Are INFJs and INTJs Really Psychic?

Rumor has it that INFJs and INTJs are the Jeane Dixons of the Myers and Briggs' 16 type system. No, they don’t have the ability to read people’s minds, see the future or predict assassination attempts on the President. But they do have an uncanny gift for foresight. That is, they have a tendency to make predictions about people and circumstances that quite often come true. 

Far from being a mystical phenomenon, the psychic leanings of INXJs actually stem from their primary cognitive function: Introverted Intuition. 

But what is Introverted Intuition and how does it manifest as seemingly clairvoyant capabilities? Let's take a look. 

The mysteries of Introverted Intuition

Introverted Intuition (Ni) is one of eight cognitive functions. Every one of the 16 types uses Introverted Intuition to some degree. However, only INXJs use it as their primary means of interacting with the world. 

What makes Introverted Intuition unique is its connection to the subconscious. It’s common for Ni dominants to experience somewhat ‘mystical’ experiences: answers that come to them in dreams, gut feelings that turn out to be right, daydreams with deep, symbolic meanings, and lightning bolts of insight that strike out of the blue. You know you're leading with Ni when:

  • “Why?” is your favorite question.
  • You often get lost in your head, losing connection to your external surroundings. 
  • You relish abstract conversations about philosophy, psychology, religion and so on. 
  • You are always looking for the deeper meaning behind things.
  • You reach conclusions that “just appear” and are hard to logically explain to the people around you. 

It sounds psychic, indeed. But it’s actually just the way Introverted Intuition works. This function means that INXJs see the entire world as one interconnected whole. They are constantly looking for repeated patterns in their environment with an eye to understanding the meaning of things, reading between the lines and yes—figuring out what might happen next.

What’s fascinating, though, is that this pattern-recognition process occurs at a subconscious level. It’s almost as if the INXJ’s unconscious mind does the hard work for them: assembling seemingly unrelated strands of information to come up with insights that suddenly appear in the INXJ’s conscious mind as if they had been there all along.

In short, INXJs aren’t psychic. But they do use their minds differently than most. This is often met with skepticism from others who cannot understand how they come up with answers seemingly out of nowhere—and it’s especially confusing since INXJs are rare, making up just 3% of the population. 

Introverted Intuition is a sensation, not a rational process

The downside of Introverted Intuition is it is an ‘irrational’ function. Carl Jung, who developed the concept of cognitive functions, used the term to explain that Ni comes from sensation, rather than a rational function like thinking or feeling.

This can be surprising for INXJs, and especially INTJs, who can be seen as incredibly logical people.

What Jung meant is that Ni is not a process that can be explained logically. It’s something that happens intuitively, without conscious effort. Sometimes it works incredibly well, and sometimes it doesn’t work at all. That's because Ni dominants can only spot patterns and form answers based on information they know—whether that's a concept, a learned experience or an original idea. 

If the information is wrong or incomplete, the INXJ is going to come up with the wrong answer. But because Ni takes priority over more rational functions based on thinking and feeling, INXJs might actually resist new data if it goes against what they already believe to be true.

In other words, it's easy for patterns to become cemented in the INXJ's mind. They need to draw on other cognitive functions to break free and see things in a new way.

How Introverted Intuition manifests in INXJs

While the INFJ and INTJ both use Introverted Intuition as their primary cognitive function, the way they use it is different. That's down to the influence of their secondary functions. INFJs use the people-focused Extraverted Feeling (Fe), while INTJs use the logic-led Extraverted Thinking (Te) as their second-in-command function.

As a result, the insights, interests and gut feelings of the two types tend to focus on different subjects. 

For the INFJ, the combination of Ni and Fe results in a personality that is deeply in tune with, and concerned about, the welfare of the people around them. We're not talking about socializing here, or the deep empathy of feeling other people's feelings. It's more about understanding the perspectives of others quite rationally, where you can see the world through their eyes.

For INFJs, then, the subjects of their intuition tend to be people-focused, whether that’s decoding others’ motives, predicting how relationships will progress, or having a vision for social change. In fact, INFJs are often so in tune with the ways others think that they can finish people’s sentences or know what they’re about to say before it comes out.

For the INTJ, the combination of Ni and Te means they are less interested in emotions and social harmony, and more in effectiveness, efficiency and progress. Te uses data to make decisions and is really great at sorting out what information is important and what isn't.

That means that INTJs tend to use Ni as a way of mapping out the future and planning their next move long before others have even realized there's an opportunity to take advantage of. They make for great business people, system builders and innovators, using their imagination, intuition and logic to drive progress on the projects they’re interested in.   

Wrapping up  

Introverted Intuition can look rather mysterious, but it isn't mystical. It's simply a way of processing information and coming to conclusions based on subtle patterns and connections that others may not see. While INXJs can often feel misunderstood because of this, it is also what gives them their unique ability to understand the world in a deep and meaningful way.

If you are an INFJ or INTJ, it’s well worth learning as much as you can about your type and the other 16 types. Any and all data you feed your intuition will strengthen it, giving you more confidence and knowledge to go out into the world and turn your intuitions into reality. 

Hannah Pisani
Hannah Pisani is a freelance writer based in London, England. A type 9 INFP, she is passionate about harnessing the power of personality theory to better understand herself and the people around her - and wants to help others do the same. When she's not writing articles, you'll find her composing songs at the piano, advocating for people with learning difficulties, or at the pub with friends and a bottle (or two) of rose.