Podcast – Episode 0218 – 3 Styles Of Cognitive Function Loops (Part 1)

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about the 3 styles of cognitive function loops. In this first of a two-part series, we cover the four perceiving functions of “Memory” (Introverted Sensing), “Perspectives” (Introverted Intuition), Exploration (Extraverted Intuition), and “Sensation” (Extraverted Sensing). We show how each of these cognitive functions show up at the 10-Year-Old (or Tertiary) position in the cognitive function stack for the INFP, INTP, ISFP, ISTP, ENFJ, ESFJ, ENTJ, and ESTJ types.
In part 2, we will talk about the four judging cognitive functions.

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Car Model
  • A cognitive function loop is when the Driver and 10 yr old take over the car.
  • It usually results in unhealthy behaviors.
  • This loop creates an echo chamber where your chosen attitude is your entire scope.
  • Our Copilot keeps us balanced by being of the opposite attitude as our Driver.
  • The 10 yr old is the same attitude as the Driver, which is more comfortable for us.
  • If you are an introvert, your 10 yr old is introverted.
  • If you’re an extravert, your 10 yr old is also extraverted.
  • The loop keeps us from the wisdom of our Copilot.
  • The Copilot can feel threatening because it is so different from our Driver.
  • Today we are dealing with the 4 Perceiving functions.
  • There are 3 variants of intensity for this cognitive function loop:
  • An immediate momentary flare-up of response. It is usually short,
  • intense, and circumstantial.
  • A Long-term strategy or tool you employ when you need it. It will continue until you figure out a different approach. It can extend your whole life until you figure it out.
  • A Chronic mindset. This has become part of your identity. Usually unconscious. How you experience life.
  • The third one is the most problematic because it is more subterranean and hardest to break free from.
  • ESFJ – ESTJ
    • 10 yr old is Extraverted Intuition – Exploration”
    • ESFJ Loop – Extraverted Feeling (“Harmony”) and Extraverted Intuition
    • ESTJ Loop – Extraverted Thinking (“Effectiveness”) and Extraverted Intuition
    • In a loop, the Copilot is avoided.
    • The Copilot for ESJs – Introverted Sensing
    • Introverted Sensing (“Memory”) is a very responsible process that taps into the unique human experience and accepts what needs to be accepted. Can be quirky.
    • It helps ESJs to look at their progress or lack thereof.
    • It encourages sympathy for others.
    • When an ESJ is avoiding responsibility, and they don’t want to develop patience, their first line of defense is impulsiveness.
    • Can look like overindulgence or uncharacteristic irresponsibility.
    • Usually momentary. ESJs can’t sustain constant impulsiveness.
    • Can look like a ridiculous decision to the outside world, like eloping, quitting their job suddenly, or buying a new car.
    • The second tool of looping can look like blame-casting.
    • Usually happens due to a feeling of being unfairly assessed by others.
    • ESJs use Extraverted Intuition to find a pattern in the outside world that matches how they are feeling internally.
    • It is effectively a style of projection.
    • “It’s not me; it’s you.”
    • Anytime they don’t want to accept responsibility for whatever is going on they turn it around onto the other person who is blaming them.
    • Tu Quoque Podcast
    • The third style of looping for ESJs is taking shortcuts.
    • Not wanting to do the due diligence to get the result for which they are looking.
    • They use pattern recognition to find opportunities or novel approaches to get the return they want as quickly as possible.
    • Introverted Sensing knows it takes time to build anything.
    • But if the ESJ avoids their Copilot, they create a lifestyle of shortcuts.
    • It may look like the tendency to avoid paying attention to the family to give preference to fictional relationships.
    • This prevents the ESJ from ever getting what they want.
    • Luck becomes a retirement plan.
    • They don’t see themselves taking all these shortcuts.
    • They see it as hacking the system.
  • ENTJ – ENFJ
    • 10 yr old is Extraverted Sensing – “Sensation”
    • ENFJ Loop – Extraverted Feeling (“Harmony”) and Extraverted Sensing
    • ENTJ Loop – Extraverted Thinking (“Effectiveness”) and Extraverted Sensing
    • Sensation is all about physical, in the moment, visceral connection.
    • It is so action oriented it doesn’t over complicate things.
    • It sees the direct route to whatever needs to be done.
