New Year MBTI: Sensing vs iNtuition

by Lee Jie Min & Kimberley Tay

At first glance, Sensing/iNtuition may seem the most puzzling out of the MBTI functions. You may wonder, “do Sensing people choose not to follow their instincts, or are iNtuitive people oblivious to their surroundings? How are these functions even different from each other in the first place?”

Let us simplify the literature for you – the main difference between Sensing types and iNtuition types is how the respective personalities perceive information.

As a general rule of thumb, Sensing types:


On the other hand, iNtuition types:


To put it simply, iNtuition types see the forest – Sensing types see the trees. If Sensing types have their feet on the ground, iNtuition types are often described to have their head in the clouds.

Naturally, everyone uses a mix of Sensing/iNtuition to process information in different ways, depending on the task at hand. So what defines you as S or N? Well, it depends on your natural tendency. For most people, this is the function you rely on and have thus developed the most. That doesn’t mean that you should solely use one function – both have their respective strengths and weaknesses.

How does knowing your type help? Let’s look at several resolutions to see how you can apply knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses to achieve your goals.



Sensing types, being detail-oriented, may forget about the big picture – perhaps their dream university or eventual career goals. While creating a new year resolution, they may lose track of what they are working towards.
For all those with such personality types, it’s important to keep in mind what your end goal is, and ensure that their resolutions are in line with it. Another thing Sensing types should keep in mind is to look beyond what is in the immediate surroundings and continually explore potential opportunities.


One typical problem an iNtuition type may encounter is their excessive focus on new possibilities, which distracts them from making their dreams a reality. For such types, it may be beneficial to create a series of small, specific goals – everyday things like sticking to your study schedule – to map your progress towards your main aim.


As one might expect, there are difficulties in communication arising from the different ways information is interpreted. Sensing types tend to find iNtuition types’ erratic leaps in thought difficult to follow, whereas iNtuition types may find Sensing types’ inclination to detail distracting.  

That is not to say that a mix of Sensing and iNtuition types would not be ideal – if you know how to harness your team’s natural strengths, the team can work better together to produce great results.


Sensing types are more prone to being accused of OCD, which although can be exasperating, will benefit the group in proof-reading your group’s Written Report. Checking footnotes, alignment, standardisation of text etc. tends to be mind-boggling for iNtuition types, but these can be easily addressed by a Sensing type’s high attention to detail.


iNtuition types usually find it easier to guide the group’s overall direction, ensuring that there are links between the proposal and the project aim.  This will aid in coherence of the overall project. Despite all their differences, it is possible for Sensing and iNtuitive people to work together successfully.

Ultimately, no function is superior to the other (unless subjected to your personal bias). Knowing how to enhance your natural strengths and reduce each function’s limitations will allow you to develop into a more balanced and well-rounded individual.

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