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ISTP Cognitive Functions and its Impact on Your Character

ISTP Cognitive Functions and its Impact on Your Character

Updated on Nov 18, 2022 | Published on Oct 21, 2022

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

ISTP Cognitive Functions and its Impact on Your Character

ISTP cognitive functions tend to symbolize all those fundamental bases of behavior patterns that form the basis of this Myers Briggs personality type. ISTPs are introverts with firm thinking functions. 

It means that they have a high level of self-discipline, focus, freedom, and intensity of thoughts.

These people treat life seriously and use their logic to formulate the best ways of navigating it. They use their Thinking Function or Ti to work out some personal strategies for maximizing performance in the field of sport. 

They even love making use of this function to become effective problem solvers in their life. Problem solving is one of the best attributes of any person with the ISTP personality type.

In this article, we will have a detailed discussion concerning the cognitive functions of ISTP and see how these functions appear in their functional stack.


ISTP Cognitive Functions

Carl Jung was the first person to introduce the concept of cognitive functions in personality psychology. The same legacy was later carried forward by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. They happen to be the founders of the Myers Briggs personality type.

Each type consists of four cognitive functions placed in a particular order. They solely depend upon their respective influences on that personality type. The functions are put together in a stack. It is commonly known as functional stacking.

The functional stack of ISTP shows Introverted Thinking (Ti) and Extroverted Sensing (Se) having the maximum influence on their behavior. 

Its dominant function is the most crucial aspect of its personality, even though the auxiliary function plays a significant supporting role.

On the other hand, the tertiary (Ni) function of Introverted Intuition and the inferior (Fe) function of Extroverted Feeling happen to be less significant. They might start operating unconsciously. Those functions could become apparent when they come under stress and tension.

As the Thinking of ISTP is introverted in its direction (Ti), outsiders fail to notice them. Others can easily see people of this personality type engaging them in action (Se) or connecting with people (Fe). 

The Extraverted Feeling of ISTP can bring a decent amount of friendliness and presentable features to their outer presentation.

Let us now describe their type first before moving on to describe the functions in detail:

The acronym ISTP refers to four distinct personality preferences of Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Perceiving that these types use for analyzing and making sense of their immediate surroundings. They are as follows –

1. Introverted (I)

ISTPs are introverts. They happen to be reserved and thoughtful people one can ever come across in their lifetime. An ISTP will always like to stay tuned to their inner world and enjoy being alone like other introverted types.

Personality types like ISTPs love to lead their lives independently. Despite seeking independence, they are action-oriented, love to undertake new experiences, carry out activities without others’ intervention, and always aim for freedom to work in their way.

They love to take things apart and see how they work out. These individuals use logic and rationality but have more interest in undertaking practical applications than entertaining abstract ideas. 

Although they prefer indulging themselves in activities, they can even suffer from boredom if they need to follow strict routines.

ISTPs are silent observers. They do not attune themselves to others’ emotional states. Hence, there are times when they come across as stoic. For these people, results matter. They quickly act to find feasible solutions and recognize the underlying cause behind the occurrence of practical problems.

They like to attend parties or gatherings as being around people drains them physically and emotionally. 

The situation becomes such that they neither feel like doing physical activities nor spend time thinking about something fruitful. Hence, they always prefer to stay alone, spending quality time with themselves.

2. Sensing

ISTPs are sensors. This function allows them to keep their feet on the ground. They always think of the happenings in their immediate environment. Their behavioral pattern is practical and realistic. 

This personality type individual loves talking about and doing things that one can properly apply in the real world.

Hence, they never resort to assumptions and accept things as they see them. They tend to work very well with details. 

ISTPs happily dig into the nitty-gritty of any situation. As they are more bothered about the present, ISTPs do not like to make plans for the future.

When they speak, they do so in a concrete and literal manner. They hate using loads of metaphors. They trust only those things that are certain in life. People of this personality type have an appreciation for common sense and values.

ISTPs are humble and never think that they are always right. Due to this reason, they are always ready to accept mistakes as and when they commit any. It only allows them to learn something better, which they can apply to execute any work.

3. Thinking

ISTPs happen to be thinkers. They are objective in the way they lead their life. These people tend to do what their head tells them to do rather than follow what their heart says. 

The thinking nature of these individuals enables them to judge people and different life situations based on logic.

These individuals give value to the truth rather than following any tact. It becomes easy for them to identify flaws and formulate plans for solving them in the best possible manner and on time.

Due to their critical thinking nature, they can go deeper into the details of any problem and solve them. ISTPs never accept things lying down. They have the habit of constantly questioning the happenings around the world to go with other people’s actions.

As their feelings remain confined to the backend of their consciousness, there are instances when people conceive thinkers as emotionally distant individuals. 

Even though it is not a beneficial attribute for relationships, emotional detachment can be fruitful for logically processing thoughts.

Just because thinkers do not spend much time attuning themselves to and meeting the requirements of others, they have sufficient time and energy to devote to their activities. For these people, the prime focus in their lives is work.

4. Perceiving

ISTPs personality people have a relaxed approach toward life. They are spontaneous and flexible in leading their lives. These individuals do not wish to plan and follow any strict routine. Planning and following schedules tend to suffocate them.

These things stifle their carefree nature. They always require freedom from different kinds of obligations in life. ISTPs are good at tackling situations on the go. They intend to always go by their impulse and act in haste. Due to these unworthy acts, ISTPs often repent late on in their lives.

Hence, there is always a tendency to start working on something without finishing earlier tasks. 

Their sudden bursts of energy give them the requisite motivation to undertake various responsibilities in life. Thus, they hate doing any work that needs them to sit back and analyze things to conclude.

