The Cognitive Functions

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A cognitive function is a mental process that we can engage in to solve problems, to understand information, and to reflect on our feelings or values. Your dominant cognitive functions put you in a state of flow and give you energy and motivation, while your inferior cognitive functions bring you stress or anxiety. A cognitive function can be introverted or extroverted, intuitive or sensing, feeling or thinking, or judging or perceiving in its nature. This is what it all means: 

Introverted or Extroverted

Eight of these processes are either introverted or extroverted, meaning, we perceive them internally or externally. One example is introverted iNtuition, which is our ability to retain an image or idea of something inside our head. Another is extroverted sensing, which you use in nature and when paying attention to your surroundings. 

The Observing Functions

Some parts of your mind are focused on observing and explaining everyday occurences, both strange and normal. An example is introverted iNtuition and Extroverted Sensing. These cognitive functions seek to help us comprehend what is happening around us and give us an ability to deal with everyday life. With them, we feel like we know what is going on, without them, we feel confused and unsettled.

Introverted iNtuition – The Existential Intelligence

Introverted iNtuition is used when you hold an image of something imaginative inside your head. This thing is typically detached from the situation. Some examples include philosophy, in which we think or reason about something that is completely hypothetical in its nature and generally has little to do with our present environment or where we are. Its typical focus is on the unknown, and its goal is to answer questions about the unknown, or about things that we can’t by pure observation.

“In this way introverted intuition perceives all the background processes of consciousness with almost the same distinctness as extraverted sensation senses outer objects. For intuition, therefore, the unconscious images attain to the dignity of things or objects.” Carl Jung on Introverted iNtuition.

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Introverted Sensing – The Historical Intelligence

Introverted Sensing is used when you retain an image of an experience or something you have seen or experienced inside your head. A good example is in history, where we consider primarily the known, and what has happened, and what we already know about a situation. Introverted sensing is generally interested in what is factual and correct. Its ideal is to illuminate and shed light on what we know and to use the facts we have about a situation to solve situations, crime, or problems.

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Extroverted iNtuition – The Interpretative Intelligence

Extroverted iNtuition is used when you use your imagination to observe and study your environment, thinking of what could happen or what might be happening. It makes me think of a detective, someone that can connect the dots or see what could happen next.

It may do a poor job of judging the facts of a situation, and may sometimes leap to conclusions, but it can also help us stay up to date with potential opportunities. The most pure use of this function is to read between the lines or to see how something can be transformed or understand from different contexts.

“(…)because his eye is constantly ranging for new possibilities, stable conditions have an air of impending suffocation. He seizes hold of new objects and new ways with eager intensity, sometimes with extraordinary enthusiasm, only to abandon them cold-bloodedly, without regard and apparently without remembrance, as soon as their range becomes clearly defined and a promise of any considerable future development no longer clings to them.” Carl Jung on Extroverted iNtuitives.

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Extroverted Sensing – The Natural Intelligence

Extroverted Sensing is used when you pay attention to your environment and surroundings and think about what is happening around you in concrete or visceral terms. Its best use may be in gathering data and information about things we can see and observe in our surroundings.

It can help show us where we are and what is happening around us. It can teach us about people, places, and environments. It is best characterised by a scout, someone that is always ready and always up to date. A very attentive function that listens, sees, and observes you directly.

“No other human type can equal the extraverted sensation-type in realism. His sense for objective facts is extraordinarily developed. His life is an accumulation of actual experience with concrete objects, and the more pronounced he is, the less use does he make of his experience” Carl Jung on Extraverted Sensing.

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The Evaluation Functions

Thanks to the evaluation functions, we can decide what we like better in a situation and why we like something better than something else. Cognitive functions like introverted feeling and extroverted thinking help us understand what is right and wrong to us. It also helps us explain and comprehend our own taste and personal viewpoint.

Introverted Feeling – The Intropersonal Intelligence

Introverted feeling is for example when you retain or hold on to and explain an experience you have had in emotional or social terms. It is best manifested in the Artist type, that can use symbols, art, or figures to explain its feelings. The artist often holds strange, personal views and feelings, and can also serve therapeutic purposes, helping us process and understand our feelings about something. In accurately reading our motives and intentions, we can make better decisions that will make us more happy.

“Thus, basic ideas such as God, freedom, immortality are just as much feeling-values as they are significant as ideas. Everything, therefore, that has been said of the introverted thinking refers equally to introverted feeling, only here everything is felt while there it was thought.”

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Introverted Thinking – The Logical Intelligence

Introverted thinking is often used when you consider or think about an event or a thing and how it works in logical or rational terms. I am most impressed by this functions ability to rationalise or explain various projects, tools, and actions that happen in our environment. It’s ability to retain information about mechanics, what is happening, and how it happened, allows this function to be highly scientific. It can apply principles to ground its thinking and to make it more logical.

