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General Details
Global Population4-10%[1][2][3]
Keirsey TemperamentArtisan (SP type)
Keirsey DescriptorPromoter
Adaptive Traits
Maladaptive Traits
  • Unpredictable
  • Daring
  • Smarmy
  • Bored easily
  • Impulsive
  • Competitive
Cognitive Functions (Harold Grant Stack)
DominantExtraverted Sensing (Se)
AuxiliaryIntroverted Thinking (Ti)
TertiaryExtraverted Feeling (Fe)
InferiorIntroverted Intuition (Ni)
Shadow Functions
OpposingIntroverted Sensing (Si)[5]
Critical ParentExtraverted Thinking (Te)[5]
DeceivingIntroverted Feeling (Fi)[5]
DevilishExtraverted Intuition (Ne)[5]

An ESTP (Extroversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perception) is a psychological type used in self-assessment typology instruments like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for individuals, who self-report preferences for extraversion, Sensing, Thinking and Perception on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and similar typology systems based on the work of Carl G. Jung in Psychological Types.[6] ESTPs account for about 4–10% of the population.[1][2][3] Keirsey referred to ESTPs as Promoters, one of the four types belonging to the temperament he called the Artisan. In general, the preference for Sensing and Perception gives ESTPs a care free and easygoing nature. ESTPs tend to live in the moment, sharing in enjoyable moments with friends. They tend to be hands-on learners, open to situations and prefer improvising over planning.[7] Although popularized by Myers-Briggs marketing material, the term, ESTP is also used by a variety of other personality systems.


Myers-Briggs description

According to Myers-Briggs, ESTPs tend to enjoy the company of other people, but would rather, engage in an activity than sit around and discuss ideas at length. This is, in part, because ESTPs intuitively sense opportunities and to maximize chance of positive outcomes, are compelled to act immediately, lest the opportunity past them by. For example, in emergency situations, one must act quickly to minimize major injury or even death. In such cases, sitting around discussing courses of action is often not suitable because there is a limited window of time to act. Moreover, as discussion occurs, a situation is spiraling out of control and that the best course of action is to physically act to minimize or prevent unpredictable outcomes.

Keirsey description

According to Keirsey, ESTPs, or "Promoter Artisans", are the most adept among the types at influencing other people. Promoting is the art of maneuvering others to one's position. Concrete in speech and utilitarian in action, they are smooth operators. The ESTP knows everyone who matters and everything there is to do because they are very resourceful, always knowing where the fun and action is. They like to indulge themselves in the finer things in life and to bring other people with them. Their goal in life is to sell themselves and their ideas to others. Dramatic and debonair, they are gifted at earning others' confidence.

Cognitive functions

Jung postulated that individuals use a series of abstract mental processes, often called cognitive functions, to mentally structure and process information. The theory was based on ideas he developed through clinical observations. Although, Jung defined the theory of psychological types, the arrangement and orientation of the functions is subject to debate.

Main functions

The most common arrangement for the functions is the Harold Grant stack. In the Harold Grant stack, the (hierarchically organized) cognitive functions of ESTPs are as follows:[8]

Dominant: Extraverted Sensing (Se)

Extraverted Sensing (Se), in the dominant position, naturally leads to a person engaging in present sensations, without any regard for long-term or future implications. Due to this, Se users tend to focus on their surroundings to see opportunities for immediate action, enjoyment or some other kind of stimulation. While Se does not naturally make one spatially aware, one with dominant Se tends have good sense of their surroundings. They may not necessarily notice every detail, but if someone is wearing something cool or trendy, Se will draw that thing to the user's attention. For example, Se does not infer why something is cool, exciting or beneficial because this would ultimately self-defeat the point of Se, which is to enjoy the present for its own sake. Se draws ESTPs to enjoy novelty, but when things become too familiar, Se may grow to despise that thing. Consequently, ESTPs may struggle in routine environments like structured education due to lack of novelty. Despite this, ESTPs tend to be popular and appear intelligent in school by virtue of a strong presence they naturally create due to their dominant Se. Like-minded persons tend to want to hang out with them because their Se makes them appear competent due to their understanding of current fashion.

