking types. But they’re much more interested in the theory and in making things logical and consistent, and then taking that theory and then after the fact applying it to what’s going on out there. They’re always much more interested in making the definitions and ideas more precise. Rene Descartes, a French philosopher, he’s famous for saying, “I think, therefore, I am”. That is very introverted thinking because what he literally did was said, “I can’t trust any of my external knowledge of the outside world because, you know, it’s possible that I am deceived or I’m hallucinating or I’m dreaming or something. All I can trust, and what is more real for me, is my own thoughts, my own principles that I’ve developed.” This is very introverted thinking. So that’s how those two go. You kind of have this difference between theory and practice, which would be a very general way of differentiating them.”
What is “Feeling”?
Michael: “Finally, we have Feeling. Extroverted Feeling is a feeling which is sort of directed outwards. It is objectified. Extroverted Feeling will generally be much more naturally outwardly expressive. It will be in tune with what expressions are the most socially acceptable or most harmonious to the needs of the group. Ching wrote a nice little thing, actually, a very nice little description here: “Each individual is one Mosaic of a beautiful group dance, and everyone needs to play their part.” That’s great. The dance especially is a great way of putting it because you have this notion of the need to not focus on how you’re feeling or your own feelings, but to harmonize with the group and to try to promote the feelings of the group as a whole. So you see there’s this movement outwards in terms of one’s ethics. When someone has dominated Extroverted Feeling, there will often be this sort of blurring of the line where they will be literally feeling what they think should be felt. And if they’re not feeling what should be felt, then they’re like, “Something’s wrong. If I’m not crying at a funeral, something’s probably wrong. This isn’t how you’re supposed to feel objectively in this situation”. They also don’t say certain things to certain people because they think they’re just going to screw everything up.
Introverted Feeling is where the feeling is directed inwards. You have to get past some of the connotations of the language because when I say they’re much more focused on how they are feeling, it sounds as though they’re self-absorbed and selfish. And from the Extroverted Feeling perspective, they are. From that perspective, that’s what’s going on. But then that gets challenged when you find that some of the most empathetic and self-sacrificing people I’ve met have been Introverted Feeling types. And that’s because it sort of messes with the selfishness-selflessness division. Introverted feeling is that feeling which is internal or individual to you. If you’re crying at a funeral because you knew the person and you had a personal connection with them and you are genuinely, like, this is how I feel regardless of how everybody else is feeling, that’s good because that indicates that you are more in alignment with your own feelings and your own soul. But if you’re just crying at the funeral because that’s what you’re supposed to do, then that’s like, who are you? You’re like an empty shell. I once had an argument with a friend of mine who wasn’t a dominant Introverted Feeling, but they had that in there as one of their major functions, and they were always asking me, like, “So, how do you feel about this or that controversial issue?” And I, being more Extroverted Feeling, was always like, “I don’t really want to answer that .. What’s more important is how are you going to react to how I feel about such and such”. As far as my feelings go, those just seem so ephemeral and so kind of unrelated to the topic… and it would turn into just us arguing over whose feelings are right, and that wasn’t useful. But that wasn’t how she thought about the things. So, that’s your crash course in the eight functions.“
How are cognitive functions organized to form personality types?
Michael:“The way that the functions are organized in a personality is that you have four function slots. You have the dominant function, you have the auxiliary function, the tertiary function, and the primitive or inferior function. We’ll start with the dominant.
