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13 INTJ Cognitive, Shadow, and Sarcastic Functions Explained

The INTJ personality type is one of the rarest under the Myers Briggs Personality Indicator, they are curious and independent individuals who value knowledge and intelligence. However, they tend to sometimes be too critical and can rely too much on the knowledge that they become insensitive to others’ emotions. In this post about INTJ Cognitive, Shadow, and Sarcastic Functions, we dive deep into each characteristic with examples.

In order to fully understand the manner in which a personality type functions, its cognitive and shadow functions must be explored. Let us explore thirteen INTJ functions, including the most important ones: cognitive and shadow functions.

13 INTJ Cognitive, Shadow, and Sarcastic Functions Explained

13 INTJ Cognitive, Shadow, and Sarcastic Functions

The Core Cognitive Functions

Each personality type under the Myers Briggs Type Indicator has four cognitive functions and these functions typically dictate the way each personality type will process possibilities presented in their daily lives and aspirations.

These cognitive functions affect how the INTJ approaches obstacles, decision-making, and their thought processes. It is also important to note that besides their given personality name, each personality type can be referred to by their top two cognitive functions, so INTJ may also be referred to as NiTe.

#1 Introverted Intuition or Ni

The first and dominant core function in the INTJ personality type is introverted intuition, otherwise known as Ni. As this is their core dominant function, INTJs tend to look for any patterns that they can recognize in any situation to assess what is presented before them. Their drive and fascination for patterns lead to this personality type looking for a deeper meaning rather than simply accepting what is given to them on the surface.

Their ambition to analyze facts and possibilities presented to them thoroughly means that the INTJ also tends to look forward to their future, and exploring any future opportunities that might come their way.

#2 Extraverted Thinking or Te

As their secondary function, extraverted thinking or Te, it becomes the function that seems to hold the structure of their life and everything encompassed. This function makes the INTJ crave structure and direction when making decisions. This typically leads any INTJ to be very careful when making decisions, they will assess any possible outcomes before making any drastic choices.

Typically the INTJ personality will go with whatever decision makes the most practical sense.

As their second top cognitive function, extraverted thinking is one that is highly noticeable in this personality type.

#3 Introverted Feeling or Fi

Introverted feeling, or Fi, is the third cognitive function for the INTJ personality type. It is similar to extraverted thinking in that it is also a decision-making processing function, however, Fi is an internal function. As an internal function, it means that it is used within one’s own mind/head whereas Te is an external function meaning that it affects how one interacts directly with the world.

That being said, introverted feeling tends to focus on morals and feelings when analyzing how to make a decision. As this function is focused on those qualities, it is beneficial when an INTJ has to make a decision that can affect others around them.

#4 Extraverted Sensing or Se

Extraverted sensing, also known as Se, is the fourth and inferior cognitive function for this personality type. Although it might be the inferior function and thus the least developed it still plays a role in how the INTJ processes information. Extraverted sensing makes it so that manner in which they process things is done through their senses.

The relationship an INTJ has with their inferior function is quite complex as it can sometimes be helpful or sometimes draining. While extraverted sensing can sometimes allow this personality type to become connected to the environment and world around them, it is also possible that having to engage with that environment and world can be rather draining if prolonged for too long.

The Shadow Functions

Shadow functions work subconsciously and they tend to manifest only under extreme circumstances. Although they can be perceived as negative, it is also possible for the shadow function to provide a positive impact that leads to growth. Shadow functions are essentially the opposing functions to the cognitive ones that have already been detailed that work to prevent the individual from having an overly inflated ego.

#5 Extraverted Intuition or Ne

Extroverted intuition, also known as Ne, is the direct opposite of the dominant cognitive function introverted intuition, or Ni. As the opposing function, it can often interrupt the tendency of the INTJ to detect patterns and instead focus on the possibility of multiple possibilities.

For example, Ni often detects a pattern that an INTJ will then follow to make a streamline of opinions, impressions, and decisions, however, this can also be detrimental as it can hinder the INTJ from multiple perspectives.

This is an instance where a shadow function can work to create positive growth within this personality type. Allowing their Ne, or extroverted intuition, to take over allows this personality to be more open-minded rather than stuck on just one outcome.

#6 Introverted Thinking or Ti

Introverted thinking, or Ti, is best known to be a bit disruptive to the INTJ personality. Where typically their cognitive function, extraverted thinking (Te), likes to follow the logic to find structure in their world, Ti makes this process a lot more difficult. It is likely that this function will make the INTJ become very critical of everything that will make it difficult to accept facts.

The introverted thinking function creates uncertainty within the INTJ that can make them begin to doubt everything that is presented to them. As a personality that tries to always follow an order, this can be even more stressful and negative for the INTJ.

#7 Extraverted Feeling or Fe

Extraverted Feeling, or Fe, is similar to the previous shadow function that was described–introverted thinking–in that it typically causes disorder for the INTJ. This shadow function can also prove to be destructive as it will typically lead to a lack of accountability from this personality.

When under pressure, the INTJ personality can prefer to follow the decision of a group to keep the peace. As a personality that typically likes to form their own opinions based on logic, following a group to form their decisions can be quite draining.

As it can be seen, the relationship between the INTJ and extraverted feeling is a complex one, especially since they can view Fe to be manipulative or disingenuous.

#8 Introverted Sensing or Si

The shadow function Si, or introverted sensing, is the most inferior function out of all the shadow functions. As the most inferior, it seems to have more of a negative than positive impact. For example, an INTJ prides itself in looking at past experiences to help them evolve. However, when Si is present it tends to resent the past experiences that might have once been helpful.

Rather than being focused on finding patterns and lessons from their past to influence their decision-making, they become too engrossed in the past in a negative way. This can ultimately lead them to become their worst critic.

The Sarcastic Functions

The following are referred to as sarcastic functions, essentially they are the four cognitive functions of the INTJ personality but explained in a way that is much more simple to understand. These sarcastic functions are meant to be examples of how the core functions reveal themselves in this personality type.

#9 Introverted Intuition or Ni

This can be thought of as an intelligent person trying their best to avoid people they believe are to be idiots who will only hinder their experience.

#10 Extraverted Thinking or Te

Think of this function as a group project in high school. Somehow the student who always takes charge and attempts to make everyone work ends up having to pick up the slack and do everything themselves.

#11 Introverted Feeling or Fi

When thinking of introverted feeling in an INTJ it will likely appear that they are oblivious to some social cues, sometimes even antisocial. This can obviously make them lose the opportunity to make connections with others because they miss such important cues.

#12 Extraverted Sensing or Se

As explained earlier in this INTJ cognitive, shadow, and sarcastic functions post, an INTJ who experiences extraverted sensing can oftentimes come off as a spoiled brat. They act quite rash not giving much thought to financial decisions and desire for people to spoil them.

Bonus Function:

#13 Perfectionism Functioning under Se

It has already been established that the INTJ personality looks towards patterns to help guide them when making decisions. As it so happens, perfectionism is a very common function under Se. They can become fixated on details they feel are necessary before they can move forward. This function can be both positive and negative. Perfectionism can be positive in that it ensures this personality type is thorough and precise, however, the strive for perfectionism can also set them back as it usually will take them a while until they feel satisfied.


The core functions of an INTJ personality that have now been explored in-depth, serve as a way to obtain clarity on how an individual with this personality leads their daily life. If you have an INTJ personality hopefully having read the cognitive and shadow functions allows room for understanding that may lead to growth and prevention of unhealthy stressors.