How do you take in the world around you? Do you notice brilliant colors and sounds and smells? Do you regard the past with reverie and wonder? The world of sensing is a beautiful and captivating thing. If you’re a sensor, you have a heightened awareness of the concrete world around you. Concrete sounds boring, right? Well, it isn’t. You notice the shifting sands of nature or the complex systems of a computer. If you’re an intuitive you also rely on sensing; although you prefer to start with intuition. You still may notice and adore the world around you, but you filter it through a lens of ideas and concepts and thoughts.

Not sure what your personality type is? Take our new personality questionnaire here. Or you can take the official MBTI® here.


Se or Si Sensing

How do I know if I’m an extroverted or an introverted sensor?

Let’s start with extraverted sensing (or Se for short). Extraverted sensing is about taking in the details and sensations of the world around you. The SP personality types are the most skilled Se users. They notice sensory details and sensations like no other type. They are very aware of what’s going on around them, and can react quickly and spontaneously without being as easily startled as an intuitive type would be. Those with inferior Se, like the INTJs and INFJs, are extremely sensitive to the sensory world and are easily overstimulated. Dominant Se users, on the other hand, can easily take in a lot of sensory information and act accordingly. They are often skilled at juggling, sports, dancing, or arts and crafts. Anything involving the awareness and manipulation of the physical world. They are the Theodoore Roosevelt’s (ESTP), the Harry Houdini’s (ESTP), the Andy Samberg’s (ESFP), and the Audrey Hepburn’s (ISFP) of the world.

Extraverted sensors live life in the moment and love surprises and spontaneity. They often are excellent in a crisis, because they can think so well on their feet. They tend to have a strong physical presence because they are so aware of their bodies and move with a fluidity that many other types may struggle with. They excel in the hands-on world and like to be in an active environment. They are often adventurous and love excitement and thrill-seeking.

Se-users are also very realistic. They focus on what “is” and try to make the most of current opportunities and situations. They are good at being objective and absorbing concrete facts that they can apply to the moment.

MBTI Types with Dominant Extroverted Sensing:

MBTI Types with Auxiliary Extroverted Sensing:

The four types above are going to be highly skilled extraverted sensors; with ESFPs and ESTPs having the highest mastery of this function.

MBTI Types with Tertiary Extroverted Sensing:

MBTI Types with Inferior Extroverted Sensing:

These four types are going to have less mastery over extraverted sensing. They will like beautiful things and be sensitive to sensory stimulation, but prefer the conceptual world of intuition and can often lack sensory awareness.

What about introverted sensing?

Introverted sensing is the dominant or auxiliary function of the SJ types. Introverted sensing types have an awareness and reverie of past experience. They learn from a plethora of personal experience and readily recall facts and tried-and-true techniques that have worked for them before. They notice the world around them and see all kinds of associations related to everything in their view. A flower isn’t just a flower, it’s a reminder of their grandmother’s garden, the smell of hand cream, the feeling of soil under their fingertips from when they were a child. The introverted sensor can easily and swiftly recall associations from past experience when seeing something in the present moment. They are good at recalling facts and they use this in their favor when troubleshooting or planning. They are the George Washington’s (ISTJ), the Warren Buffett’s (ISTJ), and the Mother Teresa’s (ISFJ) of the world. They balance a specialized memory with a practical, down-to-earth mindset and a desire to do good in the community.

For those with tertiary or inferior introverted sensing, like the NP types, it helps them to place trust in their personal experiences; making them more individualistic and idiosyncratic than many types. Dominant introverted sensors (ISTJs and ISFJs) are easily able to compare and contrast new information and experiences with their personal experiences to see if anything has changed or if new patterns have emerged. They are excellent at relaying information. They store their memories vividly within their minds; and because of this can often think back to a time in the past and reflect on exactly how they felt, what it was like, and remember every detail beautifully. Thinking introverted sensors will be better at remembering the details of systems, projects and things; whereas feeling introverted sensors will be better at remembering the details of people, and events involving them.

Introverted sensors tend to like things planned out and structured. They are usually good at organizing events or gatherings or planning ways to get tasks accomplished. They are often very careful and thorough, making sure things are done right. .

MBTI Types with Dominant Introverted Sensing:

MBTI Types with Auxiliary Introverted Sensing:

The above four types are going to be the most skilled introverted sensors, with the ISTJs and ISFJs having the highest mastery of this function.

MBTI Types with Tertiary Introverted Sensing:

MBTI Types with Inferior Introverted Sensing:

The above four types will have less mastery over introverted sensing, but they will use it to be individualistic and to have faith in their past experiences.

Extraverted Sensing – The Good
(These will most apply to those with dominant or auxiliary Se)

– Highly aware of surroundings
– Lively and energetic
– Spontaneous
– Concrete and practical
– Confident
– Observant
– Skilled with hands-on tasks
– Often excellent  artists or crafters
– Coordinated
– Enjoy life and living in the moment
– Optimistic

Extraverted Sensing – The Bad
(These will apply to unhealthy extraverted sensing types)

– Can be overly-indulgent in sensory pleasures (food, sex, alcohol)
– Easily bored
– Impulsive
– May struggle with poor long-term planning ability
– Not always good at finishing projects
– Can be risk-prone
– May miss the bigger picture
– Can be unstructured

Introverted Sensing – The Good
(These will mostly apply to those with dominant or auxiliary Si – however, they can apply to anyone)

– Detail-oriented
– Responsible
– Excellent memory
– Concrete and practical
– Creates order and organization
– Reliable
– Observant
– Hard-Working
– Preserves important traditions

Introverted Sensing – The Bad
(These will apply to unhealthy introverted sensing types)

– Reluctant to change
– Stubborn
– Hesitant to seek out new ideas – has to do things “by the book”
– Prone to being judgmental
– Inflexible
– Reluctant to innovate or improvise

In Conclusion

Sensing is an incredible function that is so important in the world we live in. Sensors are often the “doers” who keep things running and moving smoothly. They can be talented artists, crafters, performers, presidents, and philanthropists. If you’re a sensor I hope that you feel this post accurately describes how you use your function. If you disagree, or if you have any thoughts, let me know in the comments!

Find out more about your personality type in our eBook, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type.

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