The dominant function is the one that most defines you and the way that you tend to think. It’s the one that you use the most. Nicely compared with walking here, which I know is drawn from the book. Thank you, Ching. Yes, it’s the most easy and natural thing for you to do. In some cases, it can be so natural that the person will not even notice that that is definitely their mode of thinking, and that can actually sometimes be a bit of a challenge in typing people or at least in self-typing. But in any case, that’s sort of the easiest one to understand in a lot of ways. But in order to function as a person in general, you can’t just have one function, because you need multiple ways to see and to situate yourself in reality. So you have to start off with the auxiliary function, which compensates for your dominant function. So there’s always a bit of opposition there. The auxiliary function nicely compares to swimming; it requires more effort to do it, but you can do it, and it’s very useful for you to orient yourself in society. For example, I believe my dominant function is introverted intuition, so that’s what I sort of just do in the background all the time naturally. My auxiliary function is Extroverted Feeling. That is what helps compensate for my Introverted Intuition so that I’m not just sitting in my room, staring, and reading a text and trying to understand the secrets of the universe. I can actually go out and buy food and act like a normal human being. That’s a silly way of putting it, but more importantly, I associate it with my ability to situate myself in relation to other people and also a concern with social harmony.” Ching: “The Fe auxiliary really helps you in a teaching role because you’re always focused on translating that vision to something that’s palatable to the people we are speaking to, or tailoring it specifically to the people you are talking to.” Michael: “Exactly, yes. It’s not the thing that you’re naturally doing; it’s something that assists your dominant function with what it wants to do. Then you get the tertiary function. The tertiary function is something that you are very interested in, but you may not realize that you’re not actually the best there ever was at it. There can often be a bit of overestimation of one’s abilities with the tertiary function. It’s like the term here, the action metaphor, is lusting. Though you might associate it more with infatuation or fascination, you’re attracted to it, and yet it’s one-dimensional in your understanding of it, which sometimes can be a benefit. But you’re not actually, if you go up against somebody who is dominant in that function, it often becomes clear where the weaknesses lie or where the naivete lies, where the lack of cultivation there lies. So my tertiary function is Introverted Thinking, and you can see this, say, in my book where I’m creating these strict structures that are very Introverted Thinking, very logical, and they build one thing after the other. So my natural tendency would be to say, “Wow, it’s like I’m an Introverted Thinking type. I’m the master at ‘logic’ and figuring things out.” And then you compare it with my father, who is an Introverted Thinking dominant type, and he is an actual mathematician, and he can manipulate concepts and logical concepts in a way that is just completely out of my league. But in a way, he’s much more… he would not make some of the bold leaps that I make in Introverted Thinking precisely because he’s more of a veteran with it. So there’s a trade-off there. So that’s sort of scratching the surface of auxiliary and tertiary. I hope that maybe helps to differentiate them a bit.” Ching: “Oh, maybe just one point I can add to that. So, in Chinese, there is a phrase that goes “showing off in front of a master”. I use this phrase to help people differentiate between dominant and tertiary because basically when the first person, you know, who uses the tertiary function meets someone who is using it in a dominant way, they would be exactly that phrase where you are showing off in front of this master.” Michael: “Yeah, I really like that because that’s exactly what happens, that’s actually a very good phrase.” Ching: “And also, I can think of some examples. For instance, there’s a friend of mine who is an ENFJ, and she said her boyfriend is an ESTP. The ESTP’s tertiary function is extroverted feeling, making him a super party animal and a social butterfly. He’s always friendly, saying “Hey, what’s up?” to everyone and making everyone laugh. My ENFJ friend feels that he doesn’t need to be that friendly to everyone. In fact, she believes he may encourage inappropriate behaviors or enable the wrong people to become popular by focusing on only one aspect of the tertiary function.” Michael: “Yes, that’s very good, and in some sense, there is a descending order of maturity to the functions, is another way of characterizing it. The dominant function is your most mature function, the auxiliary function is pretty mature, but it’s almost like the assistant to the hero. The tertiary is much younger, much less experienced, and finally, you get the inferior function, which is the least experienced and often the most… all-or-nothing, in a lot of ways. You compared it to tiptoeing, which is very nice, difficult, and low payoff. One may get away with suppressing and ignoring it altogether. It can be a worthwhile challenge if one wishes to turn all weaknesses and blind spots into strengths and also a source of unusual elegance. So all of the functions have a function, which is the most directly opposite to it. The dominant function represses its opposite function, and its opposite function thereby becomes the inferior function. So introverted intuition is opposed to extroverted sensation, because extroverted sensation has to do with the actual objects outside of me, whereas introverted intuition has to do with the ideas inside of me. So you have this repression between the two of them, and yet it’s sort of a yin-yang, complementary association between them because you can’t have one without the other. You get a similar opposition between the auxiliary and the tertiary, where you’ll have somebody who, say, with the ESTP example that Ching gave, the ESTP is much better with Introverted Thinking, and they’ll use that in order to organize their life and give themselves principles of action. But especially as they get older, they’ll become more infatuated with Extroverted Feeling and almost think that is more important and want to associate more with that than with the introverted thinking, which they’re much better at. So, there’s this element of natural ability, self-awareness, engagement. That’s sort of the organization for the different types. So you get 16 types, in which each type has four functions, and these different slots. The reason that there are only 16 types built from eight functions is because of the natural oppositions I mentioned, where if you have Ni as your dominant function, you must have Se as your inferior function. That’s just they always go together in that way. And you can… if you have a perceiving function as your dominant, then you have to have a judging function as your auxiliary. So you get these natural oppositions, and in this almost very geometrical, mathematical way, it works out, so you only end up getting 16 distinct types.”
Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, developed a theory of personality that included eight cognitive functions that he believed influenced the way individuals perceive and process information. According to Jung’s theory, each individual has a dominant function that strongly shapes the personality.
