Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Explaining the 8 Functions

In this post I aim to explain to you about the 8 cognitive functions. Using the characters from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It is sometimes easier to understand something when you have something to refer back to.  Of course each character has eight functions each, four they use the most often, and four more that are user sparsely but what I am focusing on is their first function.  I will try to keep them short and sweet.

So firstly I think I should start off what the explanation of what each cognitive function means. According to Best-Fit Type : Exploring the Multiple Models of Personality Type.
Extroverted Sensing(Se): Experiencing the immediate context; taking action in the physical world; noticing changes and opportunities for action; accumulating experiences; scanning for visible reactions and relevant data; recognizing what is relevant.

Introverted Sensing (Si): Reviewing past experiences, evoking what was, seeking detailed information and links to what is known, recalling stored impressions; accumulating data, recognizing the way things have always been. Remembering the last time you wore a particular item or the last time you were at a similar event, maybe even remembering how you felt then.

Extroverted iNtuiting(Ne): Interpreting situations and relationships; picking up meanings and interconnections; being drawn to change What is and what could possibly be, noticing what is not said and threads of meaning emerging across multiple contexts.

Introverted iNtuiting(Ni): Foreseeing implications and likely effects without external data, conceptualizing new ways of seeing things, envisioning transformations, getting an image of profound meaning or far-reaching symbols. Envisioning yourself in an outfit or maybe envisioning yourself being a certain way.

Extroverted Thinking (Te): Segmenting; organizing for efficiency; systematizing; applying logic; structuring; checking for consequences; monitoring for standards or specifications being met; setting boundaries, guidelines, and parameters; deciding if something is working or not. Sorting out different colors and styles; thinking about the consequences.

Introverted Thinking(Ti): Analyzing; categorizing; evaluating according to principles and whether something fits the framework or model; figuring out the principles on which something works; checking for inconsistencies; clarifying definitions to get more precision. Analyzing your options using principles.

Extroverted Feeling(Fe): Connecting, considering others and the group, organizing to meet their needs and honor their values and feelings, maintaining societal, organizational, or group values, adjusting to and accommodating others, deciding if something is appropriate or acceptable to others. Considering what would be appropriate for the situation

Introverted Feeling(Fi): Valuing; considering importance and worth; reviewing for incongruity; evaluating something based on the truths on which it is based; clarifying values to achieve accord; deciding if something is of significance and worth standing up for.

So let’s start off with our slayer.

(Se) Buffy Anne Summers – I’ve got a theory – it doesn’t matter.”

Se is about the immediate context, our physical world. People with Se are considered to be aware of their surroundings, knowing when there is an opportunity to take action. Impulsive, yet practical. So, why not give a Slayer Se? In theory this allows them to be great fighters.  This theory also bares well with the other Se users used in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I’m not saying Se will make you a superhero, but in Buffy’s case it helped her.

Se will laugh at theories, unless you can physically prove it Se may not understand it either. Screw Philosophy. While the intuitives are theorising about the problem they are currently dealing with, Buffy brings in a new idea.  Reality.

Types with dominant Se – ESFP and ESTP. 

(Si) Anya Jenkins – “It’s a higher power, trying to tell me through bunnies that we’re all gonna die. Oh god.

As we have learnt in season 7, before she was Anyanka, and Anya, she was Aud. Aud loved rabbits, she had a house full of them. Now she runs away from the sight of them. Si is about the past, and learning from it, and relying on the lessons it has taught us. In this sense Si makes sense for Anya for every time she sees a rabbit it reminds her of her heart break. She brings up too often for us not to notice it has affected her life.

Types with dominant Si – ISFJ and ISTJ. 

(Ne) Drusilla – ” Me mum says I’m cursed. My seeing things is an affront to the Lord, that only he’s supposed to see anything before it happens. But I don’t meant to, Father, I swear!”

Of course Drusilla doesn’t have a stable mind, and having Ne doesn’t make you psychic. Ne is about the future. It accumulates what is, and turns it into what could be, but only in the mind. It is about the possibilities. An idea can be suggested because it seems exciting.

In season 5 we visit Spike’s past, we find a conversation between her and Spike, and she claims that he is in love with the Slayer. Spike is too wrapped up in them immediate world (Se) to see what is happening unlike Ne user Drusilla who sees clearly what is happening.