Although, dominant Se is sometimes accused of being superficial, it is actually lower functioning Se (such as inferior Se in INTJs and INFJs) that tends to be overly superficial due to chasing meaningless things for success. Dominant, well-functioning Se is pragmatic and heavily grounded in reality, so that things rarely take on a misguided meaning. In situations where time is limited, Se encourages immediate, reactionary action, rather than sitting around discussing a solution. Se operates in real-time so that users appear skilled and controlled in their mechanical and physical movements, but are in fact, quickly and effectively making small adjustments in real-time to account for any real-time errors. Naturally using physical skills, ESTPs tend to develop their physical skills and become athletically active but Se does not necessarily make an ESTP a good athlete.

Auxiliary: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

ESTPs may become distracted or lose focus because their dominant Se is scanning the environment for cool, trendy or novel things to interact with. Consequently, the role of the auxillery function: introverted thinking (Ti) is to better enable the ESTP to analyze and classify things scanned in the environment using their introverted thinking function.[9] While a sterotypical ESTP may be hyperactive and not able to sit and reflect, the auxiliary function brings more balance to the ESTP's cognition, grounding them in reality and helping them better structure information and organize their internal logic.

Tertiary: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

As an ESTP's Ti function matures to ground the ESTP, the ESTP has the potential to become selfish due to heavy reliance of Ti, which can isolate them if it is used excessively. As ESTPs mature at around early 20s, they become more willing to tame their Ti with Fe so that they do not come across as unnecessarily harsh or cold. Fe facilitates polite, considerate, and appropriate behavior, thereby, willing to engage with people for ethical reasons. In the tertiary position, however, an ESTP can sometimes misuse Fe as a means to validate their ego or to defend against insecurities. For example, to account for a faltering Ti function, an ESTP may use Fe to manipulate persons emotions to fulfill Ti goals. In this case, both Ti and Fe are underdeveloped, creating the unhealthy dynamic.

Inferior: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Finally, inferior Ni is an unconscious fear of the unimagined, particularly, abstract implications.[10] ESTPs fear being perceived as too serious, too intellectual, too academic because these things are ultimately contrary to a fun and fulfilling life of Se. ESTPs can fall into traps of wanting success and believe that they need to engage in random mysticism to feel fulfilled. Ultimately, such is a maladaptive use of Ni because of its inferior position. Under stress, ESTPs can easily and deceptively believe that they are very good at using introverted intuition, even fallaciously believing that they are deeper and more wiser than other ESTPs.[11] ESTPs may also have a fear of being nothing or meaningless and feel isolated from their friends or peer groups, despite being present because of unconscious inferior Ni insecurities.

Shadow functions

Linda V. Berens[12] extended the original cognitive stack framework by proposing that individuals use eight functions, rather than four functions. For an ESTP, these shadow functions are ordered as follows:

Introverted Sensing (Si)

Si collects data in the present moment and compares it with past experiences, a process that sometimes evokes the feelings associated with memory, as if the subject were reliving it. Seeking to protect what is familiar, Si draws upon history to form goals and expectations about what will happen in the future.[13]

Extraverted Thinking (Te)

Te organizes and schedules ideas and the environment to ensure the efficient, productive pursuit of objectives. Te seeks logical explanations for actions, events, and conclusions, looking for faulty reasoning and lapses in sequence.

Introverted Feeling (Fi)

Fi filters information based on interpretations of worth, forming judgments according to criteria that are often intangible. Fi constantly balances an internal set of values such as harmony and authenticity. Attuned to subtle distinctions, Fi innately senses what is true and what is false in a situation.[14]

Extraverted Intuition (Ne)

Ne finds and interprets hidden meanings, using “what if” questions to explore alternatives, allowing multiple possibilities to coexist. This imaginative play weaves together insights and experiences from various sources to form a new whole, which can then become a catalyst to action.[15]

Function dynamics

The theory of Psychological Types by Carl G. Jung postulates that the cognitive functions are not merely employed in a priority queue basis, nor are they employed as tools or skills.[16] The functions interact with each other in unique ways to produce a dynamic personality profile. For example, a surfer is interacting with the ocean, their surrounding environment and with the surfboard. One can influence the other. If the surfboard is not properly designed, the surfer's capabilities might be impeded and likewise, if the surfer is unskilled, they will perform badly despite owning the best surfboard on the market. Similarly, ESTPs do not use Se appropriately while Ti or Fe is dysfunctional due to stress.

