Podcast – Episode 0331 – Capacity vs Maturity Of Your Cognitive Functions

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia create a distinction between the capacity and maturity of your cognitive functions.

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Our framework, the car model, is a way to understand your cognitive function stack in terms of capacity and maturity.
  • Dr Dario Nardi finds that as people grow, they can use their backseat functions with more maturity than those who have the same functions in the driver or co-pilot position.
  • What do we mean when we talk about maturity versus capacity of our cognitive functions?
  • Developing your backseat functions  – why this is more about integration rather than working on them in isolation.
  • Antonia shares some examples of what Si integration looks like.
  • Things to keep in mind about our relationship with our 10 Year Old function.
  • Antonia discusses integrating Fe as a 10 Year Old  – and developing a mature relationship with it.
  • Why do we tend to be overconfident with our dominant function, and lack modesty with our 10 year old?
  • Our relationship with our Co-pilot – and why is this a good access point for growth.
  • What does a healthy relationship look like with each of our functions, based on their position in our car?
  • Viewing the car model as something in motion.


In this episode Joel and Antonia create a distinction between the capacity and maturity of your cognitive functions.

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Showing 11 comments
  • Amanda

    I love your podcast, this one in particular. It really helped all the research I’ve been doing, absorb on a real level. To appreciate each person for their individual gifts. It gave me a good understanding of how my 10 year old function shows up in my life. I’m an INTP female, and for me, it filled in the gaps I was missing, in the sense of purpose for self growth. I have gained so much in the past couple months, than I have in a lifetime. Antonia & Joel, keep doing what you’re doing, you both truly inspire me. ❤️

  • Anita

    This episode was such an important one for me… as an INFP who grew up with an ISFJ mother, I had plenty of chances to become familiar with my 10-year old, tertiary Si. I always thought my Si capacity is abnormally high, but now I realize that’s not really true; it’s that I had developed a very familiar relationship with it as that is my mother’s dominant function. Vice versa, I had developed a suspicious relationship with my co-pilot, auxiliary Ne, though my capacity for it is actually high – whenever I get to be innovative, I feel happy and enjoy the process, but I had gotten into a habit of suppressing it because Ne looked so “immature” whenever I watched my mother deploy it as a child, and I became very suspicious of it. Now as an adult, even with awareness, I still struggle with letting my co-pilot and driver functions mature. But at least this episode helped clarify and gave me the language to say that my capacity for Ne and Fi is high, but I just need to cultivate my relationships with them. Thank you!

  • Alex Logsdon

    This is the link to that book. Got the paper back for cheap tho too on thriftbooks.com.


  • Michael

    An example of seasoning my inferior (Ne) with my dominant (Si) immediately came to head while listening to this, so I wanted to share. I’m an ISTJ. Everyday, I would get to work in the same way: walking to the metro, riding the metro, and then walking a few blocks to my building.

    Normally, I walk the same route because I found it was the fastest. However, a couple times a week, I would “spice things up” by walking a different route to work. Instead of 2 blocks east and 2 blocks north, I’d do 2 blocks north and 2 blocks east or 1 block in each direction twice. It was a small change, but it definitely had an impact. I got a *much* better understanding of what shops/restaurants were in the area and that gave me greater confidence in general. I hope that’s somewhat demonstrative of the message in this episode. 🙂

    • Antonia Dodge

      Absolutely – peppering in Ne on a regular (daily) basis in small ways is an excellent example. One way you may also experience Ne is by pattern recognizing what was actually happening in a situation when you review it – getting little ‘a-ha!’ moments as you review your day. “Oh, THAT’S what that person meant!” Or, “I see how that system works, and why it was adopted, but it may actually work better if it’s tweaked this way.” Using Ne within your Si reviews is also leverage.

      But those moments of exploring the outside world are gold. It’s great when an ISxJ finds themselves becoming more bold as they explore, as well.


    • Alex Logsdon

      My mom is an ISxJ too! (ISFJ). Your post gave me a huge realization just now- I have always credited her for pushing me to “try new things” as a kid- sports, meeting new people, new foods, etc. I’ve looked back on that before and thought, “wow she was so right and I’m glad she put that message in my head” because as an INTP, Ne is my copilot and gives me huge opportunities for growth.

      But reading your post, I remembered that of course Ne is her inferior! And now that I am an adult, I see that when she says “try new things” she isn’t necessarily comfortable with HUGE things, like moving to a new city, say. But, she supports me when I want to do those kind of things. So I can see now how her Ne is quite mature, in that she encouraged her children to embrace bravery and confidence as a value- even as she naturally has lower capacity for Ne.

      So, sending love to ISxJs and thanks so much to her 🙂

  • Lisa

    I had a bit of an aha moment listening to this, and it made me realize I don’t have a good grasp of the differences between Si and Te. As an INFP, I’ve heard a lot of advice that I should season my Fi with Te. If I want to bring my gifts of self-expression (Fi) to the world, I need to take actions in the outside world to make that happen (Te). But what I realized in listening to this podcast is that what I’ve accidentally been doing is attempting to rely on my Si to accomplish this.

