By Donna Dunning

Those who know personality type well tend to communicate using jargon. They talk about dominant introverted intuition or extraverted thinking. To a person new to type, these terms are confusing.

My goal in this post is to simplify these ideas so that people can understand more about type dynamics. Type dynamics are about how you prefer to use the two middle letters of your four-letter code and how your four preferences interact to form one of 16 unique personality type combinations.

Knowledge of dynamics is important because personality type is not just about your four preferences; it is about understanding how you use these preferences together.

The Building Blocks

The two middle letters of your personality type, ST, SF, NT, or NF describe how you prefer to take in and evaluate information.

S and N (Sensing and Intuition) are called the Perceiving functions. One of these letters describes the kind of information you prefer to pay attention to first and most often. See the What’s Your Preference-Sensing or Intuition? post for more information on this pair of preferences.

T and F (Thinking and Feeling) are called the Judging functions. One of these letters describes how you prefer to evaluate information and make choices. See the What’s Your Preference-Thinking or Feeling? post for more information on this pair of preferences.

We use our functions in the inner or outer world

You show the world (you extravert) one of your middle type code letters and use the other middle letter privately (it is introverted). This provides balance when you are taking in information and deciding.

Isabel Myers cleverly created the fourth letter of the code (J or P) as a signpost pointing to which function you show to the world. Those who prefer J show the world their decisive side or Judging function (T or F). Those who prefer P show the world their open-ended information gathering or Perceiving function (S or N).

Personality type uses a small letter e or i beside the function to show if it is extraverted or introverted. It doesn’t matter if the first letter of your personality type code is Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I), everyone extraverts (e) and introverts (i) one of their functions.

If you prefer Judging (J)

If the last letter of your code is J, you tend to show the world (extravert) Thinking (Te) or Feeling (Fe).

If you extravert T (Te) or F (Fe) you introvert S (Si) or N (Ni).

If you prefer Perceiving (P)

If the last letter of your code is P, you tend to show the world (extravert) Sensing (Se) or Intuition (Ne).

If you extravert S (Se) or N (Ne), you introvert T (Ti) or F (Fi).

So which one is my dominant function?

One of the two middle letters in your code will represent your most preferred approach to situations. You can think of this letter as standing for what is a core, or key, component of who you are and how you prefer to approach situations. Usually people trust and rely on this preferred approach. Type theory calls this letter your dominant function.

If you have a preference for Extraversion (E is the first letter of your code), what you extravert is your dominant function. When you extravert your dominant function, others see you use it.

If you prefer Introversion (I is the first letter of your code), what you introvert is your dominant function. When you use your dominant function in the inner world, it will be mainly your private guide. Others won’t usually see you use it.

There are 8 possible dominant functions. To avoid using personality type jargon, I have developed a system to refer to and describe type dynamics using names for these 8 patterns.

The 8 Dominant Functions

Extraverted Sensing (Se): Responders (ESTP and ESFP)

Extraverted Intuition (Ne): Explorers (ENTP and ENFP)

Extraverted Thinking (Te): Expeditors (ESTJ and ENTJ)

Extraverted Feeling (Fe): Contributors (ESFJ and ENFJ)

Introverted Sensing (Si): Assimilators (ISTJ and ISFJ)

Introverted Intuition (Ni): Visionaries (INTJ and INFJ)

Introverted Thinking (Ti): Analyzers (ISTP and INTP)

Introverted Feeling (Fi): Enhancers (ISFP and INFP)

To continue reading this blog series on type dynamics, please go to Understanding Type Dynamics: Auxiliary Functions.

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