Sensing vs Intuitive: bottom up or top down

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 13:49 by Bill McAneny

Viewing a painting from different perspectivesI had a group of Directors from a Global Energy Company together teaching them psychology. They really ‘got’ Jungian type but struggled with Sensing vs Intuitive. So I got them into two groups and asked each group to agree what the film ‘American Beauty’ was about. The Intuitive types said it was:

A film about shining a torch in the underbelly of American life searching for hope and seeing ugly and beauty, good and bad, in what is there.

The Sensing types came up with:

Pretentious crap about temptation: some guy having a mid-life crisis, trying to hit on a schoolgirl and in the end getting his just deserts.

Sensing vs Intuitive is our input scale, how we take in and process information. Sensing types are far more practical and present-oriented and so their communication will take a more grounded approach taking in information that has practical application and based on facts and so they may see concepts and theoretical models as a bit airy-fairy and so be unresponsive.

Intuitive types prefer seeing possibilities, shapes and patterns. They like to ‘see around corners’ and will communicate and prefer information that has general principles and scope for change. They are future-oriented and like juggling possibilities and may see factual material as a little dry and pointless.

So who is right about ‘American Beauty?’ Well it is all about the perspective, ie where you view the film from. Not in terms of your movie seat but from what angle: seeing the facts and building from bottom up or seeing the bigger picture and slotting the facts in around that. And most importantly it is about understanding that other people may not necessarily ‘see the same film’ as us.

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