|Keirsey Temperament||Artisan (SP type)|
|Cognitive Functions (Harold Grant Stack)|
|Dominant||Extraverted Sensing (Se)|
|Auxiliary||Introverted Feeling (Fi)|
|Tertiary||Extraverted Thinking (Te)|
|Inferior||Introverted Intuition (Ni)|
|Opposing||Introverted Sensing (Si)|
|Critical Parent||Extraverted Feeling (Fe)|
|Deceiving||Introverted Thinking (Ti)|
|Devilish||Extraverted Intuition (Ne)|
In analytical psychology, an ESFP (Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perception) is a psychological type used in self-assessment typology instruments like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for individuals who self-report preferences for extraversion, Sensing, Feeling and Perception on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and similar typology systems based on the work of Carl G. Jung in Psychological Types. ESFPs account for about 4–10% of the population. According to Baron and Wagele, the most common Enneatypes for ESFPs are Helpers (2) and Enthusiasts (7). Keirsey referred to ESFPs as Performers, one of the four types belonging to the Artisan temperament.
ESFPs live in the moment experiencing life to the fullest. They enjoy people, as well as material comforts. ESFPs take a hands-on approach in most things but tend to rush into things. They usually dislike theory and written explanations. Because ESFPs tend to live in the present moment they do not often think about long-term effects or the consequences of their actions.
Jung postulated that individuals use a series of abstract mental processes, often called cognitive functions, to mentally structure and process information. The theory was based on ideas developed through clinical observations. Although, Jung defined the theory of psychological types, the arrangement and orientation of the functions is subject to debate. The most common arrangement for the functions is the Harold Grant stack. In the Harold Grant stack, the (hierarchically organized) cognitive functions of ESFPs are as follows:
Dominant: Extraverted Sensing (Se)
ESFPs tend to focus on the things that are immediately aesthetically appealing in the spur of the moment. Se is cultivated through social interaction with other people, doing things together. However, as a side affect of this, ESFPs may be too quickly drawn to things not worth their time or energy and then feel increasingly frustrated by their lack of efficiency and organisational skill.
Auxiliary: Introverted Feeling (Fi)
ESFPs may get caught up in the interactions of the moment, with no mechanism for weighing, evaluating, or anchoring themselves. Introverted Feeling (Fi) provides an anchor to evaluate the moral worth of situations before acting. If ESFPs do not find a place where they can use their gifts and be appreciated for their contributions, they tend to feel frustrated and may become distracted or overly impulsive.
Tertiary: Extraverted Thinking (Te)
Although Fi helps the ESFP make decisions more effectively, they also need an extraverted judging function to make decisions, affecting decisions in the real world. As Fi becomes extensively used, ESFPs feel increasingly frustrated by lack of structure and organisation. For example, they may have trouble accepting and meeting deadlines, or become hypersensitive, internalizing others’ actions and decisions. Extraverted Thinking (Te) helps the ESFP balance their moral reasoning decisions via Fi with impersonal, external decisions (Te). However, because of dominant Se in the stack, ESFPs tend to see Te as overly controlling and as such, form a insistence to developing it.
Inferior: Introverted Intuition (Ni)
With no internal motivation for their spontaneous decisions (Se), ESFPs may gradually build up feelings of worthlessness as they struggle to differentiate between themselves and reality. Consequently, ESFPs may feed off of others as a means of forming their own internal vision. The ESFP introjects their sense of self from the environment. This leads to feelings of frustration and falseness because it is not their true self (Fi). It is natural for ESFPs to give less attention to their non-preferred Intuitive parts, but if they neglect these too much, they may fail to look at long-term consequences, acting on immediate needs of themselves and others. They may also avoid complex or ambiguous situations and people, putting enjoyment ahead of obligations, even when feeling (or knowing) that it is not what they want (Fi). Due to the conflict between Fi and Se, they may feel helpless (improper use of Te). Under great stress, ESFPs may feel overwhelmed internally by negative possibilities. They then put energy into developing simplistic global explanations for their negativity. They may become obsessed or paranoid, obsessing over superficial details that seem to support their vision, but which tend to be problematic or fallacious beliefs based on intuition and emotions rather than fact.
Linda V. Berens extended the original cognitive stack framework by proposing that individuals use eight functions, rather than four functions. For an ESFP, these shadow functions are ordered as follows:
- Introverted Sensing (Si): Si collects data in the present moment and compares it with past experiences, a process that sometimes evokes the feelings associated with memory, as if the subject were reliving it. Seeking to protect what is familiar, Si draws upon history to form goals and expectations about what will happen in the future.
- Extraverted Feeling (Fe): Fe seeks social connections and creates harmonious interactions through polite, considerate, and appropriate behavior. Fe responds to the explicit (and implicit) wants of others, and may even create an internal conflict between the subject’s own needs and the desire to meet the needs of others.
- Introverted Thinking (Ti): Ti seeks precision, such as the exact word to express an idea. It notices the minute distinctions that define the essence of things, then analyzes and classifies them. Ti examines all sides of an issue, looking to solve problems while minimizing effort and risk. It uses models to root out logical inconsistency.
- Extraverted Intuition (Ne): Ne finds and interprets hidden meanings, using “what if” questions to explore alternatives, allowing multiple possibilities to coexist. This imaginative play weaves together insights and experiences from various sources to form a new whole, which can then become a catalyst to action.
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