His theory on cognitive functions are closely related to the personality types described in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI is a psychological assessment tool that is based on Jung’s theory of personality and is used to identify an individual’s personality type based on their preferences for certain cognitive functions.
According to the MBTI, each individual has a dominant function, followed by a an auxiliary function, which work together to form their personality. The eight cognitive functions identified by Jung are:
Introverted Sensing (Si)
Extraverted Sensing (Se)
Introverted Intuition (Ni)
Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
Introverted Thinking (Ti)
Extraverted Thinking (Te)
Introverted Feeling (Fi)
Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
Here is a brief overview of how the MBTI personality types correspond to Jung’s cognitive functions:
ISTJ (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging): Dominant function is Introverted Sensing (Si), auxiliary function is Extraverted Thinking (Te)
ISFJ (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging): Dominant function is Introverted Sensing (Si), auxiliary function is Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging): Dominant function is Introverted Intuition (Ni), auxiliary function is Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging): Dominant function is Introverted Intuition (Ni), auxiliary function is Extraverted Thinking (Te)
ISTP (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving): Dominant function is Introverted Thinking (Ti), auxiliary function is Extraverted Sensing (Se)
ISFP (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving): Dominant function is Introverted Feeling (Fi), auxiliary function is Extraverted Sensing (Se)
INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving): Dominant function is Introverted Feeling (Fi), auxiliary function is Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
INTP (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving): Dominant function is Introverted Thinking (Ti), auxiliary function is Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
ESTJ (Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging): Dominant function is Extraverted Thinking (Te), auxiliary function is Introverted Sensing (Si)
ESFJ (Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging): Dominant function is Extraverted Feeling (Fe), auxiliary function is Introverted Sensing (Si)
ENFJ (Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging): Dominant function is Extraverted Feeling (Fe), auxiliary function is Introverted Intuition (Ni)
ENTJ (Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging): Dominant function is Extraverted Thinking (Te), auxiliary function is Introverted Intuition (Ni)
ESTP (Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving): Dominant function is Extraverted Sensing (Se), auxiliary function is Introverted Thinking (Ti)
ESFP (Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving): Dominant function is Extraverted Sensing (Se), auxiliary function is Introverted Feeling (Fi)
ENFP (Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving): Dominant function is Extraverted Intuition (Ne), auxiliary function is Introverted Feeling (Fi)
ENTP (Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving): Dominant function is Extraverted Intuition (Ne), auxiliary function is Introverted Thinking (Ti)
Definitions & Examples of the Functions
Extraverted Sensing (Se) – This function involves the use of the five senses to gather and process information about the physical world. People who are strong in this function are practical, detail-oriented, and focused on the present.
Example: A person who is strong in sensing might be a skilled craftsman who is able to accurately measure and cut wood using a ruler and saw.
Or a person who is strong in sensing might be a successful farmer who is able to observe and understand the needs of their crops and animals, and use their practical skills to care for them.
Extraverted Intuition (Ne) – This function involves the ability to process information through pattern recognition and the interpretation of symbolic meaning. People who are strong in this function are imaginative, open-minded, and focused on the future.
Example: A person who is strong in intuition might be a successful entrepreneur who is able to see the potential in a new business idea and take risks to bring it to fruition.
Another example is, a person who is strong in intuition might be a successful writer who is able to generate new ideas and explore multiple possibilities in their writing, and use their imagination to create compelling and engaging stories.
Extraverted Thinking (Te) is a cognitive function that involves the ability to organize and implement ideas in a practical way. People who are strong in this function are organized, efficient, and action-oriented. They tend to focus outwardly on the practical implementation of their ideas, and they are skilled at getting things done.
Example: A person who is strong in extraverted thinking might be a successful project manager who is able to develop and implement plans to complete projects on time and within budget. They might be adept at organizing tasks and resources, and at communicating effectively with team members to ensure that projects are completed successfully.
Introverted Feeling (Fi) is a cognitive function that involves the ability to understand and process one’s own emotions, values, and beliefs. People who are strong in this function are self-aware, independent, and true to their own values and beliefs. They tend to focus inwardly on their own emotions and values, and they are skilled at understanding their own feelings and motivations.
Example: A person who is strong in introverted feeling might be a successful poet who is able to express their own emotions and values through their writing. They might be adept at understanding and exploring their own feelings, and at using their writing to express those emotions in a deeply personal and authentic way.
Introverted Sensing (Si) – This function involves the ability to recall and compare past experiences to inform present actions. People who are strong in this function are reliable, grounded, and detail-oriented.
