After Sensation and Intuition, the second biggest discrepancy in worldview is seen in the difference between Perceivers and Judgers. This is another approximate 50/50 split in population with perhaps slightly more people favoring Judging. The chasm between the two types, however, is vast.

When it comes right down to it, the difference between the two is this: Perceivers organize their inner world to have outer world freedom, and Judgers organize their outer world to have inner world freedom.

Okay, so what does that mean? It means this: when Judgers think, they like to “wander the garden of their minds,” so to speak. Ideas and thoughts come to them the same way fish swim around in a koi pond and it requires calm and peace to really focus or even see them clearly. If Judgers are deep in thought and are disrupted, it’s like the disturbing the waters of that koi pond – the little idea swims away and they may or may not ever be able to get it back.

Therefore, to have enough inner peace to watch those ideas, their outer world – or, the environment they’re in – they must have at least a measure of control over potential disruption.

What starts out as a simple need to ‘be able to think’ grows into an all-encompassing need to have order in their environment. Judgers repeatedly report that they think better when their house is organized and they have no visual clutter. Therefore, it’s just easier to the keep the house tidy. Ditto for the car, their work desk, their private room, etc…

On the flip side, Perceivers are the exact opposite. Thoughts are well organized, and if you interrupt a Perceiver in the middle of a thought, the mind tags and files it for later. Recalling it is simply a matter of finding the right subject, category, ‘mental file cabinet’ to retrieve it. (However, most Perceivers are less aware of this process than Judgers are, probably due to the frustration Judgers experience due to losing their thought.)

This ability allows Perceivers to engage in their number one favorite activity: improvisation. For Perceivers, having complete freedom to act in the outer world is extremely satisfying. But the only way to effectively improvise – or, ‘turn on a dime’ – requires one to make decisions and choices extremely quickly. This is best illustrated in baseball batters, anticipating the moment when the pitcher throws the ball. They have to be able to respond extremely quickly, making the executive decision when exactly to swing the bat. Having quick, immediate access to information like the effect of the wind, the curve of the ball, the weight required behind the hit… gives the batter far more precision to effectively hit the ball in a controlled direction.

This can also be seen by Perceivers while driving, dancing, and in conversation. While Judgers can be quick-witted, it is usually Perceivers who are the best improv comedians. However, it also means they aren’t usually all that concerned about disruptions, and so household organization usually gets put on the backburner. It’s almost always a Perceiver who throws their clothes around negligently, ending up with a “floordrobe.”

As with all the dichotomies, understanding the differences goes a long way to understanding motive and thought process. It helps us collaborate and pool our strengths, as opposed to squandering them to judgment.


  • Victor
    • Victor
    • July 26, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Do you really have that much a of a clean and organized mind? Are your thoughts, images and abstractions truly filed away and organized by category and subject?

    As an INTJ, setting things in order in the external world is just something that must be done, almost to the Point of OCD, having things go where they always normally go, in order, as not to loose them later.

    On the inside, thoughts and abstract images are not as organized. Things fly around here and there arriving and going as a wisp of air.

    But there is certain pleasure and deep satisfaction in planning and focusing on a goal, watching it come to creation and life in this external world. Being able to build it. Watch it, improve upon it. It feels great to work towards and achieve a goal, always making progress. On days or stretches of time without any particular goal, it can feel as if your lost.

    Not sure of other types do this but also have an obsessive trait of studying and exploring deeply 24/7 any subject matter of interest. Such as myself spending so much time this last week listening and reading everything I can on the differences in INTJ, INTJ, INFJ, INFJ.

    What are your inputs?

  • Scott Wallace
    • Scott Wallace
    • January 29, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    And do you play this game with the one being hacked knowledge?

  • John Combs
    • John Combs
    • February 10, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    This helped because I thought I was more of an INTP because of my “absent-minded” behavior. But I always knew that what was perceived as being a “daydreamer” was really me trying to focus on a train of thought. Now I know that the fact that I get so frustrated when someone “derails my train of thought” means I am much more likely to be an INTJ.

  • Jamian
    • Jamian
    • November 6, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    This article really made me think and led me to a deeper understanding of how extroverted vs introverted judging functions play out and why. As a perceiver who has a dominant introverted judging process, however (INTP), I think some of your descriptions apply more to E/Ps than to I/Ps. I don’t relate to having internal world organized to be free for “their number one favorite activity: improvisation”. My number one favorite activity is crunching data in my mind. Neglecting organization of the outside world is a side effect, possibly closer to an imperative, of devoting the mental energy required for my restorative introverted thinking. What I’ve found J’s seem to have trouble wrapping their heads around is this: As challenging as it is for them to accept and adapt to a, shall we say, “free form” environment (e.g. floordrobe), that is how insurmountable it is for me to extricate myself from my dominant inner process that is like oxygen to me, and conform to external constructs (and heaven-forbid, social expectations).

    The way I see it, I apply my decisive judgement constantly to my inner world, thus in the outer world anything goes. I am not necessarily compelled to improvise, but I disdain being expected to conform to organizational expectations. My ENFJ ex-room mate takes a sink full of dishes as a personal affront. I take her insistence on them being cleaned and put away as a toxic drain on my inner solace. Especially after I’ve spent all day with SJs at work who have authority over me and expectations of me in terms of efficiency that I never measure up to, doing the dishes is pretty much the lowest priority use of my energy imaginable. It can even be the tipping point of my sanity at times. Sorry for the melodramatic flavor, but this is true in a way I’ve never seen a J really comprehend. I’m sure I can’t truly grasp how disruptive it is for them to have a disordered environment either. But though J and P are split approximately 50/50, there is a strong social imperative of cleanliness and organization being the more considerate, socially conscious inclination. Well, I’m ready for someone to be socially conscious of my and just leave my crap out where I left it instead of raping my essential, restorative mental space/time by harassing and guilt-tripping me about it.

  • Jamian
    • Jamian
    • November 6, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    I was pondering this thought derailment issue as well as I was reading this. I am very solidly an INTP and before reading this I had described my train of thought to people as a whip of smoke. The slightest breeze disrupts it and it takes time to re-form. But I re-assessed that postulate and realized that when I get so disrupted is when I’m trying to articulate myself verbally and someone interrupts me, or when I’m trying to accomplish a series of tasks in a protocol, which is extremely taxing for me in the best of times, let alone when in a chaotic environment. A mind wired for accuracy and exploration has penchant for tangentiality, crunching data all along any path that presents its self. Verbalizing my thoughts or taking efficient action in the world requires tons of energy and if I’m distracted or diverted, I find myself lost in the world, and floundering while I re-collect my internal landmarks and start over.

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