MBTI, If You Want Me Back, You Need to Change Too
Adam Grant

(I know this is an old article, I’m just re-posting my comment from WBW, with a few edits, because this article is linked in the WBW post.)

Sorry for this rant but I am a bit obsessed with personal development (typical INFJ) and would really love for more people to discover the true depth of mbti..

For anyone who’s interested in deep-diving into your Mbti-type, research the cognitive functions and the car model. There is another layer of mbti that most people miss out on by not researching further, it is not simply I vs. E, N/S, T/F, J/P.

Even if you’re not sure of your type, understanding the cognitive functions will help clarify that for you. I will start with this, but I recommend you research for yourself, it’s a lot to take in..

To start… there are 8 cognitive functions; 4 perceiving functions, 4 judging functions

  • The Perceiving functions we use to process/learn information:

Sensing vs. Intuition w/ 4 possibilities: 
introverted Sensing (Si)
extroverted Sensing (Se)
introverted iNtuition (Ni)
extroverted iNtuition (Ne)

  • Judging functions we use to make decisions:

Thinking vs. Feeling w/ 4 possibilites:
introverted Thinking (Ti)
extroverted Thinking (Te)
introverted Feeling (Fi)
extroverted Feeling (Fe)

Introverted functions are inner world focused and subjective to the individual, while extroverted functions are external world focused.

We ALL use all 8 functions, but we prefer 4, and use them in a specific order; dominant, secondary, tertiary, and inferior— THIS is actually what makes up our mbti 4 letter code (research: mbti car model)… All other functions (the 4 that are not in the main stack) are considered shadow functions and are typically used as needed (and apparently tend to show up in weird ways when we do use them)…

To use myself as an example, as an INFJ, my cognitive stack looks like this:

Dominant function: introverted iNtuition (Ni)
Secondary function: extroverted Feeling (Fe)
Tertiary function (opposite of secondary): introverted Thinking (Ti)
Inferior function (opposite of dominant): extroverted Sensing (Se)

Notice dominant and secondary functions are opposite in orientation (introverted vs. extroverted) — This is why we are neither completely introverted nor completely extroverted — we are both, just depends on which function we prefer overall, and how well developed the remaining functions are. For us introverts, our secondary function drives us to get out of our head and into the real world; and for extroverts, the secondary function will cause them to temporarily withdraw from the external world and go inside their head.

Also notice, I use iNtuition, Feeling, Thinking AND Sensing.. But I prefer introverted iNtuition the most (and as my dominant perceiving function), extroverted Feeling secondary (but as my dominant decision making function), introverted Thinking as tertiary (and my back up decision making function), and extroverted Sensing the least (my back up perceiving function).. My “back up” functions are not as strong as my dominants, but I DO use them, and pretty often. (Side note: I sometimes get mbti test results as a thinker instead of a feeler.. this is because my tertiary function is introverted, and as an introvert, I prefer to stay inside my head... Extroverting, in general, can make me feel uncomfortable, so at times I may skip over extroverted Feeling in favor of introverted Thinking (typically when stressed out or depressed), so I get stuck in a Ni-Ti loop (every type has their own version of this dominant-tertiary loop) in which I’m stuck in introvert mode, and hence not being a well-rounded, healthy INFJ)

So as an INFJ, my stack looks like this: Ni-Fe-Ti-Se (dominant introverted function)
If I was an ENFJ, my stack would be arranged like this: Fe-Ni-Se-Ti (dominant extroverted function)
Though both types technically use all the same functions, there is a noticeable difference in behavior by just switching around the order of how these functions are used…

Also, just for reference, compare INFJ to an INFP:
INFJ — Ni-Fe-Ti-Se
INFP — Fi-Ne-Si-Te

The J/P axis completely changes the functions altogether..

Then there are the differences in Ni users vs Ne users, Si vs. Se users, Ti/Te, Fi/Fe… and depending on the order of these functions in your stack, this will tell you your true type, an explains a good chunk of your behavior.

So, this is only a snippet of all the fun you’re missing if you haven’t researched cognitive functions :D I’m going to stop here, but there’s ton of great resources for all of this stuff, just google.. Personality Hacker and Personality Junkie are great places to start. I sincerely hope this helps anyone who’s interested!

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