Personality Traits - Sensing vs Intuition

Sensing vs Intuition


Sensing is our natural ability to get information by seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, or touching. And intuition is our natural ability to get information by the impressions of real things that exist in our minds.

In sensing, we use our external sense organs to acquire information, while in intuition, we use our mental processes to acquire information.

Every person has both abilities, but some use sensing more often (called sensor) and some use intuition more often (called intuitive). This tilt in our behavior produces two different attitudes.

Let’s understand these attitudes by two examples.


Your detailed Finance Manager

You have finally made it. After a hectic struggle of one week, you have finally prepared this tricky and cumbersome report. You take it to your manager. He spends almost 3 hours reading it just to find out many factual, grammatical, and formatting mistakes – even some very minor border-alignment and color-choice issues. You think in your mind, “why is he pointing out such petty issues which can be ignored”.

By his penetrative peek, he asks you to make all those exhaustive corrections. You have to spend another two hectic days to incorporate changes. Now you again take back the report to your manager. Your frustration reaches at its peak when you see, instead of just going through the changes, he again spends another 4 hours to review the report word by word. You wonder what kind of perfectionist he is.    

Your finance manager is a sensor.


Your unpredictable Operations Manager

Now this time you make a report for your operations manager. You enter his room who looks busy in dealing with a lot of stuff. He asks you to come in and grabs the report from you. He overviews the report quickly, turns pages randomly, and reads only the relevant content. Hardly in 10 minutes, he has reviewed the whole report.

But the current structure of the report doesn't attract him - he asks you to change it entirely. He also asks you to remove irrelevant details, to include charts to visually represent the data and to modify the front and back cover. Although these are not so detailed and exhaustive modifications as your previous boss asked for, these are creative changes that are usually difficult to handle. Designing a new report structure and using data representing tools has its own peculiarities.  

Your operations manager is an intuitive.

Here is the infographic to understand the difference visually!



Here are some interesting characteristics of sensors.


Sensors want the real experience

Sensors are fond of real experiences. Instead of getting pleasure from their fantasies, they like to experience the concrete world and do physical acts. Such a practical nature gives them a strong observation and controlled body. If you ever go out, notice: your sensor friend will more clearly feel the heat, humidity, and changes in traffic than your intuitive friend.


Sensors like routine

Sensors enjoy doing routine activities - they don’t want much change in their routine. One may get exhausted from driving his car on a hundred of miles road, but a sensor would instead get thrilled. Have you ever wondered, how could some people spend hours in the gym and still do it regularly?


Sensors work in a sequence

Sensors instinctively follow a sequence: either they are reading a document or doing physical activity. If they start reading chapter 1 of the book, they won’t skip to chapter 10, instead, they would read all chapters in a sequence. If they perform the exercise, they would strictly follow the sequence of raps. Even while reading their mobile messages, they follow the sequence.


Sensors like mechanical objects

Sensors like machines, objects, and places. They like to collect novel and precious things and like to operate and troubleshoot machines. For them, objects value more than what meanings they have. For instance, they won’t bother to understand the theoretical concepts behind the operation of an engine instead they would like to operate and troubleshoot it.


Sensors are interested in applied subjects

In studies, sensors are mostly interested in subjects that have real applications. They prefer to become engineers who work in the field, rather than research scientists who work with theoretical concepts. Even the courses they choose which enhance their practical skills.



Here are some interesting characteristics of intuitives.


Intuitives trust their intuition

Intuitives rely on their sixth sense to seek and process information. They use impressions and patterns of the physical world that exist in their mind to understand the external information. They also use senses to see, feel, and taste but they trust intuition over senses. These intuitions help them to quickly do calculations in their mind and solve complex puzzles.


Intuitives like change

Intuitives also do routine works but they don’t enjoy them. Instead, they enjoy change and variety. As soon as any idea supplies them vision, they hasten to apply it no matter it practically doesn’t make any sense. They like to rearrange their stuff, play the same game in different ways, and try many combinations in puzzles. For example, going to Mars is an impractical idea for sensors, but for intuitives it is worth trying no matter they have to do hundreds of thousands of calculations and virtual exercises.   


Intuitives follow a random sequence

Intuitives don’t proceed in a sequence - they often skip intermittent steps. Before starting the reading, they would shuffle pages many times to have an overview, during reading they would skip paragraphs and even pages and would tend to read the conclusions or summaries. If you ever wonder how some people read hundreds of books and still know what they read is due to their intuition. They don’t do memory work instead they just make sense of what they read.


Intuitives like education

As compared to sensors, more intuitives pursue higher education. Intuition is helpful to form concepts and perform intensive theoretical work. For this reason, people found in research, design, education, and teaching are mostly intuitives. If a question is given to answer, a sensor would read it thoroughly and perhaps again and again, however, intuitive reads it quickly and answers more questions than the sensor.