Though I write often about cognition patterns and how thought processes differ between each of the sixteen types, I feel like I haven’t really gotten across in full what I mean.  And is there any way better to get across concepts simply and efficiently than pictures?  I think there is not.

Now, I can’t make stick people like the greats, and I don’t want anyone to think I’m trying.  This is just literally the best I can draw 😛  Well, pretty much…  {On an interesting side-note about XKCD, I’ve noticed webcomic writers are often IP’s, especially INP’s (the author of XKCD being very classically INP).  It makes sense to me that they would enjoy that format since IP’s focus on and love details; webcomics give them an opportunity to savor each moment and detail, rather than needing to get to the end of a plot arch, the way a J especially might.  I could also go off about IP’s liking “Magnetic Poetry” titles such as “XKCD” or “Death Cab for Cutie” but maybe some other time…}

Everyone thinks :O  It’s kind of a necessary part of being conscious.  But we don’t all do it in the same way or in the same order.  These differences in thought processes are what eventually translate into personality types.  So here, step-by-step in pictures, is the cognition process and how it works for each type. 🙂


But first, a quick recap about the letters and what they mean… in pictures!!

A common misconception about Introversion vs. Extraversion (which I’ve been soap-boxing against often lately) is that Extraverts are social, prefer parties and constant social interaction and love to be the center of attention, while Introverts are shy and prefer a good book to the company of others, preferring a quiet atmosphere.  While this may be the common definition of Extraversion and Introversion in our culture, it is *not at all* the definition of a psychological Introvert or Extravert and *does not* match with Jung’s or Myers-Briggs’ definitions of I/E.

Instead, Introversion and Extraversion describe where you primarily turn for information and input.  Do you, in Introversion, turn first inside yourself to understand the world, or do you, in Extraversion, turn first to the outside world and others to grasp the world and how it works?

In truth, it’s as simple as that, though those differences affect all a person’s decisions and actions.  For example, Introverts being used to working inside their own heads, are naturally more confident making decisions without needing the input of others, while Extraverts naturally feel off-balance if they don’t get input from others–like running around with their eyes closed.  But since they are constantly interacting with the world for information, Extraverts are very aware of how people will affect and interact with their plans, while Introverts may not be as aware of the effects others will have.


The difference between iNtuition and Sensing has a slew of misconceptions as well.  In reality, Sensing is based on patterns of  things previously experienced while iNtuition is based on things conceptualized through noticed patterns mentally.  Both Sensing and iNtuition functions are used to understand how things and people work universally, but Sensing forms a physical picture, based on previous experiences, and iNtuition forms a mental picture, based on underlying concepts.  What defines an “iNtuitive” individual versus a “Sensor” individual is if they naturally think in concepts early in their cognitive process or experiences early in their cognitive process, respectively.  Those are the only requirements of being an N or an S.

Typical side effects of these focuses, again, are varied.  Sensors, focusing on things they’ve personally experienced, tend to think in a more linear, straight-forward, on-the-ground and in the moment sort of way, which is fine.  {This doesn’t mean that iNtuitives *can’t* think this way, only that for Sensors it will come more naturally.} Only unhealthy Sensors will focus on what’s right in front of them at the *expense* of concepts they don’t yet understand.  iNtuitives, focusing on the underlying patterns they find mentally, tend to think in a more abstract, overarching, complex way, and that’s fine too.  {This doesn’t mean that Sensors *can’t* think this way, only that for iNtuitives it will come more naturally.}  Only unhealthy iNtuitives will focus on abstract patterns at the *expense* of what’s right in front of them.

With N/S as with all the letters, stereotyping those different from you is hurtful as well as something that indicates an insecurity with your own way of functioning.  All the types are equal; there’s no need to put others down in order to feel safe and okay being yourself.


Thinkers are defined by the way they focus early in their cognitive process on the use of things, whether it be information or people.  Feelers are defined by the way they focus early in their cognitive process on the meaning of things, whether it be information or people.  Thoughts teach us the usefulness of objects, situations, people and actions; Feelings bring meaning to objects, situations, people and actions.  *We all have both*, it’s just the order we prioritize them that makes us a Feeler or a Thinker.  Once again, differences in personality stem from those differences in cognition order.

Now while “Thinker” and “Feeler” are accurate terms according to what Jung meant, in our modern culture (and maybe English has more of this connotation than German), these two terms do not mean equal things, when an essential point of Jung’s type theory was that the functions were equal.  These terms have come to imply that Feelers are illogical but nice, while Thinkers are logical and rational, but cold and unfeeling.  These implications can’t be allowed to stand because they’re damaging, degrading and beyond that, simply untrue.

