The Cognitive Functions Handbook: Judgment Functions
It’s been a long time since Chase’s first season discussing the definitions of the Cognitive Functions. We’ve come a long way since exploring the basic building blocks our minds use to interact with the world around and within us. Chase has since layered on multiple concepts in his lectures, capping off in Season 18 where he discusses the nuanced mechanics of Cognitive Axis, Orbit, and the Reflector Functions.
Because of the growing number of concepts, we’re going to spend two articles distilling all the major concepts surrounding the Cognitive Functions. For those who haven’t seen season 18, these articles will give a peek into the content covered there. They will also serve as a comprehensive guide to what we have learned (so far) about the foundational building block of this science.
What are the Judgment Functions?
Judgment functions are the Cognitive Functions we use to make decisions. The judgment functions we utilize determine how we make decisions. The information we use to make decisions is gathered by our perception functions, the topic of next week’s article.
The process we use to make decisions is based on our preference to utilize Rationale, Logic, Ethics, or Morals. Whether you’re new here or a grizzled veteran, we will review the judgment functions briefly before diving into the different concepts regarding how the functions work.
- Extraverted Thinking is aware of the thoughts of others and the beliefs of the collective. It makes decisions based on what is rational, which are the reasons it gathers and uses to justify their opinion.
— Synonyms: Rationale, inductive reasoning, data, status and reputation, beliefs
- Introverted Thinking is one’s ability to use internal “If/Then” processes to distill information and arrive at conclusions.
— Synonyms: Logic, deductive reasoning, facts, truth telling,
- Extraverted Feeling is aware of the values of the collective. It makes decisions based on ethics, which are the collective value judgments of those around them.
— Synonyms: Empathy, ethics, fairness, how others feel, what others value, outward
- Introverted Feeling is one’s ability to weigh out different decisions, test their value, and check if they align with the source of their moral principles.
— Synonyms: Sympathy, morals, values, principles, “How I feel”, self-worth
1) Cognitive Axis
Cognitive Axis represents the functions that are always linked together. One function feeds another function, and vice versa. With the judgment functions, the Cognitive Axis is the external-to-internal (and internal-to-external) feedback loop for how we make decisions. We think about (Ti) how to care for others (Fe) or we weigh out (Fi) what others think (Te).
This axis is the interplay between logic and ethics, internal reasoning and external values between truth and compassion. Ti is the tool that cuts in order to heal. Like performing surgery, Ti brings the pain of the truth in order to solve a deeper issue that ultimately renders healing long term. Fe modulates this process by subjecting the Ti surgeon to the same pain it brings to its patient. The empathy that comes with Fe forces the surgeon to feel the sting of the sharpness it inflicts on others.
Those with Ti in higher slots (Hero or Parent) lead with logic and truth, believing that prioritizing the pain of the truth will lead to the most healing. Those with higher Fe believe that empathizing with a person first will prepare them better to hear the painful truth.
The Fi/Te axis is the interplay between morality and rationale. Te gathers the thoughts and beliefs of others and weighs them with Fi. This axis demonstrates awareness of collective thought and the process of forming a personal morality.
A high Te user will wait to form a moral principle until they feel they have gathered enough input from surrounding sources. They strive to see all the available opinions before weighing which one feels the best. A high Fi user, on the other hand, knows what it values already and will look to validate their values with the people around them.
2) Cognitive Synchronicity
Cognitive Synchronicity is the exchange of psychological energy between compatible functions. All introverted functions are source functions wanting to be consumed. All extraverted functions are consumptive functions, wanting to drink up from compatible sources.
Ti-users want Te-users to consume their thoughts. Fe users want to consume the value judgements of Fi users. Like how solar panels (extraverted functions) drink up the energy of the sun (introverted functions), Cognitive Synchronicity mirrors this process between psyches.
An Fi-user wants their moral convictions to be heard. An Fi-user is very aware of what they value. An Fe-user seeks out what other people value and is shaped by the values of those around them. An Fi-user seeks to be cared for, while an Fe-user seeks to have opportunities to care for others. Fe-users seek appreciation, and Fi-users provide it.
Simply put, Cognitive Synchronicity between these functions is an interplay of values from the Fi to the Fe-user. It doesn’t necessarily mean the Fe-user will start acting out those values like a robot but, at the very least, they will be aware of what those around them value and can communicate more clearly because of it.
Ti-users want to be heard. A Te-user seeks the thoughts of Ti-users because Te likes to survey, gathering multiple points of view to understand the landscape of a topic. Te-users use this varied info to give Ti-users input, such as their research findings, and a Ti-user can process these internally, distilling the research and drawing conclusions which the Te-user drinks back up and weighs out. Te-users seek to be thought highly of — reputation — and Ti-users are a source to establish the reputation of a Te-user.
