What is the difference between sensing and intuiting?

What is the difference between sensing and intuiting?

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This is a discussion on What is the difference between sensing and intuiting? within the Myers Briggs Forum forums, part of the Personality Type Forums category; I don't quite get it, they sound pretty similar to me. Explain?...

  1. #1

    What is the difference between sensing and intuiting?

    I don't quite get it, they sound pretty similar to me. Explain?

  2. #2
    INTP - The Thinkers


    • Focus on facts and specifics
    • Are more concrete; like ideas to be practical
    • Trust their direct experience
    • Like to operate in the here and now
    • Are realistic and practical
    • Like established ways of doing things
    • Think and talk in a step-by-step manner


    • Focus on the possibilities
    • Are more abstract; like ideas and theories for their own sake
    • Trust their gut instincts
    • Like to imagine and think about the future
    • Like to create new ways of doing things
    • Frequently jump around from topic to topic

  3. #3
    INTJ - The Scientists

    This has been brought up a great many times, and would probably be better suited for the Myers-Brigg forum.


    Sensing has to do with the here and now, focusing on the physical world. The name somewhat relates to our five senses -- touching, smelling, seeing, hearing, and tasting. Intuition deals more with the world 'beyond' the physical world, focused on the future, dealing in 'what-ifs' and imagination. They're worlds apart, but both are evoked when dealing with life.

    There are two forms of sensing: Introverted Sensing, and Extroverted Sensing. These are functions, which are used in a certain order by different types. Introverted Sensing is focused on the here and now by evoking the past: what was compared to what is, and moving to take action in that form. One example I used before was 'not touching the fire because it burned you last time'. Extroverted Sensing is more the stereotypical image of sensing functions, dealing in the very here and now. It revolves around physical sensations, taking action based on signs of this very second. An example I used for that was 'playing sports'.

    Intuition also has two forms: Extroverted Intuition, and Introverted Intuition. Extroverted Intuition addresses the extroverted world rather than the introverted, dealing with patterns and trends that can be seen and taking action based on those trends, often more long-term than Extroverted Sensing. One example of this might be seeing that there is a sale every two weeks for [this item], and deciding to go to a sale around that time. Introverted Intuition addresses the introverted world, dealing more in unconscious, unforeseeable patterns and trends than Extroverted Intuition. One example of this might be seeing that there is a sale every week for [this item], but deciding to go the next after this week because there's a good chance the store will be backed and it's likely to rain.

    I hope that explains some of it.
    Lucretius, Linnifae, SarahWilliams and 5 others thanked this post.

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  5. #4
    INFP - The Idealists

    S types have a better concept of what can be derived from the 5 senses, N types have a better concept of patterns and inferences that can be derived from information.

    I have more experience with P types, so this mostly pertains to Ne/Se.

    For instance, an ISFP friend of mine has an incredible ability to drawn photorealistically. She can see very subtle details. Her music is the same way. I know she can experience things I cannot. On the flip side, I can grasp the subtleties of abstract concepts better than she. If I'm hypothesizing or what have you, unless I can break the theory into details or real life examples, she doesn't follow well.

    Sensing encourages doing, experiences, exploring through your body wheras iNtuition encourages thinking about, theorizing, exploring through your mind. S prefers tangible, here and now. N prefers possibilities.

    It's important to remember that S types can intuit, and N types can sense. S without N couldn't function because simple symbols like Stop signs wouldn't register, N couldn't function without S because they would be deaf, blind, numb. It's a matter of ease and preference.

    Si, Ni are slightly different. Si is like a catalog of sensing that has proven useful to base decisions on, Ni is making abstract connections on the internal perception. I'm shaky on these two and I'm sure the J's around here would be better at explaining.

  6. #5
    INFP - The Idealists

    It's like this

    You're into your house at night. If you can go to the bathroom without turning on the lights your're probbably N, if you get

    overtly anoyed, keep bumping into stuff that you don't "know" without seeing them that they are there you're probbably an S.

    r100rose thanked this post.

  7. #6
    Unknown Personality

    Sensing is info that's relevant to reality and it's application; intuitive is focused on what 'could be', in other words the interconnections and what's concealed between the lines in order to see the bigger picture and only after that do they associate it to concrete data and create some kind of relevance out of the situation.

