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ISFJ Cognitive Functions and Their Influences

ISFJ Cognitive Functions and Their Influences

Updated on Nov 18, 2022 | Published on Oct 11, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD , Certified Psychiatrist

ISFJ Cognitive Functions and Their Influences

ISFJ cognitive functions symbolize those fundamental bases of behavior patterns that are innate to this personality type. ISFJs are introverts with strong feeling functions. This means that they are thoughtful, considerate, and kind towards the needs and pains of others.

ISFJs are sensitive and generous. Their auxiliary function happens to be an extroverted feeling and this cognitive function allows them to connect with others at deeper levels, in spite of being an introvert.

In this post, we will deal with the details of ISFJs cognitive functions and how these functions appear in the functional stack that they possess.


ISFJ cognitive functions

The concept of cognitive functions was first introduced in personality psychology by Carl Jung and later on the same legacy was carried forward by the works done by Katharine Briggs and Isabella Myers, the creators of Myers Briggs personality type.

Each Myers Briggs type has four cognitive functions that are placed in a definite order depending upon their respective influences on that particular type. The functions are arranged in a stack which is commonly known as functional stacking.

ISFJs functional stack shows introverted sensing and extroverted feeling having the most influence on their behavior. 

This type of functional arrangement makes them kind and affectionate people. Though they are the typical introverts with an inclination to stay reserved and aloof from social gatherings, yet many of their innate qualities appear like an extrovert. Here lies the true beauty and mystery of this personality type.

The ISFJ personality type relies upon dominant and auxiliary functions to process information and make decisions in life. For this type, introverted sensing (Si) is the dominant function whereas extroverted feeling (Fe) is the auxiliary function.

Moreover, they also have one tertiary function and one inferior function that have little influence on their behavior patterns. ISFJs have Introverted thinking (Ti) as tertiary function and extroverted intuition (Ne) as the inferior function.

Let us describe their type first before we move on to describe the functions in detail:

The acronym ISFJ refers to four distinct personality preferences that these types use to analyze and make sense of their immediate surroundings. They are as follows:

1. Introverted (I)

ISFJs are introverts and they are reserved, shy, and quiet in nature. They prefer to stay tuned to their inner world and enjoy alone time just like any other introverted types.

ISFJs are private and less expressive in social settings apart from what is necessary to maintain their helpful qualities. They are reserved and prefer to derive their mental energy by being contained and aloof at times.

Being an introvert, ISFJs think in their heads and they have introverted thinking as a tertiary function. They are thoughtful and prefer to stick to their own set of beliefs and values. In this regard, they may act stubborn and rigid if necessary.

They prefer to stay alone and spend quality time with themselves. This rejuvenates them and helps to recharge their batteries in novel ways.

ISFJs do not like too many people around them because it may drain them out mentally.

2. Sensing (S)

ISFJs are sensors and this makes them grounded in reality. They prefer to do things in a practical and realistic manner. ISFJs are keen observers. They will be quick to identify loopholes in a system or know if someone is not up to their mood just by looking at them closely.

Being a sensing personality type, ISFJs are not future planners. They are ready to solve real time present issues and that gives them immense satisfaction. ISFJs also prefer to stay tuned to sensory experiences as a way of new learning.

These people prefer concrete information and fixed rules to work with and they also love to discuss their real-life experiences with everyone.

ISFJs are humble and accept mistakes if they do any, It gives them newer ways to learn more on something.

3. Feeling (F)

ISFJs are compassionate and considerate people. They can easily understand the emotions of others. This functional preference also makes them warm and sensitive. 

The feelers are the people who keep others’ wishes and desires in the priority list. They may ignore their self-interests and move out to a great extent to support others in distress. Sometimes, ISFJs may feel stressed out because of their concern related to others’ welfare.

4. Judging (J)

ISFJs always lead their lives with prior planning and organization. They dislike anything that is messy and unsystematic. They will always keep a list of things to be done one after the other. ISFJs love to stay prepared for any action.

