The Dominant Function of Every Myers-Briggs® Personality Type
Do you ever wonder why you see the world in such a vastly different way from other personality types? A lot of this has to do with your cognitive functions. Each of us live and breathe and absorb the details of life in completely different ways. One cognitive function has the highest priority in your mind. You “live” this function and every bit of stimuli is filtered through it. This function is called your dominant function. Today we’re going to explore the dominant function of each Myers-Briggs® personality type so you can get a more accurate understanding of yourself and other individuals who cross your path.
Not sure what your personality type is? Take our new personality questionnaire here. Or you can take the official MBTI® here.
Your Dominant Cognitive Function
The Dominant Function of ENFPs and ENTPs – Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
Your dominant function is focused on seeing every connection and possibility you can find in the outside world. You are most energized when you can imagine future potentialities, innovations, and solutions. Because Extraverted Intuition is a perceiving process, you come at life from a place of openness, curiosity, and exploration. You’re more focused on understanding and observing than making judgments about things. You look at life from many angles and enjoy finding unusual solutions to complicated situations. While other types might shirk at chaos, you find a thrill in messy situations that require outside-the-box strategies.
These quote by Walt Disney (an ENP himself) encapsulates Extraverted Intuition well:
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
“First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare.”
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney
The Dominant Function of INFJs and INTJs – Introverted Intuition (Ni)
Your dominant function is focused on seeing the background processes at work in any situation. Asking “What else is going on here?” keeps you focused on reading underlying themes, patterns, and motivations. You are forward-thinking and enjoy making long-range plans and visions to achieve. You easily predict how things will play out and sense unfolding patterns and their effects on the future. More focused on what could happen than present-day realities, you can easily see your own and other people’s inner potential. You are not content to leave things the way they are. Instead, you focus on seeing things in completely new ways and seeing a deeper layer of meaning behind all things.
As a dominant Introverted Intuitive, you’re also keenly in touch with your unconscious world. You may discern dreams, look for symbolism, and get “gut” insights into situations that seem to appear out of nowhere.
These quotes by Nikola Tesla and Carl Jung encapsulate Introverted Intuition well:
“Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.” – Nikola Tesla
“Every living being is an engine geared to the wheelwork of the universe. Though seemingly affected only by its immediate surroundings, the sphere of external influence extends to infinite distance.” – Nikola Tesla
“Man’s task is to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious.” – Carl Jung
Read This Next: Here’s Why INFJs and INTJs Seem “Intense”
The Dominant Function of INFPs and ISFPs – Introverted Feeling (Fi)
Your dominant function is focused on assessing the world based on what you feel is authentic and right for individuals. You focus on issues of identity, beliefs, conscience, and values. You believe in staying true to who you really are, and not bending for outside influences. Society will always try to pressure you to conform to its rules and agendas, but as an Introverted Feeling type, you want to listen to the small voice inside you that guides you to follow your conscience, your truth, and your unique desires. As an Introverted Feeling type, you’re deeply in touch with the human experience and try to make decisions based on what’s really important in life. You have a lot of depth and insight based on your introspective, ethically-conscious nature. Because Introverted Feeling is a judging process, you come at life from a place of conviction. You want to find your path and follow it without being influenced by societal pressures.
These quotes by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (author of “The Little Prince”) encapsulate the Introverted Feeling mindset well:
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
“Of course I’ll hurt you. Of course you’ll hurt me. Of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring means accepting the risk of winter. To become presence, means accepting the risk of absence.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The Dominant Function of INTPs and ISTPs – Introverted Thinking (Ti)
Your dominant function is focused on seeing the truth for what it really is. You sift past societal rules and biases and try to get at the core truth of an idea, theory, or principle. You sort out truths and falsehoods in your mind and organize them based on their connections and relationships with each other. Precision is at the core of your mind – you want to find the absolute best fit solution to any problem that comes your way. You enjoy taking objects or ideas apart and figuring out how they all fit together. As an Introverted Thinking type, you follow your curiosity down many different paths. You aim to think as clearly as possible, without biases or irrational emotional judgments coming into play. You look for logical consistency in all your thoughts and you enjoy deepening your expertise in particular fields of specialization.
