How to Experience Different Function-Attitudes | INFJ Forum

How to Experience Different Function-Attitudes

Cuddle Donor

Community Member
Jan 24, 2009
I found an article that gives a few examples of activities that allow you to experience different Cognitive Functions at their most rudimentary levels.

How to Experience Different Function-Attitudes

To experience Introverted Intuition

• As you come across any sign (e.g. an advertisement, a sentence, a logo, a choice of color for a restaurant's decor, even a non-man-made sign like a cloud), say to yourself, "So I'm supposed to think ______ but really this is just ______" and fill in the blanks. This creates conscious awareness of the assumed interpretations of things, and distances you from them. For example, if you see a restaurant sign with very ornate, curly characters in thin white strokes on a black background, say, "So I'm supposed to think this is a posh place for high-class people, but what I really see is just a slab of plastic with black paint on it, minus some curlicues where the white shows through." If you see a sign on a door inside the restaurant, that says "MEN", say, "So I'm supposed to think there's a bathroom behind that door, and it's only socially appropriate for men to use it, but really it's just a piece of wood with some marks on it." You must name the thing you're supposed to think in words, and describe the object in words; no mere pointing or saying "like that" is allowed. A feeling of smugness may set in at first. Keep going, until it becomes a feeling of freedom.

To experience Extraverted Feeling

• Make a list of people you have some culturally recognized relationship with: different relatives, your spouse or boy/girlfriend, your boss/employees/co-workers, etc., and identify your ritual obligations to them that derive from (or define) these relationships. For example, whose birthday must you remember? Who must you send a Christmas card to? How must you dress at different occasions to indicate your relationship to your co-workers? Whom do you call by their first name and whom by an honorific (even "Mom")? How is it made obvious to all that you have this relationship? How would you feel or how would they feel if someone did not perform their ritual obligations?

• As you come across the action of any person engaged in any activity, say to yourself, "he did ______ because he wants to show ______ relationship." For example, if a man tips his hat to a lady, say to yourself, "He tipped his hat to her because he wants to show that he is loyal to her." If a woman quotes Proust in a conversation, say to yourself, "She quoted Proust to show that she wants to be seen as the expert and she wants others to defer to her authority." This can get very complex and tricky. For example, what does it mean if someone doesn't show up at your baby shower? Does that show that they don't consider you an important person in their life? If a friend you haven't seen in a long time addresses you as "Mr. Tibbs" (assuming your last name is Tibbs), what does that show about your friend's understanding of your friendship? That's an awfully formal way for friends to speak, so it seems like a cold gesture, aimed at showing that he wants to keep you at a distance. See any Seinfeld episode for lots more analysis of this kind.

• Try to get someone to treat you a certain way that defines a role for you. For example, try to get someone to treat you like royalty, or like a disposable slave, or like an expert authority, or like an eager student who wants to learn from them. You will have to, in some way, define a complementary role for them at the same time, through your actions. You can't ask explicitly that they treat you that way, except as a very last resort. You have to get the mutual roles going by, in effect, painting them in the complementary role first so they find themselves naturally playing along and painting you in the role you want. You may find that it's tricky to get painted in a positive role, but it can be done if you give the other person a complementary role that they really like. In effect, an implicit contract is created: you paint them in a role they like, and they paint you in a role you like.

To experience Introverted Thinking

• This is a multi-stage exercise. Give yourself at least half an hour, alone and in a quiet place where no one will disturb you.
1. Stare at this picture a while, without talking or verbalizing:

2. Draw an additional three rows and columns of lines around the ones already drawn, continuing the pattern. (You'll probably want to print out the picture.) Don't verbally reason out where the lines should go, just draw them to fit the pattern that you see. Use your hand, not your voice (even your internal voice).

3. Understand the pattern. Now it's OK to reason about it. Describe the pattern in the simplest way you can, without sacrificing any aspect of the pattern. Your description must capture everything that is going on inside the picture. It's OK to start with a vague description and/or a description that doesn't imply everything in the pattern (or, for that matter, a description that's wrong). Keep hammering away at your description to make it simpler and simpler, until it seems that you have captured in a single tiny nugget everything there is to say about the pattern. Your ultimate nugget of description should imply: all the lines that are actually there, where the lines would have to go in additional rows and columns outside the ones shown, and where the lines would have to go if you drew more rows and columns in between the ones shown.

To experience Extraverted Sensation

• Walk around downtown in a city during the day, when lots of people are around (even a small town will do). Note what gets your attention, and what kind of attention it gets. Just walk around and let things grab your attention. Don't be deliberate. See what's exciting and what's boring. If a place looks exciting, go inside. The second you feel bored, leave and look around for something new. Don't think about this, don't reflect on it as you're doing it, and don't think ahead. Just go with your immediate gut reaction moment by moment--enter or exit the store before you have a chance to entertain a second thought.

• Walk again, and this time note what's grabbing other people's attention. Where's the crowd?

• (An exercise for brave people.) At a party or a bar or some other gathering of people, attract as much attention as you can to yourself. Anything that works is acceptable: feigning a heart attack, dressing better than everyone else there, dressing in a different color than everyone else there, putting a lampshade over your head--whatever works (it doesn't have to be dramatic, though, especially if you're just testing this out). Keep one eye on how much attention you're getting, and what kind of attention. As you try this at different gatherings, practice getting specific kinds of attention: intrigue, fear, disgust, sexual, laughing at you, laughing with you, etc. Cultivate some techniques for gaining specific positive kinds of attention. You will notice that you need to adjust your approach to fit your audience. As you practice, you'll develop a sense for what "plays" and what doesn't.

The other four can be found at the link.

I've been doing the Si and Te ones. For Si I've just been doing a bunch of Word Sleuths from the newspaper. For Te I'm creating a Gantt Chart to organse a bunch of my life goals; short term or long term.
This could be fun to experiment with. It's also informative. I have a better idea of what the functions are now, especially Si and Ni.