The Complete Guide to INFJ Cognitive Functions

INFJ Cognitive Functions blog cover

Are you looking to understand more about the INFJ personality type? If so, learning about their cognitive functions is a great next step. INFJs are known for their enigmatic yet compassionate nature—but there’s much more to INFJs than just that. In this guide, we’ll dive into INFJ cognitive functions, which can give you valuable insight into how people of this personality type think.

But first, what are cognitive functions? Cognitive functions are modes of processing information and making decisions based on your personality type. They form the basis of how we think and draw conclusions.

Each personality type primarily uses four cognitive functions, and the position of each one impacts how each person uses it. This order is sometimes referred to as a “function stack.”

The INFJ cognitive function stack is as follows:

1. Dominant cognitive function = Introverted Intuition (Ni). INFJs use this function to make sense of information through pattern recognition and convergent thinking.

2. Auxiliary cognitive function = Extraverted Feeling (Fe). INFJs use this function to understand other people and navigate relationships.

3. Tertiary cognitive function = Introverted Thinking (Ti). INFJs use this function to analyze data and draw logical conclusions.

4. Inferior cognitive function = Extraverted Sensing (Se). INFJs use this function to take in information using their five senses.

Delving into the INFJ cognitive functions

Let’s look at each of the INFJ cognitive functions in more detail.

1. Dominant cognitive function: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Introverted Intuition is an INFJ’s dominant cognitive function, which means it’s the most influential in their function stack. It’s the cognitive function INFJs use most often and with the greatest ease.

Introverted Intuition is one of the processes that help us understand our inner world. It’s about using intuitive internal analysis to understand how things work. If Introverted Intuition was a question, it would be: what is your gut instinct?

This cognitive function is all about taking information and making sense of it through pattern recognition and convergent thinking. It’s associated with relying on intuition and being able to envision how future events could unfold. As a result, INFJs are naturally future-oriented and have an innate sense of what’s coming next.

Introverted Intuition also helps INFJs connect the dots and understand how different parts of a system interact. It gives them the ability to identify any underlying patterns or themes, enabling them to make predictions and gain unique insights. One of the reasons why INFJs are so socially aware is because they can take a step back and see how everything fits together. This gives them an advantage when it comes to understanding relationships and building rapport.

Introverted Intuition cognitive function

INFJs focus on the big picture and understand abstract concepts, which is why they excel at communicating complex ideas. In fact, they often shy away from dealing with the nitty-gritty details and repetitive personal admin tasks. Introverted Intuition gives them this birds-eye view of the world, enabling them to see the world from different perspectives and take a completely different approach.

Introverted Intuition enables INFJs to imagine potential scenarios and predict which ones are most likely to play out. They have an innate ability to understand the knock-on effects of their decisions. This helps explain why they are often ahead of the curve—they can spot patterns and naturally think ahead. INFJs are also talented at foreseeing potential problems, which means they can take action to prevent them before they become an issue.

Introverted Intuition enables INFJs to think outside the box. It helps them see potential opportunities, which helps them to make the most of a given set of resources. INFJs generally need to be alone to fully access their Introverted Intuition because it can take time for the insights to come—it’s not always a conscious process. As introverts, INFJs can easily get lost in the depths of their own minds and tap into their inner world, giving them the clarity they need to make informed decisions.

INFJs are often creative in an artistic sense. This is largely because their Introverted Intuition enables them to think freely and use their imagination to explore new ideas. People of this personality type commonly engage in creative pursuits, whether it’s writing, painting, or playing an instrument. While they can see these activities as hobbies, they can be more than that. For many INFJs, the arts can be an emotional outlet that help them to express their feelings creatively.

2. Auxiliary cognitive function: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

Extraverted Feeling is an INFJ’s auxiliary cognitive function, which means that it’s the second most influential in their function stack. It’s another area where their strengths lie, although not to the same extent as Introverted Intuition.