They are systematic and orderly and thrive in situations that are predictable and don’t go for too many changes. ISFJs can be dominating and stubborn at times if their values and opinions are dismissed by others in subtle ways. 

They may not like criticisms to be delivered on their face. Being an introvert, they will try to retreat in a comfortable space of their own to overcome the judgments passed onto them. These individuals are not good at handling and overcoming criticisms in their day to day life.


The description of cognitive functions

As already mentioned, ISFJ have four cognitive functions that make up their exclusive personality style. The four functions influence their personality makeup and overall behavior pattern in various ways. 

Let’s see how – 

1. Introverted sensing (Si) – Dominant function

Introverted sensing makes these individuals stay tuned to their inner ‘self’. They are focused internally and have a rich subjective world of their own.

  • Introverted sensors are aware of their sensory experiences and they prefer to relate their past experiences with the present one.
  • They have an eye for detailing that is sharp and prompt. If someone around them is not fine mentally, they will be the first one to notice such changes. At the same time, they will be prompt to extend their help and support to such individuals.
  • ISFJs are also quick to notice changes in their body such as increased hunger, or feelings of thirst etc.
  • They can notice inconsistent setups much more easily than others.
  • ISFJs learn from their mistakes and they will consciously avoid repeating those mistakes ever again in their life.
  • They believe in proper structure and schedules and love to stay informed about their surroundings.
  • ISFJs prefer clarity of thoughts. They need a quiet space to think deeply.
  • Being an introverted sensor, they love to use tried and tested methods of problem solving. They will prefer not to think out of the box.

2. Extroverted feeling (Fe) – Auxiliary function

People having extroverted feeling as an auxiliary function are warm and compassionate. They have a service-oriented mindset and are ready to help people in distress. Their feeling function is focused outside. Thus, they are understanding and considerate to the core.

  • This function makes an ISFJ aware of what people expect from them in a social setup.
  • Extroverted feeling renders them a peace loving nature. 
  • They will remain busy helping others at the cost of one’s own.
  • ISFJs are friendly, sociable, and sensitive to the issues others are facing.
  • They will readily sense how others might be feeling in a situation.
  • Extroverted feelers are driven by values. Thus, ISFJs put a lot of emphasis on right and wrong stuff.

3. Introverted Thinking (Ti) – Tertiary function

This cognitive function helps them to organize their inner world. Their thinking is systematic and follows a definite pattern. Being an introvert, ISFJs are deep thinkers who sometimes plan ahead of their present time but will not execute their plans in reality. 

  • They remain silent about what is going on inside their heads and keep having new ideas every now and then. Since this is a tertiary function, it influences a ISFJs life in smaller ways.
  • ISFJs are slow thinkers. They may take a long time deciding upon things that matter the most in their life.
  • They prefer to make impersonal decisions.
  • Introverted thinkers are usually logical thinkers but this function is not well developed in ISFJs; they tend to be more emotional in their decision making process.
  • This function allows them to do accurate planning.

4. Extroverted intuition (Ne) – Inferior function

ISFJs have poor instincts and they cannot see future possibilities. These functions operate at an inferior level in their functional stack and as such they cannot plan beyond a specific timeline. ISFJs can decide better on present circumstances than future possibilities.

  • They cannot derive new meanings from the existing ones. It means their gut feelings do not indicate what can happen in future.
  • ISFJs have this function in its inferior state. Thus, they do not like imaginations and ideas. They hate to brainstorm and think about creative ideas, rather prefer to work with concrete data only.

To Sum Up

ISFJs prefer to experience life in real time. They prefer to act now and here, in the immediate context only. 

Armed with good emotional skills, they are warm and kind. People find them extremely accommodating and friendly to connect with.

They are fiercely practical and loyal to the core. In reality, they have altered the definition of an introvert to a large extent.