Home » Psychology » The 10 ISFP Cognitive Functions Explained

The 10 ISFP Cognitive Functions Explained

The ISFP (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving) personality type is one of 16 types identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. An estimated 8-9% of the general population is comprised of ISFPs, making them one of the more commonly recognized types. ISFPs are known to be lovers, nurturers, and caregivers. ISFPs are frequently described as being quiet, peaceful and easy-going. People with this personality type are usually the first to hear the different drummers, and many of them will eagerly plunge into new fashions, avant-garde experiences, and new trends that are considered to be hip. ISFPs are also very independent and self-motivated.

1. Introverted Feeling
ISFPs care more about personal concerns rather than objective and logical information. People with this personality type will deal with information and experiences based upon how they feel about them. ISFPs can spontaneously develop their own codes and credos, about which they are sober and intense. ISFPs tend to create their own spontaneous judgments based on how things fit with their own idea. Emotions are not readily expressed or dramatized for ISFPs. The same introverted property which provides emotional restraint is also responsible for promoting the depth and intensity of this judging function. Finding it hard to relax and do nothing, ISFPs thrive at constantly busying themselves with tasks.

2. Introverted Intuition
ISFPs happen to develop some degree of interest in abstract or theoretical topics. Tertiary intuition works best in the mental background of an ISFP. People with this personality type are comfortable going with their “gut feelings” about topics. They take in details about the world, often developing their opinions about situations on the fly. While they generally do not like abstract ideas or concepts, this function may lead them to experience epiphanies about themselves and others. ISFPs gain most of their insights through lived experience rather than through bursts of intuitive knowledge. Intuition as their means of communication often lacks, evidenced in spoonerisms, non-sequiturs, and mixed metaphors.

3. Extraverted Sensing
ISFPs are most likely to keep a finger on the pulse of here and now. They have a stronger willingness to be doing rather than considering, at acting than reflecting, and at tasting than wondering. This function attunes to the concrete sensory details of the external world by using the five senses of sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste. People with Extraverted Sensing can often be found scanning the environment for unique sensory novelties, and they will notice details that others might miss. ISFPs focus on the present moment, processing new information and then taking action. Using the five senses they can recall powerful memories.

4. Extraverted Thinking
This function may be employed by ISFPs in external situations that require closure. This kind of thinking behaves in an all or nothing manner. Having this kind of thinking puts ISFPs at risk for getting a lack of context and proportion. In most cases, ISFPs enjoy being able to operate in the open-ended style of sensing, implying the opinions of feeling values in the indirect fashion characteristic of introverted functions. ISFPs have a weakness in organizing, and they use this function to look for the most efficient way to do something. ISFPs can be easily blinded to the point where this inferior function impacts their decisions and behavior.

5. Reserved and Quiet
Mainly being introverted, ISFPs tend to be shy, and especially will stay reserved and quiet around people they don’t know well. They prefer to stay close to groups of people they do know well, such as family and friends. They are very private and will keep their true feelings to themselves. They may purposely avoid sharing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions with other people in their life, including romantic partners. Since they try their best to avoid conflict, they often defer to the needs or demands of others. ISFPs are action-oriented and show their care and concern through action instead of discussing their feelings.

6. Hands-On Learning
ISFPs enjoy learning new things by experiencing them, doing them and memorizing them. They particularly prefer loose and unstructured learning. They want to be personally involved in activities and they are motivated to participate. Especially if the activities they are learning involves any combination of the five senses, they will take advantage of these opportunities. Under the right teaching conditions, ISFPs will benefit from developing judgment, criticism, and objectivity. When other people demonstrate to them real-world examples of what is required of them to do, ISFPs typically respond well. They collect facts and are good at storing and retrieving information.

7. Caring and Considerate
After spending time with people, as introverts ISFPs tend to accept other people as they are when they know they can’t convince them to change. ISFPs have an easy-going attitude and won’t be concerned about forcing their points of view onto others. There is often the misconception that ISFPs are cold and inconsiderate of others because they don’t often express their concerns in words. ISFPs internalize their feeling which quickly erupts and then leaves as quickly and mysteriously as it came. ISFPs form deep emotional attachments to their loved ones, which contributes to their strong sense of loyalty and devotion.

8. More Physical Energy
The desire to be competitive can be found in ISFPs. They can be fiercely competitive, especially in sports or table games. They may have great difficulty losing in these events. This competitive nature also encourages ISFPs, because of their desire to succeed, to take more risks and to go with their gut feelings. They are often athletic and have more physical energy and stamina compared to other people. They are endowed with good dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Showing the willingness to be physically active benefits ISFPs if they are performing jobs that require a lot of physical energy to complete them.

9. Harsh Critics of Themselves
Because of their drive to excel in the things they do, ISFPs tend to go overboard on an emotional level if they fail to perform activities correctly. If you happen to be a parent of an ISFP child, you will quickly notice that they can be perfectionists and can be their own harshest critics, even when such criticism isn’t warranted. Because of the high expectations they place on themselves, ISFPs often underestimate or undervalue their own talents and skills. ISFPs should be encouraged to be more kind to themselves and recognize their value if they are going through any adversity.

10. Unpredictable and Easily Stressed
Long-term commitments and plans are often not considered by ISFPs. They have a tendency to actively avoid making future plans, and this can cause strain in their romantic relationships and financial hardship later in life. Living in the present and full of emotion, when situations get out of control ISFPs can get easily stressed out. They will shut down and lose their characteristic charm and creativity in favor of gnashing teeth. While they are whimsical and warm people and love to explore new things, their habit of making snap decisions makes ISFPs hard to predict.


Because of their preference to focus on the present, ISFPs will often perform well in careers that involve practical, real-world problems. Jobs that provide a great amount of personal freedom and autonomy are especially appealing to ISFPs. Careers that ISFPs will enjoy include being an artist, a musician, chef, designer, forest ranger, teacher, nurse, or veterinarian. People with ISFP personality types love animals and are fascinated by nature, so they may seek out jobs that put them in contact with the outdoors and with animals. ISFPs are friendly but they need time to get to know others before they will open up.

About The Author
Although millions of people visit Brandon's blog each month, his path to success was not easy. Go here to read his incredible story, "From Disabled and $500k in Debt to a Pro Blogger with 5 Million Monthly Visitors." If you want to send Brandon a quick message, then visit his contact page here.