Extraverted Feeling is one of the processes that help us make decisions based on the outer world. It’s about taking into account the emotions of others and what’s best for the group. If Extraverted Feeling was a question, it would be: how do others feel about this?

Extraverted Feeling is all about understanding people’s feelings, social dynamics, and hierarchies. It’s associated with picking up on social subtleties and stems from a deep desire to maintain harmony. As a result, INFJs are typically highly aware of the emotions and needs of others.

INFJs are exceptional at understanding social situations, which gives them great insight into relationships. They’re often seen as calm but friendly individuals, natural diplomats who know precisely what to say and how to act, and this is due to their Extraverted Feeling. INFJs use their exceptional social skills to connect with others and create a harmonious atmosphere. Extraverted Feeling also enables INFJs to understand unspoken rules and subtleties. If an INFJ ever gives you a look to let you know you’ve said something out of line, it’s their Extraverted Feeling in action.

Extraverted Feeling cognitive function

When used together, Extraverted Feeling and Introverted Intuition help INFJs read between the lines, not just detect surface-level emotions. They can quickly pick up on the underlying dynamics of a situation and are often the people others turn to for advice. This is because their Extraverted Feeling and Introverted Intuition combine to give them a unique perspective of the world.

Extraverted Feeling in the auxiliary position also comes with a natural ability to absorb other people’s emotions, which can be a blessing and a curse. INFJs can quickly understand how and why people feel the way they do, but this can also be overwhelming at times. If people around them are angry or sad, INFJs may take on these feelings as if they were their own. This is partly why INFJs can be so set on creating a harmonious environment—not only do they genuinely care about other people’s feelings, but they also want to avoid absorbing the negative emotions of others.

When an INFJ walks into a room, they can instinctively read the emotional temperature and understand the social hierarchies at play. This allows them to quickly adapt their behavior to maintain harmony. INFJs have a natural gift for making people feel seen, heard, and appreciated. They can read a room like no other, but they tend to be understated rather than the life of the party.

INFJs tend to prioritize what is best for the group. They use Extraverted Feeling to ensure everyone’s needs and feelings are considered. At the end of the day, INFJs just want everyone to be happy and this stems from their Extraverted Feeling. They are generous and caring people who will go out of their way to help others. In addition, their Extraverted Feeling gives them a strong instinct to nurture and protect.

3. Tertiary cognitive function: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

Introverted Thinking is an INFJ’s tertiary cognitive function, which means that it’s the third most prominent in their function stack. Our tertiary cognitive function tends to be noticeably less developed than our first two.

Introverted Thinking is one of the processes that help us make decisions based on our inner world. It’s about considering your inner framework of logic and web of knowledge. If Introverted Thinking was a question, it would be: does this make sense to me?

This cognitive function is all about understanding how the world works. It’s associated with ensuring that data and information are accurate. However, INFJs use Introverted Thinking lower down in their function stack, so these abilities are less prominent than in other personality types who use it as their dominant function.

The main way Introverted Thinking impacts INFJs is it helps them double-check their facts and ensure their decisions are based on accurate information. Introverted Intuition can cause INFJs to get caught up in imagining the future without checking that the starting information is accurate. Introverted Thinking steps in to make sure they’re not jumping the gun by checking the original data.

Introverted Thinking cognitive function

INFJs are naturally intuitive, so they’re prone to jumping to conclusions and making decisions based on their gut feeling. Introverted Thinking helps them bring in the facts and ensure their thought processes are grounded in logic. They naturally think about how their choices impact others, but Introverted Thinking balances this out by making sure they’re not forgetting the rationale behind their choices. Essentially, their Extraverted Feeling is all about other people’s emotions, while their Introverted Thinking helps to make sure that their decisions make sense from a logical perspective, too.

INFJs can be quite analytical, which is their Introverted Thinking shining through. It encourages them to think critically and notice inconsistencies in information. When used alongside their Extraverted Feeling, they can be particularly sharp at picking up on subtle changes in people’s behavior. Essentially, they’ll use their Extraverted Feeling to sense the atmosphere and then use their Introverted Thinking to identify the root cause.

