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Old 13th-March-2017, 01:48 AM   #1
manishboy
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Default environmental sensitivity and SE

A question for those more attuned to the functions than I:

Is environmental sensitivity indication of a more or less developed SE? I have great vision, hearing, balance and hand-eye coordination. But I'm easily overwhelmed by "loud" experiences. Even the wrong smells can cause a visceral reaction. From my limited understanding, a well developed SE should thrive on new sensory experience. I enjoy the occasional hike but abhor anything too stimulating. Visiting a shopping mall wipes me out and I generally avoid crowds. Is my SE so strong that I am overwhelmed by sensory input or is my condition indication of weak SE?

For context on my question, I had thought for a while I fit the INTP functions but have recently suspected ISTP or something else. I'm now trying to get a grip on what SE is about. My son is textbook ISTP and while we share similarities (logical argumentation), he is a consummate athlete and intrepid (like doing back flips off the roof of our house), traits which I can only approximate and then only for a while.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 13th-March-2017, 03:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: environmental sensitivity and SE

I'm no expert, but my understanding is that even if you're good at it, if you don't like it it's not very high on your stack. It's a personality inventory, and isn't supposed to measure aptitude directly.

I guess a decent analogy would be my thinking function. I've got Ti up there somewhere. If I put in a lot of effort, I can turn the same skills that underlay my introverted thought towards extroverted goals such as working out timetables and setting up work routines. The difference is that with one I will think about things for the joy of it, for the other, even if I'm capable enough when forced into a corner, costs me a lot in terms of effort and energy. The Te-lord I used to live with oozed organisation and productivity. I can't maintain that state for very long.
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Old 13th-March-2017, 09:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: environmental sensitivity and SE

I would think it probably means introversion more than anything else. Not necessarily weak Se, but a proclivity to be more receptive to everything, as opposed to taking in and acting deliberating like Se would.
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Old 14th-March-2017, 12:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: environmental sensitivity and SE

I am uncertain of the theory behind it, but has definitely been my observation that those with strong Se have an environmental sensitivity. My ISFP mother always complains about the television being too loud when it's on 20% volume or that lights are too bright, for example. But an ESTP recently ex-friend of mine has some serious sensory issues by my standards. Not only does she complain about the TV and can't stand clutter, she would refuse to go into a nightclub because the music was too loud, she always decorates in a minimalist fashion and is so unbelievably fussy it's unreal. The last time I offered to make her a cup of tea at my house (a very standard greeting amongst us British people), she took one sip and claimed it was not drinkable and threw it out, claims that frozen chicken is inedible when cooked in a curry, and for some reason cannot stand even the sight of a pea and could distinguish between the smells of dozens of different scented candles in a blind smell test. It was irritating enough to be among the reasons I ceased communication.

When I think of them and a few other Se's I also know, they do have a great deal more skill than I at interior design, style and art. I always assumed it was down to their sensitivity to details, and becoming overwhelmed by too much detail.

In polar opposite, as Si I can consume almost any food substance, withstand any noise and can't even notice clutter and mess if I try and I completely lack a sense of aesthetics. On the other hand, when I'm in tune with the environment and not completely absorbed inside my own head, I can let instinct or Ne (I've always assumed) take over and not bother thinking about it. Such as a few days ago I was driving at night, and automatically slowed down to a stop. Then realised the reason I'd stopped was because of a child crossing the road in a black coat which I could barely see. Likewise, and ENTP I know has a real flair for martial arts, quick reactions and marco-tactical thinking.

I don't know whether I'm completely correct about this, but I always believed Se was processing the details of the environment around you, while Ne involves processing the environment as a whole, looking for the big picture around you without focusing so much on details. In my experience, this gives Ne's faster reactions and easier understanding of the things around them, while Se's have better aesthetic abilities and are less likely to overlook minor details.
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Old 19th-March-2017, 08:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: environmental sensitivity and SE

Thanks for sharing your perspectives. It's interesting how my situation can be looked at it opposing ways--as either weak SE due to overwhelm aversion or strong SE due to same aversion. The more I think about it the more I suspect that one's behaviors are not reducible to cognitive functions.
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Old 20th-March-2017, 06:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: environmental sensitivity and SE

Quote:
Originally Posted by manishboy View Post
The more I think about it the more I suspect that one's behaviors are not reducible to cognitive functions.
I think you're right.

