Cognitive functions cannot be arranged in a hierarchy but should rather be described as a circle. We are all complete people and we have all cognitive functions inside us. We cannot rank functions based on how much we use them but rather what role or nature they have inside of us. This is my take on the eight function model and this is how I see the cognitive functions inside a personality type.
Which cognitive functions you use depend on your mood. In flow, you will use the first function, the hero function. In stress, you will move to the “Adult” function. When having fun, you may move. to the “Child” function.
1 The Flow Function “Hero”
The hero embodies the naturally talented, energetic, motivated, and most confident aspects of our self. This function is effortless to use and the strongest when we feel relaxed and when we feel confident in ourselves. Being in a flow state feels like being on a quest.
2 The Aspirational Function “Master”
We step into this function when we feel the most confident in ourselves. We struggle to use this function if we lack confidence. In many ways this is the ideal version of ourselves that we aspire to be. Being in an aspirational state feels like having a mission or purpose.
3 The Learning Function “Student”
We use this function to learn and improve at something. We use it the most when we doubt ourselves and use it to gain certainty and security. This is the part of ourselves that we are always working on. Being in a learning state, we feel like we are in school.
4 The Dominant Function “Rival”
This function is most strong when we feel a mix of stress or worry, driving us to a “fight” response. We use this function to overcome obstacles or push through a difficult situation. This function is the most aggressive in the psyche. Being in a rival state, we feel like we are at war.
5 The Inspiration Function “Muse”
We go to this function in order to recharge and get energy and new inspiration in life. It is a playful and chaotic function. In a muse state, we feel like we are falling down the rabbit hole or on an adventure.
6 The Recreative Function “Child”
We go to this function to get stimulation and to let loose. This function can help us relax or take it easy. We tend to feel the most cut off from this function when we are under pressure. Being in a child state, we can feel as if we are in a playground.
7 The Stress Function “Adult”
The stress function is strongest in us when we are experiencing pressure in life. It represents adult responsibilities and demands in life. Being in an adult state, we can feel as if we are at work.
8 The Conscientious Function “Slave”
We use this function to achieve perfection and to avoid mistakes. It is associated with worries and feelings of insecurity. Being in a slave state, we can feel like we are in prison.
Why do I do this?
- To shift the discussion from an idea that cognitive functions can be ranked from most to least conscious
- To debunk the idea that everyone only has four of eight conscious functions
- To help people really understand themselves from multiple perspectives
- To promote a dynamic and holistic sense of identity
How does this work for a specific personality type? Here are two examples for an ENTP and INFJ.
Here’s how it looks for all the iNtuitive types
And this is for the sensory types
How do you experience the different cognitive functions in yourself? Let me know in the comments below!