Types with dominant Ne – ENFP and ENTP. 

(Ni) Rupert Giles – “I have to believe in a better world.”

Ni manifests to serve a purpose. It brings together facts, theories, and evidence and reaches a decision. It is a transformation function. It just knows. Whether it is right or wrong, Ni has a way of knowing. Giles doesn’t have to see if his conclusions are actually true, he just knows they appear credible. It is about trusting your gut instincts, and if your gut tells you to question you question it.

Here in The Wish, Cordelia told him about a world which was different from the one they were living in. Giles at first uses his Ni, then his Te comes long and tells him it isn’t possible. Not until the episode develops onwards does Giles’ Ni keep playing on his mind, at the end of the episode Giles just knows that there is a better world. It may not be logical, but he has a gut instinct that tells him something in this world isn’t right, and that he knows of another.

Types with dominant Ni – INTJ and INFJ. 

 (Te) Cordelia Chase – “Tact is just not saying true stuff. I’ll pass. “

Te is something that applies logic, it speaks up and tells you something doesn’t make sense logically. Te can appear harsh and abrupt. It doesn’t care much for illogical meanings. As Cordelia says, why tell someone a lie when they need to know the logical truth? It makes no sense to lie to someone to spare their feelings. This is what Te believes.  With Cordelia we also see Te when she calls for social structure, setting boundaries,  by keeping things in it’s place.  The Queen Bee, keeping her “subjects” where they need to be.  She struggles when people don’t obey by her rules, and doesn’t understand why someone would want to break her rules that make logical sense.

Types with dominant Te – ESTJ and ENTJ.

(Ti) Daniel “Oz” Osborne – “On the plus side you’ve killed the bench, which was looking shifty.”

Like Te, Ti also applies logic, but in a different way.  It checks and questions the world around us, it asks “what do I think the reason behind this event is happening?”  Unlike Te, which neglects the individual. Where Cordelia mentioned that tact was useless, Oz will agree but he will know that also logically not everyone will appreciate it.

Ti comes across more sarcastic, and coy. Rather than abrupt and harsh. (Te) Here Buffy is concerned about her room mate Kathy, who she believes is some kind of demon. Oz logically doesn’t believe this, but goes along with Buffy and kind of amuses her with the idea. He hints that he thinks Buffy is thinking illogically, but never forces the idea. Rather than Te which would tell Buffy how illogical she is being.

Types with dominant Ti – INTP and ISTP.

(Fe) Joyce Summers – “Just trying to make things better.”

Fe is less about logic, and more about feelings, but the feelings of others before your own. Putting society before you. The greater societal good. It believes in social norms, and finds it hard to understand people who can’t get along with it.  Fe just wants everyone to live together in harmony, and to reach peace for everyone.  Because of this need of harmony, Fe likes to identify and follow a chosen set of values, principles, codes of conduct and rules and guide the Fe user to an appropiate behavior in the determined situation, so it enables harmony. This does not mean that a Fe user agrees and submissively everything that it is imposed to them as appropiate or good for establishing harmony. Fe users will consider and evaluate it.

The episode Gingerbread is a very extreme  example of Fe. It doesn’t really understand where the individual are coming from, (remember not logically Fe doesn’t think logically) and tries to control them back into what society believes and if they cannot get along with their ideas, they must be banished.

Types with dominant Fe – ESFJ and ENFJ.

(Fi) Willow Rosenberg“I’m not ashamed. It’s the computer age. Nerds are in. They’re still in, right?”

Fi again like Ti is about the individual, about how you feel not how society feels about something. Fi attitude generally states that from things like non-verbal communication, such as body language or tone of voice, as well as one’s own actions one can understand another persons emotional content.

Fi can be selfish. Sometimes people who use Fi forget about the group, and only about themselves. Willow is a great example of this. In Something Blue, Willow makes a wish to have her will to be done. She gets so emotionally angry at one point she forgets about what she is doing to those around her, because she is brooding. Brooding is another thing Fi likes to do, they do a lot of inward thinking. Trying to fight with their beliefs against what needs to be done.

Types with dominant Fi – INFP and ISFP.


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