As Jung said, both Thinking and Feeling are “rational” functions (“Application Functions” as we now call them on aLBoP), whereas “Sensation” as he called it and Intuition are the “irrational” ones (which aLBoP calls “Compilation Functions”), meaning that those functions compile patterns about the world rather than coming to conclusions about it.  To imply that Feelers can’t be equally logical or that Thinkers can’t be equally compassionate is just not in line with reality and terribly dangerous. 

Thinker vs. Feeler tends to be dangerous territory where one must tread with utmost care.  It’s an emotionally charged topic and I find one of the groups that gets the most emotional about it is Thinkers who are trying to declare that Feelers are illogical.  The irony astounds me.  While I do run into the occasional Feeler trying to claim moral superiority over us “heartless” Thinkers, they seem to be the minority of the problem.

It’s amazing to me how many Thinkers believe that their reasoning could never be influenced by emotion, because their emotions tend to demonstrate more through feelings like fear, anger, distaste, catastrophizing, and pessimism, which are moods and beliefs as much as giddiness, excitement, sensitivity, security and optimism.  *Every* human being is subject to emotion and while it may gall Thinkers to have them, we are often the most controlled by our emotions when we fail to realize their presence and strength.

I know from personal experience that I’m certainly the most unreasonable when I’m trying to prove how reasonable I am.  My ENTP debate mechanism doesn’t weaken when I angrily slam the door on my INFJ while yelling why I’m sure I’m right, but you better believe I feel like an idiot when I come to my senses and see how emotionally compromised my reasoning really was.

A lot of the stereotypes of T/F are actually characteristics that tend to follow ITs and EFs (as well as the common stereotypes of I/E, as a matter of fact).  Not that ITs are extra smart or have to be mean, and not that EFs are irrational or have to be sweet; instead ITs’ focus on the use of information in conjunction with Introverts’ tendency to get stuck in their own heads, can make ITs act or seem hard-headed and stereotypically “T.”  EF is the same story from the opposite side; EFs’ focus on the meaning of information, along with the Extraverted tendency to get pulled around with what others think, can make EFs look or act flighty and stereotypically “F.”

But of course, part of going into the cognitive process in depth here is to show, once again, that *all* the personality types have the tools at their disposal to make informed, meaningful decisions that take all the information, both use and meaning, into account.  They just have to work *with* their own psyches and not against them.


I’ve heard people think that Js are called “Judgers” because they’re more judgmental.  If they mean they tend to care more if a person is being of use than of meaning, that’s more of a T/F thing than a J/P thing, though being a TJ can certainly compound that tendency.  If they mean that Js are more decisive, that’s *closer* to the real difference.

In actuality, a Judger is defined by when in the cognition process they focus and decide on Action.  Judgers decide on a course of action in either their first cognition step (EJs) or second (IJs).  Percievers, instead, take more time to explore possibilities before acting, with their Action step coming either third (IPs) or last (EPs).

Now these differences can often result in stereotypically J/P actions, like Js liking things to be orderly or Ps enjoying spontaneity, but often that’s simply not the case and people are commonly mistyped over misconceptions of J/P.

For example IPs and especially ITPs, tend to be *more* meticulous than a lot of Js because of IPs’ unique focus on detail.  A lot of IPs *don’t* like surprises and are very particular about things being just so.  EPs tend to be the more quintessential Ps, and even we get meticulous about things that actually matter to us (like ending up with a blog post that was over twice as long as anticipated, trying to get important points across).  In contrast Js can sometimes rush into action in a way that looks spontaneous.  EJs, with Action being their unique emphasis, are often the quintessential Js, with ETJs especially saying the equivalent of “Let’s just get it done already!”

The main differences to watch for are that Judgers’ focus is on what action to take, based on the information they already have, and they prefer to plan ahead and then carry through with that plan; Perceivers’ focus is on exploring additional options and they prefer to react to new information and prefer not to set plans in stone.

It makes sense that EJs would be “More J” and EPs “More P”; because the Extraverts are on the extremes about taking action early versus observing longer, with the Introverts in the middle.  You often find these kinds of extremes in personality typing.  TJs and ITs tend to be more expectedly “T,” FPs and EFs more expectedly “F,” with the TPs, ETs, FJs and IFs somewhere in the middle.

These extremes aren’t necessarily better or worse, just more specialized in that particular function.  Though, it might be said that the extremes in any function have extra need to get in touch with their Paradoxitype for balance.


Cognition – Step One


There are four different ways to embark on the thought process, one of which each of us does naturally without even thinking about it.  You may consciously decide what to cognate about; you don’t consciously decide *how* to cognate.