Introverted Thinking is about understanding how things work rather than efficiently completing tasks. INFJs might take their time before coming to a conclusion because they want to fully understand all the nuances of a project, task, or situation. Ultimately, when INFJs balance their Introverted Thinking with their Extraverted Feeling, it helps them ensure that any decisions they make are logical and fair and that they will positively impact those around them.

When INFJs make the most of their tertiary Introverted Thinking, they can be quite discerning about what they accept as the truth. Instead of simply taking information at face value, they will verify it to ensure they can trust it. Introverted Thinking helps to ensure that the connections and patterns detected by Introverted Intuition are sensible and make sense when scrutinized. This helps to prevent them from getting caught up in fanciful possibilities that are off the mark.

4. Inferior cognitive function: Extraverted Sensing (Se)

Extraverted Sensing is an INFJ’s inferior cognitive function which means they can struggle to access it easily. Using your inferior cognitive function as a strength is possible, but not for a prolonged period.

Extraverted Sensing is one of the processes that help us understand the world around us. It’s about experiencing and perceiving the external world in the present, and it involves taking in information using our five senses. If Extraverted Sensing was a question, it would be: what am I physically experiencing right now?

This cognitive function is all about tangible information. It’s associated with action, movement, and the “here and now.” However, it’s the inferior function of an INFJ, so it tends to manifest more as a weakness than a strength.

One of the key ways that inferior Introverted Intuition manifests for INFJs is that they can struggle to be present. They tend to live in their heads and can be preoccupied with their thoughts. This can lead them to miss out on what’s happening around them and make it harder to appreciate sensory experiences, such as a beautiful sunset or a delicious meal.

Extraverted Sensing cognitive function

INFJs are often great at understanding abstract concepts but aren’t always observant of their surroundings. This is their inferior Extraverted Sensing at play. They might overlook real-world details that others naturally pick up on, such as what color jumper someone is wearing or what kind of music is playing. This can mean they don’t feel truly connected to their environment and may even feel out of place.

Inferior Introverted Intuition also means that INFJs can struggle to be spontaneous because they generally don’t feel comfortable reacting to unexpected situations in the moment. Instead, they need to take time to let their Introverted Intuition work its magic, and their Extraverted Feeling assess the emotions of the situation before taking action. This can be difficult for them in the heat of the moment and can lead to INFJs feeling overwhelmed or anxious when they are under pressure to make a snap decision.

INFJs can also struggle to take risks and can be overly cautious. Without a strong ability to process and assess sensory information, they are less likely to take a chance and may miss out on opportunities. This can lead them to stick with the same routine or stay in their comfort zone, which can be detrimental in the long run. By tapping into their inferior Extraverted Sensing, INFJs can feel more connected to the world around them and become more confident in taking action without always having a clear plan.

When INFJs channel their inferior Extraverted Sensing as a strength, they can learn to relax and have fun. After all, simply experiencing something without trying too hard to make sense of it can be enjoyable. While looking for deeper meanings is part of an INFJ’s nature, taking a break from it can be a great way for them to find fulfillment and joy in life. When INFJs make the most of their Extraverted Sensing, they can also learn to be more spontaneous and adaptable.

Final thoughts on INFJ cognitive functions

So there we have it: an in-depth look at INFJ cognitive functions. If you’re an INFJ or getting to know one, this guide will help you understand how people of this personality type process information and why they act in certain ways.

INFJs are empathetic, deep individuals with a lot to offer, but like everyone, they’re not perfect. Understanding cognitive functions is a great way to gain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of this personality type.

Finally, don’t forget to share this post with your friends and followers – knowledge is power, and learning more about cognitive functions can help us understand ourselves and those around us on a deeper level.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our blog post about INFJ compatibility and relationships.

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