Example: A person who is strong in introverted sensing might be a successful chef who is able to recall the flavors and textures of various ingredients and use that knowledge to create new dishes.
Introverted Intuition (Ni) – This function involves the ability to foresee and predict the most likely outcome and scenarios, using the whole brain to unconsciously see the hidden patterns and to see the aha moment.
Example: A person with strong Ni can be a visionary business man who foresees potential shift in the market and invest in the right market and products way ahead of his competitors.
Introverted Thinking (Ti) – This function involves the ability to analyze and understand complex systems and concepts. People who are strong in this function are independent, analytical, and logical.
Example: A person who is strong in introverted thinking might be a successful scientist who is able to conduct experiments, analyze data, and develop theories to explain natural phenomena.
Extraverted Feeling (Fe) – This function involves the ability to understand and respond to the emotions of others. People who are strong in this function are outgoing, empathetic, and sensitive to the feelings of others.
Example: A person who is strong in extraverted feeling might be a successful teacher who is able to connect with and understand the emotional needs of their students, and use that understanding to create a positive and supportive learning environment.
I hope the above has shed more light on the various cognitive functions in Jungian psychology & MBTI. Have questions? Feel free to comment below and I will answer promptly!
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most popular personality tests and frameworks since the 1950s, created by the mother-daughter duo Isabel Myers and Catherine Briggs. Officially licensed under the Myers Briggs Company, the MBTI becomes even more popular due to the proliferation of (questionable) free online tests and generic type descriptions, often known as 16P or 16-personality test.
Why You Should Go Beyond Tests and Type Descriptions
As a result, there are generally two levels of understanding that we have seen. In the first group are those who came across the popular 16P personality quiz, or similar sites like truity.com. These sites peddle a type of personality assessment that simply asks “are you Extroverted or Introverted”, “are you an Intuitive or a Sensor”, “are you a Thinker or a Feeler”, “are you a Judger or a Perceiver” with percentage scores and give you your “MBTI type” based on those results.
It is a dichotomy (“strictly one or the other”) method that leaves much to be desired, because in a dichotomy system, you cannot have balance in your capability for sensing/intuition, or thinking/feeling. The end result is that many test-takers feel like they do not fit the extreme definitions of “introvert” / “extrovert” / “thinker” / “feeler”, because naturally every person is a bit introverted at times, a bit extroverted at times, and uses logic and inner values depending on the situation at hand.
In the second group are those who look further back to the origins of the modern MBTI, to the original theory introduced by Carl Jung in his 1921 book “Psychological Types” and expanded by Jungian analysts like John Beebe. Based on this theory, all our psychological thought processes can be categorized into 8 different cognitive functions.
This group also recognizes sixteen different types, but organizes each of the sixteen types by a unique combination of these 8 cognitive functions. It is a more holistic and nuanced understanding of personality types that accounts for the fact that everyone has a bit of everything, and the difference between types lies in the different order of strengths and weaknesses.
Here’s where the confusion arises: both groups have 16 types with the same 16 names, but a very different and incompatible understanding of what defines each of those 16 personality types.
We are firmly in the second group, and we have seen that generally, people in the first group who start to learn about cognitive functions will almost always “see the light” and join the second group, seeing the types through the lens of cognitive functions rather than the simple dichotomies.
Once a person sees the more robust and comprehensive system, they will naturally accept it over the simplistic dichotomies. In writing this post, I hope to bring you from the shallow pools of the 16P and truity.com to the real nuts and bolts of Jung’s theory of personality!
What are Jungian/MBTI cognitive functions?
Perception can be done in two ways; it can be in the present, the “here and now” (Sensing) and it can be looking beyond into the future and inferring patterns beneath the surface (Intuition)
On the other hand, judgement can be also done in two ways; it can be done for quantifiable things, judging value between two black-and-white comparisons (Thinking). It can be also be done for unquantifiable things, judging value in aspects like love or personal values (“do I love Alice or Bob more?”) (Feeling)
So as a result, we have 4 functions (Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, Feeling) and for each of these four functions , there is an introverted and an extroverted version.
The extroverted functions are oriented outwards towards the external world, they are:
Extroverted Sensing (Se): Enjoying the finer aspects of life in food, fashion. Being physically in tune with the world
Extroverted Intuition (Ne): From one observation, deriving ten different ideas and possibilities
Extroverted Thinking (Te): Real-world practicality, results-driven, things that can be written down on a resume
Extroverted Feeling (Fe): Being able to “read the room”, attuned to the social atmosphere, tailoring your words to your audience
The introverted functions are oriented inwards towards the subjective personal world
Introverted Sensing (Si): Seeing and remembering things as they were in the past, taking things step by step
Introverted Intuition (Ni): From ten observations, deriving one single theory that explains everything. Projecting the one future path that most likely will happen
Introverted Thinking (Ti): Logical and consistent, having various categories to ensure that everything has its own place in a water-tight system
Introverted Feeling (Fi): Having a clear idea of individual desires, values, tastes. Living life authentically without being affected by what the rest of the world does
A more detailed explanation of each of the functions can be found here.