    • It gets good at pushing the limitations of the physical world.
    • It is a strength for SPs.
    • For ENJs, they are trying to avoid Introverted Intuition.
    • They need to slow down because the Perspectives process is very fragile and requires a lot of quiet to allow insights to emerge.
    • If an ENJ doesn’t want to slow down, they will avoid Perspectives and go to their tertiary.
    • The first defensive stance usually occurs when they are feeling hurt by the outside world or are looking for fast results.
    • It can look like aggression.
    • Power vs Force book
    • Or it can become monkey mind = massive distraction.
    • An attempt to take action in order to make the problem go away.
    • One is proactive. The other is defensive.
    • The second style is a strategy that they use to manage their image.
    • Sensation is good at picking up on body language.
    • When the ENJ doesn’t want to go to their copilot, they will allow other people’s feedback to determine their value or worth.
    • It becomes all about image management.
    • To other people, it looks like extreme confidence when in reality it is covering over weaknesses.
    • Image mgmt can be allowing people to believe what they want to believe without correcting them.
    • That can be stressful because the truth may come out and expose the ENJ.
    • Joe vs. Volcano “I know he can get the job but can he do the job?”
    • The ENJ can always get the job, but can they do the job?
    • The third style is a life of sensory self-indulgence.
    • “I only do what feels good to me.”
    • If you are shutting off the feedback from the future implications of your action and you want to be super indulgent, some ENJs live a life of massive self-indulgence.
    • Can be video games (ENTJ), or emotional eating (ENFJ).
    • There is a pattern of impatience with all of these EJs.
    • “I don’t have the time to spend to get into my introverted Copilot.”
    • All EJ types look to the outside world to measure their results and see how they are doing. This creates an urgency that they can’t slow down or it will hijack their ability to get things done.
    • Sometimes it wants to get the return without the work.
    • Both Memory and Perspectives understand timelines.
  • ISTP – ISFP
    • 10 yr old is Introverted Intuition – “Perspectives”
    • ISTP Loop – Introverted Thinking (“Accuracy”) and Introverted Intuition
    • ISFP Loop – Introverted Feeling (“Authenticity”) and Introverted Intuition
    • Perspectives creates meaning from patterns within itself.
    • As a 10 yr old, it can misinterpret things.
    • Being proven wrong is very painful to IPs.
    • Their judging process is hugely subjective.
    • So when they get the message that they are wrong, it feels like it fractures their ego.
    • This is why they skip the Copilot because outer world feedback can contradict their judgment.
    • With Perspectives you can find any pattern within yourself if you try hard enough.
    • Sensation interprets reality as it is presented.
    • So the ISPs shut out the objective info and shoehorn a pattern from within to support their position.
    • They can literally make something up by projecting what they want onto the outside world.
    • That’s the first line of defense.
    • It’s like telling a story to yourself about something and convincing yourself it happened even though it didn’t.
    • Others easily see this defensive position because it is obvious to what did and did not happen.
    • The second style of looping is strategy looping.
    • A position of not wanting to do anything that the driver doesn’t want to do.
    • It is often in support of an indulgent position.
    • Can show up as anxiety or paranoia.
    • Anxiety renders one incapable of taking action.
    • Sensation gets people into action immediately to keep things from spiraling out of control.
    • Sensation says: “Don’t overcomplicate it. Just do it.”
    • If the ISP is avoiding Sensation, they may not be particularly motivated.
    • So they will find an excuse to avoid getting into action.
    • “It’s just going to turn out bad anyway.”
    • “People are against me.”
    • A retreative stance.
    • The third style of looping comes on the heels of the second.
    • Second says, “I don’t want to do that. So, I can grab my tool of anxiety/paranoia and don’t do anything I don’t want to do.”
    • The third style is a lifestyle.
    • The ISP has decided they don’t need to do anything they don’t want to do.
    • “I’m different. I don’t have to integrate with society. I am an exception to all the rules.”
    • “Nobody sees things as I see them. I am special and unique.”