I make subtle faces sometimes when people say things like “Well, I’m somewhere between T and F,” or “I used to be an Extravert, but now I’m an Introvert.”  I understand people thinking that way, especially when the definitions of the types are vastly oversimplified most the time.  But when you see how the letters define the way you think and how your brain works, which affects your actions but does not determine them, you can see that it’s not the kind of thing that changes during your lifetime.

Now, don’t confuse me, I’m *not* saying that people can’t change or that they’re limited by their personality type and letters.  You *absolutely* can overcome the weaknesses of your own type as well as gain the strengths of every other.  *But* my caveat is that you must start by understanding the way you function naturally.  It is nearly impossible to gain the strengths of other types without first embracing the strengths of your own.  In contrast, it is insanely easy to gain the weaknesses of the other types you may try to emulate, if you are not *first* comfortable with who you are and the way your mind works naturally.

Take home lesson: Your personality type doesn’t change.  You change what you do with it.  Be happy being you and *then* you can adopt the traits you appreciate in other personality types.

Also, don’t do drugs.


Introverts, whether Judgers or Perceivers, begin this thought process inside their heads.  For IJs, the process starts with grasping Principles, which is information as it is universally applicable.  For IPs the process starts with contemplating gathered Data and Details, which is information as it is applicable to specific situations.

Introverts’ primary cognition is like a Heads-up Display, letting them sift through and understand information already in their database, constantly.

IJs’ HUD covers an intricate network of information and they are constantly finding the common threads behind that information; the one line of computer code that causes all the results they see around them.

IPs’ HUD includes a powerful microscope, able to zoom in on and understand the tiniest detail that other types might simply overlook and are able to draw complex conclusions from that data.

Because of their cognitive emphasis on Principles and the way things work universally, IJs care most about the direction the World is headed in and make plans to see that direction accomplished (which leads into their Step Two — Action).  That World Direction can be either good or bad, depending on whether the IJ is healthy or unhealthy.

Because of their cognitive emphasis on Details and specific Data, IPs care most about fully understanding and exploring specific Situations, whether that means using a situation to its fullest as an ITP or fully appreciating a moment as an IFP.  That Detail Exploration can be put to good or bad purposes, depending whether the IP is healthy or unhealthy.


Extraverts, whether Judgers or Perceivers, begin the thought process with their eyes wide open, taking in information from the outside world.  For EJs, the process starts with evaluating what Actions lead to which Consequences, watching how results follow choices.  For EPs, the process starts with Observing individuals in order to understand Motivations, watching what reactions demonstrate about a person’s character.

Extraverts’ primary cognition is like Sonar, sending out signals and watching what the signals bounce off of.

EJs’ Sonar “Pings” are more direct, focusing on the course ahead and loudly pinging the terrain in front of them.  EJs send pings through making decisions and everything is a decision for an EJ, whether it’s forming an opinion of someone or choosing a stance on a cause; they can change course by making new decisions according to the consequences and results their action-pings get (“Ahh!  We’re too close to the underwater wall!  Turn back, turn back!!!”), but each J judgment is decisive.

EPs’ Sonar “Pings” are more passive, trying to map out the entire terrain, not just the course ahead (see, I said in the sidebar that I was going to type cartographers ;)).  Everything an EP says or does is a ping; even just sitting back and watching others ping off each other is pinging for an EP.  EPs watch for the way the people-terrain reacts to their pings to get a complete picture of individuals and the way they function.  Most of all, EPs are constantly pinging themselves in order to understand their own motivations and character and to explore how people in general work.  This can look self-centered to non-EPs, but really EPs are just excited by individuals in general and understand themselves the best (“My submarine is so cool!  Look what this button does!”).

Because of their cognitive emphasis on Actions and the Consequences of choices, EJs care most about the direction the Groups they support are headed in and they make plans to carry out that direction.  Those Groups can be families, friends, people who believe in the same causes, etc.  Once again, the purposes they desire to put their Groups to can be good or bad, depending on whether the EJ is healthy or unhealthy.

Because of their cognitive emphasis on Observing Motivations and understanding what makes people tick, EPs care most about exploring Individuals and the way people work in general.  And, like the other three kinds of types, whether that People exploration is good or bad depends on whether the EP is healthy or unhealthy.


Along with Introversion and Extraversion, Judging and Perceiving, obviously a person’s middle letters interact with their cognition process.  In a lot of ways, first and last letters (E/I, J/P) determine what information a person is gathering or processing, while the middle letters (N/S, F/T) determine what form that information takes within your psyche.

