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Recently there was a poll about INFJs and psychic abilities on here. I found it very interesting, because a lot of members do seem to report having experiences that fit the description for supernatural phenomena. I wanted to expand a bit on what I think it is that gives Ni-doms, specifically INFJs (because of Fe) this "mystical" quality that we seem to be famous for. Reading the INFJ descriptions from sites like PersonalityPage, you'd think we were a bunch of crystal-ball wielding magicians. That image might be somewhat symbolic of the truth.

I will say that I don't intend to rain on anyone's parade and that I'm not here to declare once and for all that no psychic or supernatural powers exist. I don't believe in them, but I understand that I can't account for the experiences of others. These are just my thoughts, from a skeptical angle, about how these very real feelings and experiences could happen by means of our cognitive functions.

Some of the psychic experiences that I've seen INFJs refer to include premonitions about things that will happen in the future, being able to tell what another person is thinking or what they'll say, having a gut feeling when something is "off" or "wrong," etc. I don't deny that INFJs have a skill for this. I think Ni sits happily at the root of it all, with Fe as its right-hand man.

There are a million explanations for Ni, and I think it's possible to read all of them and still not quite understand what Ni does. It makes sense for it to be one of the most difficult functions to describe - Jung himself expressed frustration at it. Automatically, that will make the Ni-dom appear mysterious to others. We're all quite aware that our inner landscapes separate us from others and can make us difficult to understand, despite how well we understand ourselves. The fact that we often "just know" things certainly seems like it could be a sixth sense, a gift, a power. I'm not entirely saying that it isn't.

One of the things Ni is responsible for is identifying patterns and symbols in our subjective experience. As we move through life, we have all kinds of different experiences, and Ni takes note of the things that seem to connect. I believe we're doing this unconsciously all the time, and with Ni being our primary function, we have probably done it since childhood.

Like Si, the other introverted perceiving function, Ni depends on information gathered and processed in the past to form new perceptions. However, unlike Si, it does not require an event to occur in order for this perception to take place. Being iNtuition, it can jump ahead, or take a look at the "bigger picture" to see what's coming next, as opposed to focusing on what is happening right now.

This allows for experiences like "premonitions." Ni builds a system of connections from our past thoughts, experiences, relationships, and so on. It runs in the background, sort of like a heart monitor, checking that things are going according to "plan" - that plan being made up of past connections that we've found to be true. The moment something diverts from that plan, we get a sense that something is different. Often, you'll hear someone say that they had no reason to believe that anything was wrong, or there was nothing that lead them to the conclusion they arrived at.. but secretly, Ni was working hard at alerting them that the pattern had been violated, perhaps long before any event actually occurred. The Ni-user themselves might not realize what it was that alerted them to this, they "just know." Our very clever intuition picked up on it.

In combination with Fe, this can lead to all kinds of experiences that are very hard to explain. Without knowing a person well, we might be able to predict what they will do next, or read their thoughts. We may get a very clear idea of how an event will unfold before it does. We sometimes know things that seem impossible to know. I believe Ni (with Fe) are behind all of this. These times when we "predict the future" come from an intricately built system of past experiences and understandings, where connections have been made that we might not even understand on a conscious level. Before we know what's happening, Ni scans the past, accesses the proper connections, and then bypasses the present and points to the future based on what it already knows. This is also the source of many "aha!" moments that we know and love.

I think another factor that is important to consider about Ni is the way in which we consider it to be truth. My dad is a magician and does a psychic/supernatural act, and has taught be quite a bit about the way it works, and I see a very clear connection between how fake psychics work and now Ni works.

One thing I have learned about, that many of you may be familiar with, is called "cold reading." Self-proclaimed mediums like Sylvia Browne and John Edward are very good at this. Using cues from the person they are reading, they gather information and basically make educated guesses, guided by their pre-existing understanding of human experiences. Something that is vital to their routine is that "hits" are retained, while "misses" are quickly abandoned and forgotten. When one of their guesses ends up being correct, they draw it out and place emphasis on it. If a guess doesn't make sense to the client, they go off in another direction. The important thing is that the client has a good, clear memory of the things the psychic was right about, and doesn't really remember all the things the psychic said that made no sense.

Ni is more efficient than that, but it works in a similar way. When our intuition points to something or makes a "prediction," and that prediction turns out to be right, the information that lead up to it is internalized and integrated into the system for further use. In the future, similar triggers or symbols may alert the Ni-user to this pattern again, where they now have an even stronger hand in predicting what will happen. When all of this happens, our inner perceptions feel like absolute truth, backed up by the fact that these connections were made in the past, and reinforced when the connection proves true again.

When our intuition is wrong, it may be internalized in a different way, as a sort of "firewall" in the system to stop intuition from following patterns that don't exist. This, too, makes Ni more efficient in the long run by avoiding irrelevant information and concentrating on those patterns that have been reinforced. It's also possible that we just discard the information, even forgetting that we ever had that premonition to begin with, because it does not end up being reality.

It's interesting to me that there is this similarity between the way one fakes insight, and the way true intuition works. It's also sort of like Ne, "throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks." The system of gathering information and making the predictions with better accuracy, though, is what gets a psychic rich and famous. It's also what makes Ni-users such powerful intuitives. And we practically do it in our sleep.

Again, I have no intention of stomping on anyone who does believe in the supernatural, or who believes that psychic powers exist, or maybe even that they have psychic powers themselves. If one has an experience that truly can't be explained, I certainly can't prove how or why it happens. This is just my view of how Ni can be responsible for these experiences, by working as a sort of pattern radar in the back of our mind. No doubt, it is a gift either way.
 

