ESTP cognitive functions signify the various mental processes that make them dynamic and spontaneous. 

These functions are the basis with which these personalities respond and interact with people and situations in their life.

The functions also determine their areas of strengths and weaknesses and the way these individuals make decisions in life. 

In this short think piece, we will highlight the four different cognitive functions that make up this versatile and outgoing Myers Briggs type.

ESTP Cognitive functions

ESTP personalities are skillful social communicators and negotiators. They have the power to influence and inspire others. Being a thoughtful type, they prefer to decide logically and never use feelings to manipulate others.

They are less bothered about social niceties and appear insensitive at times. The cognitive functions of ESTPs are arranged in a hierarchical order with dominant function as the primary one, and supported by auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior functions.

This arrangement of the functions is technically known as functional stacking. ESTP cognitive functions show how these sensing-thinking types remain present in the moments. They also think deep into their matters of interest.

Being a perceiving person, they are usually calm, relaxed, and down-to-earth. They are adaptable to change and pay attention to the views and opinions of others.

ESTP stands for extroverted, sensing, thinking, and perceiving personality type. Let us briefly discuss these four type descriptions separately.

1. Extroverted – ESTPs are extroverted personalities. This means they derive their mental energy from social interaction, communication, and networking. They love to talk and mingle with others, discussing varied topics. 

ESTPs are friendly and have good leadership abilities. Others follow them because of their attractive and dynamic personality. They hate alone time and prefer to be surrounded by others all the time.

ESTPs prefer fun and adventure. Being a perceiving personality, they live life casually and remain open to changes and alterations. They are not rigid at all and also listen to the ideas and creations of fellow humans.

2. Sensing – ESTPs are sensors. They have extroverted sensing as a dominant cognitive function. They stay focused in the present moments and love to work with concrete ideas and patterns. Anything abstract and hypothetical makes them nervous and anxious because they cannot handle them well.

Sensors use their senses to perceive information from the outside world. They have good observation power and can scan the situation very well before deciding upon anything. They only prefer realistic and practical learning that has some relevance to the real world.

3. Thinking – ESTPs are critical thinkers. They are logical-minded and never do anything just for the sake of doing it. 

They have immense power to think and analyze people and situations quickly. Armed with logic, they scan through situations in detail and are quick to find out loopholes in the system they work in. 

People with ESTP personality type are focused problem solvers. They believe in executing tasks rather than talking about them.

4. Perceiving – ESTPs are open-minded and adaptable personality types. They remain open to change and are flexible by nature. These individuals are proactive, productive, and believe in making things happen. 

Perceivers are not nitpicky. Thus, ESTPs can work with everyone without being critical about others’ actions and deeds. Given the power to adjust and adapt to any circumstances, ESTPs can make many friends and they are also popular because of their ability to adjust with any situation.

The Description of cognitive functions

The ESTP dominant functions have the maximum influence on their behavior. The auxiliary function helps the dominant function to work effectively.

The tertiary function has less influence but may show up in times of stress. The last one is the inferior function and this is poorly developed in ESTP personalities. 

This function needs to be developed so that the overall personality growth becomes possible.

Let’s discuss how these cognitive functions influence the ESTP behavior.

1. Dominant function: Extroverted Sensing (Se)

  • Extraverted sensing is the dominant function that ESTPs possess. Se (extroverted sensing) makes these people energize themselves through social interaction. They are present-oriented and prefer to solve real-life problems.
  • ESTPs use their senses to understand the outside world. They respond well to various sensory stimulations. 
  • ESTPs love hands-on learning experiences. They never like to memorize stuff. 
  • Being a practical person, an ESTP will stay tuned to the present only.
  • Since they are highly energetic, they are always go-getters. Theories and abstract concepts are boring for them. They believe in learning realistic things that have got some relevance in the present time.
  • For these people, actions are more important than words.
  • They hate being tied down by commitments.
  • They hate being controlled or micro-managed in workplaces and personal relationships.
  • ESTPs prefer getting immersed in the sensory experiences around them.
  • For an ESTP, challenges are a thrill and they remain open to such experiences with great enthusiasm.

2. Auxiliary function: Introverted thinking (Ti)

  • Being an introverted thinker, ESTPs love to think and base their decisions on analysis and synthesis. They are logical heads and never rely on subtle emotions to decide on things.
  • Introverted thinking makes them self-controlled and disciplined. When it comes to delegating their work and accomplishing their goals, they are absolute no-nonsense types.
  • While working, they like relaxed and non-interfering work setups that give them an opportunity to create and innovate new ideas.
  • This function renders them with good observation power. They are quick to notice even the smallest of changes in their immediate environment.
  • They will always use practical aids in solving real-life problems. 
  • ESTPs can organize information that they have sensed and perceived into a logical sequence.
  • They prefer to create order by systematically creating ideas in their head.
  • ESTPs are objective and unbiased in their dealings with people and situations.

3. Tertiary function: Extroverted feeling (Fe)

  • This function helps to develop social networking and communication.
  • Due to this function, you may find them trying to please others around them just because they hate conflicts and squabbling.
  • As this function is not well-developed in ESTPs, they may disregard rules and may not follow society conventions and traditions.
  • They are reactive and lack emotional awareness. They are not good at understanding the subtle feelings of others.
  • Sometimes, they may also use humor to dissipate anger or annoyance of others.

4. Inferior function: Introverted intuition (Ni)

  • Ni is the last ESTP function. This function makes them present-oriented. Their gut feelings are poor and as such they cannot analyze future circumstances.
  • They are poor in establishing connections between facts and patterns.
  • They cannot speculate on what is going to happen in the future.
  • ESTPs cannot think about outcomes because their gut feelings are poor.
  • ESTP cannot use present information to analyze events of the future.
  • Since introverted intuition is not well developed, ESTPs rely on firsthand information, only what they receive through their senses. They cannot understand the layers of information that lies hidden in a situation or event.
  • These individuals are logical thinkers but cannot think out of the blue. They prefer sensory stimulations above anything else.

To Sum Up

Based on all the functional analysis done so far, we can say that ESTPs thrive in environments that are flexible and allow logical thinking. They are not the typical feeling type personalities. Thus, Empathy and compassion for others do not come naturally to them.

They are action-oriented types who believe that actions speak louder than words. They hate following the rule book. 

Their perceptual preference is sensing and that makes them rely and act upon concrete ideas and factual data only.

These individuals cannot use their sensory knowledge in foreseeing future possibilities.