The Cognitive Functions

When I talk about flow functions, I talk about the functions that we use with relative ease, and functions that we value and find intrinsically important. The flow function gives us our conscious sense of identity and ‘who we are’.

The flow function can be contrasted against the inspirational functions and the autopilot functions. While the inspirational functions serve as difficult goals or challenges to strive towards, the autopilot serves as the tool or methods and resources we see ourselves as using to fulfil our goals. Finally, the stress functions represent our unconscious, hidden self.

The Four Functions

Flow functions

Identity, value, ease

Autopilot functions

‘Other’, unconscious, ease

Inspirational functions

‘Other’, value, effort

Stress functions

Identity, unconscious, effort

Erik Thor’s Cognitive Functions

I say functions in plural because not one single cognitive function could be responsible for any persons identity or happiness or well being, but rather a combination of several cognitive functions. I have identified sixteen in total.

The Sixteen Intelligences

The Observer Functions

The Perceiving functions gather information and make observations about what things are.

The Performer (ESXX)

Our attention gives life colour and meaning.

Extroverted Sensing: Bold. Entertaining. Attentive.

The Seeker (ENXX)

Ne believes that something is always waiting around the corner.

Extroverted iNtuition: Possibility-oriented, Futuristic, Planning

The Philosopher (INXX)

There is a hidden world of ideas you can only see when you ask the right questions.

Introverted iNtuition: Contemplative. Original. Inquistive.

The Teacher (ISXX)

With time and patience, all our questions will be answered.

Introverted Sensing: Consistent, Stable, Evidence-based

The Evaluating Functions

The Reviewers make reflections and evaluations about how things work and what they are worth. They say whether something is good or bad, and how something should be done.

The Healer (IXFX)

Harmony is when we are all happy and in good health.

Introverted Feeling: Introspective, Counselling, Understanding

The Ruler (EXTX)

If I had more power, I could make things better.

Extroverted Thinking: Result-oriented, Pragmatic, Success-seeking

The Expert (IXTX)

Once I have figured this out, I will be able to fix it.

Introverted Thinking: Intelligent, Rational, Logical

The Advocate (EXFX)

We are all connected, we are all one.

Extroverted Feeling: Meaning-seeking, Values-oriented, Depth-oriented

The Organizing Functions

Actors take action based on instincts and ideas and visual impressions. They say what we should do and what action we should take in a given situation.

The Rebel (XNXP)

There is always another way.

iNtuitive Perceiving: Perspective, Nuance, Rebellious

The Organizer (XSXJ)

Tried and true.

Sensing Judging: Disciplined, Structured, Step-By-Step

The Doer (XSXP)

Practice makes perfect.

Sensing Perceiving: Active, Hands-On-Approach, Reflexive

The Visionary (XNXJ)

If it can be imagined, it can be made real.

iNtuitive Judging: Visionary, Independent, Ideas-based

The Decision Making Functions

Deciders make decisions based on feelings and rational criteria. They tell us what we should do and what is right and wrong.

The Giver (XXFJ)

Give, and the world will give back.

Feeling Judging: Diplomatic, Charming, Caring

The Player (XXTP)

The number one spot is reserved for me.

Thinking Perceiving: Competitive, Tactical, Argumentative

The Individualist (XXFP)

Nobody can tell me what to do.

Feeling Perceiving: Ethical, Honest, Authentic

The Architect (XXTJ)

One day, the world will work the way I want it to.

Thinking Judging: Methodical, Systematic, Strategic


These archetypes direct our approach to things and how we do things.

The Builder (IXXJ)

The world will be according to my design.

Introverted Judging: Diligence, Persistence, Self-Control

The Actor (EXXP)

I will be prepared for anything.

Extroverted Perceiving: Openness, Information, Adaptability

The Manager (EXXJ)

I will help the tribe be better.

Extroverted Judging: Productivity, Proactivity, Management

The Advisor (IXXP)

Sometimes you need to stop and just observe.

Introverted Perceiving: Caution, Flexibility, Knowledge


These archetypes describe our key values and interests in life.

The Idealist (XNFX)

I will not give up on my dreams.

iNtuitive Feeling: Dreams, Values, Innocence

The Practicals (XSTX)

I will make the best of what I have.

Sensing Thinking: Practice, Evidence, Stability

The Innovator (XNTX)

There is always a better way.

iNtuitive Thinking: Advancement, Corrections, Enhancement

The Influencer (XSFX)

What is the point of life if we can’t enjoy it?

Sensing Feeling: Popular, Worldly, Social

Every personality type has a combination of these six archetypes. That means you can unlock six of these archetypes in flow. Other archetypes can take some work or stress, and require more development and control.

Icons made by Darius Dan from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

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