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The Extraverted Sensation Function (Se) and Misconceptions

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This article is intended to pick out the misconceptions regarding the Extraverted Sensation (Se) Function seen throughout various typology forum communities. These definitions are based on C.G. Jung’s definition (Analytical Psychology and Psychological Types) and Lenore Thomson’s interpretation of the Se and Ne function (Personality Type). I will attempt to clarify these misconceptions, explain how the Se function actually operates, and compare/contrast it to the Ne function. As said by both Jung and Thomson, these two functions are extremely similar. I will, however, show what exactly separates these two functions apart.

*Note: The Se and Ne function depicted in this article are in their purest form without assistance of the Judging functions. An actual person would not be in this level of extreme.

Misconceptions

One of the major misconceptions surrounding the Extraverted Sensation function is that it is a function used for doing things, such as driving a car, riding a bike, or playing sports. While Extraverted Sensation does concern itself with surrounding data intake, it is not a requirement for these actions to be performed. In addition, it is believed that the Se function is the athlete’s or sports function. Playing sports requires us to use Se. Absolutely not true. Other functions are also capable of being utilized when performing these actions. Si, Ni, and Ne to name some.

Second misconception is the association of the Extraverted Sensation function with “awe” when observing things. This is very untrue in regards to Se as Se does not care whether or not the present experience is special, magical, awesome, or anything like that. When placing an Extraverted Sensor in a forest, the Se user does not care if the place is beautiful or mysterious. The only thing the Se user cares about is what is just there. What is seen, what is felt, what is heard, etc. Any processing for the external data for any meaning falls to the Introverted Judging function.

Third misconception is association of Se with being buff or muscular or just plain looking good. Although image is a concern of Se, people have a variety of reasons why they want to look good. We can think of Se as being image concious, but we cannot think that image concious means Se. For example, INTJs and ENFPs can be image concious because Te requires them to look good to promote themselves in their work and interest. INFJs and ENTPs may utilize Fe for image conciousness to appeal to the people.

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Both Ne and Se function are concerned with surrounding awareness, despite the popular belief that only the Se function is regarding surrounding awareness.

Both Ne and Se types are very reactive to their stimuli and both can be very impulsive. The difference between the two is that Se types are general concrete pragmatists focusing more on the actualized reality of the situation, whereas Ne types focus more on the curiosity and possibilities of their stimuli. Both functions can be very impatient with the present moment and both functions can be very unpredictable in their actions.

Both Ne and Se are interest-driven. They are both concerned with boredom and both have the tendency to constantly change their interest. Se types become bored when the present physical experience has been "lived" by them and become stale. Ne types become bored when the present imaginative experience has been explored and become evident.

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The Extraverted Sensation Function in Action

I have used this example in one of my previous threads and I will now use it for this article with great refinement.

Let’s say that we have an Extraverted Sensation user in a forest. This forest has many trees, blue skies and clouds, humid and warm air, and a lot of vegetation growth.
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The Se user utilizes his sight. He sees trees, the sky, clouds, green fauna. There is no hidden interpretation. What is seen is the only fact.

He utilizes his smell. It’s fresh. There are strong scent of rotting wood and soil. He doesn’t think much about it except that it’s a fact that is what is there.

He utilizes his touch. He feels the moment. It’s warm and humid. He feels the texture of trees and other plants. There is no meaning behind this. It’s just fact that these objects give off these impressions

He utilizes his hearing. He hears the whistling of wind. The birds chirping. Leaves rustling. No meaning. Just the fact that these sounds are occuring.

He utilizes his taste. The air tasted with wetness. He accepts this as fact and does not care for other irrelevant meanings other than the actual reality.

To the Se user, this experience is not about being magical. It is not about being mystical. It is not about being special. It is not about being pleasurable. It is nothing more than a fact that there are things all around him. What things are as they are at the present moment is the only thing the Se user cares about. It’s beautiful? Who cares, irrelevant to the reality. It’s mysterious? Not a concern to the objective reality of what’s there. No other useless meanings will be associated with these objective data of what we are seeing at the very moment other than what we preceive with the five senses. That is the workings of the Extraverted Sensation function as defined by C.G. Jung.


Let’s compare and contrast this to the Ne user

In the same setting conditions, we now throw the Ne user into the forest.

