ISTP vs INTP Cognitive Functioning? (A modest comparison)

This blog post will answer the question, “What are the differences in cognitive functioning between the ISTP and INTP?”, define cognitive functioning according to Carl Jung, describe the cognitive functions of both the ISTP and INTP, and will lastly establish the differences in cognitive functioning between the ISTP and INTP.

What are the differences in cognitive functioning between the ISTP and INTP?

The differences in cognitive function between the INTP and ISTP are as follows:

Dominant cognitive function 

  • The dominant cognitive function of an ISTP is introverted thinking which is used to solve problems with ease.   
  • The dominant cognitive function of an INTP is introverted thinking and is used primarily to gain understanding.

Auxiliary cognitive function  

  • The auxiliary cognitive function for an ISTP is Extraverted sensing which is used to focus on information received from five sense modalities.
  • Auxiliary cognitive function for an INTP is extraverted intuition which is used to explore theories.

Tertiary cognitive function

  • Tertiary cognitive function for an ISTP is introverted intuition which causes them to have vivid imaginations which they act on impulsively.
  • Tertiary cognitive function for an INTP is introverted sensing which is used to make predictions.

Inferior cognitive function 

  • Inferior cognitive function for an ISTP is Extraverted feeling which drives them to try and seek social connections.
  • The inferior cognitive function of an INTP is an Extroverted feeling which creates a desire to attempt socializing with people.

What is cognitive functioning according to Carl Jung?

Each personality type prefers to use four of the eight functions first described by Jung. These four functions comprise a type’s function stack. 

The relative strength of preference for these four functions is expressed in the following manner:

  • Dominant
  • Auxiliary
  • Tertiary
  • Inferior.

What is the cognitive functioning of both the ISTP and INTP?

By taking a closer look at the cognitive functioning of both the ISTP and INTP we can better establish the differences between the two. 

The cognitive functions of the two personalities in question are as follows:

INTP cognitive function

Dominant Cognitive Function: Introverted Thinking

INTPs’ dominant cognitive function is introverted thinking. 

This is evident in how they always naturally try to break down things into smaller components and details. This is done to gain an understanding of how something works. 

INTPs are very logical and are naturally intelligent. They enjoy learning and trying new things and new approaches to problems. They like to critically analyze a situation and then decide what they should do.

Auxiliary Cognitive Function: Extraverted Intuition

The auxiliary cognitive function of an INTP is extraverted intuition. This is manifested in how the INTPs explore philosophical questions and continuously second guess themselves. 

INTPs use their intuition or gut feeling to decide about things. They also use their imagination coupled with past experiences to form ideas and opinions. INTPs spend a lot of time contemplating the future and looking at things from all angles. 

All this is done to predict future events as well.

Tertiary Cognitive Function: Introverted Sensing

INTPs tertiary cognitive function is introverted sensing. 

This is evident in how they are constantly looking for patterns to make some sort of prediction. 

Figuring out what may happen next is important to the INTP, they are constantly immersed in trying to predict the future accurately. This is because they are intuitive by nature. 

Additionally, INTPs will pay attention to specific details and tend to form mental schemas for different types of information they get. These mental schemas will be used in understanding the world and making decisions.

Inferior Cognitive Function: Extraverted Feeling

INTPs are introverts therefore their inferior or least active cognitive function is extraverted feeling. 

This pushes them to try being an extrovert of sorts. They will attempt to socialize and be more talkative. The INTP will try to be outgoing around friends and family they trust. 

However, this quickly vanishes when they are confronted by stress or external problems to accommodate logical thinking which requires silence and solitude.

ISTP cognitive functioning

Dominant cognitive function: Introverted thinking

Just like the INTP the ISTP’s dominant cognitive function is introverted thinking. 

This function is used by the ISTP to see the most trivial details, which are analyzed and categorized, and stored in their huge knowledge bank. 

The ISTP’s sole purpose of examining every detail of a situation is to solve problems with as little effort. With introverted thinking as the dominant function, the ISTP will explore everything to find logical inconsistencies which they then rectify. 

All decisions are made based on logic and practicality, there is no room for feelings or theoretical assumptions about what they cannot see.

Auxiliary cognitive function: Extraverted sensing

This function is used by ISTPs to focus their attention on sensations and information received from their five senses of sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch. 

This puts the ISTP in touch with present experiences, the physical world, making them conscious of their environment and the people in it.

They are resultantly very impulsive and have quick reflexes and an unmatched reaction time to any issue that suddenly arises. 

The extraverted sensing function drives the ISTP to seize opportunities while maintaining their insights on various situations.

Tertiary cognitive function: Introverted intuition

The tertiary cognitive function of the ISTP allows them to get easily attracted to meaningful things and experiences. 

