The 8 function attitudes fascinate me. As I watch the world around me they appear in so many different ways, those that are extraverted are more obvious and those that are introverted are an intriguing private part of our inner selves. These complex dynamics are difficult for us to grasp. As I have fumbled my way through various ways of describing these cognitive processes, my ESTJ preference alerts me to the fact that maybe it’s a good idea to put this complex theory into a simple, practical, applicable scenario. My chosen venue is the Supermarket. Yes, I know…it’s a mundane and humdrum place to start, but it’s simplicity and ‘day-to-day ness’ also has an appeal.

(The definitions I have used for each of the functions come from Dario Nardi, an expert in this field. If you missed his free Webinar, in association with AusAPT, then you missed a treat! More information on his amazing work linking cognitive processes with EEG (Electro Encaphalo Graph) results is available on

At the Supermarket

I would like you to imagine that you need to do a supermarket shop for a very ordinary family dinner – nothing special, just feeding the troops. How will our 8 function attitudes process and prioritise this event?

Introverted Sensing

Dario’s Definition: Recall tangible data and experiences. Stabilise a situation by comparing it to what is expected known and reliable.

Supermarket thinking: What has worked before? I’ll make a list and buy what I need.

Extraverted Sensing

Dario’s Definition: Notice sensory data in the environment. Trust your instincts and take action relevant to the moment and current context.

Supermarket thinking: What looks good today? I’ll turn up and see what catches my eye and make a spur of the moment decision.

Introverted Intuition

Dario’s Definition: Receive ‘ah-ha’ insights and realisations. Pursue a greater level of awareness to transform who you are and how you think.

Supermarket thinking: Well, what can I say? A supermarket shop is not likely to inspire most introverted intuitives. If the task is absolutely necessary I may briefly envision the way it will turn out and buy accordingly… but preferably get it out of the way to pursue more interesting imaginings.

Extraverted Intuition

Dario’s Definition: Notice abstract patterns as they emerge. Shift a situation’s dynamics and explore imaginative potential possibilities.

Supermarket thinking: I’ll just go along and see what inspires me. What captures my desire to make something different and interesting.

Introverted Thinking

Dario’s Definition: Adhere to definitions and impersonal principles. Analyse a problem using a framework and find an angle or leverage by which to solve it.

Supermarket thinking: My theory is that I will eat healthily. Whatever I carefully select must support this principle.

Extroverted Thinking

Dario’s Definition: Follow steps, points and timetables. Create structure, reason by measures and evidence, and implement complex plans.

Supermarket thinking: (Forgive for being a bit of an expert on this one as it happens to be my preference. What follows may seem sad but true to some of you. Even more scary is that other extraverted thinkers I know do the same thing!) Write out a shopping list in the order of the aisles I will encounter as I go round my local supermarket. This increases time efficiency! Purchase as required.

Introverted Feeling

Dario’s Definition: Adhere to personal beliefs about what’s important. Evaluate situations and choose what you believe is congruent with your own identity.

Supermarket thinking: Is it organic? Does what I am purchasing meet my need to support my belief that my personal choices must feel right to me.

Extraverted Feeling

Dario’s Definition: Honour other’s needs and preferences. Connect with people by sharing values and taking on their needs as yours.

Supermarket thinking: How can I please everyone? What meal will they like the most? What will create the best reaction to the inevitable “What’s for dinner?” question?