The Ne user also experiences the present moment. Like the Se user, he also becomes caught in the moment of all things around him. Like the Se user, he also comes interested in his surrounding. Like the Se user, he is also bouncing around, taking in all as much as he can, as many external data as possible. On estimation, it could be said that 80% of the Ne function is extremely similar to the Se function. They share so many commonalities that we are often confusing Ne for Se and Se for Ne. Now you may wonder, what’s the 20% that sets them apart?

The difference between the Se and the Ne function is that the Se is more focused on the actualized reality. They are concerned with what is only there. Any attempt to attach interpretations to them is irrelevant, subjective, and nonsensical. The Ne function is not concerned with what is actually there. They are more concerned with what these objects may mean. They attach interpretations upon interpretations upon the object, seeking possibilities and paradigm.


So, an Ne user in the forest would take in all the experiences of the present moment and have a “hunch”. To the Ne user, based on what is seen, heard, felt, smell, and taste, it probably rains in the forest often. It appears to be sunny at the time, but based on what was seen in the evironment, the Ne user could not help but have this strange hunch that this forest must have a lot of rain. He may also begin to branch off and develop even more possibilities of what may go on in the forest. Possibilities upon possibilities. The Ne user is aware of the reality of what is going on, but he does not care about the reality. He is only concerned with continually seeking the unknown.

The Ne user may say something along the lines of this. They may continually build possibilities and relate/connect patterns seen across time:
“These tree leaves are similar to tree leaves in another forest I know and it rains there a lot. I can’t help but feel it probably rains here too, because I notice that the patterns of these tree leaves are very similar to what I have seen before in another forest. The soil also have “patterns” that are similar to the other forest for rain as well as various other things in this forest to the other forest.”

The Se user, however, would state more along the lines of the following:
"There are trees, soil, blue skies, some clouds, humid air, etc. They are just there as they are. Any attempt to reinterpret what these things are or mean is irrelevant and useless to the reality of what it is we physically interpret with our five senses. It looks like it rains here a lot? Irrelevant. It's not raining right now. Things right now are things just are. That is the hard fact. I will only determine that it rains here often when I see it for myself with my own two eyes."

*Note: the two top quotations are what a user would say if the user was using ONLY one of these functions and thus are shown in their extreme. Once again, with Introverted Judging function, they would be more balanced and have a more "reasonable" sayings.

I remember a conversation on TeamSpeak: Se vs Ne


Ne: You know... this pencil reminds me of a banana.
Se: What? Wtf are you talking about? It's just a pencil. There is nothing else about it. A pencil is a pencil.
Ne: No really, look at the colors. It's yellow, like the outside of the banana. It's white like the inside of a banana. The lead are like the seeds.
Se: ... NO THEY AREN'T ALIKE AT ALL! WTF?! IT'S JUST A PENCIL! A BANANA IS A BANANA. PENCIL DOES NOT EQUAL BANANA.
Ne: BUT IT'S LIKE A BANANA!
Se: NO!
Ne: YES!


and so on. Oh how I love Se and Ne users <3.

To finalize this article, both Ne and Se are extremely similar functions. The only real difference between the Ne and Se is that Ne is focused on the imaginative possibilities and patterns, whereas Se is only concerned with the actualized reality. Other then that, both functions are extremely similar. Both functions are impulsive. Both functions are impatient. Both functions are adventure seekers. Both functions desire the experience in the moment. Both functions are surrounding awareness. Users such as ESTPs and ENTPs, thus, can be commonly mistaken for one another.
found this article at *****************
 

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This is really good, but I can't help but feel like this guy has presented Se as stubborn and boring. An actual Se user doesn't openly think that the possibilities are irrelevant, they just don't think of any in the first place. It's not natural for them.

Is there one of these for Si? That's definitely the function with the most misconceptions.
 

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One thing that I find people commonly mistaking Se for is to always care about all the details of something. I do notice details in my surroundings and perception in "HD vision", yes, but when it comes to say a math problem I pay very little attention to details (numbers etc) as long as the "bigger picture" or equation otherwise was correct. I suspect that an INTJ would do that in reverse, paying more attention to details of a math problem than details in their surroundings (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

This is really good, but I can't help but feel like this guy has presented Se as stubborn and boring. An actual Se user doesn't openly think that the possibilities are irrelevant, they just don't think of any in the first place. It's not natural for them.