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Extroverted Thinking – The Mathematical Intelligence

Extroverted Thinking is usually used to consider events and things that are happening in your environment in objective or logical terms. The best example of this function is found in a businessman, who can tell how much value or data we can get from a situation, and what we can do with the data we have. It sees the score and performance of various people, things, and systems, and can evaluate its situation based on this information.

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Extroverted Feeling – The Interpersonal Intelligence

Extroverted Feeling is typically used to pay attention to social and emotional cues in your environment and to feel out a situation and determine how it affects you emotionally. It is best explained with a talkshow host who can easily read the mood and energy of the people on their show. Someone that can vibe with others and accommodate others needs or figure out what to say to a person based on the situation they are in.

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Judging or Perceiving

The other eight processes I have found represent our ability to either work with and hold multiple ongoing activities in our head at the same time, or our ability to consider and deal with things that are long-term or general in their scope. Judging and perceiving is important for decision making and taking action in the moment. 

The Navigation Functions

Thanks to the navigation functions, we can mentally conceive where we are, what our body is doing, and what is happening around us. The navigation functions help us get from one point to another, or how to manage a situation or multiple events as they unfold around us. It helps us deal with changes and to understand time and the future.

Sensing Perceiving – The Kinaesthetic Intelligence

Sensing Perceiving is primarily used to consider multiple actions and events as they happen and to determine the best practical response to them. With Sensing and Perceiving, we can act physically and deal with what we have in front of us. Sensing and Perceiving helps us juggle everyday occurences and so, this type is best represented by an action hero or a doer. Somebody spontaneous.

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iNtuitive Perceiving – The Alternative Intelligence

Intuitive Perceiving is used to consider various abstract events and options that could come to happen or may happen in a near future. With it, we can understand that we have different choices to make about something and that the path is not always straight forward.

We need it to process options and what-ifs and to understand that a situation can go in many different ways, and may not always go the way we want. So when thinking of this function, think of a rebel or catalyst, that can come up with unusual or novel ways to solve a problem or to respond to a situation.

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Sensing Judging – The Organization Intelligence

Sensing judging is used to think long term about practical information, considering whether it will last or not, how long it will last, and how to organize it. It is best represented by a host of an event or someone that can look at a situation from a big picture perspective.

This archetype can see all that is happening in a general sense and can understand when and how it should happen and to what degree. It can moderate something and keep us from wasting resources and it can help us understand consequence and effect.

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iNtuitive Judging – The Visionary Intelligence

iNtuitive Judging is mainly focused on thinking long-term about an idea or seeing how it might play out over time rather than in the moment. Typically, it is well represented by a visionary or someone that has gotten a grand idea or can see the bigger picture of something. It may understand the whole and how everything fits together on an intuitive level. We use it to understand complex or abstract systems that is too rich in detail to be understood through normal methods.

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Decider functions

Thanks to your decision-making functions, you can set goals and make decisions about what you want and where you want to go. The decider function is symbolised by the triangle.

Feeling Judging – The Communication Intelligence

Feeling Judging is usually used to consider how people, social situations, and emotions may change long-term and to work on and process feelings in a big-picture or general sense. Typically, it judges its own emotions and what it will say and how it will say something. The goal is to speak with good conduct. It seeks justice and fairness and to show good character. Its primary purpose is in communication and in influencing people socially and emotionally.

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Feeling Perceiving – The Listening Intelligence

Feeling Perceiving is when you think about your different feelings or experience of something in a situation. It is focused on nuances in how we feel, say, or do something. It is well represented by a reporter, who can listen and intercept what people mean with various word choices. It studies people’s body language and general behaviour based on whether it feels ethical or authentic, and can authenticate a story based on whether it feels true or correct for the person who said it.

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Thinking Perceiving – The Tactical Intelligence

Thinking Perceiving is used to think of multiple processes or events that are happening and how they are happening and what the process or system behind them are. It is best represented by a Tactician who can read moves and actions in its environment and figure out peoples goals and strategies. The Tactician can using this information, think about various counter-moves and methods to get ahead of a task.

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Thinking Judging – The Strategic Intelligence

With Thinking Judging, we can think long-term about a system and its structure and how it works, considering a place or tool or project in a general sense, looking at its overall usefulness or process. It is well represented by a Strategist that can see how to use the resources at its disposal to its best advantage, considering ways to lift or enforce a system it represents.

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You can use any cognitive function but certain personality types have a number of proficiencies and dispositions that make them more adept at using these cognitive functions. Being serious, being sensitive, being caring, creates a disposition towards a particular type. It gives you a strong aptitude when using certain cognitive functions. 

Sensitive types will have a disposition towards introverted feeling, but they can still use extraverted thinking. However, their sensitive nature will make them struggle to make tough calls and to remain strong under the material pressures.