Carl Jung’s original type theory was divided into 8 types, based on a person’s primary form of understanding information.  These were INJ, ENP, ISJ, ESP, ETJ, ITP, EFJ and IFP, though it was Briggs and Myers who later noticed the J/P pattern.

As you can see, in those original 8 types, IJs and EPs are sorted based on their primary function of either iNtuition or Sensing, while the EJs and IPs are sorted by their primary function of either Thinking or Feeling.  We can simplify those 8 types again into just 4:  Is your primary function Feeling (EFJ, IFP), Thinking (ETJ, ITP), Sensing (ISJ, ESP), or iNtuition (INJ, ENP)?

See the pattern?  The IPs and EJs are always buddies and so are the EPs and IJs. 🙂

But what does that really mean?  What makes Sensing and iNtuition similar and what makes Feeling and Thinking similar?  Well, as I mentioned in the T/F Definition section above, Jung called Thinking and Feeling the “Rational” functions and Sensing and iNtuition the “Irrational” ones.

Now before conclusions are jumped to, *NO,* I’m not saying that IJs and EPs are irrational (/eyeroll).  A “Rational” function is one in which a person evaluates information based on either how useful (Thinking) or meaningful (Feeling) that information is.  In contrast, an “Irrational” function is one in which a person collects information by seeing patterns, whether in physical experiences (Sensing) or mental concepts (iNtuition).

So Thinking and Feeling are called “Rational” functions because they’re evaluating how to think, feel, process and apply information to specific circumstances and applications; Sensing and iNtuition are called “Irrational” functions because they’re seeing, observing and collecting information for general applicability without yet evaluating it.

{Update: Due to the obviously confusing nature of Jung’s well-intended terms, on aLBoP we’ve updated these terms to clarify the definitions and avoid misconceptions.  It’s a thing we like to do. 😉

We now refer to “Rational” functions as “Application Functions,” because they apply information to specific circumstances, and we call “Irrational” functions “Compilation Functions” because they compile and sift through large quantities of information in order to find universal patterns.}

IPs and EJs start with {Application Functions}, making specifics their primary focus (either specific Data or specific Action respectively), and IJs and EPs start with {Compilation Functions} making things that are generally applicable their primary focus (either general Principles or general people Observations respectively)… and then they switch.  😉  But that’s Step Two.  The point is, everyone does *both* {Application and Compilation} functions, but IJs and EPs start with the Big Picture and zoom in to Specifics; EJs and IPs start with Specifics and zoom out to the Big Picture.

Okay, moving right along here 😉  Believe me, you’ll want this information here for reference when we get into the later steps of the cognition process.  At least there are pictures!! 😀


Now, in practice each primary function–each type’s “Step One”–is pretty straightforward.

INJs’ first step and primary focus is using their iNtuition (N) inside their heads (introverted) to understand how Conceptual Principles apply universally as Trends.  They use their Heads-up Display to visualize conceptual information and organize it into universally applicable pictures and patterns.
We shorthand this as:  Principles via Ni (introverted iNtuition).

ISJs’ first step and primary focus is using their Sensing (S) inside their heads (introverted) to understand how Experiences Principles apply universally as Trends.  They use their Heads-up Display to understand the patterns behind experiences and to organize those patterns so they are universally applicable.
Shorthand:  Principles via Si (introverted Sensing).

ENPs’ first step and primary focus is directing their iNtuition (N) outside themselves (extraverted) to Observe people’s Motivations and character, Conceptually.  They use their Sonar “Pings” to map out conceptually the way an individual functions and the way people function in general.
Shorthand:  Observation via Ne (extraverted iNtuition).

ESPs’ first step and primary focus is directing their Sensing (S) outside themselves (extraverted) to Observe people’s Motivations and character, through Experiences.  They use their Sonar “Pings” to notice the way an individual functions and the way people function in general, through experiencing people with their five senses.
Shorthand:  Observation via Se (extraverted Sensing).


ITPs’ first step and primary focus is using their Thoughts (T) inside their heads (introverted) to understand the Use of gathered Data and Details.  They use their Heads-up Display microscope to be able to evaluate and apply data to specific situations and to see when they’re missing additional data.
Shorthand:  Data via Ti (introverted Thinking).

IFPs’ first step and primary focus is using their Feelings (F) inside their heads (introverted) to understand the Meaning of gathered Data and Details.   They use their Heads-up Display microscope to feel and experience the power and importance of even the minutest detail.
Shorthand:  Data via Fi (introverted Feeling).

ETJs’ first step and primary focus is directing their Thoughts (T) outside themselves (extraverted) to Act and see the Use of Actions.  They use their Sonar “Pings” to decide and map the course ahead according to what will be of the most use for the group/groups they support and to see what works and what doesn’t work.
Shorthand: Action via Te (extraverted Thinking).

