Misconceptions and Stereotypes of Sensing and Intuition

SNSensing and Intuition are interesting preferences, in that they do not occur in equal measure in society.  Extraversion and Introversion, Thinking and Feeling, and Judging and Perceiving are roughly a 50/50 split in the population, but approximately 73% of the population prefers Sensing and only 27% prefers Intuition.

In my personal experience of working with individuals of both types, I have found that Sensing types often feel quite validated by society for their method of perception, except when they enter an environment dominated by Intuitive types, such as college.  On the flip side, many Intuitive types spend their early lives feeling or being told that they place emphasis on the “wrong” information when contemplating matters.  Many Intuitive types may disregard Intuitive data that cannot be backed up by facts and details (Sensing data) because they want to live up to societal expectations or feel they take in information incorrectly.  That being said, Intuitive types often feel validated when entering environments dominated by Intuitive types, such as college.

Below, you will see some common misconceptions and stereotypes of Sensing and Intuition, along with clarifications.

MisconceptionsClarifications
Intuitive types are not capable of being detail oriented, and Sensing types do not see the big picture. Intuitive types tend to naturally look at the big picture and possibilities for the future, and most Intuitive types will admit that they feel drained by spending large amounts of time pouring over details. That being said, it is nearly impossible to accomplish a task of any size without the use of some details. No one can build a great company by simply having the idea to do so (except, maybe, Samantha from Bewitched). Many details must be worked out to bring a big picture idea to fruition, and Intuitive types can accomplish this work by first looking at the big picture and then funneling down to the details. On the same token, Sensing types cannot build a great company (or project) with details alone. They tend to be very good at dealing with the reality of the here and now and the details that make it up, and by putting those details together, they can begin to build a big picture. Just as details are not the comfort zone of Intuitive types, the big picture is not the comfort zone of Sensing types, but Sensing and Intuitive types can get to details and the big picture in their own ways.
Sensing data is better than Intuitive data.As previously mentioned, the sheer volume difference of Sensing and Intuitive types may sometimes cause the impression that collecting data through the 5 senses and past experiences is better than collecting data through unconscious "gut feelings" and possibilities. Many Intuitive types describe being thought of as "strangely quick and intelligent" as children, but "not dealing with reality and living in the clouds". Truth be told, those qualities are kind of a package deal with Intuitive types, just as you often have to take fog lamps with a sunroof when buying a new car. Intuitive types often have the mental quickness of intuitive leaps, coupled with a tendency to daydream about possibilities, and Intuitive types often have better results when trusting their preferred method of taking in information, just as Sensing types generally get better results from using their preferred preference. Essentially, Sensing and Intuition are equally valid methods of taking in information, and both will serve individuals well in making decisions, as long as they are balanced with a well developed judgement preference, Thinking or Feeling.
Intuitive types are smarter than Sensing typesPerhaps the biggest misconception of Sensing and Intuition, and one that has gotten a lot of attention as of late, is that Intuitive types are more intelligent than Sensing types. Of course, even arguing this topic brings up many questions about definitions of intelligence, which are not the topic of this article. I will say that much of this debate seems to come from the speed with which Intuitive types gain information and the tendency to be prolific with ideas. Certainly, the fact that IQ tests typically have a time component feeds into this idea because Intuitive types often finish these tests sooner than Sensing types, which can cause Intuitive types to earn higher IQ scores. Does that really make Intuitive types more intelligent, though? Sensing types tend to be thorough and detail oriented. They often enjoy the art of mastery of tasks they engage in and will work to learn the details of these tasks and refine them. Perhaps this is not a fast process, but it is one that can lead to deep knowledge of topics and care of selecting correct answers and paths on tests and in life. It is also a process that many Intuitive types do not partake in, as they will often prefer to move on to a new topic before reaching the level of mastery attained by some Sensing types. In my personal opinion, Sensing is simply another form of intelligence that is equally valuable to the quickness of Intuitive intelligence. Both types are capable of performing well in school, from K through 16 and beyond, and both can do well on standardized tests.

In the end, Sensing and Intuition are equally acceptable methods of taking in information, and they have different strengths and challenges.  I hope this article has brought new perspective on this topic.  If you are interested in learning how these preferences impact the classroom environment, check out Sensing and Intuition in the College Classroom.  As always, I would love to hear your experiences with Sensing and Intuition, and I would love to hear any questions you may have on the topic.  Thanks for reading.

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6 Comments

  1. Nancy

    GREAT ARTICLE!!! I think you hit the salient points and were pretty non biased. I really like how you are doing this. Maybe I can get motivated to do some development that is less “heavy” and easier to read!

    Reply
    1. Sadie (Post author)

      Thank you, Nancy!! You have made my day, and I am grinning ear to ear!! 🙂

      Reply
  2. sucheese

    Why didn’t I discover this site earlier? :p Good stuff

    Reply
    1. Sadie (Post author)

      Thank you!! The site has only existed since August of this year, so that is probably why you didn’t find it earlier. I am glad you have found it now, and I hope you will return! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Jenn

    Great article! Fair and balanced! As an intuitive, I can identify with feeling or being told that I place emphasis on the “wrong” information when thinking through things.

    Reply
    1. Sadie (Post author)

      Thank you, Jenn! I am so glad you enjoyed the article. It is amazing to me how validating it can be to learn that your preferred information is not wrong! 🙂

      Reply

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