The core cognitive functions provide greater insight into the personalities defined by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. While there are cognitive functions that typically dictate day-to-day decisions, there are also shadow functions that occur subconsciously.
The shadow functions typically present themselves when any personality type feels like their identity or individuality might be threatened. It might also occur when a type is under extreme stress, that these subconscious functions come into play.
We’ll be taking a look into the core cognitive functions and the shadow functions of an INFP type, with some additional insights.
The Core Cognitive INFP Functions
Every type under the Myers Briggs Type Indicator has four cognitive functions and these core functions are vital in processing information and decision making. Each personality type can also be referred to by its two top functions. For the INFP type, its top functions are Fi and Ne, so an INFP can also be referred to as FiNe. Let us explore those four functions.
#1 Introverted Feeling or Fi
Introverted feeling, also known as Fi, is the first and most dominant function in the INFP type–it is the first function to develop. As the first function to take form, INFPs–even as children–are sensitive to their own emotions as well as others.
That being said Fi is not only focused on internal emotions, but rather it is more fixated on values and morals that come from within the FiNe.
This function allows the INFP to differentiate what they consider is right and what is not and given that they are conscious of others around them, Fi typically leads them to choose a solution based on how they would like to be treated were it them in the other person’s place. Given their consideration of others, FiNe’s tend to hold authenticity very highly–anything or anyone that comes off as fake is not accepted by this type.
#2 Extraverted Intuition or Ne
This is the second core function to develop after Fi and is the manner in which INFPs process information. This function is typically where they will attempt to find patterns, methods, and ideas to create connections.
Although INFPs are not known to be extroverts, Ne is based on engaging with the outside world or talking to other people. This interaction with the outside allows for the INFP to focus on the larger picture, making them open to other’s ideas.
#3 Introverted Sensing or Si
As the third function, introverted sensing encourages reassurance in an INFPs Fi beliefs. Since FiNe’s tend to have a firm mindset on what they believe to be right and wrong introverted sensing allows INFPs to gather a sense of a situation through past personal experiences.
Si holds high respect for the past, so routines, anything familiar, or traditions are valued greatly–that is only if an INFP has experienced it themselves. This is important as this respect prevents FiNe’s from taking part in the same mistakes and helps a establish a healthy balance with their future.
#4 Extraverted Thinking or Te
Extraverted thinking or Te is known as the inferior core function, it is not as strong as the other functions discussed and can be draining. Extraverted thinking is based on logic when it comes to problem-solving, so INFPs only use Te when it is absolutely necessary.
As the inferior function, this personality type doesn’t implement extraverted thinking into everyday decisions especially because it can be draining. In fact, implementing an inferior function for any MBTI can be very draining.
The Shadow Functions
Shadow functions are the opposing functions to the cognitive ones we have already explored. As shadow functions, they are part of the unconsciousness of an individual’s personality and are therefore put to use unconsciously throughout the day, especially under certain circumstances. These functions tend to come to light when a personality is feeling anywhere from defensive, to frustrated to threatened.
#5 Extraverted Feeling or Fe
Although Fe is the opposing function to Fi, both are still centered around values and morals. The difference between the two is that Fi is typically considered with the INFPs individual values whereas Fe becomes focused on the values of others.
This function sounds beneficial, especially when thinking of it in terms of a group–the INFP can take everyone and their values into account and make a decision accordingly. The extroverted feeling has the potential to keep order within a group.
Now, Fe can become destructive for the individual, especially if the INFP decides to put aside their wishes simply to do the group’s bidding–especially if their values stray from the INFPs. The worst-case scenario is an INFP utilizing Fe to manipulate other people’s emotions. Evidently, this shadow function has its benefits and drawbacks.
#6 Introverted Intuition or Ni
As a part of the “shadow,” introverted intuition can prove to hold the INFP back. Ni can cause this personality type to get an inkling, in which they think they know the way something will play, but they can become blind to the other possibilities in which things can play out.
This is especially harmful to the INFP because Ni can encourage inaccurate assumptions that can limit them. This inkling that Ni can create can essentially make the INFP believe that they will fail, discouraging this personality type from following through with dreams or plans.
#7 Extraverted Sensing or Se
The third shadow function is extraverted sensing or Se and is usually experienced when INFPs are under extreme stress. Extraverted sensing is obviously focused on the physical outside world and the current moment. The way it presents itself is that it will take note of details at that present moment and utilize it to help the INFP adapt to any changing conditions.
#8 Introverted Thinking or Ti
This last shadow function is the one that is the most foreign to the INFP. Introverted thinking will usually present itself when the INFP is at a trivial time in their life. It will usually result in them becoming fixated on cold logic.
At this time, it is also highly likely that FiNe’s can become over-critical with themselves and focused on their personal inconsistencies. Since they become focused on their failures, it is likely that they seek utmost perfection with themselves.
Due to the lack of development of Ti within an INFP, they will see introverted thinking as negative even if someone is utilizing it in a positive way.
The Sarcastic Functions
Understanding the INFP core functions in a sarcastic way will be helpful in order to fully understand how these functions play out in their daily life. This is also a great way to remember the core functions quickly and efficiently.
#9 Introverted Function or Fi
To think of introverted function in a sarcastic way, think of it in terms of a picky child. INFPs are constantly saying “I like this” or “I don’t like this” all day long. They’re picky and yet struggle to decide what they do and do not like, therefore they get compared to children.
#11 Extroverted Intuition or Ne
INFPs are already established as creative thinkers, always in their thoughts. So to think of extroverted intuition in sarcastic terms think of a magical creature that is constantly daydreaming and fixated on a magic world and all that their imagination can form. They also tend to have quite short attention spans so don’t expect them to stay engaged for a long time.
#12 Introverted Sensing or Si
INFPs are quite emotional individuals so it is no surprise that they are sentimental beings and seem to hoard tokens of their childhood and anything that seems to have a memory attached to it. They find it very difficult to get rid of even the smallest thing, as they have formed an emotional attachment to that object and the memory it holds.
#13 Extraverted Thinking or Te
To think of extraverted thinking in a sarcastic manner, think of someone who swears they are going to sort out their life, their room, their kitchen, whatever it might be–but end up procrastinating and leaving their tasks to the end. They will spend more time criticizing themselves and saying how they need to and will get their life together than actually doing it.
INFPs tend to be quite understanding individuals that obviously have a lot of functions that build up who they are and what they value in life. Whether you are an INFP yourself or a person you know is an INFP type, it is always beneficial to learn more about the functions of the personality so that you can understand their motivations behind actions and goals.