The Eight Cognitive Functions

Curious about the cognitive functions? The human brain is an intricate and complex system that operates in unique ways. No two individuals process information in exactly the same manner. The concept of cognitive functions acknowledges these individual differences and defines specific thinking processes. These are intelligences that shape the way we perceive and interact with the world around us. Understanding cognitive functions and how they manifest in our daily lives is crucial for personal growth. It leads to more effective decision-making, and overall success.

Each individual possesses a unique combination of cognitive functions, with varying levels of strength and weakness in each. Some individuals may display high visual-spatial intelligence, enabling them to excel in fields such as art or architecture, while others may possess high linguistic intelligence, allowing them to communicate and express themselves with ease. Additionally, some individuals may showcase high systems intelligence, allowing them to manage resources and think critically in complex situations.

In this article, we will explore the concept of cognitive functions, its various types, and how they manifest in individuals. By gaining insight into our cognitive functions, we can identify our strengths and weaknesses, develop our skills, and optimize our cognitive abilities for personal and professional success.

Enhance Your Understanding of Cognitive Functions: How Our Thinking Impacts Decision Making

To make better decisions, we must understand cognitive functions, which help us process information. Carl Jung identified four key cognitive functions: sensing, intuition, thinking, and feeling. Howard Gardner expanded this concept and introduced eight additional ways we process information. Linguistic, logical-mathematical, existential, spatial, nature-kinaesthetic, systematic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. Recognizing and using these functions can help us evaluate, analyze, and make informed decisions in our personal and professional lives.

What are the cognitive functions?

The study of cognitive functions has been a topic of interest for psychologists and researchers for many years. While Carl Jung identified eight cognitive functions and thinking styles, there are likely many more ways that the brain can develop to think. At our organization, we have identified 16 primary thinking styles by studying how conscientiousness and adaptability can influence our thinking.

Let’s begin by examining the eight Jungian cognitive functions, which are categorized as follows:

  • Individuals with Visual-spatial intelligence-Introverted Sensing are detail-oriented and have a strong memory for visual information.
  • Those with Nature intelligence-Extroverted Sensing are highly attuned to their senses and have a strong appreciation for nature.
  • Individuals who excel in language-based tasks and are imaginative and curious have Linguistic Intelligence-Extroverted iNtuition.
  • People with Existential Intelligence-Introverted iNtuition are introspective and have a deep understanding of abstract concepts.
  • Those who are highly self-aware and in touch with their emotions have Intropersonal Intelligence-Introverted Feeling.
  • Individuals who possess Interpersonal Intelligence-Extroverted Feeling have excellent social skills and are adept at understanding and relating to others.
  • Those who are analytical and logical in their thinking have Logical-mathematical Intelligence-Introverted Thinking.
  • People who are results-oriented and have a strong ability to organize and manage resources effectively possess Business Intelligence-Extroverted Thinking.

The Thinking Preferences In-Depth

In addition to these eight Jungian cognitive functions, our research has identified eight additional cognitive functions. These functions are defined by how Conscientious (Judging) or Adaptable (Perceiving) that you are. The additional cognitive functions are as follows:

  • Tactical Intelligence – Thinking Perceiving: Individuals with this function excel in developing strategic plans and executing them effectively.
  • Systems Intelligence – Thinking Judging: People with this function have a talent for creating and managing complex systems.
  • Artistic Intelligence – Feeling Perceiving: Those with this function are highly creative and have a talent for artistic expression.
  • Ethical Intelligence – Feeling Judging: Individuals with this function have a strong sense of right and wrong and a deep commitment to ethical principles.
  • People who possess Logistical Intelligence-Sensing Judging are highly organized and skilled at managing logistics and operations.
  • Individuals with Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligence-Sensing Perceiving have a strong awareness of their body and physical surroundings and are skilled at activities that require physical coordination.
  • Those who possess Future Intelligence-Intuitive Judging have a talent for anticipating future trends and events and are skilled at strategic planning.
  • Creative Intelligence – Intuitive Perceiving: People with this function are highly imaginative and innovative, and excel at coming up with new ideas and solutions.

By understanding these 16 primary thinking styles, we can gain valuable insight into our own cognitive abilities and learn to optimize them for personal and professional success.

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So how do you think about the world? To get started, first take my cognitive function test and figure out how your mind works based on your personality type. Then keep reading to learn all about the different thinking preferences.

How The Cognitive Functions are connected to the personality traits

Every person has a preferred thinking style based on a cognitive function and attitude. Cognitive functions include intuition, sensing, feeling, or thinking, while attitudes are either introversion or extroversion. For instance, introverted and extroverted Feeling represent the same value but different approaches. An introverted attitude involves forming an assumption and testing it in the world, while an extroverted approach involves observing the world and forming an assumption based on perceived information.

Note that individuals with a Judging preference tend to be goal-oriented and pursue specific information, whereas individuals with a Perceiving preference keep an open and expansive filter, adjust to new information faster, and are more adaptable. Conscientiousness is often high in those who possess Judging, while it is generally low in those who possess Perceiving.

For instance, an extroverted Feeling type might focus on others’ values during a team discussion, while an introverted Feeling type might first observe their own feelings and experiences. Introverted Feeling is often linked to artistic quality because it involves pure self-expression. By understanding these thinking preferences and attitudes, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and others, leading to better communication and decision-making.

Video explanation

Watch the full video on Carl Jung’s Cognitive Functions on YouTube

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