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Articles > The INTJ

The INTJ Personality Type

Precise, perceptive, and disciplined, INTJs bring an intense focus to achieving their goals.

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This series of short articles touches on several aspects of the INTJ personality type.

You can jump straight to any section by clicking the links below, or keep reading to learn about the definition of the INTJ personality type.

What does INTJ stand for?

INTJ stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging.

In the popular Myers-Briggs or 16-personalities tradition, all personalities belong to one of 16 types. Each type is defined by preferences across four cognitive functions:

  • Introverted vs. Extraverted
  • Sensing vs. Intuitive
  • Thinking vs. Feeling
  • Perceiving vs. Judging

Here’s how to understand the INTJ’s place on all four dimensions:

Introverted

INTJs have an introverted attitude or orientation.

INTJs tend to focus more on the inner, subjective world of concepts and ideas, while an extraverted attitude leads to a greater focus on the external world of objects and people.

Intuitive

INTJs prefer to use the cognitive function of intuition over sensing when taking in information about the world.

This dimension, intuition vs. sensing, is known as the perceiving function in MBTI theory.

Intuition refers to perception from sources other than the sensory system. INTJs prefer to use their perception of abstract patterns, connections, “gut feeling” about a situation, rather than relying more heavily on perception directly through the sensory system (sensing).

Thinking

INTJs prefer using their thinking function when judging information and assessing values and needs among people.

This dimension, thinking vs. feeling, is known as the judging function in MBTI theory.

By prefering thinking over feeling as their judging function, INTJs lean heavily on logic, consistency, and correctness when making decisions, rather than focusing on others’ emotions, desires, and perceptions.

Judging

As a judging type, INTJs tend to present their judging function of thinking to the external world.

Because they present their thinking function externally, other people see INTJs as logical, rational, and highly analytical.

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INTJ cognitive functions

The four-letter types from MBTI theory encode each type’s attitudes and preferred cognitive functions.

  1. The first letter indicates an introverted vs. extraverted attitude
  2. The second letter indicates the preferred sensing function
  3. The third letter indicates the preferred judging function
  4. The fourth letter indicates a judging vs. perceiving attitude

For the INTJ,

  • I: This type has an introverted attitude
  • N: This type prefers perceiving through intuition over sensing
  • T: This type prefers judging through thinking over feeling
  • J: This type has a judging attitude or orientation and will present their favored judging function (thinking) to the outer world

From this, we can determine how the INTJ prefers the four cognitive functions of intuition, sensing, thinking, and feeling:

  • INTJs’ primary function is intuition (N)
  • INTJs’ secondary (auxiliary) function is thinking (T)
  • INTJs’ tertiary function is feeling (F)
  • INTJs’ inferior function is sensing (S)

Why? INTJs have an introverted attitude (I) and a judging attitude (J), so they present their judging function (T) to the external world.

However, as an introverted type, INTJs prefer an orientation to the inner world, so their primary cognitive function is not what they show to the external world. Instead, their primary cognitive function is their perceiving function: intuition or intuitive perception (N).

INTJs’ secondary function is the one they show to their external world: thinking. This counterbalances their introverted primary function.

In MBTI theory, the tertiary function is the opposite of the auxiliary function, which for INTJs is feeling.

Lastly, the inferior function is the opposite of the primary function, which for INTJs is sensing. The inferior function in all personality types is the least developed function.

How rare is the INTJ personality type?

According to the MBTI, somewhere between 1% and 7% of all people will be classified as an INTJ.

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