Carl Jung classified thinking and feeling as modes of judging. They are in charge of evaluating information, making decisions, and drawing conclusions. The primary difference between thinking judgments and feeling judgments is the nature of their evaluative criteria. As we will see, thinkers tend to use impersonal, logic-based criteria, while feelers consider tastes and feelings—both their own and others’—in making decisions.
Thinkers and feelers also differ in their areas of interest and expertise. Typically, these are directly related to their preferred judging criteria. Namely, thinkers tend to take interest in activities requiring the application of impersonal logic, while feelers take up pursuits that draw on their tastes, feelings, and people-related concerns.
As with the other preferences, it’s not that thinkers never have feelings or that feelers never use logic. Rather, they differ in the degree to which they lead with logic versus tastes and a feelings; this is why we describe T and F as preferences.
A Closer Look at Thinkers (T)
Thinking judgments are logic-based. This is why thinkers tend to excel and take interest in fields requiring logical or strategical thinking such as the sciences, mathematics, philosophy, computer science, business, or engineering. Even those involved with F-related fields, such as healthcare, tend to work their way into toward T niches, such as research, informatics, operations management, and the like.
Thinking has a quantitative bent to it; it is a “calculating” function. Even if subconsciously, it is constantly weighing odds and scheming ways of moving things in a better direction. Such calculations play an important role in strategical and logistical thinking, computing ways of reducing costs or improving efficiency and productivity.
Systematizing and classifying also factor into the thinker’s arsenal, especially that of intuitive (N) thinkers (T). Scientists and philosophers alike display a penchant for ordering and systematizing information. INTJs, in particular, are commonly described as “systems thinkers.” This involves seeing the world as a giant system composed of myriad subsystems, each of which can be analyzed and rationally explicated.
Since their feelings are typically confined to the backstage of their consciousness, thinkers are sometimes conceived as emotionally distant or detached. While not always beneficial for their relationships, emotional detachment can be advantageous for effective logical processing. This is not to say that thinkers should avoid feeling-related matters, but there are times when unalloyed logical processing proves useful. Because thinkers spend less time attuning to and meeting the needs of others, they often have more time and energy to devote to their work. Indeed, for many thinkers, especially thinking-dominant types (e.g., INTP, ENTJ), their work is the central focus of their lives.
Furthermore, Jung proposed that there are actually two distinguishable types of thinking: Introverted Thinking (Ti) and Extraverted Thinking (Te). “TP” types are the primary users of Ti, while “TJ” types utilize Te.
A Closer Look at Feelers (F)
The feeling function weighs and evaluates our affective responses to the world. Not only are feelers aware of their emotions, but they are also attuned to emotional nuances and subtleties (just as thinkers are attuned to logical subtleties). Indeed, for every emotion in a thinker’s arsenal, a feeler may distinguish an array of feelings or feeling tones.
Because feelers discern a greater breadth of emotional variations and nuances, they may feel that words are inadequate to capture and convey their experiences. Many turn to poetry, music, fashion, or the arts as avenues for evoking, exploring, refining, or expressing their complex and nuanced emotions. Feeling also pertains to the development and refinement of tastes, which is another reason feelers are drawn to the arts.
If we associate thinking with black-and-white, logical criteria, then feeling can be viewed to involve a more colorful, qualitative approach. While thinking focuses on things like technology and functionality, feeling strives to enhance our lives in less “functional” or “practical” ways. It embellishes, enlivens, and enriches with color, feeling, and style.
Feelers also have a propensity to function as nurturers and caregivers. They can often be found caring for children, plants, animals, family members, employees, and the under-served. They serve as a sort of social glue that keeps people healthy, connected, and attuned to each other’s needs and feelings.
As we saw in our discussion of thinking, Jung distinguished between two types of feeling: Introverted Feeling (Fi) and Extraverted Feeling (Fe). “FP” types are the primary users of Fi, while “FJ” types employ Fe. To learn more about thinking and feeling, or to further clarify your type, be sure to explore our eBooks: