Podcast – Episode 0225 – The Car Model (Your Personality Cognitive Function Stack)

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia go into great detail around “The Car Model” and how to envision your personality cognitive function stack.

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Car Model article
  • Horizontal models assume everyone is on the same level
  • Vertical models – assumes there is a hierarchy
  • You can find ways to grow yourself using your own personality type
  • The car model is a metaphor to help us understand the cognitive function stack
  • In the Myers-Briggs system, which was built on Carl Jung’s work, there are 8 cognitive functions which are mental processes everyone uses to take in (perceive) info and evaluate (judge) that info.
  • 4 of these cognitive functions are judging or decision-making functions
  • 4 of these cognitive functions are perceiving or learning functions
  • The 4 judging functions are related to Thinking and Feeling
    • There are two styles of thinking – Introverted and Extraverted Thinking – Ti & Te
    • There are two styles of feeling processes – Introverted and Extraverted Feeling – Fi & Fe
  • Introverted = inward
  • Extraverted = outward
  • Thinking evaluative functions are more impersonal and data-oriented
  • Feeling evaluative functions are more personal and focused on the human component
  • The 4 judging functions are:
    • Introverted Thinking
    • Extraverted Thinking
    • Introverted Feeling
    • Extraverted Feeling
  • Judging = Evaluative/Decision-making
  • Is this good or bad? How will time, people, and resources be affected?
  • Judging = what should be happening?
  • The 4 perceiving functions are related to Sensing and Intuition
  • There are two styles of Sensing – Introverted and Extraverted
  • There are two styles of Intuition – Introverted and Extraverted
  • Perceiving processes inform the kinds of things that interest us.
  • Perceiving processes are about info gathering but only the info that captures us.
  • So 4 people may see the same situation in 4 completely different ways.
  • The blind men and the elephant
  • For Sensors, they prefer info that is reliable and verifiable by the body’s senses
  • For Intuitives, they prefer info that is more abstract and speculative.
  • Introverted Intuition vs Extraverted Intuition podcast
  • Introverted Sensing vs Extraverted Sensing podcast
  • Introverted Thinking vs Extraverted Thinking
  • Extraverted Feeling vs Introverted Feeling
  • That is the 8 cognitive functions
  • The car model helps you figure out which of these functions you prefer.
  • You will have a mixture of 4 of these functions – Introverted and Extraverted/Sensing and iNtuitive
  • All humans need access to the 4 components of their personality
  • They need a way to get outer world feedback – or Extravert
  • And everybody needs to get inner world feedback – or Introvert
  • We also need a way to take in info and determine the value of that info
  • Of those four cognitive functions, you still tend to feel drawn to two of them.
  • Figure out those two, and you will be able to figure out all four of your functions.
  • An ENTP’s dominant cognitive function (Driver) is Extraverted Intuition
  • Extraverted Intuition allows an ENTP to get outer world feedback (Extravert) and take in info (iNtuition)
  • But two pieces are missing because Ne can’t judge info and it doesn’t have any access to the ENTPs inner world.
  • So an ENTP has to balance it with an Introverted Judging function. For ENTPs that is Introverted Thinking.
  • ENFPs have the same dominant process as ENTPs (Ne), but ENFPs balance Extraverted iNtuition with Introverted Feeling.
  • EPs Judging process can never be Extraverted. They have to have a way to engage with their inner world.
  • If you are an Extravert who leads with an Extraverted Judging process, you must balance it with an Introverted Perceiving process. (EJs)
  • If you are an Introvert who leads with an Introverted Judging process, you must balance it out with an Extraverted Perceiving process. (IPs)
  • If you are an Introvert who leads with an Introverted Perceiving process, you must balance it out with an Extraverted Judging process. (IJs)
  • There is a reason why some cognitive functions are paired together.
  • They allow us to fill the criteria that we require to learn and evaluate.
  • Each cognitive function has a polar opposite.
  • We call these polarities
  • When you are paying attention to one side of the polarity, you aren’t paying attention to the other one.
  • So one becomes a strength, and the other becomes a weakness.
  • The cost of specialization.
  • Polarities help you determine which are your strengths and which are your weaknesses.
  • Perceiving polarities:
  • Extraverted Intuition vs. Introverted Sensing
  • Introverted Intuition vs. Extraverted Sensing
  • Judging polarities:
  • Extraverted Feeling vs. Introverted Thinking
  • Introverted feeling vs. Extraverted Thinking
  • Where there is one, there will always be the other.
  • Like a seesaw – both sides are always present
  • Your personality type is wired to favor a single cognitive function
