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What’s the Difference Between the Intuitive and Sensory Learning Styles?

After posting the article 7 Steps to Finding the Perfect Intuitive Relationship, I received a lot of questions about the fundamental differences between between people with an Intuitive learning style and those with a Sensory learning style.

This is important to address: of the major differences between people, the largest discrepancies lie in the differences between people who have a Sensory learning style and people with an Intuitive learning style. That is, a full 70% of the population prefers Sensing versus only 30% favoring Intuition. For both these learning styles, here are 10 tips for becoming a fast learner.

When you distill it down, the difference between Sensors and Intuitives is this: Sensors prefer reliability of information, and Intuitives prefer speed and depth of insight. This ends up manifesting itself a couple of unique ways. First, Intuitives learn to trust pattern recognition to help them understand information quickly and see things that aren’t ‘there’. Basically, they extrapolate large amounts of information from only a few data points.

Sensors, of course, have this same ability. But they don’t trust it, and so they don’t hone it. Instead, they trust reliable information – things that can be verified in the Real World. Therefore, they become masters of historical information – their own history as well as other  people’s. They also become fantastic at manipulating objects in real time. There is no need to question reality when it’s right there in front of you. Reality is reliable. Speculation isn’t.

Second, how they see information informs how both these preferences see time.

If real, reliable, solid information is what you choose to focus upon, then the here-and-now context becomes far more important, as well as past information (which used to be the here-and-now context). Sensors can’t rely on what hasn’t happened yet, so the future becomes far less interesting. On the other hand, Intuitives are already comfortable seeing what ‘isn’t there’ – as in, they’re comfortable theorizing and speculating on what could be in both the here-and-now as well as into the future. The past doesn’t really hold their interest any more than a reference point for future predictions.

Third, these differences alter both values and basic interests.

For Sensors, values surround things like family, tradition, getting into action, old friends, etc… these are all rooted in the known and knowable, and therefore can be trusted. For Intuitives, values focus more on the cerebral – possibilities, memes, paradigms, perspectives and concepts. Conversation will generally revolve around these things, with little interest in small talk.

Both Sensors and Intuitives have an important role. Sensors often “hold down the fort” – uphold infrastructures that keep us going as a society. Intuitives are generally the “trailblazers” – coming up with new ways of looking at and doing things which fashion new technologies and paradigms. It makes sense that fewer Intuitives would be needed – too much innovation and everything collapses. But without innovation, the world stagnates.

Understanding and appreciating these differences is how we cooperate to create both a stable system as well as pathways to whole new worlds.


p.s. If you have an Intuitive preference, I highly recommend reading the article 7 Steps to Finding the Perfect Intuitive Relationship, even if you already are in a relationship! And don’t forget to comment. 🙂

Antonia Dodge is a co-founder of Genius Awakening, a business designed to help people leverage their own mental processes to optimize productivity, communication, job satisfaction, and most importantly – happiness. She has over 10 years in applied psychoanalytics, profiled hundreds of people, and consulted for companies such as Zappos, Zappos Insights, Hot Topic Media, Oracle and Voyage Media. She has helped developed over 20 high level trainings, products and resources and served on the leadership team to plan and orchestrate TEDxSinCity, an independently organized TED event held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

About Antonia Dodge

Seeing how people tick is at the heart of Antonia’s natural ability to understand how people systems work. She is an author, thought leader, coach, trainer, systems thinker, and personality profiling expert.  At the age of 15 Antonia picked up a book on personality psychology and her world changed forever. She began to see the patterns of why people do what they do – not based on behavior alone – but based on how the mind works. Antonia has co-developed a 6-month profiler training course that teaches coaches and business professionals how to "speed read" people, understand how their mind works and and then work with the unique personality for achievement, life purpose, or team building.
  • leon grzesiak

    I believe in Jesus Christ, the only way to the truth !!

    • That is something a sensor would say

      • Antonia

        All right, I’m going to point out some shit right now for the benefit of anyone reading this.

        To anonymous “Intuitive” –

        Your comment is not only inaccurate, it’s meant (either consciously or unconsciously) to be insulting to a whopping 75% of the population.

        First, religious belief isn’t the province of Sensors. There are many Many MANY Intuitives who have strong religious convictions. (Now, I use the word ‘religious’ here instead of merely spiritual because of the nature of the original poster’s comment. Here is a man that loops all things back to his belief system in a framework that is most likely religious. Those who are more ‘spiritual’ tend to be less tenacious at drawing all things back into a loop.) This is more a sign of level of development than learning style preference.

