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This article is about the Myers-Briggs personality type. For the Socionics INFj, see Ethical Intuitive Introvert.

INFJ (introversion, intuition, feeling, judging) is an abbreviation used in the publications of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to refer to one of the sixteen personality types. The MBTI assessment was developed from the work of prominent psychiatrist Carl Jung in his book Psychological Types. Jung proposed a psychological typology based on the theories of cognitive functions that he developed through his clinical observations.

From Jung's work, others developed psychological typologies. Jungian personality assessments include the MBTI instrument, developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs, and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, developed by David Keirsey. Keirsey referred to the INFJs as Counselors, one of the four types belonging to the temperament he called the Idealists.[1] INFJs are the rarest type, and make up only 1% or less[2] of the population.[3][4][5][6]

MBTI instrument[edit]

The MBTI preferences indicate the differences in people based on the following:[7]

By using their preference in each of these areas, people develop what Jung and Myers called psychological type. This underlying personality pattern results from the dynamic interaction of their four preferences, in conjunction with environmental influences and their own individual tendencies. People are likely to develop behaviors, skills, and attitudes based on their particular type. Each personality type has its own potential strengths as well as areas that offer opportunities for growth.

The MBTI tool consists of multiple choice questions that sort respondents on the basis of the four "dichotomies" (pairs of psychological opposites). Sixteen different outcomes are possible, each identified by its own four-letter code, referred to by initial letters. (N is used for iNtuition, since I is used for Introversion). The MBTI is approximately 75% accurate according to its own manual.[8]

  • I – Introversion preferred to extraversion: INFJs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).[9]
  • N – Intuition preferred to sensing: INFJs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus on the big picture rather than the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.[10]
  • F – Feeling preferred to thinking: INFJs tend to value personal considerations above objective criteria. When making decisions, they often give more weight to social implications than to logic.[11]
  • J – Judgment preferred to perception: INFJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions early. They derive a sense of control through predictability. [12]


INFJs tend to be goal-oriented with strong personal values, though they can be conscientious. They seek meaning in relationships and understanding of themselves and others. Like INTJs, INFJs take pleasure in solving problems and overcoming challenges in creative ways.[13]

INFJs may have high social adaptability, but they are true introverts and tend to be very private. INFJs prefer one-on-one relationships to large groups and tend to worry about the feelings of others. Since they are highly uncomfortable in conflict situations, they actively avoid interpersonal tension.[4][unreliable source?]

INFJs tend to have rich inner lives that they may be reluctant to share with others. They form strong friendships, but tend to be guarded around new acquaintances and build relationships slowly. INFJs tend to be easily offended, and are more likely to "silently withdraw as a way of setting limits" rather than expressing their hurt feelings.[14]

INFJs tend to be sensitive and quiet. They prefer order and organization in their external environments, which they tend to comprehend through abstract arrangements and categories. They often have an affinity for the arts and creative pursuits.[15][unreliable source?]

Other common characteristics[edit]

  • Creativity
  • Insightfulness
  • Sensitivity and empathy
  • Goal-oriented determination
  • Perfectionism
  • Inclination towards privacy
  • Strong written or indirect communication
  • Weak face-to-face communication
  • Pretension and judgmentalism

Statistical correlations with the Enneagram of Personality[edit]

According to Baron and Wagele, the most common Enneagram of Personality enneatypes that statistically correlate to INFJ are the Four, One, and Six enneatypes.[16]


In his 1990 Ph.D dissertation, C.F. Gibbons of the University of Arkansas found that the INFJ type was one of the four most common among musicians, with INFP being the most common.[17]

Cognitive functions[edit]

A diagram of the cognitive functions of each type. A type's background color represents its Dominant function, and its text color represents its Auxiliary function.

Drawing upon Jungian theory, Isabel Myers proposed that for each personality type, the cognitive functions (sensing, intuition, thinking, and feeling) form a hierarchy. This hierarchy represents the person's default pattern of behavior.

