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Meaning, say by cognitive functions someone is an ESFJ, but the dichotomy tests give them ENFP - perhaps with very strong perceiving. Why might this be? Doesn't that render the individual letters useless?
If the N and the "strong P" score came from a respectable dichotomy test — e.g., the official "Step I" MBTI — or from a type analysis based on a reasonably good understanding of what the S/N and J/P dimensions involve, I'd suspect it was probably the person's "cognitive functions" analysis that was off, rather than the N and the P.

For what it's worth, your 4w3 Enneagram type, and the interests you list in your profile, are both significantly more consistent with NFP than SFJ.

For more from me on the dichotomies vs. the functions, see this post.

For more from me on the J/P dimension, see this post.

And for more from me on S/N, see this post.
 

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Meaning, say by cognitive functions someone is an ESFJ, but the dichotomy tests give them ENFP - perhaps with very strong perceiving. Why might this be? Doesn't that render the individual letters useless?
The letters actually do impact a lot, and they are not useless in the slightest. If you are using a good dichotomy test, then the letters should accurately depict whether you're a judger or perceiver.

If you are a judger, your J function will be extroverted, and your P function will be introverted. If this was not the case when you took the dichotomy test, then you did not accurately answer the test.

If you are a perceiver, your P function will be extroverted, and your J will be introverted.

An ESFJ will have judging qualities. Having extroverted judging means you organize the world around you, whether it be through people (Fe) or empirical data (Te). An ENFP, such as I, has an extroverted perceiving function (Ne), which means that I prefer learning from the world around me and experiencing it as opposed to organizing it.

So, in short, your dichotomy and function should line up. If not, you were tested or analyzed incorrectly. The only time this may not be true is extroversion vs. introversion, because INFJs and ISFJs tend to be very social introverts, and ENFPs and ENTPs tend to be less social extroverts.
 
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I'm def at least an ExFJ by cognitive stuff and I test consistently as an INFP =D I think this is because I have GAD, and the way I handle situations is very P-like... It's also very J-like, because I am always on time, I work well with a deadline, and I like things planned and orderly. I literally always have a calendar / planner in my head, I am hyper aware of time, and really I'm not like a P at all except that I procrastinate (which is a coping message for anxiety) and I don't care about physical organization. But still, that's enough. I'm always INFP on the basic MBTI personality tests :p
 
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I'm def at least an ExFJ by cognitive stuff and I test consistently as an INFP =D I think this is because I have GAD, and the way I handle situations is very P-like... It's also very J-like, because I am always on time, I work well with a deadline, and I like things planned and orderly. I literally always have a calendar / planner in my head, I am hyper aware of time, and really I'm not like a P at all except that I procrastinate (which is a coping message for anxiety) and I don't care about physical organization. But still, that's enough. I'm always INFP on the basic MBTI personality tests :p
Ah, really? That's weird. I usually either get INFP or INFJ on tests. Probably because I'm not as extroverted as I would like to be due to social anxiety and insecurities. The 'J' is because I have strong Te, and my father instilled organization in me at such a young age. I'm definitely naturally a P type, though. Function wise, I'm definitely an ENFP ^^.
 
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I'm inclined to think there's a fairly noticeable disconnect between J/P as a dimension-in-itself and J/P as a functions-pointer: the characteristics which the former deals in (planned, orderly, seeking closure, &c. for J types; flexibility, spontaneity, open-endedness, &c. for P types) differ considerably from those intertwined in the latter (particularly notably, the total lack of consideration with respect to introverted functions). Even to the extent that the concepts do overlap, the connection between the two notions of J/P involves a number of inferences being drawn that are difficult to justify (e.g., which of the middle letters - the "functions" - is most preferred, along with the supposed attitude of each function). I don't think that the "individual letters" are useless (far from it), but I would say that the assumptions that exist as to how those letters pertain to "cognitive functions" are decidedly questionable.
 
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J vs P is not descriptive of any function at all, it's just a generalized and meaningless association. Cleaning up after yourself is associated with an extroverted judging function, but that has nothing do with the function.
 

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Meaning, say by cognitive functions someone is an ESFJ, but the dichotomy tests give them ENFP - perhaps with very strong perceiving. Why might this be? Doesn't that render the individual letters useless?
I would say exactly the opposite.
 

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Meaning, say by cognitive functions someone is an ESFJ, but the dichotomy tests give them ENFP - perhaps with very strong perceiving. Why might this be? Doesn't that render the individual letters useless?
Easy,

1. Tests are very poorly-worded. All of them.
2. Tests are horribly-made.
3. Tests are based on stereotypes and descriptions. Which would be more accurate if tests didn't suck so much at explaining their questions.

J vs P is not descriptive of any function at all, it's just a generalized and meaningless association. Cleaning up after yourself is associated with an extroverted judging function, but that has nothing do with the function.
This isn't entirely true.

J = Judging = Fi, Ti, Fe, Te.

J in a four-letter combination (INTJ) = Je as one of first two functions. In this case Te.

TJ = Te
TP = Ti

FJ = Fe
FP = Fi

INJ = Ni
INP = Ne

ISJ = Si
ISP = Se


J does imply a function--or rather, two functions--Fe and Te.

Fe and Te have similarities. To consider "J" is not useless. There are clear preferences that can be observed between the groups Fe/Te and Fi/Ti. (between the groups J and P).


J's are goal-oriented people. P's are process-oriented people. To name one example.

J's care more about the outcome of the matter. P's care more about the principle of the matter.


When J's are doing something that doesn't have a clear outcome or goal in sight, they can feel idle and lost. J's are not prone to enjoy doing things "just for their own sake." There must be a purpose.

For P's, the purpose is often simple curiosity or interest. They do not require a goal to feel satisfied in doing a task. They can just do the task for it's own sake and be perfectly content in that. These people are often very directionless and unmotivated. And they're comfortable that way.
 
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