EFJs’ first step and primary focus is directing their Feelings (F) outside themselves (extraverted) to Act and see the Meaning of Actions.  They use their Sonar “Pings” to decide and map the course ahead according to what will bring the greatest meaning and experiences to the group/groups they support and to see what actions hurt or help people.
Shorthand: Action via Fe (extraverted Feeling).

And that’s Step One!  Yay!


Cognition – Step Two

Now, the thought process builds on itself; a person takes whatever information they gleaned from Step One, and applies it to Step Two.  They then take the combined information from steps One and Two, and apply that to Step Three; same with Step Four, and the same with applying *all* of that to Step One again on the Rinse and Repeat.

Because Step One is a person’s focus and priority, with the most time spent there, it becomes the context for all the other steps, with Step Two coming in a close second, etc, and Step Four being a person’s weakest area.  So as we go through all the steps, remember:  The information and decisions gleaned from each step gets added to the grand total which is a person’s current understanding of life, the universe and everything. 😉

Okay, now everyone, *SWITCH!*  For “Step Two” of the thought process, the Percievers (EPs and IPs) swap functions and the Judgers (EJs and IJs) swap functions.  I could just say, “to see what Step Two is, swap a type’s first letter and then look above for what they do,” but that would be confusing and I’m not going to do that.  Plus, there is a tad more elaboration required 😉  Isn’t there always?

Step Two is simply your “auxiliary” function at work; so your middle letter that *wasn’t* at work in Step One.  The IPs and EJs, who used their {Application} functions (F/T) in Step One, switch to their {Compilation} functions (S/N) in Step Two.  The IJs and EPs, who used their {Compilation} functions (S/N) in Step One, switch to their {Application} functions (F/T) in Step Two.  Also, if a person was inside their own head before (introverted), they then take that information and apply it outside themselves (extraverted)… and vice versa.

cognition-step-twoStated simply:

IJs apply their understanding of Principles and how things work universally from inside their heads (introverted) to specific circumstances outside themselves (extraverted) to see what Action to take and to understand the Consequences of Action.  From the Big Picture of Principles, they derive Specifics in the form of Action.

IPs apply the specific Data and Details they’ve come to conclusions about inside their heads (introverted) to the Observation of people outside themselves (extraverted) to see individuals’ Motivations, understand how people in general function and make character judgments.  From the Specifics of Data, they derive the Big Picture in the form of Observing individuals.

EJs apply their findings from Acting, receiving Consequences and watching specific Actions outside themselves (extraverted) to draw an understanding of Principles and how things work universally, inside their heads (introverted).  From the Specifics of Action, they derive the Big Picture in the form of Principles.

EPs apply their Observations of individuals’ Motivations, character judgments and noticing how people work in general (extraverted) to draw Conclusions in the form of specific Data and Details inside their heads (introverted).  From the Big Picture of Observing Motivations, they derive Specifics in the form of Data and Details.


Like I said, IJs and EPs work in terms of Thinking or Feeling on Step Two; adding to their thought process either Action or Data in the form of either Thoughts or Feelings.

ETPs’ second step of cognition is drawing Data and Conclusions from the Observations they made in Step One, in the form of Thoughts (T) inside their heads (introverted), in order to make Use of those Observations of Individuals, including making Use of themselves.
Shorthand:  Data via Ti (introverted Thinking).

ITJs’ second step of cognition is applying the Principles they came to understand in Step One to individual situations to see the Use of Actions by directing their Thoughts (T) outside themselves (extraverted), in order to find which Actions will be of the most Use to the World.
Shorthand: Action via Te (extraverted Thinking).

IFJs’ second step of cognition is applying the Principles they came to understand in Step One to individual situations to see the Meaning of Actions by directing their Feelings (F) outside themselves (extraverted), in order to find which Actions will bring the most Meaning to the World.
Shorthand: Action via Fe (extraverted Feeling).

EFPs’ second step of cognition is drawing Data and Conclusions from the Observations they made in Step One, in the form of Feelings (F) inside their heads (introverted), in order to understand Meaning of those Observations of Individuals, including understanding the Meaning of Themselves.
Shorthand:  Data via Fi (introverted Feeling).


IPs and EJs work in terms of Sensing or iNtuition on Step Two; adding to their thought process either Observations or Principles in the form of either Experiences or Concepts.

ENJs’ second step is using their iNtuition (N) inside their heads (introverted) to understand how the Consequences of Actions made in Step One form Concepts that apply universally as Principles.
Shorthand:  Principles via Ni (introverted iNtuition).

