Cognitive Function Order Theory | INFJ Forum

Cognitive Function Order Theory

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by VH, Feb 5, 2010.

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  1. VH

    VH Variable Hybrid

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    Beebe theorized that the placement of each function within a type has a great impact on how an individual uses that function. In essence, this is really where personality comes into play with respect to cognitive functions. It's not a question of how well developed one's functions are, but how those functions are used by the individual.

    Dominant Function

    • Prioritizes
    • Initiates
    • Charismatic
    • Trusted
    • Promotes ambitions & goals

    For INFJs, this is Introverted Intuition (Ni), which includes:

    • Focuses on pattern recognition
    • Perceives at the “universal” level
    • Seeks deepest level of understanding
    • Extrapolates from specific data to general (divergent)
    • Seeks root cause, meaning
    • Sees complexity, systems
    • Time orientation: past & (especially) future
    • Energized by discovering “universal” patterns
    • Understanding of past/ present/ future ebb & flow of events is reality
    • Usually vague & abstract

    Secondary Function

    • Nurtures
    • Supports, & protects
    • Idealized parent
    • Balances & advises the Dominant Function

    For INFJs, this is Extroverted Feeling (Fe), which includes:

    • Harmonious environment energizes
    • Focus on groups of people and collective relationships
    • Tuned in to emotional timbre of group
    • Respects and enforces “shoulds” (“political correctness”, manners, social structure)
    • Self-assesses through “shoulds”
    • “Knows” what others need
    • Disagreement is bad. Conflict-averse
    • “Us” vs. “Them” (“You’re either with us or against us”)
    • Evaluative (better vs. worse)
    • Guided by values that are assumed to be shared.
    • Agenda driven

    Tertiary Function

    • Vulnerable
    • Improvises
    • Playful
    • Irresponsible
    • Charming
    • Promising but ultimately unreliable
    • Seems amoral
    • Spoiled Prince/Princess
    • Comfort zone

    For INFJs, this is Introverted Thinking (Ti), which includes:

    • Internal decision-making
    • Narrow focus on task
    • Subjective, internal decision-making
    • Unilateral (not collaborative)
    • Emotions interfere with precise analysis, so ignore except as information
    • There is a correct/best decision/choice
    • Self-constructed underlying principles & framework
    • Discussion is superfluous
    • Energized by the precision of the reductionist analysis process
    • Goal: reach the one correct conclusion through iron-clad reasoning
    • Linear
    • Decisive
    • Subjective, hidden
    • Adamant, unmoving (“My conclusion is correct”)
    • Process focus & awareness



    Inferior Function

    • Difficult ideals
    • Ideal “other half” (opposite gender)
    • Complements the Hero/Heroine
    • “Backseat driver”

    For INFJs, this is Extroverted Sensing (Se), which includes:

    • External information-gathering
    • External focus on concrete things
    • Time orientation: immediate present
    • Broad (inclusive); not deep
    • Finite scope
    • Visual emphasis (“Seeing is believing”)
    • The tangible current environment is reality
    • Intimately connected to environment
    • Energized by the sensory experience
    • Literal
    • Active, impulsive, proactive about experiencing the “Now”
     
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    #1 VH, Feb 5, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
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  2. OP
    VH

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    The concept of shadow functions, and therefore shadow modes, also comes from this theory, which assumes that these functions are inherently problematic to the user until they can be developed into useful usage.

    Opposing Function

    • Adversary to Dominant Function
    • Defends by offending, seducing or avoiding
    • Self-critical
    • Oppositional
    • Paranoid
    • Passive-aggressive
    • Avoidant
    • Falls in the blind spot of the Dominant function
    • Easy to project on others
    • Usually opposite gender
    • Can be antagonistic to the needs of self

    For INFJs, this is Extroverted Intuition (Ne), which includes:

    • External perceiving
    • Focus on “global” picture
    • Expands/extrapolates to see the big picture
    • Time orientation: future
    • Energized by perceiving novel possibilities, ideas, & options
    • Connects bits of information
    • Follows “what is” to “what could be”

    Senex Function

    • Fights to defend the personality
    • Discourages & casts doubts
    • Shaming, blaming, limit-setting parent
    • Defends by refusing, belittling or vetoing
    • Stern & authoritarian (pulls rank)
    • Cryptic &/or bad advice
    • Intolerant
    • Immobilizes

    For INFJs, this is Introverted Feeling (Fi), which includes:

    • Internal decision-making
    • Focus on individual persons
    • Hypersensitive to emotional state, authenticity, & needs of individuals
    • Hypersensitive to level of emotional safety in groups
    • Aware of emotional state of self
    • Deep personal relationships enhance personal harmony & sense of well-being
    • Assumes that non-negotiable core values anchor everyone
    • Laissez faire. Non-judgmental
    • No agenda. No need to manipulate or control

    Trickster Function

    • Rebellious, mischievous child
    • Tricking and confusing
    • Circumvents obstacles
    • Creates double-binds
    • Defends childish vulnerabilities
    • Usually same gender

