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Function-based Typology 101

By Tiffani Warren

I recently spent a bit of time with Michael Pierce and Carl Jung’s work, so I thought I’d write out my present understanding of each function.

Please keep in mind that these are my personal interpretations and shouldn’t be regarded as definitive. I warmly welcome other interested parties to share how their understanding and interpretations of the functions match up with and differ from my own.

That said, here is my personal understanding, as of this point in time!

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So the functions tell about how you cognitively interact with the world. There are two main types of functions, judging and perceiving.

Judging functions refer to how you make decisions and prioritize objectives in the world. There are two judging functions – Thinking and Feeling. Thinking makes decisions and critical judgments (good, bad, right, wrong) based on facts, logic, and empirical evidence. Feeling makes decisions and value judgments based on relationships, human impact, and personal development.

Perceiving functions refer to how you understand and interpret the world. The two perceiving functions are Sensing and Intuition. Sensing perceives and catalogs in the world of experiences and sensations. Intuition perceives and catalogs in the world of ideas and possibilities.

So each function can have one of two attitudes – extroverted or introverted. An extroverted function is one which accurately and in detail interacts with external reality. The most important thing for the extroverted function is to gather as much data as possible and to use that data as-is, i.e., without molding it too much to fit personal preference or interpretation. If there are three marbles of different colors, the extroverted function will first note every piece of information about the marbles (size, color, weight, material, and so on), and only then may it draw conclusions or correlations between them – they are all marbles. An extroverted function is more objective and reality-based, but may occasionally fail to observe connections, correlations, or patterns.

  • Te is extroverted thinking. It deals with objective, reality-based facts, logic, and evidence. It is concerned with what their social groups and society in general deem to be true, real, and objective. Its instinct is to look out into the world as it is and to understand what is logically and scientifically accepted by society. Only then does it personally strive to come to conclusions or make decisions, which attempt to be in line with that understanding. So it accurately makes judgments based on what is accepted to be true, but may occasionally overlook what seems true or makes sense to the individual.
  • Fe is extroverted feeling. It deals with objective, reality-based values, human impact, and personal development. It is concerned with what their social groups and society in general deem to be good, kind, and just. Its instinct is to look out into the world as it is and to understand what is morally and socially accepted by society. Only then does it personally strive to come to conclusions or make decisions, which attempt to be in line with that understanding. So it accurately makes judgments based on what is accepted to be good, but may occasionally overlook what seems good or feels right to the individual.
  • Se is extroverted sensation. It deals with objective, reality-based experiences and sensations. It is concerned with what can be seen, felt, and perceived by anyone in the moment. Its instinct is to look out into the world as it is and to accurately perceive what truly and clearly exists and is happening. Only then does it personally strive to come to conclusions or compose theories, which attempt to be in line with that perception. So it accurately perceives and understands the nature of things based on what is actually happening now, but may occasionally overlook patterns or conclusions that could be drawn from their past experience or the future implications of those observations.
  • Ne is extroverted intuition. It deals with objective, reality-based possibilities and ideas. It is concerned with anything that could theoretically be possible or conceived of based on the real, current state of affairs that anyone can see or interact with. Its instinct is to look out into the world as it is and to accurately perceive all available opportunities and interpretations. Only then does it personally strive to come to conclusions or compose theories, which attempt to be in line with that perception. So it accurately perceives and understands the nature of things based on what is actually possible to conceive of, but it may overlook patterns or conclusions that could be drawn from their past experience or the future implications of those possibilities.

An introverted function, on the other hand, is one which deeply and thoroughly interacts with internal reality – that is, personal interpretation. The most important thing for the introverted function is to develop a framework of beliefs and understanding that is internally consistent and valid and predictable over time, i.e., without shifting it too much based on present or potential circumstances. In the marble example, the introverted function’s first task is to interpret the fundamental, overarching nature of the objects – the fact that they are all marbles – and only then may it attempt to note the details and differences between them. An introverted function is more thorough in deriving connections, correlations, and conclusions or patterns in data, but may occasionally fail to observe objective, reality-based details.

