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12 ESFP Cognitive Functions Explained

When looking at the Myers-Briggs personality types, there are indicators that help explain some people’s tendencies. For ESFP personality types, they are ruled by Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving indicators. ESFPs are popular, fun-loving, creative, and excitable. I will describe their cognitive functions in this post.

ESFP people love exploring new things and are curious about the world around them. They do a great job at entertaining a crowd and enjoy being center-stage. However, they also struggle with confidence and self-esteem. They are always looking for outside support and take criticism very hard.

ESFP Cognitive Functions

Let’s explore more about the cognitive functions of ESFP people.

12 ESFP Cognitive Functions

1. Sensing in an Extroverted Way

ESFP people live in the present. They don’t dwell on the past, and they don’t daydream about the future. Because they live in the moment, they can tend to be a little disorganized and won’t be likely to make plans in advance.

Their somewhat scatterbrained approach to life means they are likely to have a lot of unfinished projects. They like having many options to explore and usually make spontaneous decisions. While they care deeply about what other people think of them, they look inward to base their final decisions.

2. Thinking in an Extroverted Way

ESFP people will look to logic only to help them organize stimuli into thoughts and arguments. They can look forward and understand the consequences of their actions.

Their extraverted thinking function drives them to explore all options and possibilities from a practical standpoint. ESFPs are creative thinkers, which will allow them to think of many different approaches to a problem and its solution. Because this is a weaker cognitive function In their personality, they might not always be secure in their ability to make judgments and decisions.

Their insecurity might lead them to distract away and avoid a problem rather than face it head-on.

3. Introverted Feeling

ESFPs usually make their decisions based on their feelings. They know what their core values are, and they prioritize the things they care deeply about. They are also able to use this feeling function as a litmus test for the feelings of others.

ESFP people are very good at determining the motivations and intentions of those around them. Their empathy also helps with this function, and they will often base decisions on how their actions will make others feel.

Their lack of confidence in themselves also feeds this function. It results in them needing outside support to feel confident they’ve made the right choices.

4. Introverted Intuition

Although this cognitive function is a part of ESFP personality types, it is not the most apparent. Their intuition and ability to find patterns and connections only occur after careful examination. They are not skilled at thinking methodically since their thoughts tend to be a little disorganized.

Their intuitive functions shine through sporadically, and these moments will feel something like epiphanies to ESFPs. Once they perceive this “epiphany,” they might feel confident enough to explore it independently.

However, most likely, they will rely on someone they trust to encourage them to pursue it. For some ESFPs, their intuition presents them with bold, original ideas they can explore further. Their curiosity often drives them, and with some intuitive input, they can create some fantastic things.

5. Bold

ESFPs are known for their “class clown” behaviors. They are not shy and do not mind making light of themselves for the entertainment of the group. They are constantly pushing boundaries and going outside their comfort zones, seeking adventure.

Trying new things is something that ESFP people are known for. Especially when their careers allow them the freedom to be as bold and outgoing as their potential will let them be. You will find many ESFPs in performative careers like acting, singing, music, and dance, and their boldness allows them to stand out in these fields.

6. Charismatic and Popular

Charming and likable ESFPs are the life of the party. They shower affection and attention onto others and can usually hold up their end of a conversation. They live in the moment, allowing them to genuinely enjoy the time they spend with others, resulting in a fun, likable personality.

They are great with people and have an empathetic nature that will clue them into the social needs of those around them. They know how to respond well to social cues and make everyone around them comfortable.

7. Original and Creative

ESFP people are creative thinkers. They love to explore new ideas and express those findings in artistic ways. They are imaginative and can come up with bold, original ideas that will help them in all aspects of their lives. They rarely have boring social or romantic lives.

They also prefer to be creative at work. They are often found pursuing career paths in music, graphic design, or photography. The routine of most 9-5 type jobs would not bring them any enjoyment or satisfaction.

8. Practical

While their creativity and preference for newness might lead you to think they are daydreamers with their heads in the clouds, the opposite is true.

ESFPs are practical thinkers, and while they are always looking for “new,” they base those thoughts in reality and on things that can logistically and realistically be accomplished. This practicality also helps them to make decisions that lead to success in the long run for both relationships and their careers.

They know when something isn’t working and when to try something new. Because they are sensitive to outside criticism, they will be hurt by the suggestion that something new is needed. But, when they recognize it on their own, they will be happy to think up some new strategies.

9. Attention-Loving

As “class clowns,” it is fair to say that ESFPs love attention. They are happy to be at the center of attention and will soak it in like a sponge. They can be a little insecure with new people, but when they feel welcomed, they will be able to relax, be themselves, and entertain the crowd.

They also have a competitive nature which will encourage them to steal the show, as long as it is not at too much of an expense

10. Sensitive

ESFPs can struggle with their self-esteem at times. They get their boosts of confidence from external sources of support rather than their internal sense of confidence. Their ability to entertain and be the center of attention is not always a true reflection of their perception of themselves.

As a by-product of them needing outside support systems, they will also feel deeply hurt by criticism, even if it is intended to be constructive. Their tendency to be over-sensitive inhibits their ability to work on themselves towards improvement.

11. Curious

The original and creative tendencies of ESFPs can stem from their natural curiosity. Their desire to understand the world around them and explore their thoughts and ideas further helps their creativity flourish.

While other personality types that exhibit these tendencies do well in sciences and other areas of study, ESFPs use their curiosity to explore creative outlets.

12. Easily Bored

ESFPs do not like routines or organized plans. They need constant newness and excitement, and they will find themselves easily bored with repetition. Their short attention spans help them drive their creativity and curiosity further since it meets the need to be “new.”

They struggle to focus on one topic or project for long and can be perceived as flakey or indecisive. Since they live in the moment, they are looking to move on anytime the moment becomes dull. As you can imagine, a lot of projects are started and left unfinished.


Variety is the spice of life, especially for ESFPs. They need lifestyles that meet their need for excitement, fun, and novelty.

They will do well to have a large group of friends or several different small groups to do various activities with. In romantic relationships, they will likely struggle to meet a long-term partner. But, because they live in the moment, they will be loving and attentive partners for the duration of the relationship.

They are trustworthy and genuinely care about their relationships and the feelings of their partners. At work, ESFPs will excel in jobs that allow them to be creative and don’t operate on routine.

Photography, graphic design, make-up artistry, acting, music performance, and even athletic coaching are where you will find many ESFP personality types.