Additionally, this will make them think by way of images rather than words. Their intuitions often mentally manifest in the form of symbols, images, dreams, or patterns. 

The certainty of these mental visualizations pushes ISTPs to fulfill what they have imagined in real life.

Inferior cognitive functioning: Extraverted feeling

The ISTP’s inferior cognitive functioning is an Extroverted feeling which drives them to try and seek social connections that are peaceful and diplomatic. 

However, this is their inferior or least active cognitive function and so they are not always successful. If their ideas are criticized, they perceive this as a person challenging their competence. 

The ISTP retaliates with a harsh dose of practicality regardless of how it makes that person feel because facts are facts.

What are the differences in cognitive functioning between the ISTP and INTP?

The table below highlights the difference in cognitive functioning between the INTP and ISTP:

ISTP vs INTP cognitive functioning

Cognitive functionISTPINTP
Dominant cognitive functionThe dominant cognitive function of an ISTP is introverted thinking and it is used to critically analyze situations to solve problems with ease.The dominant cognitive function of an INTP is introverted thinking and is used primarily to gain understanding and form a theory or idea.
Auxiliary cognitive functionAuxiliary cognitive function is Extraverted sensing which is used to focus their attention on sensations and information received from their five senses.Auxiliary cognitive function extraverted intuition is used to explore philosophical questions plan for the future.
Tertiary cognitive functionTertiary cognitive function is Introverted intuition which causes them to have mental visualizations that drive ISTPs to fulfill what they have imagined in real life.Tertiary cognitive function is introverted sensing which is used to constantly look for patterns to make predictions.
Inferior cognitive functionInferior cognitive function is an Extroverted feeling which drives them to try and seek social connections that are peaceful and diplomatic. This is their weakness and so they have trouble achieving this objective.Inferior cognitive function is an Extroverted feeling which creates a desire to attempt socializing with people and be more talkative. This is usually unsuccessful as they are naturally introverts and crowds are just not their thing.

Conclusion

This blog post answered the question, “What are the differences in cognitive functioning between the ISTP and INTP?”, defined cognitive functioning according to Carl Jung, described the cognitive functions of both the ISTP and INTP, and established the differences in cognitive functioning between the ISTP and INTP.

The differences in cognitive function between the INTP and ISTP are as follows:

Dominant cognitive function 

  • The dominant cognitive function of an ISTP is introverted thinking which is used to solve problems with ease.   
  • The dominant cognitive function of an INTP is introverted thinking and is used primarily to gain understanding.

Auxiliary cognitive function  

  • The auxiliary cognitive function for an ISTP is Extraverted sensing which is used to focus on information received from five sense modalities.
  • Auxiliary cognitive function for an INTP is extraverted intuition which is used to explore theories.

Tertiary cognitive function

  • Tertiary cognitive function for an ISTP is introverted intuition which causes them to have vivid imaginations which they act on impulsively.
  • Tertiary cognitive function for an INTP is introverted sensing which is used to make predictions.

Inferior cognitive function 

  • Inferior cognitive function for an ISTP is Extraverted feeling which drives them to try and seek social connections.
  • The inferior cognitive function of an INTP is an Extroverted feeling which creates a desire to attempt socializing with people.

Hope this blog was helpful to feel free to comment or ask questions.

If you’ve enjoyed the ”ISTP vs INTP Cognitive Functioning?” you should take a look at ”ISTP vs ISTJ personalities?” too.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who has better cognitive function between the ISTP and INTP?

Can I be both ISTP and INTP?

No, research indicates that you cannot be INTP and ISTP at the same time.

Why is ISTP the best?

They are considered to be the best because they are great problem solvers who can avert any crisis.

Are ISTPs lazy?

Yes, ISTPs have a bad reputation for being lazy and are seen as rule-breakers, rebels, and are in opposition to authority

What do ISTPs find attractive?

ISTPs are attracted to people who are confident and comfortable with themselves. Usually, someone who is confident and in control of their emotions and does not overreact or talk too much. They are also drawn to sincerity and originality.

Who should an ISTP date?

Research shows that the ISTP’s natural born type is the ESTJ or the ENTJ. Because they are introverted they are best matched with a partner whose personality is Extroverted.

Are ISTPs smart?

Yes, ISTPs are highly intelligent and possess great mechanical skills and mastery over crafts and machinery.

References

‘Comparison of Insights Discovery System to Myers-Briggs Type Indicator report’, retrieved from https://www.insights.com/

Isabel   Briggs Myers, (2015), Introduction to Type, CPP. PDF

Raya A. Jones, (2013), ‘Jung’s “Psychology with the Psyche” and the Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Science (Basel).  Published online 18/07/2013. DOI: 10.3390/bs3030408

Shamdasani S, (2003), Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology, Cambridge University Press; Cambridge: USA. PDF

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