INPs’ second step is applying the Data, Details and Conclusions they reached in Step One, to Observing people’s Motivations and character by directing their iNtuition (N) outside themselves (extraverted) in order to make Conceptual pictures of individuals and how people work in general.
Shorthand:  Observation via Ne (extraverted iNtuition).

ISPs’ second step is applying the Data, Details and Conclusions they reached in Step One, to Observing people’s Motivations and character by directing their five senses (S) outside themselves (extraverted) in order to understand individuals and how people work in general by Experiencing them.
Shorthand:  Observation via Se (extraverted Sensing).

ESJs’ second step is using their Sensing (S) inside their heads (introverted) to understand how the Consequences of Actions made in Step One are Experiences that apply universally as Principles.
Shorthand:  Principles via Si (introverted Sensing).

See the beautiful balance of the human mind?  Each brain does a dance of zooming in and out of the big picture and specifics; contemplating, then applying; observing, then understanding.  Even by this point, only halfway through the steps, we can see how equal and balanced all the personality types are.  Also we can see how each type can find connections and relate with the thinking of all the others.  Whether it’s through similarity in Introversion or Extraversion and how you primarily process the world, similarity in focusing on either Big Picture or Specifics, or similarity in Judging or Perceiving which means your Step Two is the same as someone else’s Step One; *no type* is so foreign that we can’t understand how they think or feel.

Pretty rock-awesome, no?  Now onto Step Three!!!


Cognition – Step Three

So once upon a time, there were the first two steps.  They lived in harmony, being coordinated and making obvious sense.  N/S applied to Big Picture things, T/F to Specific ones; Action was Specific, Principles were Big Picture; Action was extraverted, Principles were introverted.  It was a time of peace, serenity and reason.

And then the Perceivers got involved…

For some odd reason, which I suppose makes sense in retrospect, Perceivers don’t view Action the same way Judgers do.  The retrospect part is: that’s what makes them Perceivers 😉

While everyone’s Data step is introverted F or T (information applied specifically, inside your head), and everyone’s Observation step is extraverted S or N (big picture information, from outside yourself), in the Action/Principles area, it isn’t so simple.

It seems that Judgers and Perceivers don’t just act at different times, but they view and understand action differently too.  In the cognitive process, Data and Observation are buddies and so are Principles and Action; no matter the order, they come in pairs with character Observation and Data being the Perceiving part and Principles and Action being the Judging part.  Though all four of a person’s cognitive functions work together, the first two and the last two are really BFFs (that’s “Best Friends Forever;” not a {cognitive} term, but still useful!), helping a person zoom in and out to understand all the information and its applications.

So, by this point, we’ve already seen how Judgers do the Action/Principles stage; Js understand Principles as being generally applicable and Action as being specific–Principles in S/N and Action in T/F.

But those weird Perceivers (;D) do just the opposite.  With Perceivers’ emphasis on “perceiving” the way people function in general (the result of Observation + Data), they see Action and decision-making in a similar way to how Judgers see Principles; as generally applicable patterns of information (found via S/N) discovered inside their heads (introverted).

Likewise, Perceivers view Principles in a similar way to how Judgers view Action, as specifically applicable information (found via F/T) with direct results and Consequences in the world (extraverted).

So keep the weirdos in mind as we look at how each type does Step Three. 🙂


The cognition process is a beautiful chiasmus, with each type’s Step Three function being a complete mirror-image of their Step Two function, and their Step Four function being a mirror-image of their Step One function.

In Step Three, IJs and EPs use the opposite {Application} function (T/F) than they used in Step Two; IPs and EJs use the opposite {Compilation} function (S/N) than they used in Step Two.

Step Three includes a lot of Paradoxitype elements, since it’s from a person’s tertiary function, it lies beneath the obvious, and yet isn’t a person’s weakest function like Step Four.  Step Three is cool too, because each type-set derives information in a way and order that none of the other type-sets do.  This just shows, once again, how much we all need each other and the strengths that each type provides.

IJs on Step Three, take the specific Consequences of Actions they made in Step Two (via Te or Fe), and derive specific Data and Details from it in the form of either Thoughts or Feelings inside their heads (opposite T/F, introverted).  They’re the only ones to derive Data from Actions.

IPs on Step Three, take their Observations of how people work in general from Step Two (via Se or Ne) and apply it to an understanding of how to use Actions in general, make decisions and to understand Consequences in the form of either Experiences or Concepts, inside their heads (opposite S/N, introverted).  They’re the only ones to derive Actions from Motivations.

