ENTP Functions: Cognitive Functions of the Visionary


If you’re familiar with personality types, then you’ll know that ENTP is one of sixteen possible personality types identified in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Often the recipient of nicknames such as “the debater,” “the innovator,” or “the visionary,” ENTPs are incredibly innovative and clever individuals that thrive on intellectual stimulation and socialization.

What are the Cognitive Functions of the ENTP Personality?

Each personality is identified and categorized by the four cognitive functions: thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensation. In the case of ENTPs, they can be classified as NeTiFeSi, meaning they are driven by external intuition, internal thinking, external feeling, and internal sensing, in order of prominence.

Read on to learn more about the ENTP personality and its cognitive functions. We will discuss what it means to have this personality type and how its functions affect a person’s interactions, pursuits, and decision-making process.

What is an ENTP?

The ENTP personality falls under the “Analyst” category, including the INTJ, INTP, and ENTJ personalities. Often referred to as “the debaters,” “the innovators,” or “the visionaries,” ENTPs are classified as:

  • Extroverted
  • Intuitive
  • Thinking
  • Prospecting

As a result, these individuals thrive on social interaction and are extremely quick-witted, creative, and steadfast.

ENTPs are also known to be die-hard devil’s advocates and enjoy exploring all sides of an argument to enhance their understanding of the subject in addition to purely enjoying the debate itself.

This love for debate and understanding different perspectives means that ENTPs are relatively reserved with their opinions and judgment until they are certain of their accuracy. They are highly inquisitive individuals that would rather search for answers and start thought-provoking conversations than spew impulsive opinions.

A downside of an ENTP’s love for debating and accuracy is that they sometimes come off as unbearably argumentative and a tad insensitive. Because they enjoy exploring different viewpoints, it can feel like they are always against you in a conversation.

In reality, they are typically just enjoying the conversation and want to expand their understanding through endless questions.

Another shortcoming of their curious and pondering nature is that many ENTPs would rather explore a topic than take resolved action. If they are in a position of power, they will often spend their time pondering what can be accomplished and allowing others to bring their ideas to reality.

However, if they are in a subordinate position, many ENTPs will question authority, either due to their debating nature or because these individuals don’t typically enjoy rules and guidelines.

Despite this, an ENTPs highly creative, quick, and pondering mind paired with their preference for social settings typically makes them a significant asset to any workplace or constructive environment.

What Are Personality Functions?

Each personality has its own unique combination of personality functions that reflections how an individual thinks or behaves. Ultimately, there are eight cognitive functions that correspond to different personalities depending on which are included and the order that they are arranged.

The functions include:

  • Extraverted Thinking (Te)
  • Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
  • Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
  • Extraverted Sensing (Se)
  • Introverted Thinking (Ti)
  • Introverted Feeling (Fi)
  • Introverted Intuition (Ni)
  • Introverted Sensing (Si)

Within each of these functions are individual letters that correspond with a personality trait (E/I, S/N, T/F, J/P). Each trait has a polar opposite within a personality defining category, or “dimensions,” as Myers and Briggs refer to them. A personality’s titles, like ENTP, are then created from the dominant traits a person prefers within each defining category.

Here are the ultimate defining dimensions with their corresponding traits of which an individual chooses one that more closely represents them:

Defining Dimension Opposing traits
How an individual manages/focuses energy and attention Extraversion (E): spent with others.

Introversion (I): spent alone or with small selective groups.

How an individual processes information Sensing (S): focuses on the five senses.

Intuition (N): focuses on abstract thinking.

How an individual makes decisions Thinking (T): driven by their head/logic.

Feeling (F): driven by their hearts/emotions.

How an individual reacts to structure Judging (J): prefers structure, order, routine. Avoids impulsive actions.

Perceiving (P): prefers spontaneity and flexibility. Often impulsive.

Understanding each of these traits within a dimension helps an individual better understand the overarching function and how each is reflected in personality types differently.

Each ENTP Function, Explained

As we mentioned, each personality is composed of its own defining traits, which then correspond to four cognitive functions. In the case of the ENTP personality, these include:

  1. Ne: Extraverted intuition
  2. Ti: Introverted Thinking
  3. Fe: Extroverted Feeling
  4. Si: Introverted Sensing

When it comes to labeling a personality, the first two dominant cognitive functions are typically used for the personality’s function label, meaning ENTPs are often paired with NeTi. However, each cognitive function has a vital role to play and demonstrates different elements of an ENTP’s thinking and behavior.

Ne: Extroverted Intuition

The dominant or core cognitive function of an ENTP is their Ne function, which stands for extroverted intuition.

