Jungian Function Theory

Many people are not aware that this is how the Myers-Briggs system was founded. In the other introduction to Myers-Briggs on this website, you were taught that E/I, S/N, T/F, and J/P were four seperate categories, which each letter standing for a particular set of traits. However, critics contend that this system has arisen out of viewing the MB too simply, and is a misunderstanding of MB. So, how does the real Myers-Briggs system work?

In 1920, Carl Gustav Jung published Psychological Types, which was using a psychological system from which the Myers-Briggs was founded two decades later. First off, Jung said there are two function-attitudes of living in this world - being Extraverted, and being Introverted. Some people see the difference as being "sociable" and "solitary", "talkative" or "quiet", etc. This is not what Jung originally intended. Extraversion is having your focus on the outside concrete world, interacting with it. Introversion is focussing on the inner mental world, interacting with it.

Jung also said there are four basic functions, two of them being perceiving functions, the other two being judgement functions. The perceiving functions are two basic ways of gathering data about a particular world (inside or out). The first way is through Sensing, in that Sensing experiences nothing but the object itself. The other way is through iNtuition which experiences patterns, and what is hidden beneath the surface of an experience. The two judgement functions are Thinking and Feeling, and Jung did not mean for these to be taken literally. Thinking, as a function, is a process which makes a decision based on objective, impersonal criteria. Feeling is a process which makes a decision based on how it affects others or personal, subjective values.

Each of these four functions can be subdivided into Extraverted and Introverted attitudes, thus making eight (8) total functions...

Extraverted Sensing
Introverted Sensing
Extraverted iNtuition
Introverted iNtuition
Extraverted Thinking
Introverted Thinking
Extraverted Feeling
Introverted Feeling

These are the eight functions which we use each and every day, every minute of our lives. We use all of them, however, we do prefer some over others. Some functions we are particularily skilled at using and come automatically to us, others we are not very good at and have to really try at calling it up. Let us now attempt to identify your 1st (primary) function. Read the following descriptions carefully. Decide which of the eight functions seems the most natural for you to use, least energy cost, value it is to you, and frequency you use it.

The Eight Functions

The following descriptions are from Dynamics of Personality Type by Linda V. Berens - www.tri-network.com

SENSING is a process of becoming aware of sensory information and often involves responding to that sensory information without any judgment or evaluation of it. Sensory information is concrete and tangible in nature. In the Sensing process, the focus is on the actual experience, the facts and the data. As an active perceptual process, it is more than stimulation of the five senses. It is the registration of that stimulation and actively being drawn outward to the concrete realities of a situation or inward\ to recollections of familiar experiences.

Extraverted Sensing (Se)

Experiencing and noticing the physical world, scanning for visible reactions and relevant data.You are one with the experience. There is no "naming" or describing - just pure, vivid experience. The whole scene comes into your awareness almost at once. You may be drawn to experience more and more, seeking any variation that will intensely excite the senses. Writing that is richly descriptive can also evoke extraverted Sensing as can other mental stimulation. The process is momentary and tied to the events of the iminediate situation. It is used in the here and now and helps us know what is really there in the physical world and to adapt to it. Extraverted Sensing occurs when we scan for information that is relevant to our interests, then we mentally register data and facts such as baseball statistics, the locations of all the restaurants in town, or the names of all the actors in the popular television shows. There can be an active seeking of more and more input to get the whole picture until all sources of input have been exhausted or something else captures our attention. Associated behaviors include eating a whole box of chocolates for the variety of tastes; playing an instrument for hours with pure enjoyment, not for practice; voracious reading or continual asking of questions to get specifics.

Introverted Sensing (Si)

Recalling past experiences, remembering detailed data and what it is linked to. Introverted Sensing often involves storing data and information, then comparing and contrasting the current stimulation with similar ones. The immediate experience or words are instantly linked with the prior experiences and one registers that there is a similarity or a difference - for example, noticing that some food doesn't taste the same and is saltier than it usually is. Introverted Sensing is also operating when you see someone who reminds you of someone else. Sometimes the feeling-tone associated with the recalled image comes into your awareness along with the information itself. Then the image can be so strong, your body responds as if reliving the experience. This could be seen as a source of feelings of nostalgia or longing for the way things were. In one instance, a young couple living in Europe spent their weekends trying out restaurants looking for food that tasted like American food.


INTUITING is a process of becoming aware of abstract information, like symbols, conceptual patterns, and meanings. It is an intangible "knowing" of what something means, how it relates to something else, or what might happen. Some call this the "sixth" sense. Sometimes this process is by an external event, or sometimes this abstract information just seems to present itself to our awareness.

Extraverted iNtuition (Ne)

Inferring relationships, noticing threads of meaning, and scanning for what could be. Extraverted iNtuiting involves seeing things "as if" with various possible ways of representing reality. Using this process, we can hold many different ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and meanings in our minds at once with the possibility that they are all true. This is like weaving themes and "threads" together. We don't know the weave until a thought thread appears or is drawn out in the interaction with a previous one. Thus there is often an emergent quality to using this process. A strategy or concept emerges based on the here-and-now interactions, not appearing as a whole beforehand. Extraverted iNtuiting involves realizing that there is always another view. An example is when you listen to one friend tell about an argument and understand perfectly and then listen to another friend tell a contradictory story and understand that view also. Then you wonder what the real story is because there are always so many different possible meanings.

