The cognitive function stack, Dominant function, Auxiliary Function, Tertiary Function, Stress Function

Cognitive Function Stack

THE COGNITIVE FUNCTION STACK. You might have heard about the eight cognitive functions studied by Carl Jung. Perhaps you find the cognitive functions complicated and hard to understand? In this article, I will break down the dominant function, auxiliary function, tertiary function and inferior function for you in the most simple of terms.

The biggest misconception about the cognitive function stack is that it's about how often you use a cognitive function. That's not it at all. The use of the cognitive functions varies from person to person and can be widely different even for two people with the same personality type. The stack explains how each cognitive function feels and how to use it.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

What are the cognitive functions?

If you have no understanding of the cognitive functions at all, you'll want to check out this article. It explains all the cognitive functions and how they work in a really simple and easy way. Or, keep reading, and I'll tell you anyways.

The cognitive functions – to put it simply – are mental processes. You have all cognitive functions, but each cognitive process has a different influence on you. If you're familiar with the cognitive functions, you know each cognitive function is associated with a different value or activity. For example:

The Eight Cognitive Functions Explained

The Philosopher is your existential mind. The Detective represents your creative and inquisitive mind. Introverted Sensing represents your data-oriented and fact-checking brain. And Extroverted Sensing represents your natural and instinctive side. Every function is involved in you in a different way.

We have Extroverted Feeling, which is involved with interpersonal relationships and morality. Introverted Feeling is your intropersonal, self-reflective part. Thirdly, we have Introverted Thinking, which is your logical-mathematical nature, and Extroverted Thinking which is your ambitious and prolific mind.

The Cognitive Function Stack

The Dominant Function – The Key To Flow

How can you best notice the dominant function in yourself? First, you'll notice that this cognitive function is important to your well-being, happiness and your flow. The more you use the dominant function and the more active the role it has, the better you feel. That's slightly different from the inferior function, which I'll tell you more about later.

The Auxiliary Function – Your Path To Growth

Have you ever heard the saying “No Pain, No Gain?” The auxiliary function works a little like that. This function needs a bit of a push. You're going to want to practice this function whenever you have a chance. It takes energy and effort, but it's worth it. The more you use the auxiliary function, the more you grow and improve yourself. That said – make sure your challenges don't become too overwhelming. You don't want your goals to feel insurmountable.

The Tertiary Function – How You Recharge

The tertiary function helps give you relief. It calms you down, and it protects your energy. It's an easy function to use, you'll notice it pop up whenever you're bored or tired. Just watch out – this function can cause you to feel numb or bored. If everything is easy, there is no chance for growth. This function is just not challenging enough. Imagine there is something bigger out there that needs to be done. You might have a big challenge in life or something that requires your attention. Often, we can escape to the tertiary function because it is a comfort blanket.

The Inferior Function – You Under Stress

What's the inferior function? This boy is most easily recognised as stressed. The more stressed or tense you are, the more you use this function. The more you use this function, the more stressed you become. Stress is not always a bad thing though. It can get you through a tough spot in life. If there's lots of work to be done, a healthy dose of stress can be acceptable. It helps you stay focused and engaged with a difficult task. Too much long-term stress, however, can have a negative impact on your health.

The Personality Types & The Cognitive Stack

What is your personality type and who are you in the cognitive function stack? Use this neat table to figure it out.

The Cognitive Function Stack

Dominant Auxilliary Tertiary Inferior
Introverted iNtuition INFJ, INTJ ENFJ, ENTJ ISFP, ISTP ESTP, ESFP
Extroverted iNtuition ENFP, ENTP INFP, INTP ESFJ, ESTJ ISTJ, ISFJ
Introverted Sensing ISFJ, ISTJ ESFJ, ESTJ INFP, INTP ENTP, ENFP
Extroverted Sensing ESFP, ESTP ISFP, ISTP ENFJ, ENTJ INTJ, INFJ
Introverted Thinking ISTP, INTP ENTP, ESTP INFJ, ISFJ ENFJ, ESFJ
Extroverted Thinking ENTJ, ESTJ ISTJ, INTJ ENFP, ESFP INFP, ISFP
Introverted Feeling INFP, ISFP ENFP, ESFP INTJ, ISTJ ENTJ, ESTJ
Extroverted Feeling ENFJ, ESFJ INFJ, ISFJ ENTP, ESTP INTP, ISTP

Understanding the cognitive function stack

As you can see, every cognitive function has a different place in us. How do you experience the cognitive function stack and the cognitive functions?

What are the cognitive functions like in practice? Find out in this YouTube Video.

The Eight Cognitive Functions Thinking Out Loud
Watch this video on YouTube.
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