The Complete Guide to INFP Cognitive Functions

INFP Cognitive Functions blog cover

Are you looking to understand more about the INFP personality type? If so, learning about their cognitive functions is a great next step. INFPs are known for their sensitivity and strong morals—but there’s much more to INFPs than just that. In this guide, we’ll dive into INFP 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 ENFP cognitive function stack is as follows:

1. Dominant cognitive function = Introverted Feeling (Fi). INFPs use this function to make judgments based on personal values.

2. Auxiliary cognitive function = Extraverted Intuition (Ne). INFPs use this function to make connections between ideas and explore possibilities.

3. Tertiary cognitive function = Introverted Sensing (Si). INFPs use this function to draw on past experiences.

4. Inferior cognitive function = Extraverted Thinking (Te). INFPs use this function to solve problems and make decisions based on facts.

Delving into the INFP cognitive functions

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

1. Dominant cognitive function: Introverted Feeling (Fi)

Introverted Feeling is an INFP’s dominant cognitive function, which means it’s the most influential in their function stack. It’s the cognitive function that INFPs use with greatest ease.

Introverted Feeling is one of the processes that help us make decisions based on our inner world. It’s about taking into account your personal values and beliefs. If Introverted Feeling was a question, it would be: how do I feel about this?

This cognitive function is all about living authentically and embracing your individuality. It’s associated with self-expression and a strong sense of right or wrong. As a result, INFPs tend to be passionate and independent-minded. They don’t like following rules or conforming to society’s expectations and are willing to stand up for their beliefs.

Introverted feeling is associated with intense emotions and a deep connection to your inner values. INFPs are highly emotional and sensitive, even though it might not be obvious to the outside world. Seeing as Introverted Feeling is directed inward, INFPs can actually appear quite calm and composed even when they feel strongly about something. This plays a role in why they are often misunderstood.

Introverted Feeling cognitive function

At its best, Introverted Feeling can be a powerful source of compassion. INFPs have a natural sense of empathy and an incredible capacity for caring deeply about the people in their lives. They are in touch with their emotions and always consider how they would feel in a particular situation. This helps them to connect with other people on a deeper level. INFPs are often touched by personal stories, and they tend to stand up for underdogs, particularly if they think they have been treated unfairly.

Introverted Feeling values authenticity and being true to yourself. INFPs are often creative, free-spirited people who strive to live life on their own terms. As a result, they can be seen as quietly rebellious. They take a live-and-let-live attitude unless someone’s behavior goes against one of their core values. INFPs have strong moral codes and will defend them fiercely, and their calm nature can disappear in a flash when pushed too far.

Despite having a well of emotions, INFPs are often quite private. It can take them a while to open up, and they are sometimes seen as aloof or distant. They can be quite cautious about sharing their inner world with others and often need to build a certain level of trust before they feel comfortable doing so. However, INFPs often find comfort in self-expression through mediums such as art, music, or writing.

Introverted Feeling is associated with self-awareness. INFPs spend time reflecting on their emotions and understanding themselves better. As a result, they often have a strong sense of who they are and what they believe in. While they might appear irrational from an outside perspective, their decisions make sense to them. It’s just that the inner value system that guides their choices isn’t always easy to explain.

Introverted Feeling brings with it a need for inner harmony. As a result, INFPs have a deep need to ensure that each and every decision they make is in alignment with their personal values and what feels right to them. This can make it hard for them to compromise, as they often need to feel that they are staying true to themselves. They can be quite stubborn and unwilling to bend when it comes to certain topics.

2. Auxiliary cognitive function: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)

Extraverted Intuition is an INFP’s auxiliary cognitive function, which means 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 Feeling.

Extraverted Intuition is one of the processes that help us understand the world around us. It’s about experiencing and perceiving the external world through a lens of possibilities. If Extraverted Intuition was a question, it would be: what could be?

This cognitive function is all about what could happen and seeing connections between topics. It is concerned with what is possible rather than the current reality. As a result, INFPs are often seen as imaginative, innovative thinkers who always bring a unique perspective to the table.

Extraverted Intuition is associated with thinking outside the box. It is original, unconstrained, and open-minded. INFPs use this cognitive function to generate new ideas and think of ways of doing things differently. They tend to have a short attention span and get bored quickly. As a result, they need mental stimulation to stay engaged, which often comes from novelty and exploring new possibilities.

Extraverted Intuition INFPs to make connections between seemingly unrelated topics. For example, they might see an unexpected link between two books or draw parallels between a historical era and current political events. This unique style of thinking means that they have the ability to gain unique insights or find creative solutions to complex problems.

Extraverted Intuition cognitive function

It can be difficult for some people to follow and understand an INFP’s thought process because it can appear scattered from an outsider’s perspective. They are abstract thinkers who often skip steps in their thought process because in their mind, it’s already clear where their ideas are going. They don’t tend to talk through or explain their thought process in detail. As a result, their ideas can seem far-fetched and unrealistic, even though they make complete sense to the INFP.

Extraverted Intuition is a forward-thinking cognitive function, and it’s focused on possibilities rather than reality and the here and now. It’s also very much focused on the big picture, which is why INFPs don’t get too caught up in the details. They also don’t feel constrained by tried and tested ways of doing things and aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. This is what enables them to be creative—they don’t get stuck thinking about what’s been done before.