    • Their 10 yr old creates fantasies that it is acceptable for them to live outside the normal requirements of society.
    • In extreme cases the person may isolate themselves from society all together and project how wrong the world is compared to them.
    • These are examples of how people can become the worst versions of their type.
    • On the other side, they may become anarchists and fight society for self-centered reasons.
    • They prize the goal of avoiding integration at all costs.
  • INTP – INFP
    • 10 yr old is Introverted Sensing – “Memory.”
    • INTP Loop – Introverted Thinking (“Accuracy”) and Introverted Sensing
    • INFP Loop – Introverted Feeling (“Authenticity”) and Introverted Sensing
    • Ego fears feedback because the idea that they may be wrong is jarring.
    • The first line of defense is to retreat to a safety zone.
    • Memory is about the familiar. Establishing traditions, comfort, and safety.
    • As a 10 yr old, it mostly looks like different variations of comfort seeking.
    • It is usually seen when an INP abruptly leaves an argument, storms out or hangs up the phone angrily.
    • When they see patterns in the outside world that disturb them, they go to comfort and stick with what they already believe.
    • They can also take over the conversation, thereby shutting out input/output.
    • It becomes evident to those around them that they have shut down the conversation because they don’t want to hear something.
    • Sometimes they will call to authority: “I read something that supported my idea, so you are wrong.”
    • We all have a defensive stance, but getting into the Copilot will help alleviate it.
    • These strategies become long term because the person decides to use them as normal coping strategies.
    • The second strategy stays with the theme of comfort thinking, but instead of staying with a comfortable idea they run to physical comfort – not leaving the house, watching Netflix all day, etc.
    • “I’m too stressed, and I can’t do anything at all.”
    • Analysis paralysis.
    • “I can’t adult today.”
    • ISPs anxiety gets in their way.
    • INPs feel too overwhelmed to do anything. So they retreat and check out.
    • “I need more time.”
    • We typically structure our third style of looping in a way that prevents the world from calling us on it.
    • The third style of looping looks like deference. Playing it safe. No risk.
    • If they are super nice to everybody and hand themselves over to everyone else, they never have to change what they think or feel because no one is ever challenging them.
    • Can look like being stuck in a rut. Doing the same thing over and over again.
    • It may look stable to others, but it isn’t the ideal place for the INP.
    • This third style of looping is all the more insidious because it gets a lot of reward from the outside world.
    • But INPs are supposed to challenge the accepted norm.
    • Exploration asks, “What trouble can you get into today?”
    • The theme of all the third styles of looping is ‘death by a thousand cuts.’
    • Every day you are not in your strength is time clocked closer to your death. There is no meaning in life anymore.
    • You have robbed yourself of meaning to establish comfort.
    • EJ – impatience is at the core of all the levels of looping.
    • IP – fear is at the core of all the levels of looping.
    • You never get what you want while you are looping.
    • EJs want return without investment.
    • IPs want to avoid being challenged at any cost.
    • If you never grow you will never receiver the respect you crave.
    • Keep developing your Copilot to become a complete person.
    • The 10 yr old brings delightful flavors when it we use it in support of the Copilot.
    • When an ESJ is using Exploration the right way they stop blame-casting and shortcutting, and they become creative and diversify.
    • When ENJs stop being aggressive and focusing on image management, they start experiencing true meaning in their life and see longer timelines.
    • They become fun and playful.
    • When ISPs stop overcomplicating problems and get realistic they start having a deeper insight and stop taking things at face value.
    • When INPs stop seeing themselves as the only one of their kind, then they can stick with their mission and help the world embody essential concepts.
    • All of our 10 yr olds are significant parts of who we are as long as we recognize that they don’t deserve precedence and should never be called into an argument to support the Driver.
    • Judging functions are coming up next. EPs and IJs.

