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ISTJ Cognitive Functions and Their Impact on Your Life

ISTJ Cognitive Functions and Their Impact on Your Life

Updated on Nov 18, 2022 | Published on Nov 10, 2022

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

ISTJ Cognitive Functions and Their Impact on Your Life

ISTJ cognitive functions are those fundamental bases of behavioral patterns that form the basis of this Myers-Briggs personality type. ISTJs are introverts with firm sensing functions. It means they possess the terrific ability to perceive and depend heavily on their personal experiences for making informed decisions.

They come off as the most loyal, responsible, and hardworking among all the personality types. ISTJs might seem a little too serious as these people take responsibility for their actions and put their whole focus while working toward an objective. These people use their Sensing Function (Si) to learn from what they see, feel, touch, and hear.

In this article, we will discuss the cognitive functions of ISTJs and check out how these functions appear in their functional stack.


ISTJ Cognitive Functions

Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung was the one who first introduced the concept of cognitive functions in personality psychology. The same had later been carried forward by Katharine Briggs and Isabella Myers. They are the founders of the Myers-Briggs personality type.

Each type consists of four cognitive functions. They primarily depend upon how each of them influences that personality type. The functions remain inside a stack. It is commonly known as functional stacking.

The functional stack of ISTJ shows Introverted Sensing (Si) and Extraverted Thinking (Te) influencing their behavior to a great extent. Its dominant function is the most crucial aspect of any personality type, although the auxiliary functions play quite a significant supporting role.

On the other hand, the tertiary (Fi) function of Introverted Feeling and the inferior function of Extraverted Intuition (Ne) are far less significant. They could start to operate unconsciously. These functions might become apparent when ISTJs suffer from stress and tension.

Let us now describe their type first before talking about the functions in detail –

1. Introverted (I)

ISTJs are introverted. They are reserved yet carry the willingness to lead their life rationally. These people frame their actions carefully and perform them following a proper method to yield the right results. 

They love to lead their lives independently. It allows them to derive requisite energy from nurturing their thoughts in the best possible manner. Even though ISTJs socialize, big groups and gatherings drain them out mentally. 

Hence, they always try to avoid confronting those situations. These people enjoy chatting with people who come in small groups. Their preference is always to go for a one-on-one interaction. It enables them to pay their full attention to the individual who is right in front of them.

Introverts have complex and rich inner worlds. It is primarily the reason why they sometimes tend to get lost in thoughts time and again. They even like to think before speaking something out. You will never see any introvert engage in small talk, as they consider those as nothing but sheer waste of time.

However, they will always focus on listening to what others say. Introverts would even pay close attention to topics that generate interest among them.

2. Sensing (S)

ISTJs are sensors. This function helps them to stay grounded. They will never show off in front of others, even if they achieve something spectacular. These individuals will always think of the activities that are taking place in the current environment and not think of the future.

The sensing feature within a personality allows people to focus on facts and process information through their five senses. They see everything as they are because they are concrete thinkers. These people do not spend their time on something that lacks certainty. Assumptions do not hold any meaning for these individuals. 

All those who possess the ability to sense give great value to common sense and a realistic approach to life. They will never go by what people say. ISTJs prefer to analyze and make decisions on their own. 

ISTJs will always tend to compare their experiences at the present moment with those they have encountered in the past. Surprises do not make them happy. These people would prefer knowing the happenings to come across something suddenly.

3. Thinking (T)

An ISTJ keeps their thinking cap on while leading their life. These people use facts and make decisions based on logic. They ensure that ISTJs make correct decisions. They remain calm under extreme circumstances and take calculated risks now and then. ISTJs go by what their head says and do not follow the directions of their heart.

Their tendency toward analysis and thinking across critical angles enables them to formulate objective opinions concerning different situations. They value truth even if it does not go according to their liking. 

This characteristic of an ISTJ does not allow them to rule their lives based on emotions. They focus on being practical. Hence, these people use their brains to differentiate between fair and unfair and then move on to make decisions. 

The confidence of ISTJs is at a different level altogether. They take this confidence with them to accept complex tasks and fulfil them appropriately. If you are along with a person having ISTJ personality, you can expect that individual to remain objective and unbiased.

They will not favor anything or anyone but do what is right for them to lead a fulfilling life. Sometimes, this thinking nature of ISTJs can backfire and hamper certain situations in their lives. These people tend to become a little too critical of others’ actions, which can create problems with their partners while being in relationships. 

4. Judging (J)

People of judging types like ISTJs always prefer maintaining proper methods and structure in everyday activities. It is applicable in both personal and professional lives. They can think sequentially. This sort of thinking is not ideal when someone tries to deal with dynamic situations.

Hence, they do not enjoy it whenever there is a change in plan. An ISTJ also struggles to come to terms with unexpected situations that create a mess in their lives. These individuals will always like to have proper closure to proceedings and not leave anything halfway through.

ISTJs make sure to put tremendous effort toward the completion of tasks. They treat life with complete seriousness and give preference to work over enjoyment. Even though judging people are reliable, they experience comfort only when they can work with a set plan. 

When someone gives these people something to work on, they prefer carrying it out under a structured environment rather than being haphazard while dealing with it. Frequent changes in the plan of action or overall work do not impress these people. They look for continuity. 


