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3,760 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So Intuitives focus on the big picture, whereas Sensors focus on the facts and bottom line. What's the difference between the two?

From dictionaries:
the big/bigger picture. ​ the most important facts about a situation and the effects of that situation on other things
big picture. noun. an overall view or perspective of a situation or matter.
big picture. : the entire perspective on a situation or issue
Bottom Line 1 a : the essential or salient point : crux
b : the primary or most important consideration
Bottom Line
3. the deciding or crucial factor.
4. the ultimate result; outcome.
They are defined somewhat differently, with big picture emphasizing the entire perspective and bottom line emphasizing the single most important point. But I don't know if that actually translates into a real difference, because it sounds like both would look at the whole situation and condense it into a single essence. Unless Intuitives don't condense? How does a big picture focus really work?

Could anyone give examples of big picture focus vs. bottom line focus in the context of Intuition/Sensing?

Such as "I love these shoes! But I don't have enough money on me right now to buy them." (bottom line)

And what about when the bottom line is about the future? Such as "I don't see this going anywhere." What is it then (Intuition/Sensing)?

233 Posts
It often gets far too vague word-salad, not really defining things but intuitives oftentimes expand on things (perspectives or visions) needlessly and thus are oblivious to what is actual or crucial or certain.

"I don't see this going anywhere" is an inability or a refusal to "intuit" additional potential into something already existing.

3,760 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
"I don't see this going anywhere" is an inability or a refusal to "intuit" additional potential into something already existing.
I meant in the sense of focusing on where something is leading and seeing that it doesn't lead to the desired outcome. Then, either changing the goal or changing the approach. I've seen a lot of Intuitives (Ni) say that their focus is "What will work?" That sounds kind of bottom line to me.

233 Posts
I meant in the sense of focusing on where something is leading and seeing that it doesn't lead to the desired outcome. Then, either changing the goal or changing the approach. I've seen a lot of Intuitives (Ni) say that their focus is "What will work?" That sounds kind of bottom line to me.
In that case it might be (vision). Not seeing any potential however is total exclusion of intuition. The latter part about what works or will work cannot be Ni but is usually Te.

1,699 Posts
Depending on what intuitive cognitive function and where it is, may lead to disastrous results. I personally find deductive reasoning to be safe, where as inductive ability to focus on the advanced but leaving out the smaller reasoning to be slightly destructive.

3,491 Posts
In case they're helpful, the spoiler has brief bullet-point summaries (from official MBTI reports) of the five "facets" of S/N in the "Step II" version of the MBTI.

1. Concrete / Abstract


Exact facts; Literal; Tangible

• Are grounded in reality and trust the facts.
• Interpret things literally.
• Are cautious about making inferences.
• May find it hard to see trends and link facts to the bigger picture.
• Begin with what you know to be true, and have all the facts in order before moving on.
• May be seen by others as resistant to change, although you may not see yourself that way.


Figurative; Symbolic; Intangible

• Like to go beyond the surface and read between the lines.
• May use symbols and metaphors to explain your views.
• Consider context and interrelationships important.
• Make mental leaps and enjoy brainstorming.
• May find it hard to identify the evidence for your ideas.
• May find it hard to disengage from the tangents you've followed.

2. Realistic / Imaginative


Sensible; Matter of fact; Seek efficiency

• Take pride in your common sense and ability to realistically appraise situations.
• Value efficiency, practicality, and cost effectiveness.
• Appreciate direct experiences and tangible results.
• Believe that good techniques lead to good results.
• Are seen as matter of fact and sensible.


Resourceful; Inventive; Seek novelty

• Like ingenuity for its own sake.
• Want to experience what is innovative and different.
• Are resourceful in dealing with new and unusual experiences.
• Prefer not to do things the same way twice.
• Readily envision what is needed for the future and enjoy strategic planning.
• May enjoy humour and word games based on nuance.

3. Practical / Conceptual


Pragmatic; Results oriented; Applied

• Find that applying ideas is more appealing than the ideas themselves.
• Need to see an idea’s application to understand it.
• Are impatient listening to ideas if a practical use is not the end result.
• Favor practical utility over intellectual curiosity.


Scholarly; Idea oriented; Intellectual

• Enjoy the role of scholar and thinker.
• Like acquiring new knowledge and skills for their own sake.
• Value mental virtuosity.
• Focus on the concept, not its application.
• Prefer starting with an idea.
• Find that practical uses for your ideas may come as afterthoughts.

4. Experiential / Theoretical


Hands on; Empirical; Trust experience

• Learn best from direct, hands-on experience and rely on it to guide you.
• Are careful not to generalize too much.
• Focus more on the past and present than the future.
• Concentrate on what is happening now rather than thinking about meanings and theories.
• May sometimes get stuck on details at the expense of larger considerations.