The Dominant function is the personality type's preferred role, the one they feel most comfortable with. The secondary Auxiliary function serves to support and expand on the Dominant function. If the Dominant is an information gathering function (sensing or intuition), the Auxiliary is a decision making function (thinking or feeling), and vice versa. The Tertiary function is less developed than the Dominant and Auxiliary, but it matures over time, rounding out the person's abilities. The Inferior function is the personality type's fatal weakness. This is the function they are least comfortable with. Like the Tertiary, the Inferior function strengthens with maturity.[18]

Jung and Myers considered the attitude of the Auxiliary, Tertiary, and Inferior functions to be the opposite of the Dominant. In this interpretation, if the Dominant function is extraverted, then the other three are introverted, and vice versa. However, many modern practitioners hold that the attitude of the Tertiary function is the same as the Dominant.[8] Using the more modern interpretation, the cognitive functions of the INFJ are as follows:[18]

Dominant: Introverted intuition (Ni)[edit]

Attracted to symbolic action or devices. Ni synthesizes seeming paradoxes to create the previously unimagined. These realizations come with a certainty that demands action to fulfill a new vision of the future, solutions that may include complex systems or universal truths.[19]

Auxiliary: Extraverted feeling (Fe)[edit]

Fe seeks social connections and creates harmonious interactions through polite, considerate, and appropriate behavior. Fe responds to the explicit (and implicit) wants of others, and may even create an internal conflict between the subject’s own needs and the desire to meet the needs of others. [20]

Tertiary: Introverted thinking (Ti)[edit]

Ti seeks precision, such as the exact word to express an idea. Ti notices the minute distinctions that define the essence of things, then analyzes and classifies them. Ti examines all sides of an issue, looking to solve problems while minimizing effort and risk. Ti uses models to root out logical inconsistency.[21]

Inferior: Extraverted sensing (Se)[edit]

Se focuses on the experiences and sensations of the immediate, physical world. With an acute awareness of the present surroundings, it brings relevant facts and details to the forefront and may lead to spontaneous action. Weak Se in the INFJ may result in a detachment from the sensory reality, but when the function is in use it adds a playful counter to the serious nature of Ni. [22]

Shadow functions[edit]

Later personality researchers (notably Linda V. Berens)[23] added four additional functions to the descending hierarchy, the "shadow" functions to which the individual is not naturally inclined but which can emerge when the person is under stress. For INFJ these shadow functions are (in order):

  • Extraverted intuition (Ne): Ne finds and interprets hidden meanings, using hypothetical questions to explore alternatives, allowing multiple possibilities to coexist. This imaginative play weaves together insights and experiences from various sources to form a new whole, which can then become a catalyst to action.[24]
  • Introverted feeling (Fi): Fi filters information based on interpretations of worth, forming judgments according to criteria that are often intangible. Fi constantly balances an internal set of values such as harmony and authenticity. Attuned to subtle distinctions, Fi innately senses what is true and what is false in a situation. [25]
  • Extraverted thinking (Te): Te organizes and schedules ideas and the environment to ensure the efficient, productive pursuit of objectives. Te seeks logical explanations for actions, events, and conclusions, looking for faulty reasoning and lapses in sequence. [26]
  • Introverted sensing (Si): Si collects data in the present moment and compares it with past experiences, a process that sometimes evokes the feelings associated with memory, as if the subject were reliving it. Seeking to protect what is familiar, Si draws upon history to form goals and expectations about what will happen in the future. [27]


  1. ^ . Temperament
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Keirsey Counselor
  5. ^ "MBTI Statistics '98". Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  6. ^ "Estimated Frequencies of Types". Center for Applications of Psychological Type, Inc. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  7. ^ Myers, Isabel Briggs (1998). Introduction to Type: A Guide to Understanding your Results on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc. 
  8. ^ a b Myers, Isabel Briggs; Mary H. McCaulley (1985). Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (2nd ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologist Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-89106-027-8. 
  9. ^ "Changing Minds: Extraversion vs. Introversion". Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  10. ^ "Changing Minds: Sensing vs. Intuiting". Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  11. ^ "Changing Minds: Thinking vs. Feeling". Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  12. ^ "Changing Minds: Judging vs. Perceiving". Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  13. ^ MBTI INFJ
  14. ^ Baron, Renee (1998). What Type Am I: Discover Who You Really Are. New York, NY: Penguin Books. p. 141. ISBN 978-0140269413. ISBN 0-1402-6941-X. 
  15. ^ Personality Page INFJ
  16. ^ Wagele/Baron, p.155
  17. ^ Reardon, Christin M. (June 2009). "DIFFERENCES IN MYERS-BRIGGS PERSONALITY TYPES AMONG HIGH SCHOOL BAND, ORCHESTRA, AND CHOIR MEMBERS" (PDF). Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Barron-Tieger, Barbara; Tieger, Paul D. (1995). Do what you are: discover the perfect career for you through the secrets of personality type. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-84522-1. 
  19. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Introverted intuition". Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  20. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Extraverted Feeling". Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  21. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Introverted thinking". Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  22. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Extraverted Sensing". Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  23. ^ "". Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  24. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Extraverted intuition". Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  25. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Introverted feeling". Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  26. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Extraverted thinking". Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  27. ^ "Cognitive Processes: Introverted sensing". Retrieved 2009-05-12. 

External links[edit]