How to determine the Function Stack of an MBTI Type?
A person’s combination of functions (i.e. the function stack) can’t simply be randomly picked from the list of 8 functions (otherwise we would have 8^8 = 16,777,216 types! There are commonly accepted rules for the positions and pairings of the functions developed by readers of Jung such as Myers Briggs and John Beebe.
Each function has a partner: its “opposite” within the same Judging/Perceiving category.
Every person’s first four function slots are comprised of one Perceiving function pair and one Judging function pair
Thus four possible combinations; there are four different ways to pair one Perceiving function pair with one Judging function pair
Ne/Si + Fi/Te
Ni/Se + Fe/Ti
Ne/Si + Fe/Ti
Ni/Se + Fi/Te
Within a person’s first four function slots, one function pair will occupy the 1st (“Dominant”) and 4th (“Inferior”/”Primitive”) slots. The other function pair will occupy the 2nd (“Auxiliary”) and 3rd (“Tertiary”) slots
Between the Dominant and Auxiliary Functions,
There is one extroverted and one introverted
There is one perceiving (N/S) and one judging (T/F)
To put everything together, here is an example of how we determine the functions of the ENFP type:
Step 1: Determine the orientation of the dominant function:
First letter tells you the orientation of the dominant function
The first letter “E” means Dominant function is Extroverted
(Intuition or Sensing or Thinking or Feeling)
(Introverted or Extroverted)
(Intuition or Sensing or Thinking or Feeling
because the dominant function is Extroverted, the Auxiliary function must be Introverted
(Intuition or Sensing or Thinking or Feeling)
(Intuition or Sensing or Thinking or Feeling
Step 2: Use the fourth letter narrows down the extroverted function
Fourth letter “P” means the Extroverted function is a Perceiving function (either N or S)
(Intuition or Sensing)
(Intuition or Sensing or Thinking or Feeling)
because the Extroverted function is a Perceiving function, the Introverted functionmust be a Judging function (T or F)
(Intuition or Sensing)
(Thinking or Feeling)
Step 3: Use the second letter to decide whether the person is “Intuition” or “Sensing”
ENFP: “N” stands for Intuition rather than Sensing
(Thinking or Feeling)
Step 4: Use the third letter to decide whether the person is “Thinking” or “Feeling”
ENFP: Letter F stands for Feeling rather than Thinking
Step 5: Determine the tertiary function
Each function has a partner: its “opposite” within the same Judging/Perceiving category.
The Tertiary is simply the function pair of the Auxiliary
Step 6: Determine the inferior function
The Inferior/Primitive is simply the function pair of the Dominant
Inferior / Primitive
Do you get it? Why not try to apply the same process above to determine the top four cognitive functions of your MBTI function stack? For a quick cheat sheet to look up different types’ stacks, click here.
So I hope you have had a better understanding of the other “deeper” aspect of MBTI and the commonly accepted model of the function stack in each type. This will unlock a more in-depth level of self-understanding for yourself based on your type.
The next step is to relook at your specific function stack and familiarize yourself with the definition and usage of each of these functions. Then, you can reflect on how these functions manifest in your life, then learn the theory further, and repeat. It will be a fulfilling and amazing journey of self-discovery with the aid of MBTI and Jungian functions!
Myers, Isabel Briggs, and Peter B. Myers. Gifts differing: Understanding personality type. Consulting Psychologists Press, 1980.
Beebe, John. Energies and patterns in psychological type: The reservoir of consciousness. Routledge, 2016.
Jung, Carl. Psychological types. Routledge, 2016.
This was a guest article written by CS Ng. For more content from the author, check out here.
A more detailed explanation by him on the function stack can be found here.
Can I ask if you are left-handed or right-handed? The chance is you are a right-handed person, because it is the majority of our population. How do you know that you are right-handed? It is a very obvious question almost without a need to explain. If we need to break down the reasons, there are three ways you know that your type is a right-handed: 1) The frequency of you using your right hand in a day is higher than your left and 2) Your right hand feels a lot more natural and real and 3) Your right hand will objectively be better at handling heavier objects or more complex tasks.