Introverted iNtuition (Ni)

Foreseeing implications, conceptualizing, and having images of the future or profound meaning. Introverted iNtuiting often involves a sense of what will be. The details might be a little fuzzy, but when you tune in to this process, there is some sense of how things will be. Using this process, we often are able to get pictures about the future or at least a sense of what will happen before we have any data. Sometimes it is an awareness of what is happening in another location and we have no sensory data to go on. Other times introverted iNtuiting operates when we conceptualize and get a sense of a whole plan, pattern, theory, or explanation. These are the kinds of images that come to us in the shower, in meditative states, or in dreams and help us deeply understand something. Sometimes they are profoundly symbolic and even universally so. In using this process, we tune into a likely future or something universal. This infonnation can then be used to decide what to do next, what to plan for. Introverted iNtuiting involves synthesizing the seemingly paradoxical or contradictory, which takes a problem or situation to a new level. Using this process, we can have moments when a completely new, un-imagined realization comes to us. There is a disengagement from interactions in the room, followed by a sudden "aha!" or "that's it!" kind of experience. These kinds of experiences are often seen as if they are "psychic" in nature. The sense of the future and the realizations that come from introverted iNtuiting have a sureness to them and an imperative quality that seems to demand action.


THINKING is a process of evaluating and making judgements based on objective criteria. Using this process, we detach ourselves from our values and seek to make decisions based on principles. Activities like discriminating according to a set of criteria or objectively defined standards, analysis according to a set of principles, logic, and cause-effect reasoning are all examples of using the cognitive process of Thinking.

Extraverted Thinking (Te)

Organizing, segmenting, sorting, and applying logic and criteria. Contingency plaiming, scheduling, and quantifying utilize the process of extraverted Thinking. Extraverted Thinking helps us organize our environment and ideas through charts, tables, graphs, flow charts, outlines, and so on. One woman labeled the shoeboxes for her 100 pairs of shoes for color, height, style, and comfort. Sometimes the organizing of extraverted Thinking is more abstract, like a logical argument that is made to "rearrange" someone else's thinking process! An example is when we point out logical consequences and say, "If your do this, then that will happen." In written or verbal communication, extraverted Thinking helps us easily follow someone else's logic, sequence, or organization. It also helps us notice when something is missing, like when someone says he or she is going to talk about four topics and talks about only three. In general, it allows us to compartmentalize many aspects of our lives so we can do what is necessary to accomplish our objectives.

Introverted Thinking (Ti)

Analyzing, categorizing, and figuring out how something works. Introverted Thinking often involves finding just the right word to clearly express an idea concisely, crisply, and to the point. Using introverted Thinking is like having an internal sense of the essential qualities of something, noticing the fine distinctions that make it what it is and then naming it. It also involves an internal reasoning process of deriving subcategories of classes and sub-principles of general principles. These can then be used in problem solving, analysis, and refining of a product or an idea. This process is evidenced in behaviors like taking things or ideas apart to figure out how they work. The analysis involves looking at different sides of an issue and seeing where there is inconsistency. In so doing, there is a search for a "leverage point" that will fix problems with the least amount of effort or damage to the system.


FEELING is a process of making evaluations based on what is important, where personal, interpersonal, or universal values serve as guideposts. Using the cognitive process of Feeling, situations and information are assessed subjectively. The impact on people, circumstances, appropriateness, harmony, likes, and dislikes are all considered in making Feeling judgments. Weighing different values, considering ethical and moral issues, attending to personal and relationship goals, and having a belief in something all involve this process.

Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

Considering others and responding to them. The extraverted Feeling process is used in relation to particular people and situations and so has a more here-and-now quality than a universal, future, or past quality. When particular people are out of our presence or awareness, we can then adjust to new people or situations. This process helps us "grease the wheels" of social interaction. Often, the process of extraverted Feeling seems to involve a desire to connect with (or disconnect from) others and is often evidenced by expressions of warmth (or displeasure) and self-disclosure. The "social graces" such as being polite, being nice, being friendly, being considerate, and being appropriate often revolve around the process of extraverted Feeling. Associated behaviors might include remembering birthdays, finding just the right card for a person and selecting a gift based on what a person likes. Keeping in touch, laughing at jokes when others laugh, and trying to get people to act kindly to each other also involve extraverted Feeling. Using this process, we respond according to expressed or even unexpressed wants and needs of others. We may ask people what they want or need or self-disclose to prompt them to talk more about themselves. This often sparks conversation and lets us know more about them so we can better adjust our behavior to them.

Introverted Feeling (Fi)

Evaluating importance and maintaining congruence. It is often hard to put words to the values used to make introverted Feeling judgments since they are often associated with images and feeling-tones more than words. As a cognitive process, it often serves as a filter for information that matches what is valued and wanted. We engage in the process of introverted Feeling when a value is compromised and we think, "sometimes, some things just have to be said." On the other hand, most of the time this process works "in private" and is seldom expressed directly. Actions often speak louder than words. This process helps us know when people are being fake or insincere or if they are basically good. It is like having an internal sense of the "essence" of a person or a project, and reading another person or action or project with fine distinctions among feeling-tones. When the other person's values and beliefs are congruent with our own, we are inclined to feel kinship with them and want to connect with them.

