We are in a series talking about the cognitive functions of the INTP. For someone who is fairly new to typology, this series can be a useful start to understand what's going on in your mind. If you're someone who's a little more advanced and you have something you want to add to the conversation, you are more than welcome to comment on any of these articles.

In the last article we talked about Introverted Thinking, and in this article we’ll explore what Extraverted Intuition is for INTPs.

An Extraverted Side

So if you’re new to typology you may be wondering about how you could have a function called Extraverted Intuition as an Introvert. Even though you’re an INTP, you have an extraverted side of you. Everyone has both introverted and extraverted sides.

If you think about it, every single human being has to have an input and output so that we can be a sane human being, or as close to sane human being as we can be. Right? Think about how your body works too: you take in food and you poop out the food. That’s how it works.

It's the same way the brain works. You take things in and you also put things out. There’s an internal world inside our minds, but we also all interact with an external world. So we all have introverted and extraverted sides of us.


Extroverted Intuition is fun to talk about because it is our best place for growth. Personality Hacker refers to it as the “copilot” in their car model, which maybe I'll talk about more in a future article because that's a really great way to understand your cognitive functions.

But your second function (again, for an INTP that is Extraverted Intuition) is the second most important function in your stack because it’s going to show up the most other than your Introverted Thinking. Introverted Thinking shows up about 80% of the time. Extraverted Intuition is probably 12 to 15% of the time. It's a decent amount of your day.

And if you're really integrating Extraverted Intuition into your life, you'll be experiencing joy. This function brings with it kind of an inherent joy because it likes to playfully poke at things and make things more fun or funny. It likes to see what will happen and how people will react. For the most part, that's kind of what it is because we're searching for patterns.

Patterns & Exploration

So if you look for Extraverted Intuition, in, you know, whatever the typology dictionary is, it's gonna say something to the effect of “pattern recognition and exploration.”

Exploration is the word that Personality Hacker uses. And I think that is a great word for it. Because it's about uncovering new data and experiencing new things. It’s going out and experiencing life. Literally walking down a street you've never walked down before is an Extraverted Intuitive experience because now you're connecting dots and filling in your personal internal map. So new ways you can seek out novelty and add to your experience is a way of accessing and tapping into Extraverted Intuition.

Speaking of which, another misnomer about Extraversion is that it has to require other people, but that is not the case. Extraverted Intuition just has to be a new experience, which tends to be around other people If you're in the outside world. It's about being in external reality and not being in your head as much. Now there are ways to combine Introverted Thinking with Extroverted Intuition. But that's going to be in more detail in the Cosmic Calibration course on how to do that.

But Introverted Thinking is something that without joy can be kind of cold, and you can see how they kind of play opposites with each other, right? You find new information that you can scrutinize and poke at and deduce by experiencing things in the outside world. If you just stayed in your head and ruminated on the same stuff that you know over and over and over again, you'll get to a point where you have nothing new to work with, and you're just going to be hitting your head on the chalkboard.

Even Albert Einstein, who was an INTP, got a lot of his “aha” moments from just playing with his kids, experiencing life, going out into the world, and doing everyday things.

Dr. House is a really amazing example of how this works. Every single episode this happened. He's a diagnostic doctor and somebody with a weird case would come in and he’d try to figure things out with his Introverted Thinking, but it wouldn’t be until he went into the outside world that he’d figure it out. He’d be in the shower, look at a plunger, and suddenly realize, “it's cancer!”

Something just suddenly clicked. It’s Extraverted Intuition that provides the data for that click moment to potentially happen.

Play & Joy

Another aspect of Extraverted Intuition is being playful and accessing joy—two qualities that will lead to more experiences in life. I highly recommend you read the book Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee.

It breaks down the etymology of “joy” and what brings joy. For example, why small things in abundance such as confetti or glitter can fascinate us and bring such joy. The book basically goes through different aspects of finding joy, harmony, surprise, celebration, and all sorts of things that bring joy into our lives. And I think it's really great research for INTPs to find ways to access joy for themselves.

For example, I surround myself with what’s called “maximalism.” I keep Christmas lights up all year long, my curtains are patterned with comics, I have toys and items from my childhood and special times in my life that all bring me joy.

And experiencing more things and seeing more things gives you more opportunities for joy. So when you start to think about things that lead you down the nihilism rabbit hole (like we talked about in the Introverted Thinking article), you have more data to parse and more experiences to look at.

If you’re an Introverted Thinker and all you do is spend time by yourself and have no semblance of meaning, it’s very easy to deduce your life has no meaning. But if you’re experiencing joy, you have more things in your life, more things that you appreciate, more things that you experience, more people, more fun, etc., then there’s more likely the opportunity to find things that you can attach meaning to.

Or even just to think about the sheer possibility and the wonder of the fact that it took basically an eternity—13 billion years—for our existence to occur. And when you really think about that, that in itself has inherent significance. Even though we're only here for like less than a fraction of a blip in terms of the scope of the universe, we can have a great appreciation for our existence and the opportunity to experience it for that amount of time.

So there's a difference between using Introverted Thinking to deduce all of the things in life that we narrowly experience versus experiencing a lot of things and showing gratitude and joy and appreciation and applying it to the bigger picture.

As you can see, Introverted Thinking and Extraverted Intuition are the two most important aspects of our cognitive function stack. Because there's so much you can learn just between those two things being connected, right?

Big Picture

Introverted Thinking is, again, about deducing, slicing, and finding the truth. Whereas Extroverted Intuition is giving us all of the tools and the data to use to find what is actually the truth, not just what is leftover. Something that's a little bit more tangible, meaningful, and important than just deducing what's only in our head. But we get to deduce more than that—we get to look at the bigger picture and wonder about the mysteries of the universe.

Introverted Thinking is more about fine slicing and the micro, whereas Extraverted Intuition is more about zooming out into the macro—looking at the world, the big picture, the patterns, the way the universe works.

That's really the birth of astronomy, in a sense. INTPs such as Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein—these are people who changed the scope of reality or rather our understanding of reality.

So accessing that Extraverted Intuition and this kind of joy is incredibly important for our lives.

Next Steps

Accessing Extraverted Intuition is something I talk about more in my Cosmic Calibration program. This program is a connection point between you and yourself, and you to all things. It's a little bit “woowoo” and spiritual, but it's through a logical lens—there's ways that it makes sense. And it's not about “converting” you or making you think like I do, but finding a version of it for yourself, that resonates with your path in life and the things that you experience for you. We can learn a lot from each other by going through this together.

There are 15 audio segments in the Cosmic Calibration course. You also get direct access to me through Voxer. You can tell me your particular story, your circumstance, what you're thinking, what you're working on, what brings you joy, what you're excited about, etc. And then we can start to really talk about bigger picture concepts and how to get you into a place where you're accessing joy more regularly, even when there seems to be no joy in life. So check that out and I’ll talk to you soon!