    For INFJs, this is Extroverted Thinking (Te), which includes:

    • External decision-making
    • Narrow focus on task
    • Task completion energizes
    • Organizes, structures, & orders the environment to gain clarity
    • Creates or improves systems
    • There is a “right (or best) action”/decision
    • Emotions are obstacles (just information)
    • Directed by underlying principles & criteria
    • Collaborative decision-making
    • Seeks competence (high standards of self-assessment)

    Demon Function

    • Undermines self & others
    • Gross distortion creates confusion and chaos and disrupts trust
    • Often feels like “evil.”
    • Creates opportunities to develop integrity of self

    For INFJs, this is Introverted Sensing (Si), which includes:

    • Internal information-gathering
    • Sensory focus
    • Internal re-experiencing
    • Very personal, subjective experience
    • Comparative. Everything is relative
    • Familiarity equals comfort
    • Time orientation: past
    • Reality = past personal experience
    • Intensity of re-experience energizes
    • Sequential
    • Stable; sometimes even rigid
    • Internal body awareness
     
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    #2 VH, Feb 5, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  3. OP
    VH

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    Now, here is the interesting part of this theory. An individual's development with any given function does not play as much of a role in their personality as the placement of that function in the type's function order. For example, here are the development scores of my functions...

    View attachment 2331

    As you can see, my Fi is very well developed. This doesn't mean it is my secondary function. It means that I have a very strong Senex function, and that everything that applies to the Senex function, good and bad, applies to me. Hopefully, I've managed to gain enough control over my Fi to minimize the ill effects, but I know that when I am at my healthiest, my Fi is not nearly as strong as my Fe. When it competes with, and overtakes my Fe, then I know I am stepping into unhealthy ground. Note however, that this theory is not saying that these functions are inherently unhealthy, just that they have a greater capacity for being unhealthy. Obviously, when we can learn to use them in positive and constructive ways, they are a benefit.

    My Ne is usually stronger than my Se and Ti. This means that my Opposing function is also strong, just not as strong as my Fi. Therefore, I have a lot of Opposing function issues to look out for as well as Senex issues.

    Learning this addition of the cognitive function system is really vital for anyone who truly seeks to understand it, because this is the part that allows you to help people heal and be healthy, to be the best they can be, as well as spot potential issues. When someone has a clearly 'Trickster' personality, you can focus on the issues that caused the unhealthy triats much more clearly... in yourself and others.

    It also helps identifying type greatly. If you can't decide between a few types for someone, consider which of their functions is Tertiary, i.e. their comfort zone or playful side. You should very quickly get a sense of the person's type from there. For example, you can't decide if someone is an INFJ, ENFJ, or INFP, but it becomes clear that their Tertiary function is Ti. They're very likely an INFJ. Alternatively, if someone has a clear issue with their Demon function, determine which function is their Demon function, and you should be able to discern type very quickly. For example, if someone is having an issue with Si in that regard, they're Ni dominant, which narrows it down to INFJ or INTJ. From there find their tertiary function and you've determined their type.

    A final note. The assumption that people will have a cognitive function order in proportion to their development and use of those functions is a good one, just not the rule. As you can see with my example above, it mostly follows that formula. Very few people follow it perfectly. Using both of these is a great tool to determining type.
     
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    #3 VH, Feb 5, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  4. Sithious

    Sithious Well-known member

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    I concur
     
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  5. Naxx

    Naxx Permanent Fixture

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    I approve.
     
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  6. Morgain

    Morgain defective wisdom
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    Wauw this is great. I have been reading about this theory but it wasn't as clear as you have written it down! I also noticed that although Fe is very high in my score I don't use it in a very healty way. And this theory explains it perfectly with stating that Fe is in the opposing position for INFP

    I have some thoughts and questions about this:

    according to the explanation for the positions, it seems to me that the inferior function has a more positive usage than the tertiary function. The inferior complements the dominant while the tertiary is the vulnerable and comfort zone. What is your thought about this?

    what does "usage same/oposite gender" means?

    How do you see your Fi in a Senex function. How does it behave then?


    I have done the exercise for myself. If you don't like me placing it here, I'll move it to my blog.

    INFP
    Fi - dominant
    this is what is most important for me. Having a deep relationship with myself and a good sence of my emotional state. I need it to define my goals and objectives and stay in touch with them. I need it to be able to live my life in a meaningful way. But I sense that I can't maintain this connection when I'm with other people or when I'm disturbed. In that case it takes me some effort to regain the connection. So I don't know if that is normal concidering it is my dominant function

    Ne - secondary
    fantazizing about the futur, seeing the big picture, helping others by showing them other ways, other posibilities, that is what energizes me, what I'm good at

    Si - tertiary
    Although I get easily bored with repetitive tasks, there lies a great comfort in doing it. I like to start on new projects at my job because it keeps me fresh and dynamic, but I'm always afraid to get started because I don't know how to do it, afraid of making mistakes. Then I like to do things that I already now, because they are safe, I don't have to focus so hard to do it right. As soon as I have started with the new task and it becomes more familiar with me, I start to enjoy it more because it comes more in my comfort zone
    I don't like to ponder on the past and re-experience it because it always hurts. Not because I have experienced so many bad things, but it seems like I can only remember the bad stuff. Even when there was a very nice event, I always remember the little details that wheren't so good.
    But I don't now how to see Si in a playfull way, can it be playful???