Which function seems to fit you best? After you have identified it, it is time to learn your 2nd (or auxillary) function. This function often supports the first one. However, you cannot pick any function necessarily...if your 1st function was Extraverted, then the 2nd needs to be Introverted. As well, if your 1st function was a perceiving function (Sensing or iNtuition), then your 2nd function must be a judgement function (Thinking or Feeling). This leaves you with two choices. Here is a list that explains what your 2nd function must be.

If your 1st function is...
Extraverted Sensing, then your 2nd function must be Introverted Thinking or Introverted Feeling.
Introverted Sensing, then your 2nd function must be Extraverted Thinking or Extraverted Feeling.
Extraverted iNtuition, then your 2nd function must be Introverted Thinking or Introverted Feeling.
Introverted iNtuition, then your 2nd function must be Extraverted Thinking or Extraverted Feeling.
Extraverted Thinking, then your 2nd function must be Introverted Sensing or Introverted iNtuition.
Introverted Thinking, then your 2nd function must be Extraverted Sensing or Extraverted iNtuition.
Extraverted Feeling, then your 2nd function must be Introverted Sensing or Introverted iNtuition.
Introverted Feeling, then your 2nd function must be Extraverted Sensing or Extraverted iNtuition.

Refer to the function descriptions you read previously and determine which your 2nd function is. Which one fits right? Which one doesn't cost too much energy to use? Which one is used naturally?

The Myers-Briggs Code

Now that you have identified your 1st and 2nd types, it is time to see what your Myers-Briggs four-letter code is. There are two basic rules that apply to this.

If the 1st function is Extraverted, then your letter is E. If it is Introverted, then it is I.

This next one is more difficult: If the Extraverted function (doesn't need to be the 1st function) is a Judgement function (Thinking or Feeling) then your letter is J. If it is a Perceiving function (Sensing or iNtuition) then it is a P. For example suppose someone is Extraverted Sensing with Introverted Feeling. Their 1st function (Extraverted Sensing) gets an E. Since the Extraverted function is Sensing (which is Perceiving), they get a P. Their type is ESFP. Or perhaps someone is Introverted iNtuition with Extraverted Thinking. Their 1st type is Introverted, so they get an I. Their Extraverted function is Extraverted Thinking, and since that is a Judgment function, they get a J. Their type is INTJ. Read the chart below for a quick calculation of your type.

1st and 2nd Functions Equivalent Myers-Briggs Type
Extraverted Sensing and Introverted Thinking
Extraverted Sensing and Introverted Feeling
Introverted Sensing and Extraverted Thinking
Introverted Sensing and Extraverted Feeling
Extraverted iNtuition and Introverted Thinking
Extraverted iNtuition and Introverted Feeling
Introverted iNtuition and Extraverted Thinking
Introverted iNtuition with Extraverted Feeling
Extraverted Thinking with Introverted Sensing
Extraverted Thinking with Introverted iNtuition
Introverted Thinking with Extraverted Sensing
Introverted Thinking with Extraverted iNtuition
Extraverted Feeling with Introverted Sensing
Extraverted Feeling with Introverted iNtuition
Introverted Feeling with Extraverted Sensing
Introverted Feeling with Extraverted iNtuition

The following chart below shows the order of each function for each type. The functions are in their standard abbreviations. They are, as follows.

Se = Extraverted Sensing
Si = Introverted Sensing
Ne = Extraverted iNtuition
Ni = Introverted iNtuition
Te = Extraverted Thinking
Ti = Introverted Thinking
Fe = Extraverted Feeling
Fi = Introverted Feeling

You can see that the first letter is the name of the function, and the second determines if it's Extraverted or Introverted.

1st Te Si Fe Si Se Ti Se Fi Fe Ni Ne Fi Te Ni Ne Ti
2nd Si Te Si Fe Ti Se Fi Se Ni Fe Fi Ne Ni Te Ti Ne
3rd Ne Fi Ne Ti Fe Ni Te Ni Se Ti Te Si Se Fi Fe Si
4th Fi Ne Ti Ne Ni Fe Ni Te Ti Se Si Te Ti Se Si Fe
5th Ti Se Fi Se Si Te Si Fe Fi Ne Ni Fe Ti Ne Ni Te
6th Se Ti Se Fi Te Si Fe Si Ne Fi Fe Ni Ne Ti Te Ni
7th Ni Fe Ni Te Fi Ne Ti Ne Si Te Ti Se Si Fe Fi Se
8th Fe Ni Te Ni Ne Fi Ne Ti Te Si Se Ti Fe Si Se Fi


This information was compiled by Sandra Krebs Hirsh from Dynamics of Personality Type by Linda V. Berens .
It used to be hosted on Geocities, but that has now closed down and I've 'rescued' it.
I've always found this a very useful reference, hopefully others will continue to do so.

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