Raise your hand if you've ever taken a personality test and gotten an answer that's only similar to you, not exact - or worse, gotten something so different that you decide the test is a phony and move on from personality typing in general?

*raises hand* With MBTI tests, I've gotten ENFP (surprisingly often), INFP, and INFJ, when I'm actually an ENFJ. __All of those are similar__, but none are completely accurate.

See, tests are a bit difficult because they're typically taken in one sitting. Assuming the questions are even good ones, it's measuring how you are *in the moment* instead of how you are *in general*. This is why I think you're better off talking to someone in person who knows a lot about you and personality typing instead of taking a test.

That aside, how *do* you determine someone's personality type, if not in a test?

I'm glad you asked. ðŸ˜ˆ

## Introducing... the Cognitive Functions

Myers-Briggs runs off of the belief that everyone possesses 8 cognitive functions, the order of which make up your personality type. Each function is a different facet of your personality. I'll get to examples in a second and that will make more sense. :P

There are four main functions: Intuition, Sensing, Feeling, and Thinking. Each of those have an extroverted and introverted side. They're abbreviated into things like this: Ni (en-EYE) is introverted intuition, Se (es-EE) is extroverted sensing, Fi is introverted feeling, Te is extroverted thinking, and so on and so forth. the second letter (I or E) identifies whether or not the function is introverted (I) or extroverted (E), whereas the first letter (N, S, F, or T) identifies what the function in question actually *is*.

Now, everyone possesses all of those four functions with both the extroverted and introverted sides, which creates eight functions. Your first four functions are the ones you use the most and are called your "function stack", whereas the last four functions are used the least and are called your "shadow stack". Your functions are ordered with alternating introverted and extroverted functions, with N/S F/T always on either 1 and 4 or 2 and 3, never with both sets right next to one another, which creates sixteen different combinations: the sixteen types. Your function order is decoded into the four letters I introduced a while back in my __MBTI Stereotypes series__ - letters like ISTP or ENFJ or INTJ or ESFP.

It's confusing, I know. Bear with me.

## For Example...

Say you take a cognitive functions test and end up with something like this:

*Ni*

*Te*

*Fi*

*Se*

(Notice how the functions are alternating introverted and extroverted? And how N and S are on the top and bottom, and the T and F are in the middle? That's what I meant earlier by having N/S and F/T in either 1 and 4 or 2 and 3, never both sets one right after another. For instance, a stack like this does not exist because we have N/S and F/T together:

*Ni*

*Se*

*Ti*

*Fe*

See what I mean?)

Okay, back to our original stack. How do you decode that?

Start with the names. Ni is introverted intuition, Te is extroverted thinking, and so on and so forth. Because N and T are the first two letters, that means we have an xNTx type, so one of the __Analysts__. The first function is introverted (Ni), so we have an introvert on our hands. INTx.

Finding out the last letter is like stepping in a whole other river of information. We need to find out if our type is a Judger (J) or Perceiver (P), and that presents a whole maze of bunny trails that I'm going to do my best to ignore. XD

Essentially, to find out whether or not a type is a J or P, you need to see which function is on top. If it's an *introverted* N or S, they're a *Judger*. If the N or S on top is **extroverted***,* they're a **Perceiver**. It's the opposite with F/T, though (because we must make this more confusing *smh*). If the top function is **introverted** F or T, they're a **Perceiver**. If it's *extroverted*, they're a *Judger*. So our type is INTJ because the top function is *introverted intuition*.

Fun fact to befuddle your brains even more, the intuition (N) and sensing (S) functions are called perceiving functions, whereas the feeling (F) and thinking (T) functions are called judging functions. And yet you can have a perceiving function be the first one and still be a judger and visa versa.

Yeah. Have fun figuring that one out. XD

Okay, I'm going to give you another example. Try and figure it out on your own before looking at the answer, then let me know if you did it in the comments so I can see how well I explain things. :P

*Fe*

*Si*

*Ne*

*Ti*

Stop scrolling here until you get your answer. ;)

Okay, because the first two functions are F and S, that means we have an SF type. (In the four-letter decoding like INTJ, the perceiving function (N or S) always comes second while the judging function (F or T) always comes third. ;)) The first function is extroverted, so we have an ESFx. And because our first function is *extroverted feeling*, our type is a Judger. So that's the function stack for ESFJ.

One last test. I'm going to give you a type, and you try and figure out the function stack. Again, let me know if you could do it on your own so I know if I made sense. :P Let's try... ISTP.

On your mark... get set...

Just kidding. :P Move at your own pace (but stop scrolling here).

Alrighty, because ISTP has ST in the middle, that means that the first two functions are going to be S and T. ISTP is introverted, so the first function is introverted, either Si or Ti. ISTP is also a Perceiver, so the first function is either an introverted judging function (Ti or Fi) or extroverted sensing function (Se or Ne). We already established that the first function is introverted and either T or F, so it must be Ti. Therefore, the next has to be Se.

*Ti*

*Se*

Now, remember that you have to go in alternating introverted and extroverted functions. That means the next function is introverted, and the last is extroverted. Because the T is the first one, that means F is the fourth, which makes N the third. So ISTP's function stack is

*Ti*

*Se*

*Ni*

*Fe*

Congrats if you got it right!! :D

## Some Techy Stuff for You

As a random side note, if you want to sound really knowledgeable when talking about MBTI and cognitive functions and all this jazz, you should start using some technical terms (aka MBTI gobbledygook). Which means you should start calling the first function the "primary" function. The second is the "auxiliary", the third is "tertiary", and the fourth is "inferior". Don't ask me why they had to name them something other than first, second, third, and fourth. Â¯\_(ãƒ„)_/Â¯

I threw a lot of information at you in this post, so I'm going to stop it here. In other posts, we'll explore what each of the functions means, what your shadow stack looks like, and how each of your functions are used depending on where it lands in your stack - assuming you're interested in learning more. ;P Are you? What type are you? If you know, can you decode your function stack? How did you do with the coding and decoding exercises? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

**Take courage, pursue Christ, and smile while you still have teeth!! :D**

Though I've studied this in depth for a while, I am ashamed to say I got mixed up decoding the ESFJ one stack. *hides under a rock* Tricksy, tricksy. ðŸ¤£ You explained it so well, though! (In my opinion, anyway; maybe I'm not the best judge because I already know this stuff XDD) For a while I ignored the functions cause they looked too complicated, but once I learned them, they were what helped me settle on INFP for my type. ðŸ˜Ž