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12 INTJ Functions Explained – Cognitive, Shadow and Sarcastic

INTJs are known to have highly perceptive talents when it comes to thinking. INTJs are such influential, logical thinkers that people often refer to this personality type as “the mastermind.” INTJs are excellent at tuning into the big picture, seeing patterns and interconnections because of their ability to analyze things from all angles. Many INTJs use their perceptive pattern skills to achieve fame in medicine, science, and math.

If you’re trying to learn more information about the INTJ personality type, then you’ve come to the right place. Below we’ll cover the INTJs functions and explain their cognitive functions, shadow functions, and sarcastic functions so that you have a complete comprehension of the INTJ personality.

INTJ Cognitive Functions Explained

To comprehend more about the INTJ personality, we need to take a look at the different cognitive functions that define the characteristics of the INTJ. For an INTJ, there are four cognitive functions, including introverted intuition, extraverted thinking, introverted feeling, and extraverted sensing.

1. Dominant INTJ Cognitive Function: Introverted Intuition
INTJs are fascinated by patterns, and their introverted intuition gives them the ability to explore possibilities and connections that many other people can’t see. INTJs don’t only take facts as concrete objects; they like to explore the meaning of these facts and analyze things from all angles. INTJs spend a lot of time considering their plans and looking at potential goals.

They also have powerful chronological memories and know how to recall things beyond just the facts. Most INTJs are talented when it comes to locating combinations, connections, and patterns, so they are excellent at assessing what is going on in life, especially when another is being deceptive or manipulative.

2. Auxiliary INTJ Cognitive Function: Extraverted Thinking
The secondary function of the INTJ personality is extraverted thinking. INTJ’s extraverted thinking allows them to find order and structure in our chaotic world. INTJs tend to use their extraverted thinking when trying to solve problems, and you’ll see this when you watch how exact they can be. Since INTJs have this extraverted thinking skill, they enjoy formulating their decisions using logic. INTJs are excellent at organizing what they see around them into patterns and cause-and-effect relationships.

3. Tertiary INTJ Cognitive Function: Introverted Feeling
The INTJs tertiary cognitive function is introverted feeling. So, while INTJs do use this function, it’s tertiary, so they don’t use it as often as their dominant and auxiliary functions. So, INTJs do have signs of introversion, but they won’t be as introverted as some of the other introverted personalities.

Some INTJs do a fantastic job of developing this function, and that gives them the ability to understand values and emotions when they make significant decisions. That often means that INTJs will align themselves with others that share similar values and feelings.

4. Inferior INTJ Cognitive Function: Extraverted Sensing
The inferior function for all INTJs, and the least developed cognitive function, is extraverted sensing. While INTJs don’t always use this function, they can take information through their senses quite effectively when they need to. INTJs tend not to rely on this all the time, but they do know how to tune into their worlds.

INTJ Shadow Functions Explained

Now that you understand the INTJs cognitive functions, we’ll move on to discuss the shadow functions typically associated with the INTJ personality.

1. INTJ Shadow Function: Extraverted Intuition
Extraverted intuition, or Ne, is the polar opposite of the INTJ’s dominant cognitive function, introverted intuition, or Ni. When an INTJ utilizes Ni, he or she looks for meaning and patterns to tell what will happen in the future. When doing that, INTJs have a singular focus. Ne, on the other hand, often interrupts the INTJ’s Ni analysis, which can irritate the INTJ greatly. An INTJ that is unhealthy can shut down others when others try to demonstrate alternate possibilities to the INTJ.

2. INTJ Shadow Function: Introverted Thinking
Introverted thinking, or Ti, is the opposite of the INTJs auxiliary cognitive function of extraverted thinking, or Te. INTJs use Te to protect themselves and others, and also to accomplish the tasks they need to perform throughout the day. With Te, the INTJ is using order to plan an action. Ti, on the other hand, can be infuriating for an INTJ. Ti, to an INTJ, often comes across as a loud inner voice that’s criticizing them, and that can cause them to shut down and become unproductive when they are unhealthy.

3. INTJ Shadow Function: Extraverted Feeling
The opposite of the INTJ cognitive tertiary function is extraverted thinking. For an INTJ, extraverted thinking can create a lack of organization in the INTJ thought process. When an INTJ is unhealthy, he or she often stop taking responsibility for his or her actions. That’s because the INTJ is dissociating from the organization, and not aware of everything around him or her anymore.

4. INTJ Shadow Function: Introverted Sensing
Introverted sensing is the polar opposite of the INTJ’s inferior cognitive function. When an INTJ is unhealthy, introverted sensing can act as an internal form of sabotage for the INTJ. INTJs are very good at remembering what’s happened in the past, what’s happening now, and how things all link together. They also try to live healthily when they are healthy. However, when INTJs are unhealthy, they can start ignoring what’s happened in the past, and then lose track of their ability to combine patterns and understand the future.

Unhealthy INTJs also start neglecting their self-care and start worrying about their past. INTJs in this shadow position often feel like their past experiences will ruin what they are planning for the future. That’s because when an INTJ is not healthy, he or she can wind up reliving negative past experiences over and over again.

INTJ Sarcastic Functions

Now that we’ve covered INTJ cognitive functions and shadow functions, it’s time to breakdown the INTJ’s sarcastic functions.

1. INTJ Sarcastic Function: Introverted Intuition
When an INTJ is using introverted intuition as a sarcastic function, he or she is using his or her time to plan things. The INTJ will even spend time trying to figure out how to avoid others that waste their time or decrease their productivity.

2. INTJ Sarcastic Function: Extraverted Thinking
An INTJ in the extraverted thinking sarcastic function tends to view himself or herself as a leader that knows what to do, but for some reason, he or she still gets stuck doing all of the work when trying to break things down in groups.

3. INTJ Sarcastic Function: Introverted Feeling
When an INTJ is trapped in introverted feelings, he or she will tend to feel antisocial. The INTJ will experience a state when he or she feels new relationships cannot be formed, especially with the opposite sex.

4. INTJ Sarcastic Function: Extraverted Sensing
INTJs that experience extraverted sensing at the sarcastic level can act like impulsive children trying to get another person to spend a lot of money on them. When an INTJ is trapped in this state, he or she might act like an aristocrat and push others to spend money.


Now that you know a bit more about the INTJ personality, you’ve hopefully gained some useful insights into your nature, or the character of a loved one. We hope you’ll use this material wisely and enjoy improving your relationships with other people. After all, once you understand yourself better, you’ll be able to comprehend the needs of others much more adeptly.

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