Simply put, this Cognitive Synchronicity is the exchange of “truth” from the Ti-user to the Te-user. Or the exchange of input given by the Te-user which the Ti-user processes and returns to the Te-user. The Te user gathers materials and Ti-user builds the logic structure from it.
3) Cognitive Asynchronicity
Cognitive Asynchronicity is when two people share the same function. From the first example above, this would be like two suns trying to impart energy on each other, when both are just looking for solar panels to give their heat to.
Cognitive Asynchronicity is the microcosm between functions that forms what Chase refers to as “Camaraderie.” While Cognitive Asynchronicity has the potential of built in friction, it does not doom the relationship. The challenges from Cognitive Asynchronicity present two choices: 1) Growing frustration with each other when one or both of you want the other person to be someone they are not; or 2) Learn to appreciate the shared journey from each other and grow, despite the conflict.
When two Ti-users communicate, each party should realize that the instinct for both is to want to share their thoughts. If they are unaware of the Asynchronicity, chances are neither will listen well to the other, and frustration will build.
But, if both can learn to give each other space to share their thoughts, and consider them, then the best emergent property from conflicting functions emerges: growth. Each of you can teach the other to have better thought processes, to consider alternate ways of digesting information and looking for what’s true. You can teach each other to be better thinkers.
When two Fe-users communicate, realize that the tendency for both is to make sure the other feels good. Each person wants recognition for their efforts in caring and being empathetically attuned to the other. Realize too that it is difficult for either of you to give the recognition that the other craves because you are not an Fi-user.
This conflict provides the opportunity — particularly for high Fe-users who have some Fi through their Nemesis or Critic — to develop the capacity for appreciation, giving recognition, and making the other person feel valued.
If you look closely, you will see that Cognitive Asynchronicity forces one or both of you to utilize your Unconscious and access the complementary functions to help communicate better with the other person. This is how Asynchronicity propels growth.
When two Fi-users communicate, each is trying to share their values so that the other person will consider and live by them. Both Fi-users should realize that each of them wants to share their moral philosophies with the other. And both Fi-users want empathy from the other.
For growth, realize that both Fi-users have strong moral compasses that are not easily swayed. Learn to respect that as a source of strength and, particularly for high Fi-users with some Fe, challenge them to be more outwardly caring toward others.
When two Te-users communicate each wants the other to think highly of them. Both will want to provide input and likely propose plans, expecting the other to digest that input and implement their plans. Te-users, as Chase says, want other people to be thoughtful toward them.
To grow, both Te-users should give the other space to share their knowledge with the other and allow them to explain their plans. Especially for high Te-users who have some Ti, challenge them to clarify, distill, and verify the information they give out.
4) Cognitive Orbit
Cognitive Orbit is the stream of communication between one’s own functions in their Ego and Unconscious. Cognitive Orbit is basically Cognitive Synchronicity turned inward.
An Fi-Hero will value something, let’s say for example it’s a bill for political reform. Through Cognitive Orbit, the Fi-Hero is in communication with their Fe-Nemesis, which is worried that other people DO NOT value the same bill. The Fe-Nemesis may worry that other people are not as moral as they are.
Further, despite where the introverted function is — the Ego or Unconscious — the introverted function always acts as the source of communication in the relationship between functions for communication. This means that the behavior of an extraverted function in the Ego can be largely caused by the complementary introverted function in their Unconscious.
If you plug the Cognitive Function and the Cognitive Attitude into an equation, you will understand the nature of that particular Cognitive Orbit.
This orbit is the interplay between “What I feel and value” and “What other people feel and value.” As described above, an Fi-Hero is very confident in what it values, but can be worried (with it’s Fe-Nemesis) that other people don’t value those same things. Fi-Child, while innocent about what it values and feels, is all but oblivious to what other people value and feel with it’s Fe-Trickster.
For primary Fe-users, the process is the opposite. An Fe-Hero optimistically focuses on how other people feel, naturally absorbing what they value, but is worried about what they value. And, more emphatically, they worry about their own value as a person with their Fi-Nemesis.
An Fe-Inferior, however, is anxious with how people feel and goes to great effort to not make them feel bad. But through the orbit with their Fi-Demon, Fe-Inferiors have a built-in disdain for their own internal values and disregard their own self-worth.
One could argue that the cause of an Fe-user’s natural capacity for caring is the Fi function in their unconscious. For example, is an Fe-Parent caring outwardly because the Fi-Critic is so hard on itself and what it values?
This orbit is the relationship between “What I think” and “What other people think”. A Ti-Parent is cautious and powerful in its use of logic. This creates worry that other people are not careful or capable with their use of logic. This comes from the Ti-Parent’s orbit with the Te-Critic.
