INFP Cognitive Functions (Part 2)-Shadow Functions

In INFP Cognitive Functions (Part 1), the INFP primary functions and their roles were discussed.

As was mentioned in the previous post, the INFP’s primary functions, “Fi”, “Ne”, “Si”, and “Te”, are the primary ones because the INFP prefers those functions and their order over the other four functions.

Those functions are the INFP’s shadow functions.

The shadow functions are just the opposites of the primary functions, and they are in the same order. For the INFP, the shadow functions are the order of: “Fe”, “Ni”, “Se”, “Ti”.

These functions usually are associated with negative situations, and this could be due to the fact that they are some of the least developed functions. Another reason why they come up during negative situations is because these are the functions the INFP normally isn’t open to, because the INFP consistently uses the primary functions. The use of the shadow functions can be positive once the INFP learns to use them more, but in many cases, the INFP will succeed by trusting and using the primary functions, the most developed and mature functions.

The Opposing Role

The fifth function holds the opposing role. The opposing role is how an individual can act stubborn and argumentative.

Extraverted Feeling is the INFP’s opposing function. “Fe” is concerned with the feelings, morals, and values of the group, slightly different from INFP’s primary, dominant function: “Fi”

Introverted Feeling is concerned about the feelings, morals, and values of the individual, and “Fe” focuses on the group.

“Fe” usually involves the desire to connect with others, and traits such as being polite, friendly, and nice are all traits of “Fe”. Extraverted Feeling

Whenever the INFP begins to act stubborn, they may say things like, “My friend wasn’t invited, so I’m not coming either.” or “She doesn’t feel right about this, so I don’t feel right about it.”

In many ways, the INFP emphasizes the feelings of others when the INFP feels that going a certain direction could be bad. “Everyone else feels this way, so I’m with them.”

Though this a rather “negative” use of a trait, being stubborn can be very helpful in certain situations, and using “Fe” to be stubborn seems very true to the INFP. While the INFP is concerned about his or her own feelings, being in tune to their own feelings will help them connect with others and realize why the feelings of others are crucial to important decisions and situations. By knowing the realm of their own values, morals, and emotions, the INFP can understand others and use that understanding to stand firm to the INFP’s values.

The Critical Parent Role

The sixth function holds the Critical Parent Role. This role is how individuals find weak spots in other people’s arguments and judgments.

The INFP’s sixth function is Introverted Intuition. Introverted Intuition deals with internal intuitions (perhaps the more stereotypical form of intuition). It works out complex concepts and systems of thinking, and it can also come up with symbolic and novel ways of to understand things that are universal. Many moments in which new and novel realizations “pop” into one’s head are of “Ni”. Introverted Intuition

Because Introverted Intuition is the INFP’s sixth function, which embodies the Critical Parent Role, the INFP uses “Ni” to find ways of combating other people’s arguments, judgments, and opinions. The INFP, when faced with a new argument, can quickly and unconsciously find a “weak spot” in the judgment, and usually the INFP will not be able to explain how they got to that point. The INFP can quickly foresee other forms of thinking, judgment, and opinions, that could spawn from such an argument.

The Deceiving Role

The seventh function holds the deceiving role. This roles fools individuals into thinking that something is important or something that should be payed attention to.

The INFP’s seventh function is Extraverted Sensing. Extraverted Sensing is concerned with the external, physical details of the world. It involves wanting to “live in the moment”, a desire to experience everything all at once. People with “Se” want to find all the facts and details involved in a current situation. Extraverted Sensing

Since the INFP’s seventh function is “Se”, “Se” holds the INFP’s deceiving role. Because of this, INFPs may be concerned that extravagant details are important, that the more facts the better the INFP can assess a situation. If the INFP focuses on “Se” than the opposite role, “Si”, the INFP may make mistakes in perception.

However, this role can provide comic relief, and give INFPs the ability to laugh at themselves. Once its more developed, the INFP will be able to use “Se” in part with the relief role function, “Si”, and be able to recharge.

The Devilish Role

The eighth, final function holds the devilish role. Any actions or inactions taken when engaging with this function will be regretted later.

The INFP’s eight function is Introverted Thinking. Introverted Thinking is concerned with internal logical reasoning, problem solving, and analysis. Those with well developed “Ti” are able to notice the essential qualities of things, opinions, judgments, and arguments. It also involves finding just the right word to clearly express an idea.  Introverted Thinking

Where the INFP’s dominant function, “Fi” is concerned with internal morals and feelings, INFP’s weakest function, “Ti” is concerned with internal logical reasoning.

If the INFP ignores its dominant judging function, “Fi”, and make judgments based on “Ti”, the INFP may regret any actions or inactions taken because of “Ti”.

Introverted Thinking isn’t inherently a bad form of judgment. However, because it is the least developed function of all the INFP’s cognitive functions, any judgments made while using this function will be immature and crude judgments.

Because understanding how the devilish role works is difficult, here’s an example. An INFP is walking to work, carrying a bag of his or her lunch, when the INFP happens to see a homeless man, who looks very sick and hungry. If the INFP trusted “Fi”, the INFP’s dominant function, the INFP would follow his or her morals and would decide to give the lunch to the homeless man. If the INFP trusted “Ti”, the INFP’s least developed function, the INFP might think, “In order to work hard and do a good job at work today, I need to eat to be able to function, thus, its smarter for me to not give the food to the homeless man”. However, if the INFP went with the “Ti” judgment, the INFP would feel upset afterwards and would regret making such a judgment.

Though the INFP won’t always make poor judgments with Introverted Thinking, the INFP has a better chance of making a good judgment with the INFP’s most mature function, Introverted Feeling.


These is an overview of the Shadow Functions of the INFP. A more in-depth look at Shadow Functions will be published in the near future.



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