Thinking AND/OR Feeling - Is there a real distinction? | INFJ Forum

Thinking AND/OR Feeling - Is there a real distinction?

Gaze

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I've always been a little critical of the distinction or separation of thinking from feeling. To relate an experience - when i'm learning, i don't engage in learning unless i'm "feeling" through the subject matter. So, thinking is always implicated in how and what i feel. They form a symbiotic relationship in my experience.

So, the idea that we're either/or is problematic imo. It seems more like a false dichotomy. It seems as if most people are balance of the two rather than either/or.

The use of each function seems to depend more on the situation, relationship, or persons involved rather than a generalized trait demonstrated by someone in most or all situations. So, it seems confusing to place them in complete opposition or argue that everyone is somehow either/or . . .

Anyone else curious or questioning the validity of this distinction?

Here's a brief description of the two functions from the Myers-Brigg website:

Thinking (T)
When I make a decision, I like to find the basic truth or principle to be applied, regardless of the specific situation involved. I like to analyze pros and cons, and then be consistent and logical in deciding. I try to be impersonal, so I won’t let my personal wishes--or other people’s wishes--influence me.



The following statements generally apply to me:
  • I enjoy technical and scientific fields where logic is important.
  • I notice inconsistencies.
  • I look for logical explanations or solutions to most everything.
  • I make decisions with my head and want to be fair.
  • I believe telling the truth is more important than being tactful.
  • Sometimes I miss or don’t value the “people” part of a situation.
  • I can be seen as too task-oriented, uncaring, or indifferent.
Feeling (F)

I believe I can make the best decisions by weighing what people care about and the points-of-view of persons involved in a situation. I am concerned with values and what is the best for the people involved. I like to do whatever will establish or maintain harmony. In my relationships, I appear caring, warm, and tactful.



The following statements generally apply to me:
  • I have a people or communications orientation.
  • I am concerned with harmony and nervous when it is missing.
  • I look for what is important to others and express concern for others.
  • I make decisions with my heart and want to be compassionate.
  • I believe being tactful is more important than telling the “cold” truth.
  • Sometimes I miss seeing or communicating the “hard truth” of situations.
  • I am sometimes experienced by others as too idealistic, mushy, or indirect.
Adapted from Looking at Type: The Fundamentals

by Charles R. Martin (CAPT 1997)
http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/thinking-or-feeling.asp
 
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I agree that it often seems like an invalid dichotomy. But I think that might be due to us being dominant Ns, and thus tending to see things from multiple perspectives at once.

I think that the dichotomy probably seems more valid to dominant Ts and Fs, rather than S or N dominant types. In fact, to many of them, the division seems great enough to justify the use of NT/NF temperaments over other dichotomies.
 
These statements look to be much more Ti and Fe than not.

As an INFJ who is well developed, your secondary and tertiary functions have figured out how to work in tandem... which is making you have difficulty distinguishing them.

Here's a classic way to separate the two preferences...

In a perfect world (Note this means YOUR perfect world) which would you rather do if these two things came into conflict from the list above, if the outcome would be perfect either way? Compare the F and the T traits that seem to conflict and if the outcome were 'perfect' which method would you prefer to use?

For example, in your perfect world...

Would you rather lead with your heart or your head if both of these would lead you to an equally beneficial outcome?

Would you rather say what needs to be said kindly and harmoniously or would you rather just come out with it if either of these would lead to everyone being content and corrected anyway?
 
For example, in your perfect world...

Would you rather lead with your heart or your head if both of these would lead you to an equally beneficial outcome?

Would you rather say what needs to be said kindly and harmoniously or would you rather just come out with it if either of these would lead to everyone being content and corrected anyway?

Again, not either/or because i don't believe in these kinds of absolutes. It really depends on the situation. Some situations call for more Ti responses, while others call for more Fe responses. It's not always about thinking, and it's not always about feeling. For example, even if i wanted to say things more kindly and harmoniously, it may not be the best or most effective response in that situation. I think it's really more a balance of the two or use each function where necessary.

If i want to be liked or perceived well, i tend to be more Fe. But if i'm more interested in expressing a more authentic me than i'm probably Ti, but then again, this may depend on the people i'm with. Although i'm not always effective at balancing the functions, i've learned through teaching to be more Ti if Ti is needed and be Fe, if it's needed. I do tend to be on the compassionate side, but in the back of my mind, although i'm displaying compassion and want to show understanding and express support, i'm still thinking, "why doesn't this person just do this or that . . ."
 
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Honestly, it just looks to me like you've got really solid grasps of your Fe and Ti. You know how to use them and how. That's a natural point in the development. INFJs eventually figure out how to supplement their Ni with Fe, Ti, or both. The only thing this says to me is that you're a well developed INFJ, and you've been in a profession that has required you to lean on your Ti rather heavily for some time. Again, very normal pattern.

It's also normal for INFJs to develop fairly solid Fi from what I've seen. I'm assuming this is because Ni seems to reside in the Cingulate system, which is in the center of the Limbic system (the home of Fi). Most of the INFJs here have high Fi scores. The difference between an INFJ with a good Fi and an INFP is the INFJ has good Ni, Fe, Ti, and Fi, often a notable Se. The INFP usually has Fi, Ne, Si, and Te, possibly with some Ni in there. Again, this is the Cingulate / Limbic connection. The two types have a lot in common, but take different paths.
 
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I think (and feel) that we all have feeings apart from others. I do...it doesn't mean I don't have feelings that are connected to others as well. If you are balanced in your functions, I can understand how it might seem impossible to seperate them. A balance of functions would seem to indicate an easier flow between functions because you have more access to yourself in totality and are more familiar with the individual aspects of your personality.
 