But there's still some kind of truth to them in terms of abstract forms. I mean all human beings are different, yet all human beings. I think it's the same with the cog functions. Trying to define clear behaviors for them seems to be a fruitless effort. It's almost like trying to define the behavior of all dogs; they don't all act the same. There's probably many kinds of Se. But then I guess the theory isn't so attractive to a lot of people because it doesn't really give any clear answers.
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Old 20th-March-2017, 02:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: environmental sensitivity and SE

Quote:
Originally Posted by manishboy View Post
But I'm easily overwhelmed by "loud" experiences. Even the wrong smells can cause a visceral reaction.
Yes that's all exactly the same for me. Example, I went to a college basketball game with my birth family (Se dominants for the most part, who naturally like college basketball games). I lasted about 10 minutes and then just closed down (same thing happened to my INTP son). I hunkered down into my brain and just started to shut out the sensory overload (at these games they use visual, sounds and the action to get people pumped up). That led me to the theory that Type is at root an ability to handle different forms of information from the environment.

Now there's a caveat with this; if I was actually interested in going to the game I could have handled it better. My natural/resting state is to not enjoy sports events and have this reaction. But I can enjoy high intensity sensory activity if I have a reason for it. But still, even there, after not long (less than an hour) I still burn out. This goes beyond just sports events, I'm very sensitive to loud noises, smells, and so forth. In comparison my Se inferior INFJ wife enjoys all those (even the game) - for a time. She will sooner or later burn out too, while the Se dominants will keep on going, and going, and going, ...

Separately we can discuss Se as playing the trickster archetype in the INTP psyche, something I also have good evidence for. In that case it 'operates' differently.
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Old 20th-March-2017, 02:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: environmental sensitivity and SE

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reluctantly View Post
I think you're right.

But there's still some kind of truth to them in terms of abstract forms. I mean all human beings are different, yet all human beings. I think it's the same with the cog functions. Trying to define clear behaviors for them seems to be a fruitless effort. It's almost like trying to define the behavior of all dogs; they don't all act the same. There's probably many kinds of Se. But then I guess the theory isn't so attractive to a lot of people because it doesn't really give any clear answers.
Right - according to Jung behaviors aren't 1-1 reducible to functions, but they are stochastically generated, from Type, the Complexes (basically our non type personality from life) and Free Will. This happens to fit nicely fit with the connectionist model in AI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip
I don't see emotions as something that need to be controlled, they're just information.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starjots
Because I think the Singularity is much more interesting than the Rapture.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaSurfer
I don't really care to act against my nature anymore.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennywocky
Discovery channel is like introductory porn for INTPs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Minsky
I probably wouldn't go skydiving anyhow because my time is too valuable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8151147
Coding is fun, how the hell you can live without it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by E404
Sometimes the hardest part is knowing what I actually want and allowing myself to want it...
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Old 24th-March-2017, 04:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: environmental sensitivity and SE

Quote:
Originally Posted by Architect
Separately we can discuss Se as playing the trickster archetype in the INTP psyche, something I also have good evidence for. In that case it 'operates' differently.
Do say more on this. I can have an almost transcendent experience looking at trees sway in the breeze, or observing the patterns of branch and stem. It's childlike but also somewhat strange, almost like hypnosis through fascination with complex visual pattern. And that could be the form of the trickster so I hope you can expand on this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reluctantly
But there's still some kind of truth to them in terms of abstract forms.
Yes, that's where they make the most sense. The hard part is marrying the ideal forms with the mess of a personality. I've struggled trying to make that match for a long time and now I'm thinking it's best to use them as we use the cardinal directions for navigation--useful ideals but almost never the direction you're actually headed.
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Old 24th-March-2017, 07:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: environmental sensitivity and SE

Quote:
Originally Posted by manishboy View Post
Do say more on this.
OK

Quote:
I can have an almost transcendent experience looking at trees sway in the breeze, or observing the patterns of branch and stem. It's childlike but also somewhat strange, almost like hypnosis through fascination with complex visual pattern. And that could be the form of the trickster so I hope you can expand on this
That's just experiencing the numinous, not Se specifically. As you say 'patterns of branch and step' - key word patterns, Ti/Ne/Si in some kind of synchronous flow. Se types get high on seeing the landscape more often, not the details and certainly not the complexity.