    For example, if I ever want to be a published author, well, I need to actually sit down and write. Thinking I was using Te, I came up with an elaborate productivity system that routinized my writing practice and regimented my days. Needless to say, within about a week my Fi and Ne were feeling totally suffocated by the routine and sameness of every day (and guys…this was not a super strict routine by many people’s standards, it was things like “must write for an hour at any point on this day”…this is considered regimented by INFP standards lol). The writing that is supposed to be my passion became torturous, it sucked the fun right out of it. I’m realizing now that routinizing things is actually much more the domain of Si. So what does seasoning Fi with Te look like exactly, if it doesn’t involve trying to set up some structures and routines to wrangle in that moody Fi that never quite “feels” like sitting down to write?

    I did have an interesting thought about how I could use Si to support my Ne however, and that’s to reassure my Ne that committing to a class or seminar that I’m interested in does not need to be a panic-inducing loss of freedom—that committing to the routine of a class can actually feed my Ne rather than stifle it.

    But I remain stumped on how to actually use Te to aid my Fi if not through routines…

    • Antonia Dodge

      Within the context of writing, how much pre-formatting and structuring do you do before you free-write? It may be a good idea to have your ‘table of contents’, bullet points, and ‘where you’d like to place what’ handled before you get into the flow of putting imagination to words.

      Also, Te is there to help leverage how you’ll approach potential publishers and get your words read by others. Thinking in terms that it’s a project to complete and it isn’t complete until it’s in the hands of an audience may help. Keep your eye on the goal and take pleasure in finishing it from A to Z. (Not just the fun, personally rewarding bits.)


      • Lisa

        I’m pretty good at outlining actually! The issue is more that I have a handful of projects that are in progress (a couple novels, a screenplay, etc) and I can’t seem to stick to any one through to the finish line. So it’s a matter of somehow getting myself to commit to one and actually work on it consistently that’s been the struggle. Your advice to think about it in terms of getting it into the hands of an audience is helpful, thanks!

    • Alex Logsdon

      I’m an INTP and hobbyist writer so I totally relate to the Si routine struggle. Been there done that- I’ve had elaborate schedules and quickly learned that the more elaborate, the worse it is haha.

      I like Antonia’s suggestion about outlining— I don’t know if you know the terms Pantsing and Plotting in relation to writing… as in, do you write by the seat of your pants or do you plot your outline, etc out ahead of time? It sounds like you might be a pantser, if your Ne acts anything like mine. So anyways, if you are a pantser, incorporating elements of plotting could look a lot like incorporating your Te, perhaps. Like making big picture outlines, or stopping every so often to revisit what you have so far, and do a little planning. It could be that revisiting the plan every so often would help remind your Fi and Ne what the big picture is and what the purpose/goal is.

      Another thing that might be Te is creating a system that automates your ideas. As in, your Fi/Ne probably come up with all sorts of great ideas in the middle of the day…. and then when you decide to write you don’t have access to them anymore. So if you set up a super easy to use system (like notes on your phone) that you have on you at all times, you could write ideas down as they come. That way you only have occasionally push your Te to do one little thing throughout the day… which will help jumpstart your Fi/Ne when you sit back down.

      The last thing I can think of isn’t about Te particularly… but I have a strong feeling that the author Ray Bradbury is an INFP. There’s a book of his essays called Zen and the Art of Writing, which i think u can read online if you google. It is just full of Fi/Ne methods, which basically are “ways to feel get excited as hell about ideas and blaze through them to the end” more than any sort of “plan”. I resonated a lot with it, but I could tell there was an element of feeling that I miss. Man, he is just full of those powerful, driving, feels. Very inspiring stuff and very practical tips if you identify with his methods.

      • Lisa

        Yeah I’ve gone through a few transitions with my approach to writing over the years, started out definitely as a plotter (but got bored and lost interest too much), tried out the 100% write into the void Pantser style (worked great until I got about halfway done with a book and had no idea what would come next lol…the dreaded second act sag), so I’ve been experimenting more recently with being a “Plantser”, doing a combo of right brain intuition/creativity and left brain plotting/editing. Having a rough idea of the whole story but not knowing exactly how it’ll unfold seems to be the sweet spot for me.

        The never-ending struggle is definitely the staying excited long enough to finish something part…so I will definitely check out that Ray Bradbury book, thanks for the rec!! Sounds like just what I need. Because bullying myself into writing may occasionally produce results but it’s miserable, and if the process isn’t at least a little fun, then what’s the point??

        And good call on having a system for my ideas. I should definitely think more about that, because I often compose things in my head and then forget some of the best bits when it comes time to actually write it down.

        All super helpful, thank you!

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