Difference between Sensing and Intuition in Myers Briggs


This blog post aims to elaborate the “Difference between sensing and intuition in Myers Briggs” and covers basic topics including the definition of the sensing and intuition dichotomy in Myers & Briggs personality typing, the different characteristics of sensors and intuitive people, personality types and what do studies and researches say about sensing and intuition.


What is the difference between Myers & Brigg’s sensing and intuition dichotomy?

Sensing and Intuition are one of the four primary dichotomies inspired from Jung’s personality theory. They are defined as opposing preferences based on natural tendencies which vary from person to person. The Myers & Briggs’ personality typing describes the Sensing/Intuition dichotomy as the means in which a person takes in information. As the name indicates, the sensing personality type takes in information via their five senses, while the intuitive types take in information through patterns and possibilities. An individual’s inclination for one will be stronger than the other.

  • Sensing Types

    People who are indicated as the sensing types attend to the immediate impressions they receive as crude information via sight, sound and touch. Their perceptions are based on concrete information that stem from their experiences and consequently define their future behavior.

  • Intuitive Types

    People who are indicated as intuitive types respond more to their instincts and inherent intuition. They are receptive of implications and have the capability to identify connections between unrelated facts and random impressions.

Characteristics of Sensory Type (S)

People with sensory preference are:

  • Concrete
  • Realistic
  • Lives in the present
  • Aware of surroundings
  • Detail-oriented
  • Practical
  • Goes by senses
  • Factual

Sensors are more inclined towards concrete tasks and have the tendency to approach things more linearly. They are perceptive of expectations attached with them, and are prone at proving their skills by resolving immediate problems. They seek clear and apparent results rather than abstract culminations that they find dissatisfactory.

Persons with a sensing preference have a liking for details and are enthusiastic in exploring the essentials of any situation. They work in a sequential pattern, following a thorough step-by-step plan. Their perceptions are rooted in reality with an appreciation for the present. Such people are practical and value logic above abstraction.



Characteristics of Intuitive Type (N)

People with Intuitive preference are:

  • Future-focused
  • Open to possibilities
  • Innovative
  • Imaginative
  • Deep
  • Abstract
  • Idealistic
  • Theoretical

Intuitive types think in abstraction and are more theoretical in their approach. They look far ahead to the future more than the present, and are motivated to bring about change in the world than simply living in it. Intuitive types have knack for the unusual and are constantly searching for things that stir their imagination. They are seekers of ideas that inspire them and tend to focus on the theoretical aspect of any venture than its practice.

Persons with an intuitive preference tend to value imagination and therefore likely to experience dissatisfaction in situations where an eye for detail is necessary. They are driven by innovation and thus prone to testing and experimentation. They are creative heads who find repetitions off-putting, and are always willing to embrace any and every learning opportunity.


What is Personality Type?

We have already mentioned that The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is roughly based on a theory of psychological “types” developed by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist, which assesses four characteristic. Sensing and Intuition are one of those four pairs of opposing personality preferences that also include Extraversion vs. Introversion, Thinking vs. Feeling and Judging vs. Perceiving. Each preference is denoted by a letter such as ‘S’ for Sensory, ‘N’ for Intuitive, and so on.

Personality Type is the combination of these different personality preferences that generally constitute a person’s temperament. So if a person’s preferences include Extraversion (E), Intuition (N), Thinking (T) and Perceiving (P), then their personality type is ENTP. This grouping of preferences coupled with certain cognitive processes form the 16 personality types.

Listed below are personality types of people with sensing and intuitive preferences respectively.

Sensing Personality Types

  • ESTJ – Supervisor
  • ESTP – Persuader
  • ESFJ – Helper
  • ESFP – Entertainer
  • ISTJ – Judge
  • ISTP – Craftsman
  • ISFJ – Guardian
  • ISFP – Artist


Intuitive Personality Types

  • ENTJ – Chief
  • ENTP – Originator
  • ENFJ – Mentor
  • ENFP – Advocate
  • INTJ – Strategist
  • INTP – Engineer
  • INFJ – Confidant
  • INFP – Dreamer

What do the Studies Say?