Se-Fe Loop

Occurs when an ESTP enters an Se-Fe looping pattern usually due to an immature Fe function combined with a faltering Ti function. May occur due to lack of reflection and too much extraverted activity. ESTPs in an Se-Fe loop pattern chase superficial status for recognition, engage in reckless or cool behaviours to gain peer support, act unnecessarily threatening or tough (to exert mastery and sense of control of other emotions) and make mock other's emotions to hide or project own Fe insecurities. In such a looping dynamic, ESTPs may get an ego boost when told off because it makes them the centre of attention, giving them a distorted sense of validation.[17]

Se-Ni Grip

Occurs when an ESTP enters an inferior Ni grip, often due to stress and immaturity. They may feel saddened, lose the ability to have fun and enjoy the moment, subconsciously adopt spiritual or religious ideologies inconsistent with their belief system as an unconscious way of dealing with stress or life issues.[18] ESTPs may feel empty, bored, frustrated, stressed and fear that they are worthiness or insignificant. They may be irritated with nerdy or academic persons and easily annoyed by accusation of being superficial or lacking any insight.[19]

Ni-Fe Loop-Grip

The Se-Ni grip pattern is fueled by a faltering Fe function that cherry-picks factual data to confirm cognitive biases that other individuals are misusing the ESTP, or are only merely pretending to like the ESTP.[18] The cherry-picking is due to faulty logic and esteems from an underdeveloped or misused Ti function in the stack.


Extroverted presence

ESTPs tend to appear tough, cool, trendy, chill, aesthetically appealing, interesting or distinguishing in the present moment. Se grounds them in the present moment. The presence produces an interaction on the environment, radiating a controlling vibe over others. . ESTPs can appear trendy, engaged or confident (even when internally lack such perception). For example, ESTPs despite having an uncool and unfashionable hairstyle tends to charm persons because of their Se easygoingness. ESTPs may earn a reputation of being cool and engaging despite doing nothing to warrant it. ESTPs can be overrated by persons biased by their charm and underrated by those who are cautionary of ESTPs. It is because the ESTP obviousness is perceived to be "too obvious to be possible true" that human cognition overlooks it in a biased way.

Their presence is not a conscious or intentional act but stems from the ESTP's attention to the environment. The ESTP, naturally in touch with trends and fashions, expresses it through their physical clothing and physical appearance. The ESTP appreciates the finer things of life, not by words but by their physical appearance.

ESTPs tend to look mature and physically in the zone. Chilling out with friends in large groups and chewing on a piece of gum indicate that the ESTP is either chill or very stressed.

Intimidation and manipulation

ESTPs may manipulate persons for selfish gain due to an Ti-Fe imbalance.[20] For example, they may act excessively superficial, show off trends and fashions and develop an anti-social mentality to gain social approval from like-minded people as a twisted form of validation to appease inferior Ni insecurities about being nothing and insignificant.[21][22]

ESTPs may hang out with large groups of friends who validate their appearance due to using Fe defensively to behave immaturely.[23] These ESTPs do not necessarily chase after physical thrills like an ISTP might. Instead, they merely pretend to be brave and thrill-seeking. For example, an ESTP may talk tough to his friends about the daring and cool stuff he does for show even though it is not true.

Group Dynamics

In groups, ESTPs may make others look tough because they radiate their own sense of toughness onto the individuals around them. In group dynamics, ESTPs may not necessarily be chatty but will subconsciously be the center point of attention because they exert a sense of presence that makes them popular.


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