Seek patterns; Hypothetical; Trust theories

• Trust theory and believe it has a reality of its own.
• Enjoy dealing with the intangible.
• Like to invent new theories even more than applying your "old" ones.
• See almost everything as fitting into a pattern or theoretical context.
• Are future oriented.

5. Traditional / Original


Conventional; Customary; Tried and true

• Identify strongly with what is familiar.
• Are comfortable with the tried-and-true because it provides a precedent to follow.
• Admire and support established institutions and methods.
• Are reluctant to change things that are working well.
• Enjoy participating in traditions at work and at home.


Unconventional; Different; New and unusual

• Place a high value on uniqueness.
• Need to demonstrate your own originality.
• Value cleverness and inventiveness.
• Would rather figure out your own way than read the directions.
• Will change things whether or not they work as they are.

And if you want to read the full descriptions of those facets in the Step II Manual, you can find them in this post.

12 Posts
It really just depends on context. The English language has a way of messing with you because words have several different meanings.

When I see the phrase "I don't see this going anywhere" I, as an intuitive being, can see how this is both intuitive and sensing.
If a sensor said that, I would just think they got a wild hair up their butt and lost interest in me. And that does happen. Then of course, if an intuitive person said that, they would be thinking about whether they see a future with you or not.

This topic in itself is intuitive. It is comparing and contrasting the meanings of these phrases when a sensor would just leave it all up to context. In terms of MBTI cognitive reasoning, a sensor would have just left the bottom line to sensing and the big picture to intuition.

I also might just be making this more complicated than it needs to be. :tongue:

ENTJ; 8w7; Persian C
9,448 Posts
It is more so situational - dynamic + fluctuating. (Context / state-of-affairs) dependent. The "big-picture," and "bottom line," fact-modeling via reality et al, are fallibalistic, changing - can be applied to "any" of the informational-cognitive inputs, not just perceptive (S/N) distinctions:

The 'distinctions' between (S/N) are not only just, or "simply just" big picture orientation / and/or 'reality-fixations' but both are a reflexive sub-personal 'vacuum' for all that is external stimulus.


I associate "the bottom line," with typically (Judging) and/or (Thinking), if anything. (J/P) can be alternated depending on 'state-of-affairs' + the brains sub-personal calculation to opportunistically utilized [which] function at the time) ex;

Consider: ESTP ---> ENTJ - altneration:



ISTJ/INTJ - 'occupying' the same space [but still having unexpected-clashing] - It is not because (Si/Ni) distinctions at originally thought, but rather (the utilization of the logical-functions doing (X, Y, Z) which such content and producing unique residue distinction from one another - the (Sensing) humanoid is not "neglecting" the big-picture any more than an intuitive is 'neglecting' the bottom line, but rather, applying an entire different 'perspective' entirely. (i.e., the paradoxical irritation when dealing with the 'narrow-minded' but seeing 'everything' ENTJ).


And the 'big-picture,' with typically (Perceiving) and/or (Feeling), if anything.

High-functioning anatomic-focus via fixation on psychological / pysiological well-being + [extracting value-judgment(s)] from such anatomic states, will always be riddled with distinct high-functioning biases distinct from that of ["thinking"] biases, which why feelers, for instance, can find 'thinkers' narrow-minded while "feelers" seem to have more dynamicism when it comes fluctutation between dual-usage of (T/F).

"Spiraling," into the unknown getting 'lost within the creativity / idealistic' (e.g., artisans / composers / musicians), appears a (Feeler) trait outside of, and regardless of, (S/N) distinctions that are precieving ultimately the same data - (re: generated 'big-picture' orientation by recieving stimulus from the (feeling-processing unit(s) which containing [more] content by default, than the (thinking-processing unit(s)) generating information-stimulus [via] structures, 'objects,' and things.

How "disconnected" from the facts or the "bottom line", really is an INTP? Not very.

It seems to me, the 'feeler' is still generating an entire (picture) with included subjects in relations to (the surrounding state-of-affairs), which is a dynamic usage regardless of (S/N) distinctions: consider the distinctions between 'feeler' + 'thinker' Lateralization of brain-function + usage of how such functions manifest via the cerebral-lobes: rather than complete disregard for the 'big picture'; they have created it via a symphonic linking of all things (&) subjects within the world - (this is distinct from (Ni/Ne) because neither functions by themselves; are 'composing' symphony it which is actively percieves. That neither 'percieving' functions "produce products," themselves, even though they (produce) fragments / essences of 'the whole piece'.

