This section Sensing-Intuition Preferences will delve deeper into how differently the two types perceive information.
The Sensing and Intuition functions is about how we perceive information; meaning how we gather information and the type of information we prefer to accept.
Although this preference is less studied than the Extrovert-Introvert preferences, it is nonetheless just as important in the understanding of how different we really are.
These differences have the greatest implications when it comes to communication differences and challenges. In this section, you will understand key differences between Sensors and Intuitives.
Intuitives perceive conceptual information. They are at home with symbols, concepts, abstract theories, and they make connections across their disciplines of knowledge very unconsciously.
Sensors perceive information in a methodical, sequential manner. They prefer practical and specific facts, preferably something they can perceive with their physical senses.
A good example of these differences can be seen clearly in the classroom, where teachers teach according to their preference (either Sensing or Intuition) and students learn according to theirs.
If the teacher and student are different, the student usually suffers. Either he finds the teacher too vague and too fast, or he finds class boring because the teacher is too literal and too slow.
Intuitives enjoy living in the world of ideas. Because they are future-oriented, they like to talk about what they hope to achieve, what kind of business they want to start, or what their dreams and aspirations are.
If you want to excite an Intuitive, only ask him to talk the future. You will see energy emanating from them as they do so! However, they tend to give less care about what is going on in their present lives.
They may not be in an ideal environment currently, but they seem to have an amazing capacity for hope… “It doesn’t matter. I know my future is going to be better than today.”
Sensors are very aware of their physical realities. They are, therefore, more likely to be engaged in conversations that deal with existing people, events or circumstances. These could include events like their bad experiences with a colleague, or the exceptional service they received at a restaurant.
They are not as interested in the world of ideas; they may even see these ideas as wishful thinking by the Intuitives.
“If you had one million, what you would you do with it?” – such a question is a future-oriented question that has to do with a hypothetical scenario. This is a question that an Intuitive would love to answer.
The Sensor may reply, “But I don’t have one million, so I can't tell you.” The Sensor sees the reality much more evidently and points it out, but misses out on the point the Intuitive is trying to make.
In the way we have traditionally perceive intelligence, Intuitives have always been favoured and therefore looked upon as the more intelligent ones. IQ tests and school exams are timed, and reward quickness of understanding, but not necessarily thoroughness of understanding.
In school, the Intuitives were able to get Mathematics questions conceptually right very quickly without the need for continual practice.
Sensors need to understand their work methodically and sequentially. When being taught a subject like Mathematics, they prefer methods and solutions to be presented to them in a step-by-step manner for them to grasp it.
However, when questions are twisted around, it’s to the advantage of the Intuitives who understand Mathematics conceptually. Sensors will struggle to use methods they've been taught to answer such questions.
Hence, these tests generally judge Intuitives to be ‘smarter’. Is it fair? - Well that's another question for another section.
However, with the understanding of personality and the development of intelligence theory, people are beginning to view intelligence in a different light.
Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory is one such example. Now, more people are able to accept that intelligence are not just measured by quickness of understanding or grasping of concepts, but also physical intelligence like the skilled use of our body.
Sensors are great with their memory work and often can remember things with such detail that it seems mind-boggling to the Intuitives. They are also strong kinesthetic learners. When they use their hands and feet to learn, they are far more capable to retain that knowledge in their bodies.
With a natural to grasp concepts and ideas quickly comes also a natural weakness in missing details.
It is more likely that an Intuitive will make careless errors in calculation and computation in Mathematics. This is why theoretical Mathematics in a research environment might suit and Intuitive more; they're not going to be heavily punished for careless error.
At the workplace, the Intuitive likes to communicate in ideas and leave the details to be sorted out by someone else. When they submit a work proposal, they are more likely to commit grammatical or spelling errors.
Because of their methodical and sequential approach, Sensors seldom have such careless error. Although they often take more time to complete tasks, they are less likely to commit these minor errors. This is why a job that requires practical Mathematics like accounting will suit the Sensor more; their precision in tabulating numbers is key.