Is there one of these for Si? That's definitely the function with the most misconceptions.
At the same time Ne is presented as seeing connections and interpretations that may not even be there, so it's even.
 

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One thing that I find people commonly mistaking Se for is to always care about all the details of something. I do notice details in my surroundings and perception in "HD vision", yes, but when it comes to say a math problem I pay very little attention to details (numbers etc) as long as the "bigger picture" or equation otherwise was correct. I suspect that an INTJ would do that in reverse, paying more attention to details of a math problem than details in their surroundings (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

At the same time Ne is presented as seeing connections and interpretations that may not even be there, so it's even.
Well my biggest problem in Algebra was keeping the really small details of numbers and operations in order, but that was mostly because I had a lot of teachers who just taught the step by step way of ding problems. As soon as I got a teacher who bothered to explain the line of reasoning behind the different types of problems and math functions I understood it a lot better and by extension had less trouble with trying to do everything in a step by step way.

INTJ's actually have Se as their last function so I can tap into it when I want to and take note of my physical surrounding very well. In comparison my mother who is an ENFP has Si as her least function (which would make Se the weakest of her shadow functions) can walk into people and and not notice people trying to get past her in stores and such.
I'm not going to speak for all INTJ's though as it may depend on the individual and how much they connect to their environment versus how lost in their Ni inner web they'd be at the time.

I do agree though that Se isn't nearly as detail oriented in the sense people seem to use it as it is in real life. My best friend growing up was either an ISFP or an ESFP (she's more extroverted than me but that isn't saying much LOL) and she wasn't nearly as a perfectionist as I was. Her Se came out more in the sense that she was much better at adapting to the moment than I was and quicker to see how to deal with and react to events in real time. When the pipes in our sink bust I had to sit and think for a few minutes about how to react, but my father (ISTP), and my younger sister (also an ISFP), jumped up immediately and knew how to deal with it. When I crashed on my bike while my BF and I were out riding around she was over checking to see if I was hurt in a minute because she noticed it right away.

Now I'm not saying that only Se people can react to things quickly or deal with things int he physical realm the best. There are at least 4 N types that have Se as their 3rd or 4th functions. But to someone with Se as their lead or 2nd function its going to be much more natural to them and fairly instinctive to do so.
 

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This is really good, but I can't help but feel like this guy has presented Se as stubborn and boring. An actual Se user doesn't openly think that the possibilities are irrelevant, they just don't think of any in the first place. It's not natural for them.

Is there one of these for Si? That's definitely the function with the most misconceptions.
This article (Cognitive Processes Articles) is about how many artisans SPs mistype themselves as intuitives. It also describes the perceiving functions fairly well.

"Possibilities
- These Artisans-SPs frequently respond to "possibilities" as an accurate descriptor. When we probed deeper, they described seeking opportunities for action, usually what to do next and what will work to solve a problem. They like brainstorming and coming up with variations on a theme, until the process goes on and on and on and gets too far away from reality. Those who prefer extraverted iNtuiting are increasingly excited by the ideas sparked in the process regardless of how far abstracted from reality. Both extraverted iNtuiting and extraverted Sensing focus in the here and now and on possibilities and opportunities. The differentiating factor is abstraction or concreteness."






One thing that I find people commonly mistaking Se for is to always care about all the details of something. I do notice details in my surroundings and perception in "HD vision", yes, but when it comes to say a math problem I pay very little attention to details (numbers etc) as long as the "bigger picture" or equation otherwise was correct. I suspect that an INTJ would do that in reverse, paying more attention to details of a math problem than details in their surroundings (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).



At the same time Ne is presented as seeing connections and interpretations that may not even be there, so it's even.
The "Se users are only interested in the details, not the general picture" line of thought annoys me as well.

I live mostly in the now and in that sense I guess one could say that I notice more details from the outside world than a Ne user, but I'm always more interested in looking at things in a broad perspective. I hate it when I have to work with the details of a project and I always try to delegate that to someone else. I'd rather be the one making sure everything is on the right path.
 

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What is says in the diagram, "Experiencers just experience the experience" is exactly what I was trying to convey in my last post. 'Living in the now' as well is a much better description of it than 'detail oriented'. I've dealt with enough of them to know that they're less detail oriented than me in some ways and I'm a lead Ni so I should supposedly be constantly lost in my own inner world.

