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Sensing vs. Intuiting


Explanations > Preferences > Sensing vs. Intuiting

Sensing | Intuiting | So what?


Sensing and Intuiting are preferences used in the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI). The naming is unfortunately a bit archaic as sensing is more than touch and vision, and intuiting is not about gut-feel and fluffiness.

They are about how we attend and create meaning: from immediate data or after deeper thought.


Sensors pay attention to both immediate data from their five senses and from their own direct experiences. They are create meaning from conscious thought, rather than trusting their subconscious, limiting their attention to facts and solid data. As necessary, they will happily dig into the fine detail of the situation.

They focus on what is immediate, practical and real, and live life as it is rather than trying to change the world.

They like logic and tend to pursue things in a clear sequence. At work, they will have a clear schedule and like to use their proven skills in tactical situations.

They may be seen as frivolous or short-sighted by Intuitors.


Intuitors process data more deeply than sensors and are happy to trust their subconscious and 'sixth sense', gut feel, intuition or whatever you want to call it.

They are good at spotting patterns and taking a high-level view, as opposed to digging into the detail.

They like ideas and inspiration and tend to have a focus on the future, where they will plan to change the world rather than continue to live in the imperfect present.

At work, they like to acquire new skills and working at the strategic level.

They may be seen as impractical, theoretical and lacking determination by Sensors.

So what?

With Sensors:

  • Show evidence (e.g. facts, details, examples, etc.).
  • Be practical and realistic; grounded.
  • Have a well-thought-out plan with details worked out in advance.
  • Be direct.
  • Show logical sequence of steps.
  • Use concepts and strategies sparingly -- concentrate more on the day-to-day consequences of a plan.

With Intuitors:

  • Present ideas and global concept first, then draw out the details.
  • Don’t give details unless asked.
  • When provided an idea or hypothesis or summary, don’t ask for details; accept the intuitive conclusion at face value as working hypothesis.
  • Be patient; work may come in spurts or bursts of energy.
  • Let them dream; encourage imagination.

See also

Jungian Type Inventory

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