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Intuition / Sensing

: intuiters have intuition* ( or ) as their first or second function, while sensers have sensing ( or ).

*Note: socionic 'intuition' has little to do with the popular meaning of this word, which describes instinctive knowing (without the use of rational processes).

Be sure to read the discussion below the chart as well.

  • concentration focused more on generalizations of reality (i.e. abstract mental representations of reality) than on immediate sensory data
  • well-differentiated perception of abstract parameters of situations and processes (i.e. timing, potential, purpose, unseen factors, etc.)
  • duller perception of sensory data and physical sensations
  • concentration focused more on immediate sensory data (information registered through five senses and other sensations) than on generalizations of data
  • well-differentiated perception of sensory data (five senses, appearance, color, physical state and sensations, concrete motives, etc.)
  • duller perception of abstract parameters of situations and processes
  • more often have triangular face and wider forehead compared to jaw
  • movements less aware; concentration focused in mind
  • gaze usually not focused on any object; looks through object without seeing
  • more often have 'thin' voice
  • more often have rectangular face and heavier jaw
  • more deliberate movements and touch; concentration distributed throughout body
  • gaze usually steady and focused and moves from object to object
  • more often have 'melodic' voice
  • emotions seem more distant and are often tied to things happening in their mental representations of reality
  • typically do more punning and plays on words
  • emotions usually have to do with concrete things or imagining concrete things
  • hearty laughter
intellectual qualities
  • intuition does NOT imply intelligence
  • inductive thinking: from whole to parts (seeing the forest); first understand the overall picture or system, then see concrete reality
  • need to see whole picture to make decisions
  • conceptual thinking
  • strategists
  • deductive thinking: from parts to whole (seeing the trees); always aware of details and less aware of overall system
  • can make decisions quickly in each specific situation with limited information
  • practical thinking
  • tacticians
  • keeping track of material objects and space around them
  • cultivating unseen potential in people and situations
  • strategic foresight; see prospects and dangers inherent in situations and processes
  • creating sense of meaning and strategic consistency
  • realizing potential; turning potential into material reality (i.e. things)
  • better at deriving sensory pleasure out of their activities
  • understand their own and others' physical needs and physiological sensations
  • assessing their physical attractiveness and taking advantage of it
typical talents
  • guessing what the hidden problem is
  • handling large amounts of written data
  • keeping track of and cataloguing information
  • working with hands, cooking, handicrafts
  • tasks requiring extended concentration on objects (monitoring machinery or people, for example)
  • practical medicine
  • slow orientation in situations where things need to be done quickly
  • often don't know their own tastes and desires
  • doing housework and chores
  • impracticality
  • keep developing potential without materializing plans
  • without direct help and encouragement almost always lead aesthetically and physically bland life
  • can become slaves to information and future prospects and neglect physical reality and health
  • lack of sense of timing; tend to make hasty decisions
  • lack of foresight; doesn't see prospects or dangers looming around corner
  • lack of progress and development; keep materializing desires without developing strategic potential
  • can become hedonists slaves to sensory pleasures
  • often lack sense of meaning and strategic consistency in life
typical doubts
  • often unsure of their physical sensations and state of health
  • often unsure that their partner is really attracted to them
  • doubts about what will happen tomorrow
behavior in relationships
  • manage the spiritual aspect
  • sense of meaning
  • acquire mental picture of partner that drives partner to become better person
  • manage the sensual aspect
  • sense of measure; pleasure
  • talk about their attraction easily
  • able to help partner relax and enjoy themselves
  • strive to physically acquire partner

Overcoming the intuition bias in socionics

There is a slight bias towards intuition in socionics, with many dichotomy descriptions exhibiting an oversimplified view of sensing and an exaggerated view of intuition. This is due to the theoretical nature of socionics (created by Augusta, who was an ILE) and the dominant role of intuiters in the field. It is not uncommon to read that extraverted intuition (extraverted intuition) is "penetration into the essence of things," while its dual function — introverted sensing (introverted sensing) — is "the ability to create comfort." In a society that values intellectual production and mental powers over aesthetic and physical harmony, most people would see extraverted intuition as a more desirable quality than introverted sensing (if described in the way shown above). This skews self-testing results, especially in the case of sensers who think of themselves as intellectuals. However, the proportion of intuiters to sensers in any society is roughly 50:50.

It might be tempting to generalize and say that intuiters are "mental people," while sensers are "physical people." While this may be true in a certain narrow sense (read further), you will meet many people who can throw you off — heavy, endomorphic intuiters; thin, ectomorphic sensers; muscular intuitive athletes; sensing academicians and bookworms — and so on.

Intuiters are "mental" in the sense of identifying readily with things that they cannot see or experience physically, but "see in their minds." Sensers are also able to envision things in their minds, but they identify with them less and eventually lose interest in things that cannot be turned into reality.

Sensers are "physical" in the sense of identifying more with physical reality and less with things that they see in their minds but cannot materialize. Sensers also make generalizations, have philosophical insights, and are interested in overarching "invisible" principles. However, they are willing to take seriously only those abstract principles that are closely tied to reality. Intuiters are often prone to make "abstractions on abstractions" and accept them for reality itself.

Although most often people are drawn to areas that align with their strengths, often the opposite occurs. Sensers can make breakthroughs in typically "intuitive" areas where intuiters have strayed too far from reality and have "missed the point." Intuiters can make breakthroughs in typically "sensing" areas where sensers have focused too much on traditional forms and have neglected unseen possiblities.

Intellectual fields
When sensers are drawn to intellectual fields such as science, research, art criticism, etc. they tend to take a hands-on approach and prefer to research and discuss phenomena that they have personally observed or that others have observed using methods that they trust. Intuiters in the same intellectual fields tend to talk about ideas and speculative theories. Sometimes their speculative thought leads to actual breakthroughs, when new approaches and hitherto unseen possibilities are made. At other times it is a senser who makes the important discovery through his more hands-on approach. However, as a general rule, the more abstract and far removed from reality the field is, the higher the concentration of intuiters.

Hopefully, these points will help correct the mistakes some people would otherwise make based on other descriptions of this dichotomy.