I think someone put it rather succinctly when they said : "The ISTP is the guy who builds the rollerblade suit and then gets in it because he built it to USE because it sounded awesome; the INTP is the guy who designs it on his computer and draws up the schematics and figures out everything about it but never builds it until someone else prompts him and would probably never ever get into because that shits crazy."
And in that example the ISTP would probably jump into the project without worrying about the details because he would just contend with them as they come up rather trying to anticipate them. The INTP would sit down and figure out everything he needed to and stuff he didn't because it would be about developing the ideas rather than making something happen.
 

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Cool. ^^ Thanks. This is great!

Although one thing I would change is when you said Se is completely opposed to thinking about things other than what is in front of them. I think they don't challenge that what they are seeing is what they are seeing, definitely. But their thinking can be tangential and random. The only difference is that their thought process doesn't really focus on or trust possibilities, while Ne focuses on and trusts those possibilities and probably more than the reality at hand.

So Se and Ne can and do think rather all over the place.

I remember when I was trying to figure out if I used Se or Ne and which one was my dominant function. I read around and found that if an Se-dom were to be walking in a city, they would take everything in, first and foremost. They would notice the people, how many people are about, perhaps the body language of certain people (they looks sad because they appear to be), they would notice the sounds... These sensory things connect to create for the Se-user a big picture. They can see what is going on. People make up the city. Their thoughts may wander from these things. Certainly, something they see or hear or whatever may remind them of something else. If the Se-user thinks of a possibility, they do not necessarily trust that possibility. An Se-user notes body language, and trusts what body language they see. They scan these things (this person is super excited because they appear to be). They can just tell, because they notice subtle things about that person. Sensory clues.

The Ne user does not necessarily focus on or trust the things that an Se-dom places trust in. They actually trust the possibilities that come to them over what is really there.

Edit - So, Se just like Ne is constantly scanning; they simply scan different things, so in that way they are different. Lots of people glorify Ne because it seems to good at "just knowing" and seems epic, but really Se picks up on a lot of things as well. Just as many things, in fact. In the end, they both paint an accurate picture of something. Just different angles. ^_^

Oh yeah, and this all (that I have said) doesn't include what effect judging functions have on these perceptions... so yeah.

Eh, that was longer than expected. o_O
 

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I think the article adequately points out the misconceptions of Se, but like the article said, it's very extreme and I don't see Se being that "rigid" in thinking "that's irrelevant". As an Se-user, I don't always consciously think in those terms. I do have that mentality though. If someone is thinking of too many possibilities that are irrelevant to the moment, I'll usually say, "I'll cross that bridge when I get to it" or something along those line. But I do think that the view of Se is too narrow here. It excludes how the judging functions might interact, and also excludes on Ni would work in tandem, especially for ISxPs.
 

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I think the article adequately points out the misconceptions of Se, but like the article said, it's very extreme and I don't see Se being that "rigid" in thinking "that's irrelevant". As an Se-user, I don't always consciously think in those terms. I do have that mentality though. If someone is thinking of too many possibilities that are irrelevant to the moment, I'll usually say, "I'll cross that bridge when I get to it" or something along those line. But I do think that the view of Se is too narrow here. It excludes how the judging functions might interact, and also excludes on Ni would work in tandem, especially for ISxPs.
Exactly. I could say something similar for Ne.
 

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Ne: You know... this pencil reminds me of a banana.
Se: What? Wtf are you talking about? It's just a pencil. There is nothing else about it. A pencil is a pencil.
Ne: No really, look at the colors. It's yellow, like the outside of the banana. It's white like the inside of a banana. The lead are like the seeds.
Se: ... NO THEY AREN'T ALIKE AT ALL! WTF?! IT'S JUST A PENCIL! A BANANA IS A BANANA. PENCIL DOES NOT EQUAL BANANA.
Ne: BUT IT'S LIKE A BANANA!
Se: NO!
Ne: YES!
Am I the only Se user here who thinks more like the Ne user in this example and thinks the Se user in the example must have an IQ well below 100?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
i know it sounds bad but these are functions not types
this is just Ne and Se functions not ENPs and ESPs
 

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On estimation, it could be said that 80% of the Ne function is extremely similar to the Se function. They share so many commonalities that we are often confusing Ne for Se and Se for Ne. Now you may wonder, what’s the 20% that sets them apart?
That's a ridiculous claim. How is this even quantified?

