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An Overview of ESFJ Cognitive Functions

An Overview of ESFJ Cognitive Functions

Updated on Aug 09, 2022 | Published on Aug 09, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD , Certified Psychiatrist

An Overview of ESFJ Cognitive Functions - ThePleasantPersonality

ESFJ cognitive functions are the subtle psychological functions that determine the overall behavior and interaction pattern of the ESFJ personality types.

These functions tell us about how these individuals learn about their surroundings, the way they resolve conflicts, their emotional intelligence, and the thinking patterns that impact their day to day functioning to a great extent.

The cognitive functions are mental processes that manifest in the way the ESFJs process information and make decisions in their daily life.


ESFJ cognitive functions

ESFJ personalities are known as Consul and caregivers. They are the most helpful and supportive of all 16 personality types described in the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Inventory).

The concept of cognitive functions as we know today being used in MBTI was first introduced in personality psychology by Carl Jung. Later on, Myers and Briggs developed the MBTI test and described the 16 personality types in a vivid manner.

An ESFJ has four cognitive functions. These functions are arranged in a definite hierarchy that determines the influence each one of them has on the overall personality.

The ESFJ cognitive functions are mental processes that describe their innate qualities, strengths, and weaknesses as well. 

Before we move on to the detailed analysis of ESFJ cognitive functions, let us describe the acronym ESFJ here.

ESFJ functions are based on four distinct processes. They are extroversion, sensing, feeling, and judging types. The personality psychology of ESFJs can be explained as under:

1. Extroversion (E)

Generally described as outgoing and gregarious, ESFJs derive their mental energy through socialization and networking. They love to interact with others both casually and on a serious note.

Like any other extrovert, ESFJs are talkative, fun-loving, flexible, adventurous, and love staying active in their social life. Their social presence is versatile and dynamic. Armed with good social skills, they are extremely helpful by nature. You will always find an ESFJ contributing positively in others’ lives. 

Being an extrovert, ESFJs have fluent communication skills. They prefer straight talk and hardly engage in criticizing others for any reason. 

These individuals are loving and forgiving. They never harbor any resentment against others that can backfire any moment.

2. Sensing (S)

ESFJ are sensing feelings. This means they are present-oriented and always look for details. They love concrete things rather than ambiguous stuff that require a lot of brainstorming.

Being a sensor personality, ESFJs are well-tuned with their immediate surroundings. They are sharp and quick to notice changes in their surroundings. These individuals prefer tangible things that can be experienced in reality.

Thus, they prefer facts and are quite rigid as far as their set values are concerned. Sensors are also devoted and steadfast as far as delegating duties are concerned.

ESFJs are quick decision makers. They prefer doing their tasks on time. These individuals are not dreamers. You will not find them creating ideas and plans in their minds. They prefer doing things rather than only thinking and talking about ideas.

Being a sensor, ESFJS are fiercely practical and realistic. They prefer using common sense in resolving day to day issues.

3. Feeling (F)

ESFJs have extroverted feeling as their dominant cognitive function. This means that they are emotional by nature. They can feel for others very deeply.

ESFJs are helpful and compassionate. They are caring and empathetic as well. As such, you will always find them engaging in various social activities. People with this personality type are loving, generous, and love to support others in tough times.

Their acts of kindness make them loved by all. Being an extrovert, their feeling function is manifested to the outside world. They prefer fairness and justice. 

You will always find them doing humanitarian actions for the benefit of all. They are not at all selfish and prefer the social spotlight as always.

4. Judging (J)

ESFJs are organized and planned in their thoughts and actions. They never do anything out of the blue. These individuals love to decide on the spot. They never like to keep their work and decisions pending. 

Being a judging personality, ESFJs are orderly and prefer following rules. They are naturally inclined to live life in a systematic manner. These individuals love harmony and get irritated in the face of confusion. 

They are self-disciplined and expect the same kind of discipline and work commitment from others. ESFJs are reluctant to change. They are less flexible and open-minded as far as following rules are concerned.