That is how you should think about your opposing function of Thinking and Feeling as well. Do keep the above ideas of left and right hand in mind as we further learn about the true definition of Thinking and Feeling in Jungian psychology.
If you are a visual learner, you can also follow this video below:
Besides Introversion and Extroversion, Thinking and Feeling are the second dimension in analytical psychology (the third dimension is Intuition versus Sensing). These concepts were first introduced in the early 20th century by Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961), a famous Swiss psychiatrist who developed the idea of Psychological Types, the precursor to the extremely popular Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test and framework.
My philosophy for Our Human Minds have always been to adhere as much as possible to the original understanding and work of Carl Jung to help readers understand accurately the cognitive functions. It is a longer path, but trust me, it is more rewarding and surer way to achieve more accurate self-understanding than purely taking the online test and read the descriptions of the 16 MBTI personalities!
Unlike left and right hand, Thinking and Feeling preferences in analytical psychology are more distinct, serving very different purposes. Your two hands do not oppose each other, but Thinking and Feeling do by definition. Hence, being aware of them and knowing how to develop your weaker function and learn to make them synchronize holds the potential for not only more productivity but also psychological maturity and wholeness.
The definition of “Thinking” and “Feeling” in Jungian psychology are easily confused with the more layman definitions that we use in our daily languages. They should not be confused with logic versus emotion. You need to understand them in a more fundamental way, that they are evaluative & rational processes to judge incoming information, whether something is right or wrong, good and bad…
Thinking and Feeling aim to clearly distinguish between the two distinct preferences for decision-making: impersonal versus personal/interpersonal respectively. The easiest way to visualize this difference is in the common stereotype between men versus women in our society. Men are known to prefer to “solve problems” and break down problems “logically” while on the other hand, women simply want to be listened to, to be empathized and understood.
While this is a stereotype, indeed, some of the surveys have shown that there is a slight preference (55%) among men for Thinking and a strong preference (75%) of women who have a Feeling preference. How much of this is the surveyed individuals’ true preferences and how much is a result of social expectation & conditioning, is for another debate. However, I would like to add that based on this survey, thinking that all men are or have to be super logical or women have to be relationship-oriented is a gross simplification and unfair treatment to both sexes.
To break it down further, thinking manifests itself as preference for using objective and measurable frameworks for clear-cut decision making. It is about using objective criteria, conceptual frameworks, pros and cons, structures, logical systems… People with Thinking preference value and take pride in being efficient, precise, goal and task-oriented. Something is good if it is placed in the right category, gives better measurable results, more efficient etc.
On the other hand, Feeling places stronger emphasis on human’s welfare, values and preferences. As an introverted function, it’s about knowing a strong moral sense of right and wrong, of feeling an urge to help the less fortunate, to be humanitarian, to overcome unfairness and restore equality. Extroverted version is about about maintaining a harmonious atmosphere (when hosting a house party for example), making sure common pleasantries and “civilized” etiquettes are adhered to, while making sure everyone has a good time.
Interpersonal and value-based decision-making
objective criteria, pros and cons, measurable results, conceptual frameworks, logical systems
values, morality, harmony, personal preferences, gut feels of right and wrong
Quick Exercise : What is your true preference based on the above definition? You might need to think about when you are younger or in a more comfortable place at home without any stress of work or “have to” pressure. Social expectation and work stresses might force us to over-compensate to the point of losing sight of who we truly are, like Feeling men are often expected to appear logical and tough, or your jobs have required you to develop your weaker function, even if in your younger years you are the opposite.
This section is more relevant for Feeler who has a natural strength in making decisions based on personal values or harmony, but as a result, devoting less consciousness energy in using systemic/impersonal perspectives. We will look at concrete steps that you can take to gradually build up confidence in using the skills and become more holistic in decision making.
Playing a big part of your ego, Feeling – the preference for using value and personal-preference based approach, is part of your identity. The cause that you care about, friends and family, the social connection and status that represent your deepest conviction and meaning of life, are valid. As much as it’s important to acknowledge the other side of the equation, in the end, Thinking should serve in a supporting role and not to dominate your preference for personal values or interpersonal harmony.
The development of your weaker functions and achieving wholeness is a life-long quest, so the instruction below serves as a general direction and examples of the kind of steps you can take to develop Thinking.
Remember that the basic definition of Thinking is the use of impersonal systems, framework and measurable results and data. Hence, you can:
Learn from someone close to you who is strong in Thinking like your family members or colleagues. Talk to them more or reflect on the time you guys spend time together. Learn about how they conduct themselves differently, understand why they do it and see if you can learn and integrate some of their techniques or philosophy.