        Second, I don’t think I’m taking too many liberties when I say that the nature of your comment was, at the very least, superior in tonality and highly dismissive. To dismiss someone you think may be a nutter (cause, to be totally honest, that’s how the original poster strikes me and I don’t think I’m the only one) is one thing, but to dismiss them based upon (what you think may be a sign of) a different learning style is akin to racial prejudice.

        It’s easy for Intuitives to be superior – they’ve usually dealt with some pain based upon being the ‘different one’, the alien, etc… and when they discover that this difference was, all along, a POWER that very few people have the natural tendency is to let the pendulum swing to extremely smug. It’s pretty common. But if you stop and think about it, it’s also an asshole thing to do. Sensors are extremely necessary in the world, and have absolutely no idea that they’ve been punishing you for your Intuitive preference. It’s just not on their radar.

        One of the reasons Camronn and I have put together the Genius Awakening program (and, more specifically, the Intuitive Awakening program) is to publicize as much as possible the difference between Sensors and Intuitives so we can begin to understand each other more and more. To see the extremely valuable tool of understanding be turned into a weapon is always distasteful to me. Though I’ve made peace with it happening, I’ve also made peace with the need to bitch-slap anyone who does it.

        So, stop it.


  • Khalid

    Hi and great post by the way. I recently just started reading your articles and I find them to be quite interesting and very eye opening. On the G.A test I tested as an intuitive which I thought was pretty accurate. Now that it makes sense to me. Would being an intuitive type make us more naive when it comes to certain things? If we tend to go off just the bits and pieces of information to satisfy our answer? I’m all about innovation and new ideas that are brought into the world and I find myself tending to want to support these ideas. What if an idea that is brought up not such a good idea. How do I determine if it isnt what the world needs at the moment…I hope this makes sense but I find people who are “realist” tell me that certain ideas wont work, there are flaws in it. Am I not seeing something being the intuitive? I hope what I’m sharing make sense. I just want to see the world in a better place =]

    • Antonia

      Great questions.

      So, this is my theory. You can judge for yourself. 🙂

      75% of the population is Sensory, and only 25% is Intuitive. That means for every person is who is excited about your new idea, there are going to be at least three people who are suspicious and vetting it for usefulness. (There will be some fellow Intuitives doing the same thing, so that number is actually even higher.)

      If you know that all your new ideas not only have to be turned into reality, but also with quite a bit of resistance from a large majority, then you’re going to have to really, really want this innovation in order to make it happen. It’s going to have to be a passion, a focus and drive that forces it into reality against the odds… and turns something new into part of the social consciousness. That’s a lot of hard work.

      If we didn’t have this push/pull between establishment and innovation, if we didn’t have this check-and-balance system, then we would see a lot of really lame innovations take off for a while (due to shared excitement) and then crash and burn (due to lameness). That’s one of the reasons I personally believe we have this 75/25 disparity. You need MOST people vetting new concepts, and smaller percentage coming up with them.

      It’s like nature balances it all out exactly as it needs to be. 🙂

      So, if you want to vet your own ideas and innovations, then ask yourself – what is an idea so elegant that you’re willing to fight tooth and nail to have it become a reality in the world? That should help answer the question of ‘quality’ versus simply excitement at the ‘new’.

      Does that make sense?


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  • Laura

    I tested as an intuitive but as I read this I see some sensory traits in myself too. I’m gonna say since that’s the case, people can be both. What then?

    • Antonia

      Laura – All people have both capabilities, and both learning styles ‘represented’ in their personality. However, one will be a preference. That means enjoying using either the intuitive or the sensory learning style more often, spending more time developing it as a skill, learning to rely on it and then identifying yourself with that preference.

      Now, traveling a little further down the rabbit’s hole, of 16 distinct personality types, a full half (8) have more ‘balance’ between their intuitive and sensory learning styles. To know if this your personality type and what that means for you, I encourage you to look into and consider ordering the Genius Awakening system. How your intuitive and sensory learning styles (as well as your decision-making processes) show up for you is detailed in the 14 page report that comes with the 60 question assessment.



  • I am really loving this. I’m a Christian Intuitive. I see no confict. I’ve found my people and it really, really feels great. Hugs!!!!!

    • btw, I love sensors, too! It’s just nice to know that I’m not a freak. LOL!

      • One more thought (for the first commenter this time)… I found a poop that my little Minnie dog left on the floor for me this morning. I mean nothing offensive–honest!–but you do see the analogy, don’t you? LOL! Come back and join the conversation, for heaven’s sake! 😉

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