Contrary to popular belief, introverted intuition is not the only important function in an INTJ in flow. While I was trying my best for years to design a personality test that would fit within the traditional beliefs, no personality test was ever able to confirm John Beebe’s proposed cognitive function hierachy.
What we all cling to, the base theory that an INFJ is governed by only four conscious functions, appears to be a false or clumsy theory that can’t be measured and can’t be proven. Based on the statistical reports that came in over at Neojungian Typology, I began to deduce that the INTJ reported extremely, surprisingly high introverted thinking. And their extroverted thinking was not as high as theorised. But why not?
What functions are strong in flow?
I began designing personality tests a few years back based on how a personality type would report in flow. Every personality type had a set of interests and values that they would report positively on, and a set of stressors that they would react more negative towards.
When you start to study your own personality type from the perspective of flow, the old cognitive function hierarchy begins to fall apart. My questions are: what do you genuinely enjoy, and what do you find genuinely easy to do?
The general tendency I found was this:
- Introverts will generally answer more positive to all introverted functions.
- Extroverts will generally answer negatively to all introverted functions
- iNtuitives will always report more positive to all intuitive statements
- Sensors of all kinds will always perceive iNtuition to be tiring to use
- Feeling types will always report better to statements that use feeling functions
- Both introverted and extroverted thinking types will report negatively to statements that measure feeling, in any form
This means an INTP will report very highly to both introverted thinking and introverted intuition, with extroverted thinking and intuition and introverted sensing and feeling ending up somewhere on the middle of the scale, and extroverted sensing and feeling appearing in the far end.
This challenges basically everything traditional videos will report over the INTP personality type.
Every cognitive function involved in flow
If we list the personality types based on their self-reported strongest cognitive functions in flow, we get this list:
INTX: Introverted iNtuition (Ni) and Introverted Thinking (Ti)
INFX: Introverted iNtuition (Ni) and Introverted Feeling (Fi)
ENFX: Extroverted iNtuition (Ne) and Extroverted Feeling (Fe)
ENTX: Extroverted iNtuition (Ne) and Extroverted Thinking (Te)
ISTX: Introverted Sensing (Si) and Introverted Thinking (Ti)
ISFX: Introverted Sensing (Si) and Introverted Feeling (Fi)
ESFX: Extroverted Sensing (Se) and Extroverted Feeling (Fe)
ESTX: Extroverted Thinking (Se) and Extroverted Thinking (Te)
This creates eight specific personality types, not sixteen. A solution to distinguish between them is to say the INFJ leads with Ni, and the INFP with Fi. What I decided to do instead was to reestablish the new dichotomy of judging and perceiving and make it its very own dichotomy.
I’ve been working with sixteen cognitive functions for a long time now, not eight. On all my tests, people report and attest to a big difference between judging and perceiving types. The primary difference is the judging type favours goals, organisation, and control. The perceiving type on the other hand, values adaptation, spontaneity, and options.
XNFJ: Feeling Judging (Fj) and iNtuitive Judging (Nj)
XNTJ: Thinking Judging (Tj) and iNtuitive Judging (Nj)
XNTP: Thinking Perceiving (Tp) and iNtuitive Perceiving (Np)
XNFP: Feeling Perceiving (Fp) and iNtuitive Perceiving (Np)
XSFP: Feeling Perceiving (Fp) and Sensing Perceiving (Sp)
XSTP: Thinking Perceiving (Tp) and Sensing Perceiving (Sp)
XSTJ: Thinking Judging (Tj) and Sensing Judging (Sj)
XSFJ: Feeling Judging (Fj) and Sensing Judging (Sj)
What about the other cognitive functions?
I’m not saying INFJs can’t use Ti, but Ti has no place in an INFJ who is in flow, and rather tends to become a perfectionistic block that keeps the INFJ from making decisions. In an INTP however, Ti is a natural part of flow, and tends to help benefit the INTP in accurate and correct decision making.
There are four themes of cognitive functions inside every personality type. There are the flow functions, which represent us in our most assertive and positive state. There are the stress functions, which represent the inferior functions, and how we respond in stress and when anxious.
There are the vulnerable functions that represent how we act when we grow and try new things. Those are found in the auxiliary functions. And finally, the autopilot functions, that represent our old self, or how we used to be in the past. Trained, easy thinking patterns. These fall as the tertiary functions.
For the ENTP, Extroverted Thinking is a natural part of flow, and introverted thinking is only visible during times of growth and vulnerability. ENTPs can easily mimic extroverted feeling, but don’t report positive to this. Their darkest side is introverted feeling, that can manifest when they become anxious.
This is why I always say ENFPs have Fe, and ESTJs have Se. It makes sense doesn’t it? You no longer have to memorise illogical cognitive function patterns and you’ll know now that it’s inaccurate to call the INFJ a Fe type. After all, INFJs hold their own emotions inside, but use Feeling Judging to influence and counsel and comfort other people.