INFPs are naturally curious individuals who have a thirst for knowledge. When excited about a new idea, they often spend hours researching and analyzing it. While they tend to be easily distracted, they can be incredibly focused during these phases of intense interest in a topic. They enjoy learning through trial and error rather than spending too much time planning.

3. Tertiary cognitive function: Introverted Sensing (Si)

Introverted Sensing is an INFP’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 Sensing is one of the processes that help us understand our inner world. It’s about experiencing and perceiving our inner world through stored memories of sensory information. If Introverted Sensing was a question, it would be: how does this compare to what I remember?

This cognitive function is all about soaking up sensory information and storing it for future reference. It’s associated with remembering facts and details from the past. Since INFPs use Extraverted Intuition lower down in their function stack, these abilities are less prominent than in other personality types who use it as their dominant function.

Introverted Sensing mainly impacts INFPs by motivating them to reflect on past experiences. It helps INFPs form a mental library of data they can refer to when making decisions. People of this personality type often use Introverted Sensing to remember exactly what someone has said or done, particularly if it is strongly related to their values. For example, if someone has hurt an INFP’s feelings, their Introverted Sensing would help them remember the exact words or actions that led to these emotions. This can make it hard for them to let go and move on from past hurts.

Introverted Sensing cognitive function

INFPs tend to be adaptable and flexible. They don’t like to plan too far into the future and prefer to stay open to new experiences. But when they use their Introverted Sensing, it helps them maintain some kind of routine that keeps them focused. After all, to turn your ideas into reality, you need an element of self-discipline and the ability to deal with everyday tasks. This is where Introverted Sensing comes to the rescue.

Introverted Sensing helps INFPs to make sure they don’t get too carried away with their ideas and theories. For example, they might think of an outlandish idea using their Extraverted Intuition, and their Introverted Sensing will remind them to consider how practical it is in the real world. This cognitive function helps INFPs to stay grounded even when their heads are in the clouds.

Since Introverted Sensing is the tertiary cognitive function in INFPs, it can also have some detrimental effects. People of this personality type may not always be reliable when it comes to dealing with routine tasks. They can become easily bored and lose interest in what they’re doing if it’s too mundane for their liking. Chores such as paying bills and cleaning the house can fall by the wayside for INFPs.

Tertiary introverted Sensing can also help explain why INTFPs can be forgetful. After all, it’s associated with remembering facts and details. With such an active mind that is focused on the future, it’s easy to see how they could become distracted and forget small tasks that don’t seem important in the grand scheme of things. INFPs can struggle with deadlines, and they may also forget to return phone calls or respond to emails.

4. Inferior cognitive function: Extraverted Thinking (Te)

Extraverted Thinking is an INFP’s inferior cognitive function which means they can struggle to access it as easily as their other functions. It’s possible to use your inferior cognitive function as a strength, but not for a prolonged period of time.

Extraverted Thinking is one of the processes that help us make decisions based on the outer world. It’s about taking into account objective criteria and external metrics. If Extraverted Thinking was a question, it would be: does this make sense objectively?

This cognitive function is all about understanding and organizing the external world. It’s associated with structure, sequences, and categorizing information. However, it’s the inferior function of an INFP, so it tends to manifest more as a weakness than a strength.

One of the key ways that inferior Extraverted Thinking manifests in INFPs is that they can struggle to make quick decisions. This is because they like to have time to fully understand how the decision will affect them before proceeding. As a result, they can be indecisive because they sometimes get caught in a loop of analysis paralysis.

Extraverted Thinking cognitive function

Extraverted Thinking is also associated with following rules and systems, which can help achieve certain goals. However, INFPs tend to shy away from structure, as it can feel overly rigid to them. As a result, INFPs can find it hard to stay organized and make progress towards their goals. They might avoid setting clear targets and timelines because they don’t like the idea of being tied to a rigid structure.

Another way that inferior Extraverted Thinking can manifest in INFPs is that they don’t always look at the facts. They can become so caught up in their inner world and how they feel about something that they ignore the hard facts that could be useful in making a decision. As a result, they can end up making choices that feel right in the moment but don’t have the best outcome in the long run.

When INFPs channel their Extraverted Thinking, they can be surprisingly direct in how they communicate. They may become quite assertive and even blunt as they try to make sure that their point is heard. This generally happens when a closely held value of theirs is being threatened, and they feel the need to articulate their views in a clear manner. As their inferior function, they tend to only be direct when they feel very strongly about something. In most cases, they still retain their gentle and sensitive nature.

Extraverted Thinking values metrics and measurable outcomes, which don’t always fit with an INFP’s more easygoing nature. They prefer to focus on intangible aspects, such as how something makes them feel. This can make it hard for them to speak the same language as people who prioritize metrics and precise results. In addition, it’s not uncommon for INFPs to be late or miss deadlines, as they can struggle with time management.

Final thoughts on INFP cognitive functions

So there we have it: an in-depth look at INFP cognitive functions. If you’re an INFP yourself or if you’re 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.

INFPs are adaptable, complex 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 INFP compatibility and relationships.

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