  • Ti is introverted thinking. It deals with thorough, personal evaluation of facts, logic, and evidence. It is concerned with what, through deep analysis and by developing a personal framework, it can conclude to be true, logical, and internally consistent. Its instinct is to construct a rational and coherent understanding of the facts. Only then does it strive to look into the world, observe what is objectively and socially accepted to be true, and attempt to incorporate or reject those observations into its internal framework. So it thoroughly and deeply evaluates what seems true and makes sense to the individual, but may occasionally overlook or reject what is objectively accepted to be true by others.
  • Fi is introverted feeling. It deals with thorough, personal evaluation of values, human impact, and personal development. It is concerned with what, through deep analysis and by developing a personal framework, it can conclude to be good, kind, and just. Its instinct is to construct an empathetic and consistent understanding of human nature. Only then does it strive to look into the world, observe what is objectively and socially accepted to be moral, and attempt to incorporate or reject those observations into its internal framework. So it thoroughly and deeply evaluates what seems good and feels right to the individual, but may occasionally overlook or reject what is objectively accepted to be good by others.
  • Si is introverted sensation. It deals with thorough, personal evaluation of experiences and sensations. It is concerned with what, through deep analysis and by developing a personal framework, can be concluded about the things it has seen, felt, and perceived in the past. Its instinct is to construct a detailed and predictable catalog of the physical and experiential nature of reality. Only then does it strive to look into the world, accurately perceive what truly and clearly exists and is happening in the moment, and attempt to adjust its internal framework to accommodate those observations. So it thoroughly and deeply evaluates patterns and conclusions that can be drawn from past experiences, but may occasionally overlook the present nature of things in terms of what is actually happening now.
  • Ni is introverted intuition. It deals with thorough, personal evaluation of possibilities and ideas. It is concerned with what, through deep analysis and by developing a personal framework, can be concluded about theoretical implications and future possibilities. Its instinct is to construct a nuanced and predictive catalog of the conceptual and potential nature of reality. Only then does it strive to look into the world, accurately perceive what is actually possible and could actually be true given the current starting point, and attempt to adjust its internal framework to accommodate those observations. So it thoroughly and deeply evaluates patterns and conclusions that can be drawn from its conceptions and ideas, but may occasionally overlook the present nature of things in terms of what is actually possible and realistic.

***

Everyone has two judging functions and two perceiving functions, to balance each other out, although in each pair one will be stronger/more preferred/default. One of each pair will be introverted, and one will be extroverted. So everyone will have one judging pair and one perceiving pair, organized differently in their function stack.

  • Te/Fi – makes judgments based on what is socially considered logical and personally considered valuable or
  • Ti/Fe – makes judgments based on what is personally considered logical and socially considered valuable

~and~

  • Se/Ni – perceives the world in terms of universally accessible observations and personally developed interpretations or
  • Si/Ne – perceives the world in terms of personally developed observations and universally accessible interpretations

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Quick cheat sheet:

  • ESFJ – Fe / Si-Ne / Ti
  • ESFP – Se / Fi-Te / Ni
  • ESTJ – Te / Se-Ni / Fi
  • ESTP – Se / Ti-Fe / Ni
  • ENFJ – Fe / Ni-Se / Ti
  • ENFP – Ne / Fi-Te / Si
  • ENTJ – Te / Ni-Se / Fi
  • ENTP – Ne / Ti-Fe / Si
  • ISFJ – Si / Fe-Ti / Ne
  • ISFP – Fi / Se-Ni / Te
  • ISTJ – Si / Te-Fi / Ne
  • ISTP – Ti / Se-Ni / Fe
  • INFJ – Ni / Fe-Ti / Se
  • INFP – Fi / Ne-Si / Te
  • INTJ – Ni / Te-Fi / Se
  • INTP – Ti / Ne-Si / Fe

Published in Tiffani Warren