  • We call it your dominant cognitive function  
  • It is your go-to tool in your toolbox
  • To be a complete person, you must have another function that balances you out, which we call your auxiliary function.
  • Understanding your polarities is how you determine the rest of your stack
  • The polar opposite of your auxiliary is your tertiary function
  • The polar opposite of your dominant function is your inferior cognitive function
  • The car model is an easy metaphor for understanding how your cognitive function stack works
  • Our Dominant function is the Driver – the one you put in charge; your flow state; people love being in this process. It gives them energy.
  • If you are an Introvert, not all Introverted activities are going to appeal to your Introverted Driver.
  • It depends on what appeals to your Driver.
  • Energy recharge may not happen if you are doing introverted things that don’t appeal to your Driver.
  • Same with Extraverts.
  • Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi 
  • Flow = you lose time while doing this activity because it is so enjoyable.
  • We tend to set up our lives to challenge our driver if we can’t do that we get bored or depressed.
  • If you ask someone to describe themselves, they will usually describe their Driver process.
  • Our driver is going to be either Introverted or Extraverted, and it is going to be either a Judging or Perceiving process
  • The driver is so dominant it is the lens thru which you engage in the world.
  • It is unconscious. We assume the rest of the world shows up in the same way.
  • The auxiliary function is the Copilot.
  • It will be the opposite attitude of the Driver.
  • If the driver is Extraverted, the Copilot will be Introverted
  • If the Driver is a Judging function, the Copilot will be a Perceiving function, which keeps us balanced
  • Exercise the Copilot to gain better control of it and become the best version of yourself
  • Imagine the Copilot as the navigator. It doesn’t control where the vehicle is going, but it helps navigate our path thru life
  • We tend to prefer the driver functions attitude.
  • If we are Extraverts, we prefer the outer world.
  • If we are Introverts, we prefer our inner world.
  • The Copilot forces us out of the dominant attitude, which can be uncomfortable.
  • We tend to marginalize our Copilot.
  • Make sure you are accessing the Copilot in a wide range of activities on a regular basis.
  • Don’t turn it into a one trick pony
  • Each of these functions is tethered to its opposite.
  • The Driver has a polar opposite, and so does the Copilot.
  • Behind the Copilot is our tertiary cognitive function, it has the development of a 10 yr old
  • Take the copilot and find the exact opposite cognitive function to determine what your tertiary function is.
  • If your Copilot is Introverted Thinking (Ti), your tertiary is Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
  • If your Copilot is Introverted Feeling (Fi) your tertiary is Extraverted Thinking (Te)
  • Our tertiary is at the development of a 10 yr old because it is not as developed as the Copilot or Driver.
  • It has a little bit of sophistication but not as much as an adult
  • You wouldn’t hand the wheel of a car to a 10 yr old.
  • We shouldn’t rely on this cognitive function for navigation or driving.
  • One of the reasons it only has the sophistication of a 10 yr old is because it is opposite the Copilot.
  • If the Copilot is Introverted, the 10 yr old will be Extraverted and vice versa
  • The 10 yr old is also of the same attitude as the Driver.
  • If your driver is introverted your 10 yr old will be Introverted.
  • If we haven’t set up our life to access our copilot on a regular basis, we will naturally give preference to our 10 yr old since it has the same attitude as our Driver
  • This is what creates the cognitive function loop – Driver/Tertiary take over the car
  • We are going to want to develop our 10 yr old because it is in the world we prefer.
  • Once you have fully developed the Copilot, you can start bringing in the 10 yr old as a balance to the Copilot.
  • The balance can be complicated.
  • Have you ever seen a family where the kids rule the family?
  • The same thing can happen with people’s personalities.
  • The adults can’t turn over control to the 10 yr old.
  • The 10 yr old needs to be a kid.
  • In a balanced situation, the Copilot is in control and supports the 10 yr old
  • Behind the Driver, is another cognitive function that has even less sophistication
  • It is our inferior cognitive function and it has the maturity of a 3 yr old. We also call it a blind spot.
  • It is unconscious for us in much the same way as our Driver
  • It feels foreign to us – even icky.
  • We have a weird push-pull relationship with that 3 yr old
  • If we set up a situation where we only give our 3 yr old attention when it is misbehaving, we have created a reactionary relationship with it.
  • Naomi Quenk calls it the Grip
  • It can be a bit embarrassing when this part of us takes over.
  • But if we give it the attention it needs, it can become our aspiration.
  • 3 yr olds are untouched by cynicism.
