The cognitive preferences of INTJs are as follows:
Ni-introverted intuition in the hero position is perspective-shifting in that it is constantly at work on a subconscious level, sorting through information that comes in via the five senses or some unconscious means, giving the INFJ (INTJs, too), the ability to see things from many different angles and viewpoints at once. Ni is the NJs’ superpower, giving them insight into relationships, imagination, originality, ingenuity and visions of what not only could be but the road to take to get there.
Te-extroverted thinking in the parent position means that INTJs see things objectively and systematically. They have a structure and order and bring ideas back to standardized measurements or rationale. INTJs pay attention to the way things are structured or ordered. This is where their responsibility lies. They feel the responsibility to point out rationale and reasoning to others.
Fi-in the child position means that INTJs have a pure childlike awareness of their own values but may not be aware of the values of others. They are aware of their own feelings but may fail to understand or recognize the feelings of others. Sometimes this causes INTJs to be social unaware.
Se-in the aspirational function, Se works on an axis with Ni, subconsciously feeding it. It also serves as a release valve for INTJs. It is not uncommon for INTJs in their 30s and beyond to take up Salsa, Martial Arts, weight lifting, gardening, cooking or some other hobby that allows them to engage in the moment. However, Se in this position can also cause the INTJ to develop performance anxiety as they desire to give others a good experience.
Ella is a biology professor; she works best alone.
She doesn’t like having to serve on university committees where people often end up going off-topic and accomplishing little. She had rather be in her lab, actually getting something done. She is careful planner and tends to do things in a systematic way. She is not a stickler for order, but she does need some order in her life. She needs people to be on time or at least call and let her know why they’re not. She needs to have at least a rough-outline of what to expect when going into a situation. Her lab is clean and spacious and when she’s in there alone she often listens to classical guitar music. She is a minimalist and doesn’t like “stuff.” However, the few things she does want are high quality.
When Ella was a child her family lived in an old farmhouse with a woodshed in the backyard. This shed became Ella’s “lab.” Ella spent long hours collecting insects in jars, labeling them and putting them on a shelf her father had built for her. She often did sketches of the insects and kept a journal on their behaviors. She checked out a book on insects every time her class went to the school library. Sometimes, she developed notions about how the insects might behave if she put certain ones together, then she would do that and watch to see what happened.
Ella focuses on ideas and concepts. She is a big picture person and gets frustrated when having to work with too many mundane details. She once had a job as accountant but quit after a week. The boredom was killing her she said. There was no intellectual simulation, no invigorating conversations, no inspiration and no opportunity for her to create. Ella is very creative.
Constantly looking for the best way to do things, Ella has keen perception and can easily deduce a pattern or see a trend. She has a childlike adherence to her values and knows exactly what she values. However, she isn’t so keen on discerning the values and intentions of others. In fact, when her boyfriend (who is habitually late and loses track of time) doesn’t think to call and tell her that he’s running late, she begins to imagine all sorts of things. Maybe he just doesn’t like her anymore. Maybe he had a flat tired. Maybe he had an accident. She is uncomfortable around strong displays of emotion and doesn’t really know how to respond or react to them. She has a calm demeanor most of the time. Intelligence, loyalty, dependability and competence matter to Ella and she respects those qualities in others.
Ella constantly absorbs her environment and things that she doesn’t even know she notices seem to get filed away in some hidden filing system and later, she mysteriously knows things without having a clue as to how she knows them.
When she was younger she was clumsy but now that she is older she has taken up Salsa dancing and is quite good at it. She never considered herself athletic before but this new hobby lets out a side to her that was unknown to her before.
There have been a few times in her life when she realized that she couldn’t see a best way out of a particular circumstance so she just lived in the moment. Once she spent an entire summer alone, studying insects of the Smokey Mountains. She just needed time to get away from people and clear her head.
Ella is quiet confidence in motion. She doesn’t care what others feel as much as she cares what they think. What are their ideas? She will take the best of those ideas and run with them to develop something tangible or to perfect a project she’s working on. Ella has a good sense of humor that most others don’t know about.
Ella’s cognitive preferences are those of an INTJ and while she isn’t an example of ALL INTJs, there are certain traits that all INTJs have in common:
- INTJs have a strong will.
- INTJs need time alone.
- INTJs are objective.
- INTJs tend to be rationale.
- INTJs see the big picture.
- INTJs finish what they start.
- INTJs are strategic in every thing they do.