Way to make the topic all about you Res.

Oh, such a feeler;P

Right, I need no more evidence to the very thick chalked distinction between the two than the sever differences between this forum and the INTP forum.

Everything is so vastly varied...
 
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I also tend to think there's less F/T distinction than there's NS/FT distinction. BUT that's probably because I'm N-dominant (perhaps like you, Res). For me, the way Ti wants stuff, and the way Fi wants stuff, are very similar. The way Fe and Te establish and accomplish - also very similar.

However for a TF-dominant creature, there's bigger difference between T and F, than there's between N and S.

I'd rate the distinctions in 4 levels:
1. FT/NS ("Judging function or Perceiving function?")
2. FiTi/FeTe ; NiSi/NeSe ("Is our Judging/Perceiving function introverted or extroverted?")
3. FiTe/FeTi ; NiSe/NeSi ("Distinction by dual functional axes")
4. F/T ; N/S ("Finally: which side of the dual axis is more prevalent?")

-making the direct distinction among general Judging functions (F and T), and then among general Perceiving functions (N and S) - the least significant.

In your case, Res, if you are INxJ, which seems very likely, we could wonder which of the two lists is the extroverted judging function and which one is the introverted judging function. Looking at the two groups this way makes them appear more similar than not. Still I tend to interpret your thinking list as the extroverted function, hence Te, and the feeling list as the Fi, which would mean INTJ. But I'm not 100% sure. My vague reasons: the thinking list seems to be the more active (~ extroverted) one, and the feeling the more detached/observing one. Can't say, it's very close.
(how many times did i repeat "think" and "thinking" here?! lol, editing..)
 
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I also tend to think there's less F/T distinction than there's NS/FT distinction. BUT that's probably because I'm N-dominant (perhaps like you, Res). For me, the way Ti wants stuff, and the way Fi wants stuff, are very similar. The way Fe and Te establish and accomplish - also very similar.

However for a TF-dominant creature, there's bigger difference between T and F, than there's between N and S.

I'd rate the distinctions in 4 levels:
1. FT/NS ("Judging function or Perceiving function?")
2. FiTi/FeTe ; NiSi/NeSe ("Is our Judging/Perceiving function introverted or extroverted?")
3. FiTe/FeTi ; NiSe/NeSi ("Distinction by dual functional axes")
4. F/T ; N/S ("Finally: which side of the dual axis is more prevalent?")

-making the direct distinction among general Judging functions (F and T), and then among general Perceiving functions (N and S) - the least significant.

In your case, Res, if you are INxJ, which seems very likely, we could wonder which of the two lists is the extroverted judging function and which one is the introverted judging function. Thinking about this makes us realize that those two groups are more similar than not. Still I think your thinking list is the extroverted function, hence Te, and the feeling list is the Fi, which would mean INTJ. But I'm not 100% sure.

Thx E. I'm gonna think about this . . . :m083:
 
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I can see by the list you made that there is a difference in thinking and feeling and am not sure why this thread was even made. The proof is right there in the first post.
 
I can see by the list you made that there is a difference in thinking and feeling and am not sure why this thread was even made. The proof is right there in the first post.
I guess she means - to call a person a "thinker" or a "feeler", for example, when there's so much of both in each person.
 
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I guess she means - to call a person a "thinker" or a "feeler", for example, when there's so much of both in each person.

I see. I always thought of it as being on a sliding scale you have more of one than the other or equal parts of both. That is how the internet quizzes usually represent it anyway. (Example: 30% think, 70% feel.)
 
I see. I always thought of it as being on a sliding scale you have more of one than the other or equal parts of both. That is how the internet quizzes usually represent it anyway. (Example: 30% think, 70% feel.)
They have to simplify it, to present it concisely, but always keep in mind that it's just not that simple.
 
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Ah, great, there's already a thread for this. *necro's*

Anyone else curious or questioning the validity of this distinction?

Yes, particularly within the psyche of one individual. Seems very much like splitting hairs to me.

Starting with Ti vs Fi: the main dichotomy I see with the two is that Ti is supposed to be emotionless whereas Fi is centered in emotions. The other is that Ti is supposed to be logic-based whereas Fi is supposed to be value-based. But, if I'm concerned with whether something matches with my values, how am I going to weigh the consistency? Seems like it would be the same way I'd find any other inconsistency. For Ti, it's premises, and for Fi it is values, but someone who uses Ti could compare them the same way, likewise for Fi by using feeling. But how do we know that the individual hasn't just identified their own method of reaching a conclusion as 'thinkng' or 'feeling'? From what I've read, they both manifest rapidly with a kind of 'yuck' reaction to things they don't agree with. And when engaged in a process of coming to understand something, there's a feeling of engagement. Is that supposed to be a feeling or a lack of one?

Then there's also supposed to be a characteristic 'detachment' for Ti-dominant types, but what is an Fi-dominant doing when introverting if not detaching from the outside world? When explaining something that doesn't have an attached emotional content, isn't there going to be, in both situations (Ti and Fi) a corresponding lack of emotion in the individual?

Another point, related to T-functions and F-functions in general, is about behavior when principles/values are violated. Supposedly T-types get rigid whereas F-types get passionate, but don't most people do both at different times? Conversely, if one has to reassert boundaries, what's supposed to be at work if the individual goes cold? Is that anger, a feeling, or detachment? And if the person gets emotional, is that an individual losing grip with their T-front or is that the naturally dominant F coming out?

I'd bring Fe and Te into this conversation, but I'm not really very familiar with either, as both seem difficult and draining to me.
 
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