ENTPs are exceptional at finding patterns or future possibilities that others might overlook. From these ponderings or observations, they can make valid connections and often enjoy this process of exploring all options and possibilities of an outcome.

Because ENTPs are extremely extroverted, this process of intuitive thinking is often conducted aloud to another individual through speech or expressed in a physical manner such as writing or creation. Ultimately, a Ne-driven ENTP rarely ponders their thoughts to themselves in silence. They crave input from others as they discuss a topic.

Another element of this function is that ENTPs are extremely creative individuals who can gather information quickly to create new ideas. This pairs well with their open-mindedness, allowing them to explore all possibilities without being held back by judgment.

A problematic part of the Ne function in ENTPs is that it is often the reason behind their distractible or quirky nature. Although ENTPs are exceptional at making connections even between complex relationships, they are easily led astray by all of their ponderings and struggle to come to clear conclusions or concrete decisions.

They also tend to jump from one idea to the next without completely exploring it to a definitive end. Because of this, some might say they ENTPs have their heads in the clouds and are slightly out-of-tune with reality.

Ti: Introverted Thinking

The secondary cognitive function, also known as the auxiliary function of an ENTP, is their Ti function, which stands for introverted thinking.

ENTPs can attribute their relentless pursuit of knowledge and various perspectives to this particular function. Ti drives an ENTP’s thinking process that tends to be highly realistic and derived from systems created through inner logic rather than external protocols.

As a result, despite their tendency to jump around with their ideas, ENTPs are almost always logical with their thoughts and opinions rather than strictly fanciful.

The Ti function allows an ENTP to explore multi-faceted ideas or perspectives thoroughly and analytically to increase their overall understanding. They’re very much interested in understanding why something works just as much as how it works.

However, despite these individuals being realistic and favoring logic over emotion, they tend to base their thought processes and conclusions more on ideas than concrete facts.

As opposed to a Fi (introverted Feeling), a Ti will base their decisions on logical thought and physical information versus emotions. However, this does not mean that facts strictly drive them. On the contrary, a Ti prefers to base their decisions on inner thoughts and conclusions made through an explorative or even philosophical thought process of analysis.

Once they have the necessary information, a Ti will also differ from a Te (extroverted thinking) in the sense that they tend to keep their judgment or opinions to themselves rather than expressing them outwardly to others.

In addition to all this, the Ti function allows an ENTP to have a clear inner structure and control in their lives that lends well to being highly motivated, independent, and self-disciplined individuals.

Fe: Extroverted Feeling

The tertiary function for an ENTP is the Fe function, which stands for extroverted feeling. This function is typically less developed than the previous two for the ENTP personality but still plays a significant role, particularly in their affinity for humanitarianism and empathy.

ENTP’s can be frustrating individuals, particularly in the heat of a debate. However, their Fe function makes them much more likable individuals. It is because of this function that many ENTPs are eloquent and expressive conversationalists.

Additionally, they can be extremely persuasive and even charming, a skill that comes in handy when they want someone to see their point of view or side with them in conversation.

However, when this function is exceptionally undeveloped in an ENTP, the individual might come off as standoffish, insensitive, or even intellectually pretentious. This is mostly because since the Fe function is not dominant in an ENTP, it is much more difficult for these individuals to notice emotional changes or signs that other, more attuned personalities pick up on quickly.

On a more positive note, the Fe function helps an ENTP to pursue their intellectual interests for humanitarian purposes rather than personal pursuits. These individuals also strive to maintain harmony in an external environment and willing to offer counsel and advice to others in need.

Si: Introverted Sensing

The final function for an ENTP is the Si function, which stands for introverted sensing. This is their weakest function, operating almost exclusively on a subconscious level.

This function can allow individuals to create and maintain a clear mental system where they can store and recall information easily. Many personalities that have this function will test situations against their systems comprised of facts or experiences before a decision is made.

When the function is strong, the system works quickly and flawlessly, allowing quick decisions with the certainty of success or failure.

Unfortunately, since this is a weaker function in ENTPs, their systems aren’t typically as honed as they could be. Therefore, these individuals sometimes struggle with being inconsistent and unreliable when it comes to implementing their ideas. This is one of the reasons why ENTPs excel at having creative ideas but often allow others to implement their ideas for them.

Another element of this function is the ability to reflect on past occurrences and apply them to present situations to determine future results. Since the Si function isn’t typically strong in ENTPs, they struggle with this train of thought and often neglect to consider past events in their decisions.