Develop interests in activities that require strong impersonal reasoning and decision making such as chess, finance, computer games…
Integrate productivity tools such as planner, calendar, deadlines and KPIs clearly for both personal work and managing others.
Take courses, read books, watch videos… on productivity, time and project management.
Learn to say No. It’s very natural for Feeler to go with the flow and say yes to keep harmony. Saying No doesn’t mean being harsh or rude if you can explain yourself clearly. It doesn’t have to be black and white either, you can also negotiate what you’d like to do and what you cannot do or you feel is not fair. It’s hard at first, but it’s an essential skill that will go a long way!
Knowing other ways to develop your Thinking side that can help other readers? Feel free to comment below!
This is more relevant to Thinking dominant type. Again, it’s important that you acknowledge and embrace your identity as a Thinker and develop Feeling as a support for a more holistic decision making process. Your Thinking function should still be in the driver seat!
Find friends, family or colleagues who you know well and you are fairly certain they are stronger in Feeling. Get to know them more and reflect on how they conduct things differently and see whether you can integrate some of their physiology and methods to your daily life.
Engage in reflective activities like meditation, arts, writing… to reflect on your values and what’s important to you. Remember, it’s a gradual process that requires patience and regular practices.
Engage in social activities and roles that you have to interact more with people. Recognise some of your biases and see it from a more positive light when it comes to social relationships.
Immerse yourself in nature, away from distraction of work and technology, to hear and embrace your inner voices, values and feelings.
Are you a Thinker that has other ways that work? Feel free to share below.
I hope you now have a clearer understanding of the distinction between these rational dimensions of Thinking versus Feeling. In reality, these two preferences never exist as standalone in a healthy person’s psyche but work in tandem. But since they are mutually exclusive/cancelling out, it’s natural to prioritize and put your conscious energy into one while “send to exile” the other, giving little conscious energy to nourish and maintain it.
If possible, you should learn further about how Introversion and Extroversion are combined with Thinking and Feeling to give rise to 4 distinct Cognitive Processes/Functions: Introverted Thinking, Extroverted Thinking, Introverted Feeling and Extroverted Feeling. This breakdown will bring in a whole new level of depth and opportunities for self-understanding and development. Good luck!
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test and framework have popularized the concepts of extroversion, introversions and the cognitive processes that you probably have heard of: Thinking vs Feeling, Intuition vs Sensing. However, these concepts were first introduced in the early 20th century by Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961), a famous Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology.
Understand the fundamentals of these processes is crucial for any further learning and reading of MBTI-related theories and Jungian psychology. At the very least, you will be able to decipher the various functions that make up your personality type and how they interact together to form your unique cognitive patterns.
So let’s dive in to the first pairs of two opposite processes: Intuition and Sensing! If you prefer to watch instead of reading, below is a detailed video explanation I have made on the same topic:
This dichotomy is how we perceive and make sense of information, either in a dominantly concrete or abstract manner.
Concrete information is tangible sensory information, something that you can feel, see, taste, hear. With regards to time, it’s also related to what is here and now, what’s currently going on in society and most immediate environment. Jung termed this process of accessing concrete information: sensing and those with this preference are called sensors
Abstract information is intangible conceptual information, such as reading between the lines, metaphors, meaning behind things, future possibilities … The person likes to think far ahead, using past data to foresee future outcomes and behaviors. The process of using abstract perception is termed Intuition and the people who prefer it over sensing are called intuitives.
We both can use sensing and intuition at will, we have preference to prioritize one over the other. Our preferred side is more dominant, natural, and more developed like the left and right hand. Sensors are generally better at noticing and remembering details of a discussion while intuitives often only remember the key points or vibe.
How an intuitive and sensor notice a book in bookshop differently (in order of what the person see first)
Essence of what’s it about Relevance to me Seem a bit worn out
Eww one corner is torn off! The cover design is corny What is it about?
Example of how an intuitive and sensing person would notice an object differently
According to statistical studies, Sensors significantly outnumber Intuitives in the general population.(70-75% of the population are sensors). It is a big advantage if you are aware of the sensing-intuitive difference because this dichotomy is often a common source of misunderstanding in work and personal relationships.
Sensors look for concrete facts and details and take things as they are and work with them. Intuitives look for abstract patterns and connections because they prefer to deal with the potential of objects, believing that reality can be different or changed, with a hopeful lens for the future. Sensors are more realistic and grounded while intuitives are more idealistic.
When Sensors intuit for too long, they feel impatient with too much theory and abstract thoughts. Meanwhile, intuitives can easily be put off by feeling forced to explain or sequence “every little detail” and would rather get back to entertaining new or interesting possibilities to restore equilibrium to their personality.
