In Personality Hacker Blog, Terms and Definitions

intuitive sensor

Of the four dichotomies, the largest discrepancy lies in the difference between Sensors and Intuitives. Whereas there is an approximate 50/50 split in the population between the other preferences, a full 70% of the population prefers Sensing versus only 30% favoring Intuition.

When you distill it down, the difference between Sensors and Intuitives is this: Sensors prefer reliability of information, and Intuitives prefer speed and depth of insight. This ends up manifesting itself a couple of unique ways. First, Intuitives learn to trust pattern recognition to help them understand information quickly and see things that aren’t ‘there’. Basically, they extrapolate large amounts of information from only a few data points.

Sensors, of course, have this same ability. But they don’t trust it, and so they don’t hone it. Instead, they trust reliable information – things that can be verified in the Real World. Therefore, they become masters of historical information – their own history as well as other  people’s. They also become fantastic at manipulating objects in real time. There is no need to question reality when it’s right there in front of you. Reality is reliable. Speculation isn’t.

Second, how they see information informs how both these preferences see time. If real, reliable, solid information is what you choose to focus upon, then the here-and-now context becomes far more important, as well as past information (which used to be the here-and-now context). Sensors can’t rely on what hasn’t happened yet, so the future becomes far less interesting. On the other hand, Intuitives are already comfortable seeing what ‘isn’t there’ – as in, they’re comfortable theorizing and speculating on what could be in both the here-and-now as well as into the future. The past doesn’t really hold their interest any more than a reference point for future predictions.

Third, these differences alter both values and basic interests. For Sensors, values surround things like family, tradition, getting into action, old friends, etc… these are all rooted in the known and knowable, and therefore can be trusted. For Intuitives, values focus more on the cerebral – possibilities, memes, paradigms, perspectives and concepts. Conversation will generally revolve around these things, with little interest in small talk.

Both Sensors and Intuitives have an important role. Sensors often “hold down the fort” – uphold infrastructures that keep us going as a society. Intuitives are generally the “trailblazers” – coming up with new ways of looking at and doing things which fashion new technologies and paradigms. It makes sense that fewer Intuitives would be needed – too much innovation and everything collapses. But without innovation, the world stagnates.

Understanding and appreciating these differences is how we cooperate to create both a stable system as well as pathways to whole new worlds.

Antonia Dodge
Seeing how people tick is at the heart of Antonia’s natural ability to understand how people systems work. She is an author, thought leader, coach, trainer, systems thinker, and personality profiling expert.  At the age of 15 Antonia picked up a book on personality psychology and her world changed forever. She began to see the patterns of why people do what they do – not based on behavior alone – but based on how the mind works. Antonia has co-developed a 6-month profiler training course that teaches coaches and business professionals how to "speed read" people, understand how their mind works and then work with the unique personality for achievement, life purpose, or team building.
Showing 22 comments
  • janet

    i did your test – found out i’m intuitive – always knew i saw the world differently –
    your explanation video was GREAT to hear — and listened to another one too —
    (don’t know if i already sent you this request, but)
    my boyfriend would like to do your ‘are you an intuitive’ test -(i can’t find it on
    your website) – i would like to find this out too – maybe then can both subscribe
    to your $197. thing which seems like it would be very helpful – for me anyways

  • James Wedmore

    You forgot to add: “and intuitives cant stand sensors.”. 😉

    • Antonia Dodge

      And yet, without them, it would be the BEST SUMMER EVER until all the Intuitives died horribly that winter.

      • Natalie Desmarais

        Yeah, for real!

