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The eight cognitive processes are the foundation for psychological type instruments. Each of the sixteen type patterns has a distinct pattern of cognitive process and development. Knowing an individual’s innate tendency to use these processes can help release creative blocks and generate more effective communication.
- The Eight Cognitive Processes
Information on this page has been adapted from Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi, Understanding Yourself and Others®: An Introduction to the Personality Type Code (Telos Publications, 2004) *Used with permission.
History of Jung’s Cognitive Processes
In the 1920s, the idea of personality type was being explored by leading scientists and philosophers. A Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, wrote Psychological Types during that time, in which he gave a detailed description of what has now become one of the most widely used typologies in the world. His theory of psychological type has sparked more than one personality inventory and an international membership organization of professionals and lay people alike devoted to deepening their understanding of typology and its competent and ethical use.
The Basics of Jung’s Theory of Psychological Types
As Jung was trying to understand the differences between the viewpoints and approaches of his colleagues Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, he realized they focused on different worlds. Freud seemed to be focused on the external world of adjustment to the outside world as he approached his patients, and Adler seemed to be more focused on the primacy of the patients’ inner world in determining their behaviors. Following this realization, Jung defined his fundamental concepts of the extraverted and introverted attitudes. He declared that some people orient themselves primarily to the world outside themselves and are thus extraverted in their natures. These people are energized by interaction with the outer world. On the other hand, others orient themselves more readily to the world inside themselves and are introverted in their natures. They are more energized by solitary, reflective activities.
After observing people through the lens of extraversion and introversion for a while, Jung came to realize that it wasn’t just an orientation to the inner world or outer world that made people different from each other. It was also important to consider what mental activities they were engaging in when they were in these worlds. Jung called these mental activities functions, based on the “function” being performed. Now they are frequently referred to as mental or cognitive processes. Jung described four cognitive processes and said that every mental act consists of using at least one of these four cognitive processes. Furthermore, these cognitive processes are used in either an extraverted or introverted way, making eight processes.
The Eight Cognitive Processes
Jung identified two kinds of perception: Sensation and Intuition. Sensing is a process of becoming aware of tangible information. INtuiting* is a process of becoming aware of conceptual information. Sensing and iNtuiting can both be done in either the outer, extraverted world or in the inner, introverted world.
Se - extraverted Sensing
Si - introverted Sensing
Ne - extraverted iNtuiting
Ni - introverted iNtuiting
Jung identified two kinds of judgment: Thinking and Feeling, both of which can be used in either the outer, extraverted world or in the inner, introverted world. Simply put, Thinking judgments are based on objective criteria or principles, and Feeling judgments are based on personal, interpersonal, or universal values.
Te - extraverted Thinking
Ti - introverted Thinking
Fe - extraverted Feeling
Fi - introverted Feeling