What is Introverted Thinking?29 March 2022 / By Elizabeth Harris Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on March 29, 2022
In the 16-type personality system, Introverted Thinking is used to describe how someone makes decisions and chooses to organize their life.
Introverted Thinking is one of eight cognitive functions at the heart of personality theory.
What is Introverted Thinking?
Introverted Thinking (Ti) and Extraverted Thinking (Te) go hand-in-hand. These individuals make decisions based on logic, using their heads rather than their hearts. They prefer to take the emotion out of the decision-making process and focus on viewing any problem or situation objectively.
The difference is that individuals with Introverted Thinking strengths tend to use this objectivity to solve challenges internally. They turn inwards to come up with their own theories, opinions and solutions to the outside world. Unlike Extraverted Thinkers, who direct their decision-making outwards and tend to be active and assertive in the world around them, Introverted Thinking individuals are focused on their own thoughts and ideas.
Introverted Thinking types usually spend a lot of time in their own heads. They like to think things over in detail, analyzing the world around them in the privacy of their internal world. This means they tend to be enigmatic thinkers who are not afraid to come up with their own principles and methods that go against conventions. Introverted Thinking individuals are never sheep; they’re always ready to forge their own paths. They tend to be flexible, adapting their ideas and methods as new information arises.
Introverted Thinking and Cognitive Functions
To fully get to grips with Introverted Thinking and how it plays out in real people, it’s important to understand the theory behind cognitive functions.
Cognitive functions are used to describe how a person thinks and behaves. There are eight cognitive functions in total; four of the cognitive functions are conscious and the other four are subconscious. The four cognitive functions are Thinking (T), Intuition (I), Sensing (S) and Feeling (F) and they can be either extraverted (directed outwards) or introverted (directed inwards).
New to cognitive functions? Read our Beginner’s Guide.
In the 16-type system, the cognitive functions are ordered in terms of strength. That means there are four categories: dominant (1st), auxiliary (2nd), tertiary (3rd), and inferior (4th). For Introverted personality types, their dominant and tertiary cognitive functions are introverted while their auxiliary and inferior cognitive functions are extraverted.
The personality types that use Introverted Thinking are:
- INTP (dominant)
- ISTP (dominant)
- ENTP (auxiliary)
- ESTP (auxiliary)
- INFJ (tertiary)
- ISFJ (tertiary)
- ENFJ (inferior)
- ESFJ (inferior)
In INTPs and ISTPs, Introverted Thinking is the dominant function. They are the personality types that exhibit the strongest traits of Introverted Thinkers.
Both INTP and ISTP individuals are observant and analytical. They approach their environment with curiosity, paying attention to the smallest details. ISTPs tend to be more practical than INTPs, enjoying finding real-life solutions to the problems they come across. On the other hand, INTPs are detached and preoccupied with theoretical analysis.
Common Traits of Introverted Thinking types
Introverted Thinking strengths play out in the ways a person approaches problems. Here are 3 traits of an Introverted Thinking type to look out for and signs that you might be one.
1. You enjoy teaching yourself new things
At the heart of the Introverted Thinking type is endless curiosity. These are the people who are constantly learning. If you’re an Introverted Thinking person, you probably enjoy teaching yourself new skills, deep-diving into new topics and devoting your time to understanding and figuring out new problems.
Introverted Thinkers often reject academic teaching, preferring to find their own learning path. They often reject conventional ideas. They make decisions based on their own study rather than what someone tells them is correct. You won’t find them enrolling in an online course, they’ll do the study themselves, getting their information from a range of different sources to allow themselves to learn the topic inside out and upside down before coming up with their own opinions and methods.
2. You’re not afraid to think outside the box
Coupled with self-taught methods of most Introverted Thinkers is their outside-the-box thinking style. Introverted Thinkers never do things just because everyone else is doing them. They always take the time to analyze a situation and make sure that they are doing something in the most logical and efficient way possible.
This Introverted Thinking strength plays out in a range of different ways. For some individuals, it shows up in their original ideas and wacky theories. In others, it reveals itself in practical contexts - these individuals are often inventors, tinkerers and brilliant problem-solvers. The thing to remember is that Introverted Thinking types never follow the crowd. They always take the time to ask ‘why?’ before they proceed.
3. You’re known as an overthinker
The flip side of the Introverted Thinking type is that sometimes all that thinking can go too far! In their quest to constantly understand the world around them, Introverted Thinkers sometimes go too far inside their own heads. They might find it difficult to relate to the people around them and their questioning, challenging ways can lead to confusion and stalling. They don’t want to rush into any decision without thinking it through and that can take time.
Taken to its extremes, this overthinking can impact negatively on Introverted Thinkers’ relationships. Co-workers might perceive their Introverted Thinking colleague as being lazy because they’re too busy analyzing the best way to do a task rather than getting it done. In romantic relationships, Introverted Thinking traits can play out in over-analyzing every area of a relationship, driving themselves and their partner to distraction. While analytical, objective thinking can be a major strength, it can also be a weakness.
Recognize these Introverted Thinking traits?
Introverted Thinkers are easy to spot. They’re the ones constantly puzzling over new theories and new problems. They can be unconventional, inventive and preoccupied with their own thoughts. They approach the world in a novel and unique way, using their own intellect to make sense of everything around them.
To learn more about your personality type and find out where you qualify in the 16-type system, take the Typefinder test today!
Ashley Reid (not verified) says...
You don't mention INTJ personality types, whom I would have imagined are introverted thinkings.
Where do they fit into your analysis?
robot hu yaar (not verified) says...
his auxilary function is extroverted thinking..thats why his not in list
Muhammad Zen Pratama (not verified) says...
You can't put intj into this category, because they do only have Te a.k.a Extroverted Thinking on their main function.