  • Mr. Kafar

    Yeah, it really makes sense there are way less intuitives than sensors, but it’s kinda annoying nevertheless. I feel like I only get along with other intuitives and they’re harder to find among people. IMO sensors care too much about trivial shit I have absolutely no interest in, but still, I am glad they’re here since we do tend to never get shit done, don’t we?:) We’re too busy building our castles in clouds to care about eating and all that mundane boring stuff. So, thanks Mum for keeping me alive for all these years:)

  • Lily

    Hmmm… I beg to differ on this, loads of people say that intuitives are rarer than sensors, but if you actually think about it, who would feel more alone in a conversation about philosophy, hmmm… probably sensors, and about trusting intuitions, well that really only encompasses NFs, NTs are notoriously agnostic, and SJs trust established authority, which is not real or concrete. I don’t think it’s about doubt, I think it is merely to do with how you naturally process information, adding your own interpretations (intuitives), or taking it at face-value (sensors), anyway that’s what I think:) By the way I really hate it when people say that sensors are inferior to intuitives, harboring a covert superiority but saying ‘I’m so misunderstood’, my natural perceptions may be different to others, (I am an INFP), but I still love people who think differently, hey, if you want people to accept intuitives, you should start accepting sensors, sometimes the simple warmness of a sensor can really cheer you up when you are over-thinking your life into self-destruction, so yeah thats what I think:)

    • Emily

      I agree my fiance is a sensor and when she’s silly it can really lift my mood even though I’m thinking about all these existential things. I also sort of need her to kick me in the ass and get me to do the dishes and drink water. I am extremely grateful to her for that.

    • ewa

      Lily, you write: “By the way I really hate it when people say that sensors are inferior to intuitives, harboring a covert superiority”.
      I can tell you why: Intuitives can talk about any issue with Sensors, but NOT vice versa. Try sensors on philosophical or other abstract things – they are lost!
      Try me (intuitive) on facts – this is no problem. We can acquire facts, but sensors cannot acquire philosophical way of thinking.

      • Nicole

        “Try me(intuitive) on facts- that is no problem. We can acquire facts, but sensors cannot acquire philosophical way of thinking.”

        That’s a pretty big generalization to apply to 75% of the population.
        If you have no problem with facts , ask yourself this: was that statement based on actual facts and experiences with real people,
        or was that just based on your own personal opinion?

        And by the way:
        1) the tone of what you’re saying sounds a lot like the “covert secret superiority” that Lily said she hated.

        2) it’s not just intuitives who visit this site, and if you don’t want to create conflict with other people reading this stuff you might not want to go posting statements like that.


        – A Sensor

    • Mary T.

      Amen!!!! (S)

  • Willa

    The percentage of intuitives and sensors in the population isn’t a result of how much of each type is “needed”. It’s simply based on how much they reproduce. We aren’t born sensor or intuitive based on what society needs, but rather society is built to meet our needs.

    I wonder what a society adjusted to accomodate a 70% intuitive population would look like? 🙂

  • Désirée

    …I´m an ENFP… and love an INTJ…
    (but he´s too young) (and I´m Dutch, and he = Czech..)
    N = great

    • John

      ENFP and INTJ are a theoretical best match. I am INTJ and I was hoping to find a nice ENFP. As it turned out, I’m with a nice INFJ and it’s wonderful. We resonate.

  • J

    This is so true and the pain to my existence in my relationship from trials and tribulations in the past. We still fail to connect at this level to create a stable system. If I bring up a topic from the past in a new way to see it differently. She right away puts up walls as she has stored that past in the closet. The things is, I see every aspect of life or in our relationship as plants. If something isn’t growing, it’s dead and will spend time understanding that plant and all the components to have that plant thrive enough where it isn’t dying. So if the topic is dying or hurting for her or myself. The conversation continues. I’m always gaining new insight and experimenting for the best results. For her, if the plant is dying. It is dying and moves on. So any time I bring anything up. I am “Revisiting something we talked about” but never solved in away where it doesn’t hurt. In the biggest example it hurts her and want her to move forward from it. The best way I found is to do my thing and not have a formal conversation about it as it ruffles feathers and causes extreme emotions. So I’ll experiment to achieve base hit results and lighten those areas. The thing is than, it sucks that we don’t have this well working part of our relationship. Sometimes I think she’s stubborn. And then, ask myself am I stubborn in achieving the best outcome. And found that this is true if it’s something that can be resolved. So when or how it that determined!? lol. If I am the one deciding what IS, than maybe Im the wrong person to judge. I digress.