The Ne user may say something along the lines of this. They may continually build possibilities and relate/connect patterns seen across time:
“These tree leaves are similar to tree leaves in another forest I know and it rains there a lot. I can’t help but feel it probably rains here too, because I notice that the patterns of these tree leaves are very similar to what I have seen before in another forest. The soil also have “patterns” that are similar to the other forest for rain as well as various other things in this forest to the other forest.”
This is largely Si.

Disclaimer: Not blaming the OP, blaming the writer of the article.
 

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For me, I think about all the possibilities, connections, patterns, and meaning, but Fi adds into that along with Te and Si. I'm sure even my shadow functions have an impact on my Ne at times. Therefore, the Ne I use doesn't really look like the Ne in this article exactly.

It's like saying a canvas is a painting...no, it's just what the painting is on. The Ne in this article is a blank canvas...other functions combined with it is what makes the image appear.

I can't speak for Se because I'm not as familiar with it, but I would assume the same would apply.
 

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Normally I can't stand reading a thread that's as long as this but somehow I read the whole thing at 2 am in the morning when I have an exam in 8 hours. Lot of you are saying how Se is "dumb," and you know that's not true. You should know that the author described the example ESTP as the "ideal" Se-user, one who's void of any iNtuition, who would always score 100% S and 0% N on any MBTI tests given to him. Remember that there are Se-doms that do not have perfect Se - some still use Ni/Ne. Look at your cognitive functions scores; they tell you that you use every other function but with different preference. Me, for example, I tend to score on the middle grounds between S and N. While I DO think of possibilities, I tend to stick to reality and not go TOO far so much as to go completely off-topic.

If I were in a forest, I would first look at the surrounding and ask myself how I'd gotten there in the first place. I'd ALSO come to the conclusion that the forest is rainy and use that useful information to my advantage to make shelter just in case. I wouldn't just look at everything and take everything as it is and do nothing like a damn robot.
 

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Ne: You know... this pencil reminds me of a banana.
Se: What? Wtf are you talking about? It's just a pencil. There is nothing else about it. A pencil is a pencil.
Ne: No really, look at the colors. It's yellow, like the outside of the banana. It's white like the inside of a banana. The lead are like the seeds.
Se: ... NO THEY AREN'T ALIKE AT ALL! WTF?! IT'S JUST A PENCIL! A BANANA IS A BANANA. PENCIL DOES NOT EQUAL BANANA.
Ne: BUT IT'S LIKE A BANANA!
Se: NO!
Ne: YES!
This conversation is very true to life between me and an ESTP friend of mine (other than the topic), although my intuitions are more esoteric than the ones presented here to represent Ne, and I actually have much more consideration for Se than the average Ne dominant would, as in, I can respect looking at the pencil as a pencil, rather than a banana or whatever, but by looking as it as a pencil, I'll be trying to make all kinds of logical predictions (Ni-Te) about it related to what it actually appears to be and how it could have scientific significance, and then, my ESTP friend will be like "Who cares, lol."
 

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This is largely Si.
Yeah, the narration turned far too much into introversion and in not actually trusting the intuitive possibilities generated.

"Hmm, well, I think it's probably rains here but I haven't actually seen a lot of rain or looked at the rainfall frequency, so it's a probably."

That's about how far an S dominant will throw their intuition. A sort of "Eh, well maybe, as a guess, but not as a real answer of course because that would be silly."
 

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This conversation is very true to life between me and an ESTP friend of mine (other than the topic), although my intuitions are more esoteric than the ones presented here to represent Ne, and I actually have much more consideration for Se than the average Ne dominant would, as in, I can respect looking at the pencil as a pencil, rather than a banana or whatever, but by looking as it as a pencil, I'll be trying to make all kinds of logical predictions (Ni-Te) about it related to what it actually appears to be and how it could have scientific significance, and then, my ESTP friend will be like "Who cares, lol."
How do you know what the average Ne dominant does? Si is different than Se, but inferior Si grounds dominant Ne and makes us able to see things in the appropriate literal context. I actually happen to look at pencils as pencils on a regular daily basis; however, ask me what a pencil reminds me of, or to name all of the things I could do/make with a pencil, and it would be pretty much endless (including scientific significance).
 
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