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Intuitive vs. Analytical Personality Traits

By Katie Quirk

While undertaking my Behavioural Studies major at university, it became clear to me quite quickly that the foundation of finding success in both your personal and professional endeavours seems to rest heavily on establishing a strong sense of self and overall self-awareness; like acknowledging what makes you tick, how you navigate decision-making and what internal processes you tap into for problem solving.

According to Canadian psychologist Gordon Pennycook, humans are intuitive thinkers at our very core. Our emotional responses tend to be the innate driver when it comes to reacting to various situations and stimuli, which is an evolutionary tactic to help us swiftly achieve reasonable outcomes.

However, there are times when gut over guile can land us in hot water.

We all know a highly emotive state can see us become impulsive, irrational and overly impassioned, taking away our ability to find reason beyond our initial feelings.

So what is the difference between an analytical personality type and those who skew more towards an intuitive way of thinking.

This article will investigate these differences further and seek to help readers better understand where they fit on the spectrum.

What is an analytical personality type?

If you’ve ever been described as an “A-type”, you are likely to fall into the analytical personality category - these individuals set extremely high standards for themselves and others, are orderly and organised and approach decisions with thought and purpose.

Economical and self-disciplined, analytical personalities strive for perfection however their downfall can come in the form of indecisiveness and (surprise, surprise) over analysing everything, from a restaurant menu to a dream job offer.

Analytical personalities require time to do well and they embrace problems that require extensive research or examination; they are process-driven and are adept at breaking down large, complex issues. 

Deep and thoughtful, analytical personalities value facts, data, reasoning and clear communication.

What is an intuitive personality type?

People with an intuitive personality type are those whose hearts rule their head - rather than breaking down information with logic, they refer to what their gut is telling them in any given situation.

They tend to look beyond face value and have a strong trust in their own judgement and moral code; however, intuitive personality types are usually skilled at remaining open-minded.

Unlike analytical personalities, intuitive personalities don’t paint their decisions in black and white but instead many shades of grey. They are able to consider both sides of the coin and easily put themselves into others’ shoes. 

While solutions can arrive very quickly for those driven by intuition, intuitive thinking is best applied when problems are well understood; challenges can arise for intuitive personality types when more complexity is involved.

Intuitive personalities value love, kindness, creativity and compassion.

What are examples of analytical skills?

man giving presentation on the future of computing

As effective communicators and with a proficiency for active listening, analytical personalities are likely to showcase out of the box creativity and high-level critical thinking.

Those with analytical personalities are also typically good at:
  • Generating relevant facts before making a decision
  • Extracting and collating quantitative data
  • Dissecting underlying reasoning behind decisions and embracing a “prove it” mentality
Well-suited career choices for analytical personalities:
  1. Accounts
  2. Logistics
  3. Project management
  4. ICT
  5. Workplace Health & Safety
Below are some recommended courses if you have an analytical personality: 

What are examples of intuitive skills?

woman working in office space

Intuitive personality types tend to be more empathetic than their analytical counterparts; they are also observant and deep thinkers who live in the moment.

Those with intuitive personalities are also typically good at:
  • Making decisions and judgments based on the gut feel of a situation
  • Being observant, spotting patterns, reading people and picking up on cues that subconsciously influence their decisions
  • Making the right decision quickly with minimal information, especially if they’re high-performing
Well-suited career choices for intuitive personalities:
  1. Counselling
  2. Consulting
  3. Entrepreneurial endeavours
  4. Carers
  5. Journalism
Below are some recommended courses if you have an intuitive personality:  As with most things relating to personality, thinkers and feelers exist on a wide-raging spectrum rather than within a concrete category (factors like extroversion and introversion also come into play).

David Ludden, a professor of psychology at Georgia Gwinnett College, explains that “it’s important not to think of intuitive and analytical thinkers as two different types of people because all of us are capable of both modes of reasoning.”

When push comes to shove, whether your personality is more embedded in analytical tendencies or sways to the intuitive side, it is possible to consciously integrate elements of both types into decision making and work style.

As acclaimed Canadian author, Malcolm Gladwell (his book Outliers is one of my all time favourites) once commented “when we talk about analytic versus intuitive decision making, neither is good or bad. What is bad is if you use either of them in an inappropriate circumstance”.

To get a better understanding of your personality type, you can try this short quiz by Ben Ambridge (Professor of Psychology at the University of Liverpool, and author of Are You Smarter Than A Chimpanzee?) to see what kind of thinker you are.

Tap into your analytical or intuitive traits with an online course 

Whether you're an analytical or intuitive thinker, Upskilled has a great range of courses available to help you boost your skills and knowledge in some of Australia's in-demand industries. With courses across business, community services and IT, you'll be able to enjoy the flexibility of online study, helping you tend to your work and family commitments.

Talk to one of our education consultants and see what course best matches your career goals! 
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*By providing your information, you agree to our Privacy Policy and to receiving email and other forms of communication from Upskilled. You are able to opt-out at any time.