The lateralization of brain function is the tendency for some neural functions or cognitive processes to be more dominant in one hemisphere than the other. The medial longitudinal fissure separates the human brain into two distinct cerebral hemispheres, connected by the corpus callosum. Although the macrostructure of the two hemispheres appears to be almost identical, different composition of neuronal networks allows for specialized function that is different in each hemisphere.[medical citation needed]

Lateralization of brain structures is based on general trends expressed in healthy patients; however, there are numerous counterexamples to each generalization. Each human’s brain develops differently leading to unique lateralization in individuals. This is different from specialization as lateralization refers only to the function of one structure divided between two hemispheres. Specialization is much easier to observe as a trend since it has a stronger anthropological history.[1] The best example of an established lateralization is that of Broca's and Wernicke's areas where both are often found exclusively on the left hemisphere. These areas frequently correspond to handedness, however, meaning that the localization of these areas is regularly found on the hemisphere corresponding to the dominant hand (anatomically on the opposite side). Function lateralization such as semantics, intonation, accentuation, prosody, etc. has since been called into question and largely been found to have a neuronal basis in both hemispheres.[2] Another example is that each hemisphere in the brain tends to represent one side of the body. In the cerebellum this is the same bodyside, but in the forebrain this is predominantly the contralateral side.
It seems no suprise that perhaps, that an emphasis on gender divide (and how it works), is informative on this distinction as well: that perhaps 'feelers' have more connectivity (re: the 'big picture'), overall.


The two are not mutually-exclusive; and needn't be. (Openness to 'new' perspectives , rather than "openness" to the big-picture of one particular event, while getting to the bottom of things - seems to be a product of high-functioning intuition + (Ti-heavy) favoritism. (Openness) to 'new' perspectives with an emphasis on the bottom line is a product of high-functioning (Te-favortisim) with a swing of intuition. Getting to the 'bottom line' of the big-picture (rather than it's exclusion), seem(s) to be a product of high-functioning (Se-favortism) with a swing of (Ti), and et al and so forth.

Thus, regardless of 'intuitive/sensing,' one could say (X)-types with internalized-processing unit(s) coupled with high-functioning (J)-preferences, will prefer to utilize both distinct ways of interpretation, ENTJ, for example, are going to favor, the bottom line of any 'entire issue' at a higher degree than an INTJ or INTP would.

5,331 Posts
My idea of the 'big picture' is to essentially consider the same thing from multiple perspectives - an example might be to think of ways that a place of work could progress into the future.

Some ideas might be to get more active on social media, open up to the idea of receiving payment over the internet, have someone focused on selling via e-mail, create more new products that people can't get anywhere else for a cheaper price, have some ground-salespeople who hit events and whatnot to showcase the products, create new pitches for the existing products to freshen them up and bring them from the '60s to now, engage in proper sales training for the sales staff, remove the various pieces of micromanagement i.e cameras to loosen the sales team up more which will equal more sales, have a look at the needs of the market and direct the sales team to target them, if you can't come up with good ideas for new products employ someone who can, put your products into local stores or a big chain of stores in order to get the name out there rather than go purely direct, buy some ad time on TV so people know who you are - same for radio and newspaper... etc etc..

You get the gist - it's all just targeting the same idea of updating the workplace to fit the present year.

The 'bottom-line' I would see, as essentially just the numbers and whether or not any of that is a reality - so I'd see it as basically 'we have X amount of money to do this, and we'll act on suggestions A, B and C, and that's it until we start moving forwards".

I see the bottom line, basically as a conclusion, or a decision of sorts. Whereas the 'big picture' could be anything.
Maybe I'm crazy.

1,557 Posts
The end result can be seen as one and the same.

"The bottom line is that this can be accomplished in a month".

"The big picture, despite needless details, is that this can be accomplished in a month".

However, considering semantics, the approach to arrive at the bottom line or big picture could be different. I think the common usage of "bottom line" is considering the details first, making sense of them, then getting to the bottom line (conclusion).

On the other hand, the common usage of "big picture" is consistently focusing on the goal at hand and only placing importance on details that support this goal, while ignoring the "useless" details.

5,428 Posts
I've seen a lot of Intuitives (Ni) say that their focus is "What will work?" That sounds kind of bottom line to me.
I don't see why Ni would be related to the "bottom line." Deciding what will work is part of the operation of the judging functions, not Ni.

2,196 Posts
I don't see why Ni would be related to the "bottom line." Deciding what will work is part of the operation of the judging functions, not Ni.
Can't you say the same about the "big picture" too though?

"This, not that, is the big picture" can easily be the end result of a judging function.

You can play language tricks to lead people in the direction of a lot of different functions. Like Ti vs Fi is supposed to be "logical principles" vs "personal morals". But what one logical principles one chooses in moral situations is ultimately a personal moral decision.
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