They always have the habit of igniting their curiosity level to explore new things in life. It is because if they do some work for a period, they start suffering from boredom. Hence, their attention wavers, hampering their performance at work.

Another aspect of ISTPs’ perceiving nature is that they tend to keep their options open. 

It enables them to switch to something else whenever they become sick and tired of doing similar activities. 

In a way, it is good to seek changes as they can lead to better things in life, but on the other hand, this habit puts a question mark on their loyalty. Thus, in an organization, if a manager assigns them various types of work, an ISTP will be very happy.


The Description of Cognitive Functions

We have already mentioned earlier that an ISTP contains four cognitive functions that help make up their exclusive style of personality. These four functions impact the makeup of this ISTP personality type and overall behavioral pattern in different ways.

Let us discuss how these functions work –

1. Introverted Thinking (Ti) – Dominant Function

ISTP personality people lead their lives with Introverted Thinking (Ti). They always desire whatever they see and experience in life to fit into the scheme of things logically. This desire is even more fruitful if it connects with something they already know is correct.

  • Introverted thinkers do not spend too much time thinking and dealing with the information they carry within themselves. It means they do not spend much time expressing their thoughts in words. Hence, there is a general perception that they are quiet by nature.
  • It might seem as if an ISTP individual takes a haphazard approach toward making decisions. Still, careful thoughts and observations form the basis of their actions. Their deceptive nature baffles others.
  • As ISTPs are logical, they tend to look at things objectively, thus avoiding resorting to emotional factors while making decisions. It can be difficult for others to understand their motives as they focus on actions and their desired results, negating emotions.
  • They deal with the world at large rationally and logically. Therefore, they often focus on things that seem practical and of great use. There is no way they will do anything just for the sake of it.
  • These people never have respect for authority. It does not come naturally to them. They will respect someone only if they can prove themselves with appropriate judgment calls. Gradually they can learn about someone’s position, but that will not happen instinctively.

2. Extraverted Sensing (Se) – Auxiliary Function

People of the ISTP personality type possess Extraverted Sensing as their auxiliary function. They will give the impression they are laid-back and casual like most Extraverted Perceivers. Sensing will enable an ISTP to go for sensory experiences and enjoy the present moment.

  • This function makes an ISTP focus on the situation and things at hand. They take things on a day to day basis and avoid making long-term commitments. Staying in the moment is their primary objective. Plans and possibilities for the future do not create excitement among these people.
  • Due to their tendency to use logic, they enjoy learning and developing an understanding of how things work. They might even take apart any mechanical device to see how it operates. Building new things fascinates these people.
  •  ISTPs are good at gaining knowledge of theoretical and abstract information. Still, they do not have any interest in those things unless they can notice practical applications. For these people, anything they cannot apply in their real life will not hold any value for them.
  • They need to feel and touch things in their life for considering something to be of substance. ISTPs are not made for theories and long conversations, but for gaining experience while doing hands-on work.
  • These people will not sit around and gossip with friends. Instead, they will want to involve themselves in activities, like playing a game or watching a movie. The concept of socializing for an ISTP is to indulge in a shared activity.

3. Introverted Intuition (Ni) – Tertiary Function

The third function of Introverted Intuition for a person of ISTP personality refers to the gut feeling they have while undergoing different phases of life. Even though instincts can work even for other types, it is more common in the case of an ISTP.

  • The tertiary function of Introverted Intuition tends to operate unconsciously for this personality type. It lies in the hindsight of gut feelings, which ISTPs experience from time to time while making any decision.
  • It normally happens when an ISTP works in a responsible position and makes executive decisions all of a sudden without giving others any prior notice. This only takes everyone by surprise but also does not give a good impression with respect to his managerial skill.
  • They can even struggle to place words into their thoughts appropriately. Hence, these individuals resort to speaking through their actions. Thus, they keep their statements concise.
  • The positive use of this function allows these people to look into the future. It enables them to foresee how a particular event might pan out or even visualize where they want to see themselves in their life. They will become aware of their future goals and not hamper them at any cost by focusing only on the present.
  • If an ISTP has a weak tertiary function, it will let them ignore their plans for the welfare of the present. They might even become more concerned regarding their prospects. It can fill their personality with so much pessimism that they can even struggle to make any move.

4. Extroverted Feeling (Fe) – Inferior Function

The fourth or inferior function of an ISTP personality is Extraverted Feeling. It tends to appear in different ways, the most prevalent being general insecurity or fear that they will struggle to fit in among people around them and face rejection. 

They might always think that none will accept them as part of a group, resulting in them staying aloof from others.

  • This aspect of personality operates in the background of an ISTP personality. Still, it becomes far more apparent during stressful situations. Negative thoughts consume their mind, resulting in anxiousness and uncertainty.
  • They will have problems adhering to all the rules and regulations around them. These people might become obsessed over small things like food items or dress codes.
  • The best thing is that an ISTP always takes care of others’ emotions more than their own. It often leads to negligence of personal health issues.
  • Processing emotions for themselves is a challenge for these individuals. Due to this reason, they will take time to process their emotions and hence not even realize how anything makes them feel until a point in time.
  • This failure to understand their emotions can make them act in an abrupt manner with others. It might even harm the relationship they maintain with those individuals.

To Sum Up

An ISTP personality type individual prefers to go by logic. They are always willing to keep themselves busy if that means doing something new. It enables them to learn by gaining experience.

These people are realistic and see things with a practical mindset. ISTPs always look for new things to explore in their lives. They back their confidence level and easy-going nature to do whatever attracts their attention.