In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about the 3 styles of cognitive function loops. #MBTI #cognitivefunctions #INFP #INTP #ISFP #ISTP #ENFJ #ENTJ #ESTJ #ESFJ #personalgrowth #myersbriggs

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Showing 15 comments
  • Ben
    Reply

    I love this series of episodes. My partner is an ISTP and we listened to this podcast together. She didn’t resonate much with any of the looping strategies, although I have definitely experienced being on the other end of strategy 1 you describe. I would agree with her, however, that the 2nd and 3rd aren’t quite a fit. It may be that she has developed Se to the point that she doesn’t over-rely on Ni much (she is very evidence and data driven). However, I do experience some elements of the 2nd and 3rd strategies in her stubborn intransigence and irresponsibility when it comes to things that don’t feel like a priority to her, but these things aren’t characterized by paranoia or anxiety, more like indifference or self-righteousness. She does pride herself on her uniqueness but it is also with ambivalence because of the isolation it sometimes results in in relationships.

    I guess my larger question is how these loops might still show up in a subtle way (2nd/3rd strategy level) for those who have developed their co-pilot.

  • Stacy
    Reply

    I just listened to part one, relevant to my type [INFP], yesterday afternoon and had an “OMG, I’m so guilty!” moment, even as they talked about stage 3, lifestyle. Yeah, I’m super nice, live a stable life in a stable marriage, stable financially in retirement, playing it safe, the whole nine yards.

    I recently took the RHETI test for enneagram and tied Nine and Four. I’m probably a Nine, which is all about being super nice and not challenging anyone and keeping the flows of relationships smooth and steady.

    And here I thought I was doing pretty good in life (I certainly receive feedback to that effect), to find out I’m in my mid-50’s and didn’t follow my true life path at all! Maybe I’m exaggerating, but I definitely need to give thought to how I have and still could develop my Exploration process.

    I can’t sell myself short, I have gone out and done stuff, had a successful career, recently embarked on a side vocation as an art teacher (which was scary to me but am now getting comfortable with it), traveled, adventured, pushed past fears and anxieties into having experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I played it safe. But listening to this podcast makes me think I haven’t done enough, likely.

    Listening to the loops ISFPs deal with sounded so much like my husbands brother, it was uncanny. He’s 65 years old and has always lived off the dole of his parents, never a real job, majored in history but didn’t do anything with it except teach a couple of classes that his professor friend encouraged him to do, shuns the Internet (“The Internet is Evil”) or any modern technology (certainly no cell phone), watches TV for hours every day, and devotes himself to fighting the Catholic Church (the only community he really has, ironically). He does nothing he doesn’t want to do, manipulates people to do it for him (and he has a certain charm that lets him get away with it).

    I’ve always felt sometime years before I met him that he faced a crossroads of personal growth and decided to abdicate it, or was just too afraid. It’s sad to be acquainted with someone whose world is shrinking so much, and so ruled by his anxieties and fears. He starts many if not most sentences with “I am anxious that…” or “I fear…”. My husband and I have called him out on all of it, perhaps pushing too hard into shaming language I’m sorry to say, but to no effect. All siblings tried for years to encourage him to prepare vocationally for his parents death, to no avail.

    Because he was living with his mother anyway, before she needed care, when she started to need it he assumed that role and seemed to work hard and earnestly, even as the role demanded more and more of his effort. He wanted to do it. It was a service to her, and to the entire family. She lived perhaps much longer than she normally would have. But then, he really had a hard time letting her go…even at the end he was manipulating hospital staff and family.

  • Chris J
    Reply

    Hi.

    I’m an infrequent listener of your podcast but I have enjoyed the episodes I’ve listened to. Your style works well, with the both of you offering slightly different approaches to the information.

    I have a few comments and critiques. I’ve heard that it’s actually better to start off with critiques before getting into more complimentary comments so I’ll start off there.