    • Andrea Krahn

      You just explained my entire failed marriage. Today he tells me the divorce was final last Wednesday. News to me. Knowing for a long time I would be so much better off by myself than between all his rocks and hard places, and still, even now, sitting here seeing more than one easy way to tweak a few things and have a good shot if we tried it again. But I can’t be the only one tweaking or researching how our personalities clash and how to avoid it. It happens so fast that, as intuitive as I am, I could not see exactly who or what ignited the fire. Blazes. Just sudden blazes. So I searched and searched and found so many answers and understand him so much better. If he could do the same instead of assuming every time I grate his nerves or pull in another direction that I am purposely being selfish because I just don’t care then we could be a part of this amazing evolutionary process. He blows up every time I even hint at solutions. We have a toddler. She will be 2 in 6 days. I would humble myself and understand even the most horrible traits in someone for her. What ego? Who cares? He won’t even listen to me attempt to explain something he misunderstood. Even though it could and would make him see that in no way was my intention what he thought it was. Because it wasn’t!

      But the commitment to his first and only perception of things must be a very strong. How terrible it would be for the cog to turn. The awful fear and insecurity of making the time and space in your being to truly comprehend that there could be some other truth present that you initially failed to see. That you couldn’t see because you were too scared to even consider it. There could be a pink elephant in the room that you just haven’t tuned your senses to yet, an elephant that could wipe away your anger, indignation, and your constant and exhausting need to defend your ego against an imaginary foe. But he would rather lose his family and no longer live with his 2 year old daughter than even think of another way to see. That might mean he was wrong the first time and everyone knows being wrong is the worst thing that can possibly happen to a person.

      • Mary T.

        Feeling your pain, but slow down… how are you now? …It’s been a while.

  • Emily

    I am textbook INTP in most ways (for example, I’m an analytic philosopher but used to be a programmer). I have always tested INTP. But it never seemed to be the whole story. There are many aspects of my personality (that have always been there) that seem antithetical to an INTP type. Examples: I am extremely aware of my body. I get the correct “form” in various physical activities (like ballet, weight lifting, or martial arts) instinctively and on the first try, but I’m horrible at improvisational club or wedding dancing- just very very bad. But I’m good at sports. I am very sensitive to my environment- over time, I get very depressed in an office environment. I am also an accomplished painter (though only from a subject- I cannot “make something up”). Finally, I pick up on cultural cues very quickly, to the point where I am frequently mistaken for a local when I travel. I CRAVE both analytical AND these tangible physical activities. I’m in “flow” when I’m coding, doing analytic philosophy (or any systems analysis), cooking, painting, and doing ballet. Accuracy is definitely my driver, but I am reenergized by getting my hands dirty, so to speak. My ideal job would be resident philosopher at Yosemite National Park. Is there any way of making sense of this? If not, that’s ok. I’ll just keep doing my thing.

    • Rey

      But you’re totally making sense. Ti-Ne-Si-Fe. I’m awkward when walking, but I’ve done martial arts, I play multiple instruments, and I dance (for fun, yet I also cannot dance well at weddings and such). People ask me for directions when I’m in their country/area, despite me not knowing where everything is, and once, my friends got lost in a new city when I didn’t go with them. I can figure out locations and things with a shoddy map (say a metro map), and take us to where we need to go.

      Your “inconsistency” in the use of your body is due to your Si being tertiary; as in you think you’re really good at its use, when in reality, you have a certain area you focus it onto. Which is why you can list when and how you use Si. Si-Dom people use it everywhere, so they don’t even need a list. It’s their first filter. Just like Ti is something we use constantly, that we also don’t need a list in explaining how we analyze everything around us.