EJs on Step Three, take the universally applicable Principles of how the world works they came to understand in Step Two (via Si or Ni) and apply it to the Observation of people and their Motivations to understand how people work in general by directing their Senses or iNtuition, outward (opposite S/N, extraverted).  They’re the only ones to derive Motivations from Principles.

EPs on Step Three, take the specific Data and Details they’ve found in Step Two (via Ti or Fi) and derive specific Principles of the way the world works by directing their Thoughts or Feelings outward (opposite T/F, extraverted).  They’re the only ones to derive Principles from Data.


ITJs’ third step of cognition is drawing Data and Details from the Consequences of Actions they made in Step Two, in the form of Feelings (F) inside their heads (introverted), in order to make Meaningful Conclusions.
Shorthand: Data via Fi (introverted Feeling).

ETPs’ third step of cognition is using the Data and Conclusions they came to in Step Two to see universal Principles, by directing their Feelings (F) outside themselves (extraverted), in order to understand the Meaning in the world.
Shorthand:  Principles via Fe (extraverted Feeling).

EFPs’ third step of cognition is using the Data and Conclusions they came to in Step Two to see universal Principles, by directing their Thoughts (T) outside themselves (extraverted), in order to make Use of the world.
Shorthand:  Principles via Te (extraverted Thinking).

IFJs’ third step of cognition is drawing Data and Details from the Consequences of Actions they made in Step Two, in the form of Thoughts (T) inside their heads (introverted), in order to make Useful Conclusions.
Shorthand: Data via Ti (introverted Thinking).


INPs’ third step is applying their Observations of people from Step Two, to finding patterns inside their heads (introverted) from the things they’ve Experienced with their five Senses (S), to decide on courses of Action based on Linear scenarios and general Consequences.
Shorthand:  Action via Si (introverted Sensing).

ENJs’ third step is applying the universal Principles they learned in Step Two to Observing people’s Motivations by reaching out (extraverted) and Experiencing people with their five Senses (S).
Shorthand:  Observation via Se (extraverted Sensing).

ESJs’ third step is applying the universal Principles they learned in Step Two to Observing people’s Motivations by directing their iNtuition (N) outside themselves (extraverted) to form Conceptual pictures of people.
Shorthand:  Observation via Ne (extraverted iNtuition).

ISPs’ third step is applying their Observations of people from Step Two, to finding patterns inside their heads (introverted) in the form of Concepts through their iNtuition (N), to decide on courses of Action based on Conceptual scenarios and general Consequences.
Shorthand:  Action via Ni (introverted iNtuition).

You get the drill 🙂  On to Step Four!


Cognition – Step Four


If you have trouble remembering Step Four, just remember it’s what you suck at. 🙂  I’m joking… kinda.  While it’s totally feasible to overcome and work with the weaknesses of this last step, it will always bring up the rear.  It’s just not possible in our limited humanity to be equally good at everything.  We don’t have the brainpower, time or energy.  But as we let our Step Four be taught and mentored by our Step One, it too can become strong… though maybe not *as* strong… 😉

But since it’s our weakest area, Step Four is where we feel the most off-step, vulnerable and get the most defensive of our choices.  While we all use our Feelings in one of the steps, Step Four is where we get the most overemotional no matter what function we use there.  No matter what your Step Four is, it would be prudent to learn to cool it when it comes to your weakest area.  Be patient with yourself; recognize that this weakest area is where you’re most likely to be incorrect.  Be willing to recognize when you’re wrong, and go back to your Step One (your greatest strength) to find your own errors in judgment.  Otherwise the errors in your thought process are going to be misapplied on the Rinse and Repeat and skew your whole method of thinking.


IJs on Step Four take the specific Data and Conclusions they found in Step Three and use that information to Observe the general character and Motivations of Individuals by directing their iNtuition or five Senses outside themselves (opposite N/S, extraverted).

Individual Observation is the hardest for IJs because while their primary focus of Principles may be universal, Principles are also single threads behind infinite applications; people are the most complicated applications of all, and IJs can make blanket character judgments if they try and make those applications too simple and apply Principles as straightforwardly to their Observations as they do to Action or Data.


IPs on Step Four take the Consequences of Actions made in Step Three and apply it to what they see to make specific Principles of how the world works universally by applying their Thoughts or Feelings outside themselves (opposite T/F, extraverted).

Principles are the hardest for IPs because their primary focus of Data and Details means their minds are focused on depth over breadth of information; they explore the world, primarily on their own (introverted) focusing on detailed specific applications of information, and can’t possibly expect to also be as good at understanding how that information applies to the entire world.


EJs on Step Four take the understanding of Individual Motivations they Observed in Step Three and draw specific Data, Details and Conclusions from them in the form of Thoughts or Feelings inside their heads (opposite T/F, introverted).

