As an INFJ, I sometimes find myself at odds with my dominant function; introverted intuition. Often I’d love to sink into its depths and soak in all the pictures and patterns it gives me; other times my predictions are quite frankly, scary. I feel like I must do anything to change the scenery, to focus on the here and now, to get whatever foreboding idea it’s given me out of my mind. Most of the time I love introverted intuition; I fall in love with what could be, and what I’ve seen leading up to a moment in time that I’ve yet to encounter. Anyone with Ni (Introverted Intuition) as their dominant function is going to enjoy using it, but it can also get messy sometimes.

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How Introverted Intuition Works

Introverted intuition is a perceiving function that focuses its energy on thoughts, ideas, and concepts that may reveal something in the future. It analyzes the past and present and connects dots to (often) accurately reveal to the Ni user a “vision” or perception of what is to come.  People with introverted intuition often have gut feelings that are uncannily accurate. They are excellent at spotting trends or patterns to form a prediction of what may be. It sounds very mystical and maybe psychic to some, but it’s really just how the Ni dominant brain works.

Dario Nardi, an award-winning UCLA professor and expert in the field of neuroscience, has this to say about the Ni dominant brain:

“The Ni types often show a whole-brain, zen-like pattern. This pattern occurs when all regions of the neocortex are in synch and dominated by brain waves that are medium-low frequency and very high-amplitude….What is this zen state like? When presented with a problem, the Ni types seek to harness all neocortex regions in order to “realize” an answer. Imagine a troop of blind men trying to identify a secret object by touch. One man feels a trunk and says, “tree”; another detects four legs and says “table”; a third feels tusks and says “boar”. Like the blind men, each region offers a different perspective, and a zen-like synchronous state allows the person to reconcile various perspectives to arrive at a best-fit answer (an elephant).”

Nardi goes on to say that Ni types easily show a zen state when tasked to envision the future. This is where INTJs and INFJs truly shine. They scan through all the information they’ve gathered in their brain, picking up little pieces here and there that may have been discarded by others, and form what is often a surprisingly accurate prediction of what is to be. These predictions can be unsettling to others, and even the Ni user themselves.

For me personally, Ni reveals insights and revelations about people that seem to come out of the blue. Like anyone, I’ll mess up sometimes and misread something or someone. However, being Ni dominant means we are always trying to think of the “big picture” and put together a future plan or idea composed of all the bits of sensory information you’re giving us. For INFJs our big picture is usually more people or philosophically oriented, for INTJs it’s usually more idea or systems oriented.

Ni dominance with Se inferior function


Dominant Ni types are paired with inferior extraverted sensing, which is usually highly sensitive. We pick up copious amounts of details from the world around us, absorbing it and storing it in our brains (rather messily perhaps). While we’re gathering all this information, our Ni is constantly scanning for any clues or patterns that may reveal a future plan or “vision”. It’s true that our extraverted sensing is still inferior, and so not as highly developed as many other types (particulary SP types). However, because our Se is so sensitive, things that are beautiful or visually appealing are going to be especially important to us. We direct our Se towards our “big picture” idea or focus of attention, often ignoring all the other sensory detail going on around us. For me as an INFJ, I’m highly aware of body language, facial expressions, tones of voice, that may reveal something about how someone is feeling. For an INTJ, they will be highly attuned to changes in systems, programs, flaws in logic, etc,..

The Dark Side of Introverted Intuition

All this picking up clues and connecting dots can reveal startling or upsetting future outcomes. I’ve guessed at things happening; relationships ending in very specific ways for people I know, ambitions and dreams failing, someone being in a dangerous situation or hurt. While all types can occasionally do this,  Ni dominant types often are plagued by this problem the most. They see what happened two years ago, two months, two weeks, two days, two hours ago and can foresee a very complex and detailed vision of what problem may occur in the next two minutes, two days, two months, two years.

In this case, introverted intuition can be very confusing. I’ve barely gotten to know people and had very definite negative gut feelings about them. They may be seen as trustworthy by other people, but I can just sense that something is “off”. I can even sometimes guess what it is without any very obvious clues. In two instances these “gut feelings” have been right about people I hardly knew, and I later found out they had gotten in trouble for being sexual predators. I feel kind of creepy even admitting this; this is where introverted intuition can be unsettling and distressing. It can also be misleading if not used correctly, or if used in a state of stress. When a Ni dominant type is stressed out, their introverted intuition takes over, disabling all the other functions from working properly. Once introverted intuition has been completely exhausted, then the Ni user will be “in the grip” of their inferior function, extraverted sensing.  This is why INFJs and INTJs may imagine a horrible future full of doom and gloom when they are beginning to encounter stress, and then later fall into extraverted sensing; indulging in overeating, alcohol, cleaning their outer world excessively, etc,.

The Magic of Introverted Intuition

Sometimes having introverted intuition can feel like being a mind-reader of sorts. Of course, this sounds pretentious. I’m not a mind-reader or a wizard or an empath. I can simply read patterns in people’s behavior and body language using a combination of Ni and Fe to predict what they might say or where their lives might lead. INTJs can predict the future of businesses, plans, and systems very well with their combination of Ni and Te. But Ni-users aren’t superior to any other types.

Each personality type has a “superpower” dominant function that makes them shine. For example, I’m astounded by my ESTP husband’s Extraverted Sensing (Se) and Introverted Thinking (Ti) combined. I’ve never known anyone with such fast reflexes, who is so aware of his surroundings, and with such strong tactical abilities. What I mean is, I don’t think us INFJs and INTJs are way  more awesome than everyone else. We just are better at introverted intuition than most people, who are better at other things. The magic of Ni comes when someone explains to you an idea they’ve had, and you know it will work because you can see what’s led to this point, and where things will likely go. It’s when you can be enthusiastic about someone’s dream, maybe even your own, because you have that visionary insight into how that dream will become a reality. The magic is when you are not limited to this moment in time or to a moment in the past, but can easily see avenues of possibility into the future that others may not. It’s when you can dream and put together puzzle pieces into a master plan or “vision” of what will happen. It’s knowing you can make your dreams come true if you just fit together the right pieces. It’s being able to see past what’s right in front of you and discover more than what’s on the surface. Yes, sometimes it can be misleading, but other times it feels like it’s a magical door that can unlock your true purpose, your biggest hope or dream, or an understanding of someone that nobody else has ever grasped.

Everyone’s MBTI Type Has a “Superpower”

Again, I want to make this clear. I’ve seen so many type conversations where people have some kind of superiority complex based on their type. I may have pretty good introverted intuition, but I have incredibly horrible extraverted sensing. I can be completely oblivious to what’s going on around me sometimes in the “here and now”. I’m awful at extraverted thinking; I just can’t do it well at all. Trying to organize people to get a job done, to delegate, it’s not my strong point. And sometimes my introverted intuition is way off. However, knowing how it works and trying to develop it well has been a great way for me to make the most of it. That’s why I love Myers-Briggs personality theory, because I can really develop my strengths and try to work on my weaknesses too. Plus I can be more understanding of other people’s weaknesses and more proud of their strengths.

What do you think?

How do you feel about introverted intuition? Have you had any experiences with it that you’d like to share? I’d love to talk to you and find out more in the comments!

Want more articles like this?

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Understanding INFJ Intuition

What Type of Intuitor Are You? Understanding the Difference Between Extraverted and Introverted Intuition

Get an in-depth look at the neuroscience and experience of having introverted intuition. For #INFJs, #INTJs, #ENFJs, and #ENTJs

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