  • There can be a lot of pain and trauma trapped in our inferior function.
  • The Copilot is of the same attitude (Introverted/Extraverted) as the 3 yr old
  • So the Copilot can help manage the issues buried in the 3 yr old
  • Start with the 4 letter code (ESTP, INTJ, etc.)
  • Imagine this code as a sandwich.
  • The First and last letters are the bread and the middle letters are the meat
  • The second letter of the 4 letter code is either an S or N (Sensing or iNtuition)
  • This is how you perceive the world, take in info, and learn.
  • The third letter of the four letter code is either a T or F (Thinking or Feeling)
  • This is how you judge the world, make decisions and evaluate.
  • That is the meat of the sandwich
  • SF = Sensing is your Perceiving function and Feeling is your Judging function
  • Now let’s go the last letter of the 4 letter code. It will be either a P or J (Perceiving or Judging)
  • This is a crucial part of your 4 letter code in determining how your cognitive function stack is organized.
  • This letter tells us which of the two middle letters are being Extraverted and which are being Introverted.
  • If you are a Perceiver, and the last letter of your 4 letter code is a P, then you are extraverting your Perceiving process – your second letter.
  • So, an ISFP will be extraverting the S in their 4 letter code and introverting the F.
  • If you are a Judger (the last letter of your 4 letter code is a J), then you are introverting your Perceiving process – the second letter – and extraverting your Judging process – the third letter.
  • So, an ESFJ would be introverting the S in their 4 letter code and extraverting the F.
  • If you are a Judger and you are extraverting your Judging process, put a little e next to the third letter.
  • So, an ESFJ would look like this: E S Fe J – that tells us that ESFJ’s judge the world with Fe or Extraverted Feeling.
  • If the Judging process is being extraverted, then we automatically introvert our Perceiving process, so put a little i next to the second letter – E Si Fe J
  • That tells us that ESFJs perceive the world thru Si or Introverted Sensing
  • So each of the middle letters of our 4 letter code has a different attitude attached to it.
  • If one is introverted the other needs to be extraverted.
  • Since an ISFP extraverts their perceiving process, it would look like this: I Se Fi P
  • ISFPs take in info with Extraverted Sensing, and they evaluate the info with Introverted Feeling
  • To determine which cognitive function you have a preference for you will look to the first letter of the 4 letter code.
  • If you are an ISFP, you will have a preference for introversion. So, your dominant cognitive function will be introverted.
  • I Se Fi P – Introverted Feeling (Fi) will be the dominant cognitive function of all ISFPs.
  • If you are an ESFJ, you will have a preference for Extraversion. So, your dominant cognitive function will be extraverted.
  • E Si Fe J – Extraverted Feeling (Fe) will be the dominant cognitive function of all ESFJs.
  • If you are drawing out the 4 quadrants of your car model, put the dominant cognitive function in the Driver’s spot.
  • That leaves one more cognitive function. Put it in your Copilot spot.
  • For ISFPs, Their dominant is Introverted Feeling, so their copilot is Extraverted Sensing – I Se Fi P
  • For ESFJs, their dominant is Extraverted Feeling, so their Copilot is Introverted Sensing – E Si Fe J
  • To determine the last two seats in your car – the back seat passengers – find the polar opposite of the front two passengers.
  • If your Driver is Extraverted Feeling, your 3 yr old or inferior function is Introverted Thinking.
  • If your copilot is Extraverted Sensing, your 10 yr old or tertiary function is Introverted Intuition.
  • You can do this for all the types and figure out the cognitive function stack for everyone
  • Now you know how to figure out your cognitive function stack by using your 4 letter code
  • For more information, search your type on our website and listen to the podcast where we discuss your cognitive function stack
  • This gets easier. Patterns emerge. It can seem difficult at first.

 

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Showing 3 comments
  • Jess Visher
    Reply

    Loved the recap! Question: where are my other four functions? I know there’s eight total but only four in the car. Are they in another car, or possibly _the_ car?

  • Rieke
    Reply

    I have trouble figuring out if I am an INTJ or an INFJ, I do know that I have really strong Introverted Inutition.
    Te and Fi do work together a bit like Ti and Fe. I am confused and I really want to know which type I am so that I can start working on myself with confidense.

  • Karen
    Reply

    It is great how every time I listen to a podcast, there is something new there for me to learn.
    I thought I was very familiar with the car model, but experience with PH told me to listen anyway, and I really appreciated your explanation of developing my copilot beyond being a ‘one trick pony’. Thanks for sharing this stuff and bringing your depth of knowledge.

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