A Ti-Child innocently digests a little bit of information, processing it with confidence. But this same innocence is orbited by the naivety caused by the Te-Trickster, who is unaware of what other people think or believe.
An ego with a Te-Hero is hyper-aware of what other people believe and think. Te-Heroes are constantly gathering data, statistics, and a plethora of opinions which helps combat the worry of their Ti-Nemesis. The Ti-Nemesis worries that they are not smart or correct.
A Te-Inferior is anxious about what others think about them, and is anxious that it is not gathering enough opinions or looking at enough data. This is caused by its orbit with Ti-Demon, who is not only unaware of what it thinks, but has extreme frustration with using internal reasoning at all.
5) Reflector Functions
Reflector functions are the most recent concept Chase has discussed relating to the Cognitive Functions. The recent interview with Chris Taylor, who introduced us to the concept of the Cognitive Battlegrounds, demonstrates an application of the Reflector Functions.
The Reflector Functions are the relationship between like functions in our psyche. They represent our preferred way of doing things (we will naturally lead with whichever reflector is in our Ego) but they also map out a path of influence. The reflectors in the Parent and Trickster, for example, influence each other significantly.
Ti and Fi are the two introverted decision-making functions, and it is no coincidence that humans only have one in their Ego. Ti-users prefer to make decisions based on what they think is true, and Fi-users prefer to make decisions based on what they feel is good. Fi and Ti are one of the sets of reflector functions and, like all reflector functions, they sit on scales within our minds. The Fi/Ti scale, for example, is between facts and values.
What is true or what is good? Do you make decisions based on internal reasoning or internal values? An Fi-Hero is extremely aware of what it values and is constantly pursuing what they feel is the moral good. But an Fi-Hero is linked to its reflector, the Ti-Demon, who creates a sharp imbalance in the scales of usage. Ti-Demon not only dismisses the use of logic, but represses the importance of logical processing altogether.
A Ti-Hero, on the other hand, overwhelmingly leads with logic and represses it’s Fi-Demon, which wants to makes decisions based on what feels right. A Ti-Hero makes decisions based on their internal reasoning of what seems most logical.
But those with reflectors more toward the middle — Fi or Ti-Inferiors being the middle point of these reflectors — have a more nuanced relationship between Fi and Ti. A Ti-Inferior still cares about what is true, but they are anxious they won’t be able to find the truth. They are also worried about not being a good person or having strong values with their Fi-Nemesis. This reflector bounces back between leading with Ti or Fi consistently. This gives them better access to both functions than a Ti or Fi-Hero, but in a weaker capacity.
Do you lead with what is rational or what is ethical? Taken from season 18 episode 14, a Te-Hero may create the best possible system for the people in a company to thrive, but that system may lack the humanity to help those individuals to equally thrive. An Fe-Demon forsakes what is good for the collective for what is efficient for the collective.
An Fe-Hero, however, does the opposite and concerns itself with the humanity of a decision, but does not consult the collective efficiency or systematic integrity of an ethical decision.
The beauty of this system is the endless amount of insight and connections that can be drawn between the functions, attitudes, the four sides of the mind, and much more. After staring at the type grid for more than two years I still find useful interactions that can be ascribed to everyday life.
Three of the concepts we discussed today — Axis, Orbit, and the Reflector Functions — can be linked to a much larger relationship with the rest of the psyche. The Ego is in Axis with the Subconscious, in Orbit with the Unconscious, and is the Reflection of the Superego.
If you can master the micro versions of these concepts with each function, you will begin to see the relationship with the different aspects of your mind, the connections with other people’s minds, and the collection of humanity’s collective psyche in an entirely new light.
Want to Learn More?
If any of these concepts were new to you or you just want to sharpen up on them, we have a lot of content for you!
The New Tracks:
- If you haven’t noticed our new homepage, it’s now designed to provide more direction for learning and with much more of an emphasis on helping someone new to the science learn what’s what. You can follow the tracks to find lectures relevant to the concepts discussed in this article.
- Our membership area has exclusive member lecture series’ as well as the episodes of the email exclusive season 18 lectures on Cognitive Mechanics, which give a more in-depth look at the topics discussed in this article!
- Our recent article and interview with Chris Taylor gives an exciting preview of content for a member lecture coming later this summer! Chris introduces the brand-new concept of the Cognitive Battlegrounds, an extension of the Reflector Functions.
- Coach Jay Ackley’s article, Sympathy and Empathy, gives a nuanced distinction between the Fi/Fe functions and provides foundational information for the Fi/Fe Orbit.
- This article, How Fe Can Love Properly, explores the Ti/Fe Cognitive Axis, with a focus on what it means for a Fe-user to really love.