    I was definitely emotionally challenged by the content offered in this podcast. As the traits were mentioned I felt charged as if someone, maybe my therapist, listed a number of self-limiting beliefs that I cling to out of a sense of varying levels of desperation. The information was interesting and mostly useful, but the style left me wishing that it were presented in a way that pulled me in and allowed me to internalize the information rather than parse it to look for shaming language.

    As you can tell I’m a IN so hearing the language made me feel that my approach to monitoring my behavior was ‘wrong’ and in some ways caused me to shut out the information. I doubt this was your intent as the podcasts have generally offered information in a way that is meant to benefit the listener.

    I managed to listen to the information and take it in for review after the show, but maybe offering up examples of men or women who exhibited these traits but after some introspection managed to accept their over-reliance on these mechanisms and offer insights into coping strategies they deployed would have helped me better feel that you were guiding me to a better understanding of my thoughts and behavior rather than pointing out ‘flaws’ and causing me to support my sense of self.

    Also, and this could simply be me ‘hallucinating’ but the style of the presentation seemed to be shaming towards people who are overrun by their defenses as you illustrated in your examples of ‘extreme’ behavior. As someone who at times can bunker in and not accept my responsibility to engage with life or challenge my worldview in order to grow as a human being I felt caught off guard and stunned that I was, in my mind, being associated as a ‘loser’ according to the standard set in this podcast. I think a more empathetic approach such as explaining the emotional wounds that may be at the root of such behavior or perhaps showing more in detail the benefits of shedding the over-reliance on the defensive traits might make the medicine go down smoother.

    One last critique. While I appreciated the depth of the information presented in the podcast, I ended up confused about how to move forward to make changes in my day-to-day life. I tend to need a ‘goal’ or a state of mind while learning information that represents or foretells what the changes will bring. Maybe I am ignorant of that end goal because of a lack of experience listening to your podcast but the benefits of making changes was unsettled to me. Also, are there techniques listed in other podcasts such as mindfulness or CBT techniques that might offer ways to monitor when in fact my behavior is defensive which at that point that behavior can be tweaked to resolve matters in a healthier way?

    I left a lot here but again, I want to let you know that I enjoyed the show. The above statement are thoughts that came to mind but in no way reflect a lack of regard for the information presented or the efforts made to share your knowledge.

  • Brittany
    Reply

    Hi, I’ve been podcasting awhile but am still new to organizing all the functions in my mind.

    Would the ENFP loop be on the judging episode? Is Extraverted Thinking a judging cognitive function?

    • Megan M.
      Reply

      Hey Brittany!! Thinking and Feeling are the judging functions (Intuition and Sensing are perceiving functions) so yes, Extraverted Thinking is a judging cognitive function. And ENFP would loop between Extraverted Intuition and Extraverted Thinking and therefore I think the podcast you’re looking for is the Part 2. 🙂

  • Megan
    Reply

    Really enjoyed this podcast and am excited for the next one. (and for the publication of the book!) My husband is an INTP and it will be interesting to see if he resonates with the things you said about the INTP loops once he gets a chance to listen. (Given that we are married and spend a good deal of time together, I have definitely seen some of those patterns in him, and I think he would recognize them too, but we’ll see.) And on the flip side, it will be helpful to hear about the INFJ loops in the next podcast to increase my own self-awareness of my defensive strategies.

  • Justine G
    Reply

    I believe a lot of the problems you describe are ultimately down to either low self-esteem (which might be ‘hidden’) or some other screwed-up-ness that goes beyond personality typology. Thus I doubt whether this can be invariably be fixed simply by using the ‘right’ functions, as it may not be getting adequately at deeper issues that are central to why a person hasn’t got their act together or whatever.

    If you take INPs for example, it’s hard to see how Ne is going to fix a problem of self-loathing that will almost inevitably make it harder to have faith in one’s own judgement. Ne can be experienced as something that never quite allows you to settle on anything solid when you lack self-belief. Maybe I am over-imbueing this with an immature ISJ angle of Ne-as-negative-possibilities or Ne-as-absolute-openness meaning anything could be true or untrue, so have possibly not really grasped the INP experience. I have just noticed I am more likely to identify with INP than ISJ (based on descriptions), because INPs appear to grapple more with the meaning of life.