On the other hand, personalities with a strong Si function can often get stuck in the past and have strong connections to past events that inhibit their progression. Since this function is weaker in ENTPs, they can ponder the future more easily rather than being stuck in the past.

Best Careers for an ENTP

Now that we’ve discussed what an ENTP personality entails and the cognitive functions that affect their thinking and behavior let’s discuss how these functions best translate to the workspace.

As we’ve said, ENTP’s can be intense debaters who struggle with authority and restrictive rules unless they are the ones in charge. These individuals are extremely creative, innovative, and inquisitive, all traits that lend extremely well to many workspaces.

That being said, there are a few careers where ENTPs are most likely to thrive and feel fulfilled. Due to their creative and entrepreneurial nature, these careers fall under three main categories that best suit the ENTP personality: business and technology, arts and design, and science and engineering.

ENTPs in Business and Technology

As a result of their debating nature, ENTPs prioritize knowledge through rational thought and insight. They are highly analytical and like to explore all sides of a situation or idea in order to fully comprehend it.

This skill is useful when it comes to dissecting ideas or concepts to learn how best to utilize them or even improve a situation. As a result, many ENTPs do well in business or legal settings as well as careers centered on technology.

However, since they are an extroverted personality type with an affinity for humanitarianism, it is not uncommon to find ENTPs in social or group settings within these careers or working jobs that focus on helping others, such as training or consulting.

Here are some of the top ENTP jobs within this category:

  • Product manager
  • Training manager
  • Relationship manager
  • Operations manager
  • Advertising sales
  • Software developer
  • Systems analyst
  • Business consultant
  • Financial planner
  • Stockbroker
  • Computer programmer
  • Public relations specialist
  • Attorney/Lawyer

ENTPs in Arts and Design

The highly creative and innovative nature of an ENTP often drives some to careers in arts and design where they are free to explore the possibilities of a project to their satisfaction. These individuals are known for being visionaries in any work setting and constantly thinking of new ideas and ways to express themselves.

However, since the ENTP personality still tends to lean more towards the rational than emotional, many will choose creative jobs that are a bit more structured or tech-focused versus ones that are purely expressive, such as music or art.

They also prefer careers where they can work independently on a job and be a part of a larger creative group for inspiration and discussion.

Here are some of the top ENTP jobs within this category:

  • Game designer
  • Film producer
  • UX designer
  • Creative director
  • Copywriter
  • Photographer

ENTPs in Science and Engineering

The final field in which you are likely to see ENTPs is science and engineering, for reasons similar to those discussed in the “business and technology” section.

An ENTP’s analytical and inquisitive nature often allows them to prosper in science and engineering careers as they will enjoy the process of learning how something works, why it works that way, and how they can improve it.

ENTPs are likely to find themselves in scientific fields.

Another benefit of these careers is that they are highly collaborative and typically very hands-on, which ENTPs enjoy. However, the settings can be quite structured and bogged down with routine, in which case an ENTP will struggle to remain innovative and creative within their environment’s confines.

On the other hand, if the ENTP is in charge of their environment, they are more likely to enjoy their careers as it allows them to pursue their interests however they please.

Here are some of the top ENTP jobs within this category:

  • Environmental scientist
  • Engineer
  • Architect
  • Political researcher
  • Market researcher

Famous ENTPs

For those of you who identify as an ENTP or are simply curious about the most influential ENTPs you might know, here is a list of 15 of the most famous ENTPs:

  • Theodore Roosevelt: 26th President of the United States
  • Catherine the Great: Empress of All Russia from 1762 until 1796
  • Thomas Edison: American inventor and businessman
  • Socrates: Athenian philosopher
  • Tom Hanks: American actor
  • Leonardo da Vinci: Italian artist, engineer, inventor, and architect
  • Benjamin Franklin: United States Founding Father, writer, politician, scientist, and inventor
  • Alexander the Great: King of Macedon, Autocrat of Greece, King of Persia, Pharaoh of Egypt
  • Gene Wilder: American actor
  • Benedict Cumberbatch: English actor
  • Stephen Colbert: American comedian and talk show host
  • Voltaire: French writer, historian, and philosopher
  • Celine Dion: Canadian singer
  • Sir Walter Raleigh: English courtier and explorer
  • Babe Ruth: American professional baseball player

Final Thoughts

As individuals, ENTPs are a significant asset to any work or group setting due to their inquisitive and creative nature.

They are even more beneficial and pleasant to be around when the individual has worked on their lesser cognitive functions, Fe and Si to be more emotionally aware of others, so they don’t come off as insensitive in conversation.

Once they have mastered this, they are champions of innovation and socialization in nearly any setting.

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