These quotes by Charles Darwin exemplify the Introverted Thinking mindset well:
“From my early youth I have had the strongest desire to understand or explain whatever I observed…To group all facts under some general laws.”
“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.”
“I am not apt to follow blindly the lead of other men.”
“Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.” – Charles Darwin
The Dominant Function of ENFJs and ESFJs – Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
Your dominant function is focused on unifying people and responding to their emotions, needs, and values. You are constantly reading the emotional “temperature” of the room you’re in and can easily alter the mood of the room with your powerful presence. You bring people together and help unify them towards a common goal. Making people feel comfortable is something you excel at, and you often know how to use words, gestures, or humor to put people at ease. You might make a joke at your own expense to help someone in an embarrassing situation feel better.
You believe in doing what you can to make life better for people as a whole. More focused on humanity as a whole than individualistic concerns, you are often involved in helping out in your community and being there for people emotionally.
Because you’re concerned with people and ethics, you enjoy discussing issues that involve morals, life decisions, and personal values. Exploring relationships is a particular fascination for you because you’re naturally curious about people and their connections with each other. You enjoy supporting and advising people who are struggling in their relationships. You just have to be careful that you’re not always putting other people ahead of your own needs.
These quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. encapsulate the Extraverted Feeling mindset well:
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
The Dominant Function of ENTJs and ESTJs – Extraverted Thinking (Te)
Your dominant function is focused on solving life’s problems as efficiently and logically as quickly. You strive to organize and structure your environment so that tasks can be accomplished as quickly and effectively as possible. You are conscious of time and resources and know how to use those to their maximum capability. Because Extraverted Thinking is a judging process, you focus on making decisions, obtaining objectives, and progressing forward. When you make decisions, you focus on facts, logic, and causality. This can make you seem brusque to some types, but it also helps you to stay focused on your goals without getting sidetracked by ever-changing moods and feelings.
As an Extraverted Thinking type, you have a gift for breaking down large projects into sequential steps. You know how to explain processes to people with easy-to-follow language and reasoning. You help people stay on task and often have confidence in your ideas.
These quotes by Alexander Hamilton and Carl Sagan help to show us the Extraverted Thinking perspective:
“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” – Alexander Hamilton
“Valid criticism is doing you a favor.” – Carl Sagan
“It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” – Carl Sagan
“I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be.” – Alexander Hamilton
The Dominant Function of ISTJs and ISFJs – Introverted Sensation (Si)
Your dominant function is focused on comparing and contrasting past with the present to find out what you can trust. You ground yourself in experience and reflect on memories and sense impressions to guide you forward. You value practicing things till you have expertise in a particular field. You are a specialist and often learn everything there is to know about the subject of your interest. Your attention to detail is excellent, and you often notice changes before other types. Because you value stability, you have a gift for creating positive routines and traditions that give life a sense of consistency and comfort.
As an Introverted Sensor, you are also more aware of inner-body sensations than other types. You can often sense fatigue, hunger, or thirst rapidly and can sense nuances in flavors that other people miss.
These quotes by Mother Teresa and Warren Buffet help to reveal the Introverted Sensing perspective on life:
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” – Mother Teresa
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa
“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett
Read This Next: The Timeless Power of Introverted Sensing
The Dominant Function of ESTPs and ESFPs – Extraverted Sensation (Se)
Your dominant function is focused on staying present with the world around you and immersing yourself in it as fully as possible. You want to touch, taste, and explore every experience life provides you. Drawn to excitement and novelty, you enjoy adventures, risks, and physical activity. Because you are so immersed in the present, you tend to notice details and objects more rapidly and accurately than other types.
As an Extraverted Sensor, you have a restless need to stay active and alert. As a result, you are usually responsive, quick-witted, and energetic. Consequently, you are usually quick to respond in a crisis situation and skilled at handling a lot of conflicting external stimuli. What would completely overwhelm other types in a sensory way can be energizing for you because you’re so fixated on absorbing and immersing yourself in the sensory world.
These quotes by Theodore Roosevelt help to show us the Extraverted Sensing perspective on life:
“We must face life with a high and resolute courage…Let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.”
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”
“Even if the man of action fails, at least he fails while doing greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
What Are Your Thoughts?
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Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer, and The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!