The description of cognitive function

After understanding the acronym ESFJ in detail, we will discuss the various cognitive functions that determine the ESFJ personality type.

As already discussed, Cognitive functions are set in an order. The most dominant function appears first followed by auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior functions. This hierarchical arrangement of the cognitive functions is known as functional stacking.

1. Dominant function: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

ESFJs use extroverted feeling to understand, analyze, and act upon the emotions and feelings of others. It simply means their focus is on externalizing values to the outside world.

  • ESFJs are extroverts and this function makes them react to the opinions, thoughts, and feelings of others.
  • They want to create balance and harmony around them.
  • This function makes an ESFJ kind and generous.
  • They are emotionally connected to humanity as a whole. Thus, ESFJs are the best social servants and policy makers.
  • People with ESFJ personality are well aware of the emotions of others. This quality makes them empathetic and loving.
  • They prefer community building where everyone will thrive in peace. There will be no social discrimination and inequality.
  • They address conflicts tactfully without getting emotionally overwhelmed or upset.

2. Auxiliary function: Introverted Sensing (Si)

Introverted sensing is a personal information gathering function. In this, the individual focuses on his or her subjective experiences and compares and contrasts the new experiences with the already learnt past experiences.

  • This function is also referred to as the parent function. ESFJs use introverted sensing in analyzing people and situations deeply. 
  • This function also helps to be present in the moments rather than becoming overanxious of the future. 
  • They like specific and concrete information. Abstract data and ambiguous information are not for an ESFJ.
  • They love detailed work and know when change is essential. ESFJs dislike last hour rush. They are methodical and systematic in their work and want the same from others as well.
  • ESFJs love routine and order. 
  • They take challenges as an opportunity to learn. 

3. Tertiary function: Extroverted Intuition (Ne)

Extraverted intuition helps people to see various possibilities that can happen in future. For ESFJs, this function is not well-developed because they are not good planners and minds looking much ahead of their present moment. 

ESFJs have poor intuition and they cannot foresee future possibilities at all.

  • ESFJs use extraverted intuition to relate with others and offer actionable suggestions to resolve their life problems.
  • This function is not well developed in ESFJs. People with these personalities always look for opportunities to learn new things from social interaction. This helps them to generate new ideas and work on them in detail.
  • ESFJs can understand situations in detail but as their intuition function is not developed, they do not create solutions in their heads. Rather they prefer using the time tested problem solving strategies that have worked well previously.

4. Inferior function: Introverted thinking (Ti)

This cognitive function makes a person thoughtful and lives in their heads. They remain preoccupied with their thoughts.

 Introverted thinkers are a little unconventional and inventive as well. ESFJs have poor skills to think and ponder over ideas. They prefer dealing with things that are tangible and concrete.

People with ESFJ personality type have introverted thinking as an inferior function. This means they cannot form an internal framework of how things can work in a better way. 

These individuals cannot use intuition to foresee future problems. Rather, they prefer consistency and logical thoughts to structure and organize their work.

  • This function is the weakest in an ESFJ personality profile. They can analyze complex situations in detail but cannot thrive in their minds for long. Thinking about the same thing for a longer time irritates an ESFJ because they love to make decisions quickly and fast.
  • Their gut feeling function is weak and as such they rely on facts and data before taking a decision.
  • ESFJs do not understand theories and abstract ideas because their Ti function is not well developed. 
  • These people plan in advance to avoid last hour rush.
  • Their critical thinking skills are not well developed. Thus, they cannot find innovative solutions to problems. You may say that they lack out of the box thinking skills.
  • These individuals love prior planning because sudden changes make them feel uncontrolled and restless.

To Sum Up

ESFJs have practical knowledge. This quality makes them plan and structure things in advance. Being an extrovert, they are always externally focused. They love to use humor and make the world around them thrive in harmony and peace.

Their caring nature is because of their dominant function. Moreover, the gifts of structure, order, and planning are due to auxiliary and tertiary functions.

ESFJs should work a little harder to develop their inferior function. Developing this function will help them use gut feelings and instincts in resolving abstract and ambiguous situations in life.