    Te - inferior
    This makes a lot of sense. Te is what I use in my job. It complemets my Fi decision making. I use this one when I'm out in the world and Fi gets on the background then. This causes my switch in personality as I experienced it. The fact that it is my inferior function explains also that my "organizing skills" gets on the background when I have to focus on other things or when things gets harder for me. Like when my collegue comes and helps me in the lab, all my organization of my work falls apart because she asks me questions all the time. Or when there is something in the air or I don't feel save, I turn inwards again to check my emotional state of self

    Fe - opposing
    Fe is pretty high in my score. But I'm starting to notice that my usage of Fe is in a negative way. Whenever I am not balanced and not in touch with my emotional self and have a low self respect, Fe becomes "dominant" but in a passive aggressive way. I divide people in better and worse, I assume that my values should be taken over by my friends, if not they show to me that they don't see me as a friend. I become very emotionaly dependent and self-critical. And I become very dependend of "shouds", what I shoud do for them, what they should do for me. And i don't do things for them because I love them and want them to show it, I do it because I believe that I need to do it concidering that I'm there friend and completely forget to concider "what I want"

    Ni - senex
    i really don't know how I can see Ni in a senex position. I don't even now why it is so high with me. I answered questions like "do you like symbols and archetypes with yes. It is strange, somehow I have the feeling that I use it, but it is not the same as how it is discribed. It is rather a combination of FiNe I think.

    Se - trickster
    I think I use this one when I'm in the company of sensors and I need to play along, when I need to deal with someone I can't stand, when someone I don't trust, is about to hurt my feelings or make fun of who I am or when I'm angree because someone has actually hurted me and I want hem/her to feel it. I act like I'm very shallow. I mirror the behaviour of these people and enlarge it, making fun of it, answer questions in a very shallow, general way, start talking about the weither, ... and never say anything that comes from within me and is meaningful to me. I don't know if that is Se at all. I can clearly see the trickster in my Se :)))

    Ti - demon
    I have no idea what Ti is and how I use it in a demon position
     
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    #6 Morgain, Feb 5, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  7. OP
    VH

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    I don't believe so. The tertiary function is the comfort zone and playfulness of a person. These things are very necessary to psychological health. They provide an individual with a way to enjoy the world around them. In essence, while the secondary function is the giver, the tertiary function is the accepter. The inferior function is like an inner core.

    This simply means the individual's associations with gender roles.

    When I get defensive, I drop to Fi. I get bitchy and cranky. Left to these devices, I'll get depressed and feel very deeply that nothing will ever work out and no one will ever love me, which then leaves me with no reason not to go do whatever I damned well please. Fi manifests in me in a very selfish way that quickly turns self destructive. It also gets very demanding and insistant, very critical of others, especially those that I perceive as 'bad' people.

    No problem at all. Here is a link to an INFP description of how functions apply to placements.
     
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  8. Morgain

    Morgain defective wisdom
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    I really can't see the playfulness in Si :becky:


    so if you use Fe you turn inwards and focus on yourself rather then to feel and connect to other people?


    :D that is exactly the same description as what you posted for INFJ only in an other order :D. Do you've got some more texts/sites about how functions apply to placements?
     
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    VH

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    I can't either, but I suppose that's because it's my demon function. I would assume it would involve things like making memory books, feeling the comfort of things that are well known, playing memory games, upholding and engaging rituals traditions and the like, doing the same 'fun' thing at the same time in the same way, etc.

    If I use Fi, I turn inward and focus on myself. When I use Fe, I stay more focused on others, especially helping them. Unfortunately, the Fi is strong in me.

    I've looked rather extensively on the internet for information regarding Beebe's theories, but haven't found a whole lot of concise info. It's mostly pieced together bits, here and there, usually comments on talks or books. This is a rather esoteric subject, and has been hard for me to find.

    Though, I'm not the best internet tracker. I just google stuff and follow links. The guy who started this theory is John Beebe. There was a woman who followed up his work, but her name eludes me at the moment. Fascinating stuff if you're interested in the science behind all of this though.
     
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  10. Morgain

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    this is intresting, I do it the complete opposite way I think. If I use Fi I'm turned inwards, focussing on myself, balanced and centered but at the mean time I have a healty helping focus on others. It is more from the inside out, being balanced myself has a curing influence on others I feel. While when I'm using Fe (my opposint function), I turn outwards and focus completely on others. I "intent" to help them but actually I do it al for me, to be accepted, part of the group, to get love. When I use Fi, I don't need love because I get all I need from within and have plenty to give to others. But Fe is strong in me :)).
     
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