Cognitive Processes and Creativity*


Dr. Jung's book Psychological Types was first published in 1921.

Instruments have been developed to help individuals find where they fit within his theory.

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) is one.

If you have already used it and know your personality type code, then the following information will refresh and add to your knowledge.

If you have yet to be exposed to psychological type theory, then use the information that follows to find how you express and experience life using this theory.

Match your energy pattern, as you know it, with what is presented.

Qualified professionals in psychological type have an ethic to give more weight to a person's self-assessment than to what the MBTI reports. So pay attention and honor your self-assessment.

Here are a few basics about psychological type theory:

  1. It comes from Carl Jung's theory of personality.
  2. All people are drawn to use, or prefer, certain cognitive processes for accessing information and making decisions.
  3. Cognitive process preferences are dichotomous. We have a natural pull to use one of the pair of each dichotomy more so than the other.
  4. Cognitive process preferences are innate. Environment impacts their development.
  5. Cognitive process preferences are not the same as ability or skill. Consider them instead as antenna for attracting and emitting certain energy frequency information.
  6. The cognitive processes interact in a dynamic fashion for balance in our personal energy system.
  7. As we age, we are inclined to develop an ability to tune into other frequencies in addition to our natural cognitive process preferences.
  8. All cognitive processes are valuable.
  9. We can and do develop skills associated with our nonpreferences. The lifelong innate push for development encourages this to happen.
  10. We are born unconscious and continue to become more conscious as we grow and experience life on this planet. Jung called this "individuation."
  11. The drive for individuation is innate.
  12. The more we become aware of our cognitive process preferences and development, the better able we are to choose which we use.

The Processes of Our Energy System

Jung's theory proposes that human behavior is not random but patterned according to how we access information and make decisions. We engage in both of these cognitive processes in one of two orientations. One is experienced when introverting; the other, when extraverting.

Introverting Processes

When introverting, we reflect, consider, think, and mentally review. All of us engage in introverting activities some of the time. When we introvert, we often personalize the events in our environment. The world comes to meet us. And sometimes our awareness is universal.

We introvert primarily in four ways:

  • By mentally recalling past experiences.
  • By foreseeing future implications.
  • By analyzing based on closely held principles of truth.
  • By valuing using a ranking of importance.

Extraverting Processes

Using the extraverting orientation, we interact with others and things in our environment. Here we engage with the world outside of ourselves. All of us use these processes some of the time. We use extraverted energy to go out to meet the world.

When we use the extraverting processes, we do so primarily in four ways:

  • By fully experiencing the moment.
  • By inferring global potentials and meanings.
  • By structuring things and processes.
  • By harmonizing people according to their needs.

Notice that in each of the four processes the focus is external, in our immediate and particular environment.

Two people extraverting may be quite similar in that they actively engage in conversation to initiate some action. However, what they talk about and their specific actions may be quite different depending on which of the extraverting processes they are using.


We use cognitive processes in both the extraverting and introverting orientations. When we extravert, we talk and participate with people and things in an active way. When we introvert, we are quiet and reflective and internally active. We do both naturally.

*Adapted from Marci Segal, Creativity and Personality Type: Tools for Understanding and Inspiring The Many Voices of Creativity (Telos Publications, 2001) *Used with permission.





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