The Eight Function-Attitudes In Depth

Introverted Thinking (Thinking Analyzer)

Introverted Thinking is primary for INTP and ISTP types. It is secondary for ENTP and ESTP types.


As a Thinking function-attitude it:

  1. Uses criticism as a means to improve.
  2. Is impersonal in approach.
  3. Is mechanistic in that it is about how things work rather than about people.
  4. References logic: Uses logical concepts, models, theories, and principles.
  5. Strives to be impartial when dealing with people.

As an introverted deciding function-attitude it:

  1. Tends to be more abstract.
  2. Is subjective in nature.
  3. Can be slower yet more thorough.
  4. Prefers more iterative processes that lead to depth of understanding.
  5. Tends to be more situational and improvisational.
  6. Tends to value accuracy over implementation.

Introverted Thinking asks, “How do things really work?” It makes decisions based on a personal understanding of how the world operates. To this end it:

  1. Wants to understand how everything works.
  2. Prefers abductive logic: Trying out a variety of solutions to determine what is the best explanation.
  3. Learns by tinkering, adjusting, testing for tolerance, and seeing what will happen.
  4. Looks for nonlinear logical connections.
  5. Pokes holes and critiques existing systems and ways of thinking to create improvements.
  6. Uses one’s own knowledge and subjective concepts, models, theories, and principles in these primary ways:
    1. As tools to understand a wide variety of phenomena and 2) in a more contextual way, as a means to leverage particular situations.
    2. It ultimately aims toward principles that can be applied universally.
  7. Tends to create underlying theories or approaches that help explain a broad variety of individual circumstances. Consider Einstein’s work in theoretical physics that helped to explain gravity and the relationship between time and space or Darwin’s theory of evolution that describes why animal species change in appearance over time in order to adapt to the unique characteristics of their environment. On a more tactical level, consider Bruce Lee’s approach to Martial Arts, Jeet Kun Do, which combines previous teachings with the demands of the moment, one’s personal strengths, and one’s own experience.
  8. If there are exceptions to logical models or theories, then those models or theories must be revised or discarded.
  9. Highly relativistic: Does not recognize a “right” way - everything can be improved and no single approach or belief is sacred.
  10. Discards information judged as irrelevant to proving or disproving what works in a given situation.
  11. Focused on gaining understanding about a situation rather than accomplishing specific tasks.
  12. Goes about being impartial by removing the interests of oneself and others from the equation.

Additional characteristics

Tends not to place much value on established expertise,  authority, or titles. Instead, it values input from anyone whose logic can help create a new insight or a better understanding.


  1. Building logical constructs. These include theories, concepts, working models, and frameworks that aid in understanding how things work.
  2. Defining precisely. Strives to name, label, and identify things with logical precision so that they can be used precisely.
  3. Quick analysis. While it may or may not lead to quick action, it analyzes situations with great speed.
  4. Novel approach. Creates new, novel approaches from existing resources and systems. Open to new ways of doing things.
  5. Complexity. Considers things in a multidimensional way, looking at all angles. It can then synthesize from these multiple outlooks to arrive at a logical decision. Thus, it focuses more on the logic of how things relate than on purely sequential logic.
  6. Troubleshooting. It tests for tolerance, pokes holes, finds boundaries, and leverages available elements to find opportunities for improvement or to fix what isn’t working.
  7. Forecasting. Since it has a knack for testing and troubleshooting logical systems, it can often forecast what will or won’t happen in regard to these systems.

Working with Introverted Thinkers

These will apply mainly to ISTP and INTP types and also to ESTP and ENTP types who use Introverted Thinking as a secondary function.

  1. Allow them to explore how things work whenever possible. You never know what benefits might be discovered.
  2. Resist boxing them in with schedules, protocols, or unneeded rules. Time and space are truly relative for Introverted Thinking. If you insist on making these things matter more than accuracy, Introverted Thinkers will resent you.
  3. Let them improve the process. Stay curious with them about how things might be better if they were a little different.
  4. Acknowledge their logic might be as valid as someone who is considered more of an expert, even though it may not be as publicly recognized.
  5. Know their action often does not look like activity. People who lead with Introverted Thinking usually need more time to think things through than other types of people.
  6. Try not to take their criticism personally. From Introverted Thinkers, their critical focus is on how things work and how to make improvements. It is rarely intentionally directed at people even though it might feel like it.
  7. Don’t try to tell them there is one right answer or one best way. In Bruce Lee’s (ISTP) case this actually led to a fist fight. He proved that his way could defeat traditional martial arts forms. A big part of an Introverted Thinker’s purpose is to find the best way for each unique situation.
  8. Help them out socially. The inferior function (for INTPs and ISTPs) is Extraverted Feeling. This means that they often feel vulnerable to how others feel about them and how they are coming off socially. Consider these things:
    1. Let them know when they do something that helps you feel good.
    2. Let them know you care about them.

Brain insights from Dario Nardi

Introverted Thinking utilizes brain regions that are more deeply embedded in the brain, as opposed to being located on the periphery. This may help people who use Introverted Thinking screen off the outside world in order to make decisions based on multiple reasoning


“My style is to absorb all the data I can to make the best-informed decision possible…sometimes to the point of over-analysis.” – Paul Allen

“Learning is definitely not mere imitation or the ability to accumulate and conform to fixed knowledge. Learning is a constant process of discovery and never a concluding one.” - Bruce Lee

“To punish me for my contempt for authority, Fate made me an authority myself.” - Albert Einstein

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” - Marie Curie

“I say when something sucks rather than sugarcoat it.” - Steve Jobs

“When you look for a teacher you should be very, very suspicious. ... You must test them.” - The Dalai Llama

“There’s far too much decorum and protocol [in the world]. ... I can’t see the point of that.” - Simon Cowell

“I don’t do damsel in distress very well. It’s hard for me to play a victim.” - Scarlett Johansson

Try Introverted Thinking

  1. Think about something you do regularly. What is at least one thing you could do to improve the process? Is there anything else that would make the process easier or better?
  2. Go somewhere using a different route, just to try a new way of getting there. What are the pros and cons of the new way? What are the pros and cons of going your usual route?
  3. What are some more precise words for describing something that is really big?
  4. Picture in your mind how an engine works, in as much detail as possible.
  5. In terms of practicality, what are the most important criteria for selecting a new home?

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