Conclusions are the hardest for EJs because their primary focus of Action means they’re always in motion and it’s difficult for their minds to slow down and examine the Data themselves, and yet their Actions are so oriented around people and the actions of others that it’s difficult for them to analyze a specific situation for its intrinsic value and Conclusion without being influenced by others’ opinions about a given situation or data.


EPs on Step Four take the specific Principles of how the world works that they learned in Step Three and apply them to a general understanding of how to choose Actions, make decisions and to understand Consequences in the form of either Experiences or Concepts, inside their heads (opposite S/N, introverted).

Actions and Consequences are the hardest for EPs because their primary focus is Observing, a focus that continues on with them throughout deriving Data and Principles from those Observations; it’s all about information-gathering, up until the last second, when formed scenarios finally become literal action… but often what an EP pictures in their mind doesn’t pan out when actually put into motion.


ENPs’ fourth step and weakest function is applying the Principles they learned in Step Three, to finding patterns inside their heads (introverted) from the things they’ve Experienced with their five Senses (S), to decide on courses of Action based on Linear scenarios and general Consequences.
Shorthand:  Action via Si (introverted Sensing).

INJs’ fourth step and weakest function is applying the specific Data and Conclusions they came to in Step Three to Observing people’s Motivations by reaching out (extraverted) and Experiencing people with their five Senses (S).
Shorthand:  Observation via Se (extraverted Sensing).

ISJs’ fourth step and weakest function is applying the specific Data and Conclusions they came to in Step Three to Observing people’s Motivations by reaching out (extraverted) to form Conceptual pictures of people (N).
Shorthand:  Observation via Ne (extraverted iNtuition).

ESPs’ fourth step and weakest function is applying the Principles they learned in Step Three, to finding patterns inside their heads (introverted) in the form of Concepts (N), to decide on courses of Action based on Conceptual scenarios and general Consequences.
Shorthand:  Action via Ni (introverted iNtuition).


ETJs’ fourth step and weakest function of cognition is drawing Data and Details from the Observations of Motivations they made in Step Three, in the form of Feelings (F) inside their heads (introverted), in order to make Meaningful Conclusions.
Shorthand: Data via Fi (introverted Feeling).

ITPs’ fourth step and weakest function of cognition is using the Consequences of Actions they made in Step Three to see universal Principles, by directing their Feelings (F) outside themselves (extraverted), in order to understand the Meaning in the world.
Shorthand:  Principles via Fe (extraverted Feeling).

IFPs’ fourth step and weakest function of cognition is using the Consequences of Actions they made in Step Three to see universal Principles, by directing their Thoughts (T) outside themselves (extraverted), in order to make Use of the world.
Shorthand:  Principles via Te (extraverted Thinking).

EFJs’ fourth step and weakest function of cognition is drawing Data and Details from the Observations of Motivations they made in Step Three, in the form of Thoughts (T) inside their heads (introverted), in order to make Useful Conclusions.
Shorthand: Data via Ti (introverted Thinking).


Cognition – Rinse and Repeat

“This is the song that never ends!  It just goes on and on, my friends!”

Now I got that song stuck in your head.  I’m sorry, I truly am.  What happens when we reach the end of the thought process?  When we’ve finished our weakest step and everything is accumulated in our brains?  We do it again of course!  Like a toddler yelling, “Again!  Again!” we just do the whole thing over, this time applying everything we learned the time before to fresh steps.

So we become an amalgamation of all our Thoughts, Feelings, Experiences and Concepts.  This is why the cognition process demonstrates in everything we are.  Our decisions, conclusions, worldview and our motivations are what define us; the things that truly make us who we are.

But I hope that this demonstrates just how much all the types have in common, while also demonstrating how different and unique we all are too.  We need each and every type for the special things they bring to the table.  It’s a beautiful Jenga game that would all fall down if any one type were to be lost.

I hope you recognize too how special and balanced your own way of thinking is, and that if you learn to use it healthily, you can feel confident, powerful, useful and meaningful in your own skin.


Here on the aLBoP Guided Tour?  Yay!  That means you’ve finished the three Dictionary Posts!  You earn an aLBoP gold star!  Oooh, ahh! o_o  Now we get into how to type actual people and characters, with stick figures Gwen and Phil in our Typing Tutorial!gwen-and-phil-1

Want a unique picture of how *you* think?  I made a picture for each of the 16 unique cognitive processes!  Because you’ve always wanted to be a stick figure. 😉

Just click on each picture to zoom in, then you can right click to save or to Pin/Tumblr/Share the large version!