Carl Jung theorised that there were eight cognitive functions. The cognitive functions represent our natural conscious processes, what we are best and what we enjoy the most. Some of these cognitive functions are dominant in us, and some are secondary, and some are partially repressed, but they all represent different important sides of us and we need them all to find balance.
Flow Cognitive Functions And Stress Cognitive Functions
Introverted iNtuition can, as your dominant flow function, represent who you are in a state of flow: a philosopher, a theorist, an academic. If it is a stress function, it can represent a tendency to believe in conspiracies, ghost stories, or dangerous hidden schemes.
To the gatherers, everything is about information, learning, and figuring things out. The Introverted iNtuitive has a theory or mental model for everything from how to get rich fast to how to toast the perfect toast. The Introverted Sensor has a document or picture or story to tell about every place they’ve visited and every person they’ve met.
The Extroverted Sensor has been everywhere and seen everything. And the Extroverted iNtuitive always has some new gadget, or they’ve got a new plan for a new place to visit. The gatherers see the world as a place to understand, experience, think and dream about. Not a place to shape, remake, or adjust or fix. This is because information gathering is their dominant cognitive function.
To the reviewers, everything is a matter of right and wrong. Introverted Feeling types believe everything is a matter of harmony, balance, and they’re always in pursuit of this peaceful utopia. Introverted Thinkers on the other hand, are working hard towards a perfect world, where everything is working smoothly and efficiently and everyone can think critically.
Extroverted Thinking types are going to be working hard to assert themselves and take over the reigns of the society and to make it more productive. Extroverted Feeling types finally are doing their best to find love and romance and a beautiful world.
My Sixteen Cognitive Functions
I believe there are sixteen cognitive functions based on whether you are adaptable or directive. Judging and Perceiving will determine how you want the world: do you want to judge how the world should operate at its best, or do you want to perceive in the moment how things are and adjust to the circumstances around you, finding the smoothest path?
Judging and Perceiving basically represent our traditional ideas of masculinity and femininity. The judging type is stereotypically masculine, linear, goal-oriented, knows what they want. The perceiving type, on the other hand is typically feminine. Adaptable, open-minded, creative, and focused on options and alternatives.
iNtuition can be both adaptable and linear, and the INTP type is typically a creative brainstormer and problem-solver, while the INTJ personality type is typically a hard-working entrepreneur or visionary. One letter makes all the difference here.
When your dominant cognitive function is Feeling Perceiving your primary focus is on how you act and behave. You want to be someone honest and truthful, and you want to be the best version of yourself. Deciders focus on their ethics and character. It is not one of the original jungian functions but started to be conceptualised after the Myers Briggs Type Indicator first started discussing the terms Judging and Perceiving.
Thinking Perceiving types want to be the best and to know they can beat their competition. Thinking Judging types are hardworking and industrious and want to put their best effort into what they do. Feeling Judging types want to have done something good and helped someone or done the right thing for others. Deciders are all about their goals and values and place their values before everything else.
The doers are busy and active types that like to always have something to do. iNtuitive Perceivers want to always have a new idea or option to explore. They’re always making changes and trying out new things. iNtuitive Judgers want to constantly move forwards towards their vision and always have a project or idea in their head they are working towards.
Sensing Judging types are going to always want to have something in their calendar or some new event or plan to do. And Sensing Perceiving types like to go with the flow and always enjoy the moment and make the best out of every situation. Doers are types that primarily value having something to do or having done something. They get joy out of every moment in knowing there’s always something new to try or a place to be.
Your Dominant Cognitive Function In Flow
Your dominant cognitive function represents who you are at your best, in flow, and what you set before everything else. The dominant function is balanced by the auxiliary, secondary cognitive function, that represents something you also consider important, and know you should value more, but often forget to prioritise.
The third function, the tertiary, represents something you’re often busy with but haven’t really had time to fit in your normal life. Most of the time, it represents a childish escape. Something you enjoy, but don’t really have the time for. Finally, the inferior function represents something you’ve completely forgotten to prioritise. You feel that you “should not” engage in this cognitive function because perhaps people will think it is stupid. But sometimes it takes over and you can’t set it aside anymore.
Your Cognitive Functions In Stress
In stress, you will appear as a completely different person compared to your normal self. In these situations, we feel we can’t enjoy our flow or be ourselves and that we have to tense up and worry and stress about something to make sure we avoid a negative outcome. Our cognitive functions in stress can take the form of our biggest insecurities.
The philosopher, the introverted iNtuitive, at their worst can hide a fear of dealing with the real world. They’ll make up for their fear of going outside by hiding in a world of books and theories about what is waiting outside.
The Scout, the Extroverted Sensing type, on the other hand, may hold a big fear for conspiracies, dark mysteries, or hidden lies. “What if everyone is lying to me and I have no idea?” Our cognitive functions in stress are opposite of our flow functions. So the Introverted Sensors primary insecurity is Extroverted iNtuition.
The Cognitive Functions We Need (And Don’t Need)
Besides flow functions and stress functions we have flow needs and stress needs. Our flow needs represent things we need to support our flow and to maximise our energy and motivation. Our stress needs represent what we need to avoid stress and to manage our anxiety about something.
For example, the extroverted feelers insecurity about people thinking they are stupid can be mitigated by knowing they have achieved some kind of results or have done something worthwhile through Extroverted Thinking. Similarly, the introverted thinking type can hide their fear of never being loved or appreciated by others by constantly avoiding conflicts and situations where others may get upset with them. However, not facing your fears can be dangerous…
The Jungian cognitive functions illuminate many situations in our life and many of our daily fears and anxieties as well as things we feel good about and love about ourselves. They help us experience happiness, love, and pride and to maintain positive emotions, by guiding us in the right direction and helping us through different situations. Who are you in flow, and who are you at your worst? What do you need to be happy, and what do you need to avoid stress?