The Cognitive Functions

Have you already explored my sixteen cognitive functions approach? 16 Unique Cognitive Functions based on who you are in a positive state of flow. Find out your MBTI Cognitive Functions in today’s article.

The cognitive functions can be used to describe complex interactions between different personality traits inside your mind, for example how you balance outgoing tendencies with conscientiousness or how your openness influences your interactions with other people or yourself.

What are the cognitive functions?

The cognitive functions are sixteen different intelligences. Everyone has all these functions but tend to experience and use them differently.

The Sixteen Intelligences

Your cognitive functions can be directly traced to your personality type. ENFJs have EN, FJ, EF, and NJ as their four flow functions. ISTPs have IS, IT, TP and SP as their cognitive functions. Learn more about the MBTI types here:

Cognitive Functions In Practice

Te (Extroverted Thinking): Executing a task, or implementing a project.
Fe (Extroverted Feeling): Coordinating the people involved in a task and making sure all processes interact well together.
Fi (Introverted Feeling): Reflecting on why a task is done and for what purpose.
Ti (Introverted Thinking: Reasoning on how a task can be executed.

Flow Cognitive Functions

Functions are experienced differently depending on if they are expressed in flow, stress, inspiration or in a. state of autopilot. A flow state combines both energy and balance, while inspiration is often described as a short burst of creative energy.

Balance

Flow

Energy

Autopilot

Inspiration

Exhaustion

Stress

Chaos

MBTI Cognitive Functions

Every personality type has different cognitive functions in flow as opposed to stress, inspiration, or if they are in autopilot. INFJs tend to experience high focus during flow, while ESTPs tend to have many balls in the air at the same time during flow.

ESTPs tend to become more focused if there is a deadline or stressor to motivate them to do so. INFJs may become more flexible and adaptable if there is a sudden increase of expectations or tasks on their to-do list. Trace your cognitive functions to your personality type using the chart below:

Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Introverted iNtuitionExtroverted SensingExtroverted iNtuitionIntroverted Sensing
Introverted FeelingExtroverted ThinkingExtroverted FeelingIntroverted Thinking
iNtuitive JudgingSensing PerceivingiNtuitive PerceivingSensing Judging
Feeling JudgingThinking PerceivingFeeling PerceivingThinking Judging
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Introverted iNtuitionExtroverted SensingExtroverted iNtuitionIntroverted Sensing
Introverted ThinkingExtroverted FeelingExtroverted ThinkingIntroverted Feeling
iNtuitive JudgingSensing PerceivingiNtuitive PerceivingSensing Judging
Thinking JudgingFeeling PerceivingThinking PerceivingFeeling Judging
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Introverted SensingExtroverted iNtuitionExtroverted SensingIntroverted iNtuition
Introverted ThinkingExtroverted FeelingExtroverted ThinkingIntroverted Feeling
Sensing JudgingiNtuitive PerceivingSensing PerceivingiNtuitive Judging
Thinking JudgingFeeling PerceivingThinking PerceivingFeeling Judging
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Introverted SensingExtroverted iNtuitionExtroverted SensingIntroverted Intuition
Introverted FeelingExtroverted ThinkingExtroverted FeelingIntroverted Thinking
Sensing JudgingiNtuitive PerceivingSensing PerceivingIntuitive Judging
Feeling JudgingThinking PerceivingFeeling PerceivingThinking Judging
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Introverted SensingExtroverted IntuitionExtroverted SensingIntroverted Intuition
Introverted FeelingExtroverted ThinkingExtroverted FeelingIntroverted Thinking
Sensing PerceivingIntuitive JudgingSensing JudgingIntuitive Perceiving
Feeling PerceivingThinking JudgingFeeling JudgingThinking Perceiving
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Introverted SensingExtroverted IntuitionExtroverted SensingIntroverted Intuition
Introverted ThinkingExtroverted FeelingExtroverted ThinkingIntroverted Feeling
Sensing PerceivingIntuitive JudgingSensing JudgingIntuitive Perceiving
Thinking PerceivingFeeling JudgingThinking JudgingFeeling Perceiving
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Introverted iNtuitionExtroverted SensingExtroverted iNtuitionIntroverted Sensing
Introverted ThinkingExtroverted ThinkingExtroverted ThinkingIntroverted Feeling
iNtuitive PerceivingSensing JudgingiNtuitive JudgingSensing Perceiving
Thinking PerceivingFeeling JudgingThinking JudgingFeeling Perceiving
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Introverted iNtuitionExtroverted SensingExtroverted iNtuitionIntroverted Sensing
Introverted FeelingExtroverted ThinkingExtroverted FeelingIntroverted Thinking
iNtuitive PerceivingSensing JudgingiNtuitive JudgingSensing Perceiving
Feeling PerceivingThinking JudgingFeeling JudgingThinking Perceiving
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Extroverted iNtuitionIntroverted SensingIntroverted iNtuitionExtroverted Sensing
Extroverted FeelingIntroverted ThinkingIntroverted FeelingExtroverted Thinking
iNtuitive PerceivingSensing JudgingiNtuitive JudgingSensing Perceiving
Feeling PerceivingThinking JudgingFeeling JudgingThinking Perceiving
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Extroverted iNtuitionIntroverted SensingIntroverted iNtuitionExtroverted Sensing
Extroverted ThinkingIntroverted FeelingIntroverted ThinkingExtroverted Feeling
iNtuitive PerceivingSensing JudgingiNtuitive JudgingSensing Perceiving
Thinking PerceivingFeeling JudgingThinking JudgingFeeling Perceiving
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Extroverted SensingIntroverted IntuitionIntroverted SensingExtroverted iNtuition
Extroverted ThinkingIntroverted FeelingIntroverted ThinkingExtroverted Feeling
Sensing PerceivingiNtuitive JudgingSensing JudgingiNtuitive Perceiving
Thinking PerceivingFeeling JudgingThinking JudgingFeeling Perceiving
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Extroverted SensingIntroverted IntuitionIntroverted SensingExtroverted Intuition
Extroverted FeelingIntroverted ThinkingIntroverted FeelingExtroverted Thinking
Sensing PerceivingIntuitive JudgingSensing JudgingIntuitive Perceiving
Feeling PerceivingThinking JudgingFeeling JudgingThinking Perceiving
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Extroverted SensingIntroverted IntuitionIntroverted SensingExtroverted iNtuition
Extroverted FeelingIntroverted ThinkingIntroverted FeelingExtroverted Thinking
Sensing JudgingiNtuitive PerceivingSensing PerceivingiNtuitive Judging
Feeling JudgingThinking PerceivingFeeling PerceivingThinking Judging
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Extroverted SensingIntroverted IntuitionIntroverted SensingExtroverted iNtuition
Extroverted ThinkingIntroverted FeelingIntroverted ThinkingExtroverted Feeling
Sensing JudgingSensing PerceivingSensing PerceivingIntuitive Judging
Thinking JudgingFeeling PerceivingThinking PerceivingFeeling Judging
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Extroverted IntuitionIntroverted SensingIntroverted iNtuitionExtroverted Sensing
Extroverted ThinkingIntroverted FeelingIntroverted ThinkingExtroverted Feeling
iNtuitive JudgingSensing PerceivingiNtuitive PerceivingSensing Judging
Thinking JudgingFeeling PerceivingThinking PerceivingFeeling Judging
Flow FunctionsStress FunctionsInspiration FunctionsAutopilot functions
Extroverted iNtuitionIntroverted SensingIntroverted iNtuitionExtroverted Sensing
Extroverted FeelingIntroverted ThinkingIntroverted FeelingExtroverted Thinking
iNtuitive JudgingSensing PerceivingiNtuitive PerceivingSensing Judging
Feeling JudgingThinking PerceivingFeeling PerceivingThinking Judging

When I talk about flow functions, I talk about the functions that we use with relative ease, and functions that we value and find intrinsically important. The flow function gives us our conscious sense of identity and ‘who we are’.

The flow function can be contrasted against the inspirational functions and the autopilot functions. While the inspirational functions serve as difficult goals or challenges to strive towards, the autopilot serves as the tool or methods and resources we see ourselves as using to fulfil our goals. Finally, the stress functions represent our unconscious, hidden self.

Dominant, Auxiliary, Tertiary and Inferior

Whether a cognitive function is “dominant” or not depends on how often you use it. Different INFPs may use different cognitive functions to a different extent, and if an INFP is not in flow, they may have a more dominant Introverted Sensing or Thinking.

Intp

This is an example of an INTP with an Introverted Thinking subtype. Their Introverted Thinking might be dominant, but their Thinking Perceiving is relatively weak and less visible in their behaviour. Every individual has a very unique development and your preferences are truly unique to you alone in the whole world.

Introverted Thinking
Introverted Intuition
Intuitive Perceiving
Thinking Perceiving

What are your cognitive functions and how do you see the cognitive functions in yourself? Take the Personality Test here:

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