We’ve previously looked at the concept of introversion and extraversion as two basic ways people relate to the world. Jung also distinguished four typological functions: feeling, thinking, sensation and intuition. These functions represent the way we perceive and process internal and external information.
Thus, when paired with extraversion/introversion, there exist eight distinct personality types: introverted or extraverted thinkers, introverted or extraverted feelers, introverted or extraverted sensates, and introverted or extraverted intuitives.
Thinking and feeling are considered ‘rational’ functions as they involve the acts of judging and determining a course of action. If we are more a thinker, than the feeling function will be underdeveloped, and vice versa. Sensation and intuition are deemed ‘irrational’ functions because they respond to stimuli without judgement, merely gathering information. Again, if one favours sensation, then intuition is underdeveloped, and vice versa.
Thinking gives meaning and understanding, and is based upon principles. Actions tend to be a result of an intellectually considered motive. There will be pros and cons, standards, evaluation, and planning. Extraverted thinkers are concerned with finding meaning in the world around them. They are governed by reason, strive for perfection, use thought in making decisions, are tied to facts, and do not tend to use abstract ideas (often annoying feeling types). They tend to follow the moral ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts.’ Examples include scientists and trivia buffs.
Introverted thinkers are not interested in facts but are interested in abstract ideas, working from a subjective or inner position. They tend to work independently and may at times stubbornly pursue their own novel ideas. They are good at making conceptual connections between seemingly dissimilar ideas. Examples here would be mathematicians, philosophers, computer programmers and poets.
The feeling function is not about emotions, rather; it weighs, values and attaches the proper value to things. The “feeling” comes as the truth, a practical wisdom, or knowing the appropriate thing to do. Feeling is more spontaneous than the more analyzing thinking function. It is associated with empathy. It will say, “I like that” or “I don’t feel like it” with not necessarily having concrete facts to support the decision (which really bothers a thinking type).
Extraverted feelers value personal relationships and adjust well to different social environments. They generally adhere to society’s values or at least, they are very aware of them. Feelings are expressed well in public and they are empathetic to, at ease and amicable with others. Examples would be hosts, diplomats and ministers.
Introverted feelers use their own internal standards to judge people and situations. They are not likely to change their beliefs to conform with trends, and thus, can appear to be too genuine and are sometimes unadaptable in social settings. They often appear cold. However, “Still waters run deep’ applies to many introverted feelers as they inwardly have much sympathy and understanding, making for loyal friends. Examples include writers, physicians, nurses, and psychologists.
Next article: Intuitives and Sensates. If you would like to know your Jungian type visit www.humanmetrics.com for a free assessment.