The Myers‐Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality inventory meant to determine a person’s preferences in how they perceive the world and make choices, grounded in four primary pairings rooted in Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types.

These four pairs of characteristics are also at the core of the Myers-Briggs’ inventory and have been assessed by multiple psychologists and scholars. One study describes that the Sensory-Intuitive Index indicates the manner in which individuals obtain information pertaining to their surroundings, as well as how the way in which they perceive the world. Those with a sensing preference do well with concrete facts and details of any situation, and bank on the five basic senses for inferring facts of a situation. On the other hand, an intuitive is more inclined in looking at the larger picture in a broader context, relying on what is called a ‘sixth sense’ or personal intuition than drawing from the five senses. They have an appetite for novelty and the unusual. Sensing types are rooted in reality and tend to be more practical in their approach, while intuitive types have an eye on the future and are motivated by the possibilities that it may bring.

Another study described the Sensing/Intuition dichotomy as respondents’ preferences concerning how they choose to ‘absorb’ information, with people falling in the Sensing category processing information in an orderly, sequential manner, taking input from their five senses. In contrast, those falling in the Intuition category seeing the ‘big picture’, approaching information in a holistic manner and seeing it in a larger context.


Conclusion

This blogpost summarized the difference between sensing and intuition in the Myers-Briggs’ personality indicator. We elaborated that sensing and intuition are two functional preferences that people have in their lives. They have their own distinctive features that define people’s behaviors and attitudes. The basic difference between sensing and intuition is that sensing types rely on the observable facts drawn from the five senses while intuitive types process information by reading patterns and impressions and rely on their personal hunches.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

What is sensing in Myers and Briggs?

Sensing is one of the opposing preferences in Myers & Briggs’ personality typing. It describes the manner in which a person processes information, with the sensing types relying on their most immediate impressions that they can see, smell, hear, taste and touch.

What do you test for with Myers Briggs test?

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test that assesses psychological attributes of respondents, and is used to indicate different areas of strengths and personality types mostly in a workplace setup.

What is the difference between sensing and intuition?

Sensing is attending to information that is available through your five senses while intuition is reading and interpreting the patterns and possibilities from the gathered information.

Is it common to have a sensing personality trait?

Yes, it is more common to have a Sensing personality trait than an Intuitive one. Statistically, almost 75% of people tend to identify themselves as being Sensors. 

Are sensing and intuition stronger?

Since sensing and intuition are opposing preferences, an individual’s natural inclination towards one will be stronger than the other.

What are the personality traits of intuitive types?

Intuitive types are theoretical and abstract thinkers. They are idealistic and imaginative in their approach. They see the bigger picture and have an eye for the future and the many possibilities it holds. They can read the underlying patterns and rely more on their intuition than the immediate impressions available via five senses.

References

Carlyn, M. (1977). An assessment of the Myers-Briggs type indicator. Journal of personality assessment41(5), 461-473. http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/hjpa20

Fretwell, C. E., Lewis, C. C., & Hannay, M. (2013). Myers-briggs type indicator, A/B personality types, and locus of control: where do they intersect?. American Journal of Management13(3), 57-66. http://www.na-businesspress.com/AJM/FretwellCE_Web13_3_.pdf

King, S. P., & Mason, B. A. (2020). Myers‐Briggs Type Indicator. The Wiley Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences: Measurement and Assessment, 315-319. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119547167.ch123

Live Bold and Bloom https://liveboldandbloom.com/07/personality-types/sensing-vs-intuition

The Myers & Briggs’ Foundation https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/sensing-or-intuition.htm

The Myers-Briggs Company https://eu.themyersbriggs.com/en/tools/MBTI/MBTI-personality-types

I hold my bachelor's degree in Psychology with a particular interest in personality, emotions, organizational behaviour and the psychology of marketing. I am currently pursuing my Master's degree in Business Administration specializing in human resource management and marketing where my psychology background comes very much handy. I have worked with different institutes to raise awareness of the benefits of incorporating psychology in the workplace. Apart from that, I like to travel, cook and try new cuisines and love animals.

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