      I wouldn’t say necessarily that your job defines you as typical INTP; anyone can do any job. I believe I read a statistic that said ISTJ types are the most frequent types in the world of coding… so… maybe what you think is “obvious,” may not actually be conclusive of anything, but just a correlation.

      As for lacking improvisation, I think that’s because you sound like you’re in a Ti-Si loop of sorts (I’ve read that every INTP is likely dealing with some form of Ti-Si loop at any given time). Also, re-engaging in Ne development and trying out new styles will over time, help you figure out how to improvise better = Developing extraverted intuition.

  • M

    There’s a perception that Sensors get things done and Intuitives don’t. But, I think that’s mostly tied to the existing (and majority rules) shape of society’s framework, which is Sensor preferenced with all its moving parts and details — similar to what appears under a car’s hood.

    An Intuitive preferenced society would most likely evolve such that it didn’t need all the moving parts and consequent labor intensity.

  • Shane

    I still have no idea which one I am. I have taken every personality test known to man and have gotten probably ever single result there is. So frustrating not knowing yourself. I think there must be a separate group for those like me who would literally be split 50 percent between every trait.

    • Andrea Krahn

      Try looking at the ways different types think and behave in extreme stress. The possible ways of acting out or the likely dangers they face when their functions start skipping over one another or just get stuck in the inferior. I had always typed the same since I was 19. Again at 26. Again at 37. Then my life splattered all over my lovely wall paper and guts were sliding down to rest on walnut floor. And I didn’t even know who I was anymore. So much of everything had changed or been lost forever or caught fire or simply died. I didn’t recognize my life or myself and the death spiral loop came upon me and then the rejection of my inferior, of which I had no idea at the time, no way to explain my compulsions or odd behaviors and stubborn ways. I just knew that is the only way I felt save enough to survive and so it is what I did. And it lingered and did not pass. For years it did not pass and I didn’t even really notice the time passing. I only knew that I could see no other options that I was capable of by myself and I did not know how to or want to burden anyone else by asking for help. And I wasn’t convinced, even after 2 years, that I even needed help. This was just who I was now. Everyone changes throughout life. Complete agoraphobia and isolation was just me and even though I wanted the resulting depression to go away, I could think of worse things to be than a hermit. So who can judge me. I made every excuse in the book to stay this shell of myself and my lower, devil functions were happy to help out by providing all kinds of self abusive whispers that kept me firmly attached to my prison. The prison of myself.

      After finally being forced to look for answers and really wanting to know why because I had a daughter who couldn’t be affected by this acceptance of my own self hatred, blame, or lack of will to continue on in this life. I wouldn’t let her be. She did not deserve to be in this dark prison and I tried to fake joy and intensity but she didn’t deserve that either. She didn’t deserve fake anything. She deserved her one terrific life and I had no right to rob her of that because I didn’t have the energy or will to try and recapture who I used to be. So I read. And searched. And even though I had no idea where to start and no faith that a counselor could help me before she went to kindergarten, in beginning the thing some sort of magic happened and I started out with my type. I hadn’t thought about MBTI in years. It’s not the rage where I’m from and I majored in Poetry not Psychology. I don’t even remember why I started my search with type instead of depression or phobias or any number of other relative topics. In no time I had exact answers that I never thought I would have. Not to that extent. I even knew the thought processes that went haywire to protect me and compensate and read exactly the few ways that my death spiral loops and grips could manifest into my life from the small degree to the absolute worse. My life blew up then I blew it up again it seems. It was a large price to pay, I guess. I’m not sure I’d recommend it. It did, however, make me beyond certain of my type and has led to more than a few other epiphanies and insights that I am grateful for. I say a thank you to Jung and the rest of you lovely people who provide this information that can literally lead to miracles of the soul over and over.

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