I was skeptical of the shadow stack until the Se trickster was brought to my attention by a MBTI practitioner. In INTP's and INFP's you often see a kind of physical deviancy. Finding humor in gross physical jokes, slapstick and the like. You'll also see a tendency to pilfering, stealing and such. With me it manifests in the humor department. Slapstick (e.g. 3 Stooges) is humor that'll give me a belly laugh. My outward sense of humor can be quite sophisticated and wicked (which dominant Feelers love), but what makes me laugh is pretty base and stupid.

The practitioner had an example of an INTP and INFP bringing sex toys to a gag party. They thought it hilarious, where everybody else were rather like "OK, yeah ..." Separately an INTP friend of mine had no compunctions about stealing petty cash from a place she worked.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip
I don't see emotions as something that need to be controlled, they're just information.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starjots
Because I think the Singularity is much more interesting than the Rapture.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaSurfer
I don't really care to act against my nature anymore.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennywocky
Discovery channel is like introductory porn for INTPs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Minsky
I probably wouldn't go skydiving anyhow because my time is too valuable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8151147
Coding is fun, how the hell you can live without it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by E404
Sometimes the hardest part is knowing what I actually want and allowing myself to want it...
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Old 12th-April-2017, 01:26 PM   #11
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Default Re: environmental sensitivity and SE

Growing up with sensory processing disorder I found some things highly necessary whilst other things I hated. Jumping on the trampoline was necessary, whilst putting socks on could be one of the worst things I had to do as a child. It slightly affects me still, but putting on socks doesn't pose a problem most of the time anymote, except for the occasional 'dry sock', stimulating myself normally feels good but it's less so a novelty thing than a stimulation thing.
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Old 12th-May-2017, 05:47 AM   #12
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Default Re: environmental sensitivity and SE

Hm...well, just let me apologise in advance because I'm the process of overhauling everything I've learned about MBTI, so this may sound a bit convoluted.

Environmental sensitivity, or oversensitivity as you describe, may or may not be linked to Se. You see, when you say you're oversensitive to your physical environment, you sound like you're describing symptoms often associated with HSPs: becoming overwhelmed by 'loud experiences'. HSPs have a more sensitive nervous system which leads to experiencing input via the five senses in a more intense fashion than non-HSPs. Anyone can be HSP, but I've read it's very prevalent in NFs/intuitives. I'm not sure how valid that is.

I can relate to your oversensitivity, in that sense. When it comes to how I experience environment, it's quite muted. The physical world 'feels' blurry, like it's not quite real, and very separate from me. Often enough, this kind of feeling applies to my body too. I'm in my body and I'm aware of it, but there's something like an invisible barrier between my thoughts and anything outside of it. It's a bit like being underwater, everything is slowed down, you can't really hear or see. Your existence becomes a little less tangible and real.

That's my primary mode of being. Thus, it's very difficult for me to pay attention to where I am because none of it feels real. It's like I'm continuously in a dream with little awareness of how my physical environment can affect me or I it. This is why loud, sudden noises or movements startle me. And it's also why, when I do try to pay attention, I easily get overwhelmed because I can't regulate going from 'muted underwater dream' to being really tuned in to what's going on around me. Everything becomes too bright, too loud, too fast. By trying to take in information via a mode that's not normal for me, I become overwhelmed because I'm not used to it. I can't regulate this flow of information well.

You've heard of out of body experiences? I used to get those a lot, and also spurts of disembodiment, being really weirded out and surprised when looking at a limb, for example, and knowing that it's actually connected to me in some way. I don't get this much anymore.

That, for me, seems to be a sign of low Se. But, I do know people experience these things a lot, independent of type. I know a couple of people I suspect are high Se, and one of them can relate when I talk about disembodiment. That separation of thoughts/internal/imagination vs physical environment on the other hand is something I've rarely been able to explain and have understood by others though.

Okay, I need to go work on something now because I've procrastinated long enough. Hope this lends some insight and makes sense.

Added later:

I just noticed that I didn't actually answer the question. Actually, I have no idea how to judge whether (your) Se is developed or not. Sorry for the long ramble, I really just put my own thoughts down on what low Se is. And I'm not really sure I'm right, so.
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