    But not wanting to sound negative, I look forward to the next installment.

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      All of the challenges one faces are the emergent of an entire system running. Type is one node in the system, and can be helpful but won’t address things like healing from traumas. That said, I’ve noticed a general suspicion that INxPs have with using Ne in any way that isn’t conceptual. I suspect this is born from confusion on how the dynamic between the Driver (dominant) and the Co-Pilot (auxiliary) functions manifest when working together. Insecurity in an INxP often comes from uncertainty around how the world will respond to the judgments of their Driver function. Ne – true Exploration – puts the INxP in a variety of circumstances that not only test their mettle and build the self-esteem that comes from surviving (and eventually thriving) in the real world, but it also helps them test/iterate ways of engaging with the world to both refine those judgments as well as contextualize them in a way that others can understand.

      Insecurity in INxPs is exacerbated by resting into the same-old and referencing past experiences, unless it’s post-processing the epic adventures they’ve already had via their Ne.

      -A-

  • Annette Finger
    Reply

    Did you mean to describe Te as Accuracy, above?

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Hi Annette! Nope. Thanks for spotting that and pointing it out. I decided to do a water fast this week and didn’t realize it was scrambling my brain until day four. I appreciate you keeping us accurate. 🙂

  • Abbie
    Reply

    Hey guys,

    Loved this episode! It would be amazing if you guys synthesised this information into an article to refer back to. Look forward to the next one.

  • Lola
    Reply

    Your comments on ENJ ‘joie de vivre’ and image management are very accurate.

    It makes me wonder, in getting into their co-pilot of Perspectives, what do you find happens to ENJs? What do their inner identities often end up being? How do you know when an ENJ is actually introspecting and when they are actually showing you their genuine selves? (As opposed to a curated persona that they have created based on what they think you want them to be?)

  • Ash
    Reply

    Suzanne, just a thought, but wouldn’t grudge-holding just be an relational form of staying in a position that’s comfortable while refusing to consider new information?

  • Sam
    Reply

    I have to say, next to the two “intuition” podcasts you did a while back, I thought this one was one of your absolute best episodes. Although my loop wasn’t covered in this episode, I felt like you were describing what I’ve observed in my E-J: I-P friends and colleagues. Your insight combined with the effortless delivery and ability to deconstruct what is otherwise pretty (deliciously!) heady stuff is parallel to none. Needless to say, I’m a huge fan.

    A few observations: I’ve noticed that I have much more tendency to loop in a professional context where I feel like I’m going to be judged or unfairly evaluated. In my personal endeavors and relationships, I’m able to get into my Te co-pilot much more effortlessly. Perhaps this has more to do with what types of situations put me in a “threat state” but I’ve noticed this pattern with others as well (including my partner who is a ENFP, but at work calls upon a lot more Te but hardly any at home). Have you noticed how certain types can show up very differently in a “work” personality than in their normal day to day?

    I’ve also noticed that depending on the type of “threat” presented, my loop may look a bit different. I know this was only a taste…can’t wait to read your book!

  • Suzanne Angelo
    Reply

    I was looking forward to listening to this episode about Looping, but surprisingly I did not feel that is resonated with my own personal experience. I’m an INFP, and from what I read elsewhere I expected my looping style to be about holding grudges or feeling resentment about past wrongs (which I have experienced), but that aspect of the Fi-Si loop was not addressed at all in this episode.

    My mom is an ISTJ, and I have observed her apparently caught in a defensive Si-Fi loop several times. In that loop she brings up all past events where she’s felt wronged, in random order due to the disorganization of her internal feelings. And the language that she chooses at those times disregards any Te-effectiveness considerations for our ongoing relationship.

    Can you discuss some in your next looping episode ways of braking someone else out of a loop? With my ISTJ mom for example, I’ve had some limited luck with Te-oriented questions, but I could use some more specific ideas. I bet others have seen loops in their loved ones as well, so advise on how to intentionally activate the other person’s secondary process would be great!

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