The Description of Cognitive Functions

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator suggests that the four cognitive functions form a hierarchy. Each function is either extraverted or introverted. Their order determines the personality of an individual and their behavioral patterns

Let us discuss in detail how these functions work –

1. Introverted Sensing (Si) – Dominant Function

ISTJs use their dominant Si Introverted Sensing to lead their lives. These people are not attention seekers. They never try to venture out toward new experiences or gain materialistic pleasures. A person with the ISTJ personality type prefers leading a steady lifestyle.

  • Introverted Sensors show less interest in functioning as frontline workers to pursue their values or beliefs. They like reflecting on the past to go with their most loved traditions. Many love to go through religious texts or even engage in all those activities that help strengthen their convictions.
  • This function also plays a significant role in experiencing sensations within the body. It helps monitor all those affairs that go on inside one’s body and ensure the satisfaction of physical needs. 
  • Introverted Sensing makes ISTJs far more sensitive to typical sensory stimuli. They might become hypersensitive to various things, which include room temperature, lighting, noise levels, etc. It makes ISTJ individuals suffer far more from irritation than all other personality types when they get hungry, do not get sufficient sleep, or suffer from physical discomfort.
  • These people are sensitive to unusual flavors. It can lead them to adopt a somewhat routine diet. Anything other than that can result in health problems for ISTJs. 
  • ISTJ personality type people possess a strong sense of conviction. They might seem to be quite stubborn, close-minded, or always have some opinion or the other.

2. Extraverted Thinking (Te) – Auxiliary Function

People with the ISTJ personality type possess Extraverted Thinking as their Auxiliary Function. It portrays their tendency to express their opinions and judgments. Their ability to think extensively through their use of Te can turn out to be a strength as well as a weakness. 

  • Extraverted Thinking (Te) can make ISTJs effective in teaching or playing the role of managers in organizations. On the other hand, it can even make them controlling in nature, which others may not appreciate.
  • They do not have any intent to preserve social harmony. ISTJs are less personal and fail to attune themselves to a person’s feelings. It might lead others to believe that individuals with this personality type lack empathy. 
  • This aspect of their personality aims to bring forth rationality and complete control of external operations. They combine their auxiliary te and dominant functions and perform well across careers that need paying close attention to detail, procedures, and protocols. 
  • It is quite comforting for ISTJs to work in a structured environment since they can gain clarity on expectations. Moreover, these people will know how they need to perform as per the given framework. 

3. Introverted Feeling (Fi) – Tertiary Function

The third function of Introverted Feeling for a person of ISTJ personality refers to their inner focus and how they analyze their values and feelings. This Fi function is less conscious. It does not allow ISTJs to have easy access to their emotions.

  • As it is a tertiary function of an ISTJ, they fail to have control over their feelings. They pay attention to building the external world to compensate for this drawback. 
  • One of the most critical features of this tertiary function is that it provides a sense of direction to people who possess the characteristics of Introverted Feelings. Due to its meek and introverted nature, outsiders struggle to access ISTJs’ emotions. Hence, no one is sure of the things that are going through in their minds.
  • Things become worse as Introverted Feeling Fi is subordinate to Extraverted Thinking in the functional stack. It also makes an ISTJ look as if they are cold and unemotional. They do not have the vision to realize others’ problems and show empathy toward them. 
  • When ISTJs gradually start tapping into their Fi, they can attend far more closely to their values and feelings of themselves and other individuals. They even recognize the benefits of how others feel regarding facts and the impact they create on their lives. Thus, ISTJs acknowledge that truth is not restricted only to previous models or external standards but can even include personal preferences.
  • Once they open up to their Introverted Feeling or Fi, ISTJs can become more understanding and compassionate. They will hesitate to show the same toward people carrying different religious or political beliefs. 

4. Extroverted Intuition (Ne) – Inferior Function

The fourth or inferior function of an ISTJ personality type is Extroverted Intuition. These people can become blind to such an extent that this function can severely impact their behavior and focus toward making decisions. If they do not have sufficient awareness and can integrate with their inferior functions, ISTJs will become prone to make irrational decisions.

  • Extraverted Intuition (Ne) helps generate and connect ideas. It also allows them to explore different possibilities and options. ISTJs tend to always look for connections across places. It makes this function extremely divergent and unpredictable.
  • It is what makes Ne personality type individuals quite unconventional and quirky. ISTJs follow a strict routine and tend to act conservatively. Despite this, there are several other ways Extraverted Intuition can manifest inside their personality.
  • People with this Myers Briggs type tend to involve features of this function in their hobbies, which include math and word games. Those activities allow them to combine their Introverted Sensing Si with Extraverted Thinking, make strategies and deal in experiments with possibilities through their intuition or Ne.
  • They even use their Ne to adopt creative ways of teaching others. Thus, ISTJs thrive in their careers when they take up this profession. Imparting knowledge through the use of their intuition comes naturally to these people.

To Sum Up

An ISTJ personality type person pays attention to facts and details. They behave realistically and have more interest in concentrating on the present than thinking of what lies in store for them in the future. 

Even though these people are keen observers, they tend to be somewhat subjective. They use their logic and practical mindset while dealing with various challenges in life.