Evolutionary and social roles
Many would think that Intuition – the ability for more abstract thinking should exist only in humans or modern humans but the truth is both Intuition and Sensing exist in animals too. A lot of animals are known for their gut feeling or ability to memorise patterns (like salmon or birds that migrate thousands of miles to the places they are born). Of course, abstract thinking is more pronounced in humans because we have developed tools like languages and the concept of time, which significantly boosts our capacity for abstract thinking.
Any MBTI types are capable of both, as mentioned above. The average humans, regardless of types, are capable of comprehending and using way more abstraction than any other species on planet earth. I suspect that the part of Intuition and Sensing in our brains are pretty distinctive and mutually exclusive. However, why don’t we all evolve to become abstract thinkers?
Because both ways of thinking are important to get any society or any project to function. It is a matter of spectrum. For example, Einstein came up with the E=MC2 formula, which is an example of highly abstract work! But society don’t just exist out of a formula! We need to further “concretize” the abstraction into practical and applicable tasks – the realm of Sensing. We further apply it to build space craft, atomic bomb… then we need people who like to take specific instruction on how to make that part of the space craft, what color is the craft, what materials is it made of… down to the smallest details!
What does it mean for you?
I hope the overview above gives you a more accurate and objective view of the two primary modes of information perception in the population. Keep it in mind when you interact next with other people and see if you can tell if they are sensors or intuitives. Two people of the same types will have an easier time communicating while you should be a bit more mindful of people who do not share the same preference. In essence, intuitive people love abstract and somewhat theoretical discussion while sensing-dominant people want to know the details and concrete steps.
No preference is better than the others. We have our respective social roles and strengths and weaknesses. In particular, if you are an intuitive, you might be the minority but with great potential for big-pictured thoughts and acquisition of abstract and innovative information. If you ever feel misunderstood or broken in some ways cause you are not in tune or don’t care about the latest social trends or norms, it’s ok. There are other people like you and there are exciting discovery ahead when things start to make sense and you will finally discover your true identity and purpose, even if it takes slightly longer than usual.
Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology.
While his predecessor, Sigmund Feud, explored the personal unconscious, Carl Jung studied and developed the unconscious further to show the collective unconscious, which represents a form of the unconscious common to mankind as a whole. Carl Jung was the first to distinguish the two major attitudes or orientations of personality – extroversion and introversion. He also identified four basic cognitive functions (thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuiting).
To continue, you can read the article or watch the video version instead:
What is Extroversion and Introversion in Carl Jung’s original work?
This dimension has to do with where we naturally direct our energy and recharge as well as our first order of importance: the inner world vs the outer world:
Inner world is made up of thoughts, ideas, memories or so-called the subjective experience that is unique and aware of only by the individual
Outer world is made of people and experiences outside of one’s self, or the “objects”
Extraverts have a stronger relationship with the objects of the outer world because they feel a stronger cognitive need for frequent interaction with the world. To Extraverts, what’s going on outside is more important than what’s happening inside. Overall, they are more “action-oriented”.
Introverts have a stronger relationship with the inner world because they feel a stronger cognitive need to connect with their inner subjective experiences. To introverts, what’s happening inside is more important than outside. They are characterised for being more “reflective”.
I would like to clarify an important distinction between “trait” theory versus “type” theory. Jungian psychology is about type. Many free online MBTI tests give you results in percentage such as 70% Introvert, 30% Extrovert etc. However, this does not mean you are a different type 30% of the time. Being 90% or 51% introverted still means you have an introverted outlook in life. This kind of test fails to show that Jungian theory is a “type” theory, which mean you are either introvert or extrovert, and not a “trait” theory where you can exist in a continuum like the Big 5.
A good metaphor for extroversion vs introversion is land vs water. You can naturally be comfortable in both, but to an extrovert, the outer world is like the shore and the inner world is like water. They can certainly enjoy staying in water but where do they eventually get respite from? The shore. Vice versa for introverts, the inner world is like the shore and the outer world of objects is the water!
Neurologically, Extraverts and Introverts have different pathways in the brain for processing information. Extraverts use a shorter pathway and are much faster at processing incoming information from the world. Therefore, they have a higher tolerance for stimulation and tend to actively seek out stimulating experiences.
Introverts’ pathways are much longer as the information is processed and filtered internally. They are easier to suffer from “information overload” given the same amount of external stimuli. Hence they prefer a slower “reflective” pace and tend to avoid situations that might overwhelm them. This difference is noticeable in babies as young as 4-months old!
According to statistical studies, Extraverts and Introverts are roughly evenly split in the general population, with a few studies finding a slightly greater number of Extraverts.