    Both sensors and intuitives can have meaningful lives but their meanings are derived differently; sensors rely on information that's more concrete and relevant to immediate reality, whereas intuitives on information that's more abstract, conceptual, and imaginative. Because both are capable of living meaningful lives and appreciate each other's ways will you find a minor difference -- and this is also the case because all of us use the same functions -- you can't be exclusively intuitive or sensor; but interaction over a period of time reveals misinterpretation, misunderstandings and frustration between both, due to preferences -- one primarily prefers intuition and the other, sensing.
    Grey and Minesweeper Queen thanked this post.

  8. #7
    ENFJ - The Givers

    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemical Romance View Post
    It's like this

    You're into your house at night. If you can go to the bathroom without turning on the lights your're probbably N, if you get

    overtly anoyed, keep bumping into stuff that you don't "know" without seeing them that they are there you're probbably an S.


    I have to say...I absolutely love this quote! It's funny and I think it's accurate. If I can't tell if someone is an N or an F, and I'm really curious, they are coming over to my house and I'm taking out the bathroom light bulbs. See how they fair. ;) ha ha
    Grey and MilkyWay132 thanked this post.

  9. #8
    INTJ - The Scientists

    I just want to say that I grow weary of the idea that all Intuitives trust their gut instincts. I take it to mean-and maybe I'm off-that an intuitive would have a hunch about "what letters to pick on Wheel of Fortune" or just having hunches about things in general. I think the word "intuition" as we use it and the "intuitive" personality type are not the same thing.

    I will say that Intuitives have quick understanding- in multiple choice tests I never had to go through all the answers, I saw the right one and picked it and went on to the next question. done. I also instinctively know what looks out of place in a sentence or when a word is misspelled- I just feel it's wrong- and that is closest thing for me to trusting my gut instinct.

    as for what best describes Intuiting, it's like when I take in information via my 5 senses, it doesn't just get sensed and then disappear, it all goes on little sticky notes that go on thousands of various bulletin boards, all within nanoseconds of retrieval at unconscious will. So when I see a tree, or a cloud or hear a song, my brain automatically sorts through the thousands to millions of bits of information I've stored on stickies at lightning speed- and i make connections without even knowing I'm doing it. It comes natural.
    Grey, MilkyWay132, Angelic Gardevoir and 7 others thanked this post.

  10. #9
    INTJ - The Scientists

    real life example

    Here's an example of something that happened last year: I had made my computer screen orange for a few weeks at the office I worked in. I craved lots of junk food during those few weeks. seemingly unrelated, right??. BUT, when I thought about my cravings, BAM! it hit me that:
    -orange is the color of fall leaves. animals have to get fat before winter comes, so the leaves turn hughes of red, orange and yellow to stimulate their appetites. This same concept is used in Burger Kings, McDonalds and BBQ restaurants- they have scientifically proven that these colors stimulate appetite so they use them on their signs and in their stores to make you hungrier and eat more.
    THAT is why my orange screensaver made me eat more!

    (it took me about 4 seconds to connect all these random facts that iIhad put on mental sticky notes, no all day research project- that is intuiting.)

    I excitedly told this to the ISFJ office manager as she came back from lunch. I wish I had a video of what she did. She looked at me like I was speaking chinese, kinda smiled, and slowly walked backwards into her office still half smiling. I guess she was amused but more confused.

  11. #10
    ENFJ - The Givers

    I found this blurb specifically about the intuitive myers-briggs type:

    "People who have a preference for intuition are immersed in their impressions of the meanings or patterns in their experiences. They would rather gain understanding through insight than through hands-on experience.
    Intuitive types tend to be concerned with what is possible and new, and they have an orientation to the future. They are often interested in the abstract and in theory, and may enjoy activities where they can use symbols or be creative. Their memory of things is often an impression of what they thought was the essence of an event, rather than a memory of the literal words or experiences associated with the event. They often like concepts in and of themselves, even ones that do not have an immediate application, and they learn best when they have an impression of the overall idea first.

    People who prefer intuition may:
    • recall events by what they read "between the lines" at the time
    • solve problems through quick insight and through making leaps
    • be interested in doing things that are new and different
    • work from the big picture to the facts
    • place great trust in insights, symbols, and metaphors and less in what is literally experienced
    • sometimes focus so much on new possibilities that they miss the practicalities of bringing them into reality"
    This is definitely far more expansive then just trusting your "intuition" but I don't think that means "intuitive" under the myers-briggs definition and "intuition" are mutually exclusive....for example, if you listen to an N personality talk about sensing things they will talk about trusting their 'gut,' a 'hunch,' or their 'intuition.'

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