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Ni is amazing, but most Ni descriptions I've read pretty much just flat out say "Ni is magic and you'll never understand it" Which is far from the case.

I myself have never experienced anything that I would call "psychic", though my friends like to joke that I am. But mostly the point is that Ni is a pattern-based system building function, not the function that allows you to see ghosts.
 

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Ni is just an evolutionary device about empathy, body language, probability, and various other details which I have yet to put to words/hypothesize. Nothing is supernatural about it at all.
I do find it extraordinary, anyway, as it is so often frighteningly precise. There have been times I have predicted phone calls or finished my mothers sentences verbatim without as much as a thought being placed within why I'm saying that.
 

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@Sun Lips im very aware of the theory that Ni draws from our past experiences and imagination to create possible outcomes for the future, and that amazingly its correct a lot of times. There is one case though that i have never understood:

This is a personal experience:

Some years ago i was going to meet my pals in a certain area of the city, i was going there via subway train. In the middle of the trip, i got this weird gut sensation of danger and uneasiness. There was no external input for me to analize so i could sense the danger, it just came ¨magically¨. When i arrived to the place i was expecting my friends, they had been beaten by a bunch of cops because they were smoking weed.

The thing is that there was no way i could have sensed that! i was miles away from the scene, i didnt have any contact with them via phone or any other way. How did this happen?
 

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Recently there was a poll about INFJs and psychic abilities on here. I found it very interesting, because a lot of members do seem to report having experiences that fit the description for supernatural phenomena. I wanted to expand a bit on what I think it is that gives Ni-doms, specifically INFJs (because of Fe) this "mystical" quality that we seem to be famous for. Reading the INFJ descriptions from sites like PersonalityPage, you'd think we were a bunch of crystal-ball wielding magicians. That image might be somewhat symbolic of the truth.

I will say that I don't intend to rain on anyone's parade and that I'm not here to declare once and for all that no psychic or supernatural powers exist. I don't believe in them, but I understand that I can't account for the experiences of others. These are just my thoughts, from a skeptical angle, about how these very real feelings and experiences could happen by means of our cognitive functions.

Some of the psychic experiences that I've seen INFJs refer to include premonitions about things that will happen in the future, being able to tell what another person is thinking or what they'll say, having a gut feeling when something is "off" or "wrong," etc. I don't deny that INFJs have a skill for this. I think Ni sits happily at the root of it all, with Fe as its right-hand man.

There are a million explanations for Ni, and I think it's possible to read all of them and still not quite understand what Ni does. It makes sense for it to be one of the most difficult functions to describe - Jung himself expressed frustration at it. Automatically, that will make the Ni-dom appear mysterious to others. We're all quite aware that our inner landscapes separate us from others and can make us difficult to understand, despite how well we understand ourselves. The fact that we often "just know" things certainly seems like it could be a sixth sense, a gift, a power. I'm not entirely saying that it isn't.

One of the things Ni is responsible for is identifying patterns and symbols in our subjective experience. As we move through life, we have all kinds of different experiences, and Ni takes note of the things that seem to connect. I believe we're doing this unconsciously all the time, and with Ni being our primary function, we have probably done it since childhood.

Like Si, the other introverted perceiving function, Ni depends on information gathered and processed in the past to form new perceptions. However, unlike Si, it does not require an event to occur in order for this perception to take place. Being iNtuition, it can jump ahead, or take a look at the "bigger picture" to see what's coming next, as opposed to focusing on what is happening right now.

This allows for experiences like "premonitions." Ni builds a system of connections from our past thoughts, experiences, relationships, and so on. It runs in the background, sort of like a heart monitor, checking that things are going according to "plan" - that plan being made up of past connections that we've found to be true. The moment something diverts from that plan, we get a sense that something is different. Often, you'll hear someone say that they had no reason to believe that anything was wrong, or there was nothing that lead them to the conclusion they arrived at.. but secretly, Ni was working hard at alerting them that the pattern had been violated, perhaps long before any event actually occurred. The Ni-user themselves might not realize what it was that alerted them to this, they "just know." Our very clever intuition picked up on it.

In combination with Fe, this can lead to all kinds of experiences that are very hard to explain. Without knowing a person well, we might be able to predict what they will do next, or read their thoughts. We may get a very clear idea of how an event will unfold before it does. We sometimes know things that seem impossible to know. I believe Ni (with Fe) are behind all of this. These times when we "predict the future" come from an intricately built system of past experiences and understandings, where connections have been made that we might not even understand on a conscious level. Before we know what's happening, Ni scans the past, accesses the proper connections, and then bypasses the present and points to the future based on what it already knows. This is also the source of many "aha!" moments that we know and love.

I think another factor that is important to consider about Ni is the way in which we consider it to be truth. My dad is a magician and does a psychic/supernatural act, and has taught be quite a bit about the way it works, and I see a very clear connection between how fake psychics work and now Ni works.

One thing I have learned about, that many of you may be familiar with, is called "cold reading." Self-proclaimed mediums like Sylvia Browne and John Edward are very good at this. Using cues from the person they are reading, they gather information and basically make educated guesses, guided by their pre-existing understanding of human experiences. Something that is vital to their routine is that "hits" are retained, while "misses" are quickly abandoned and forgotten. When one of their guesses ends up being correct, they draw it out and place emphasis on it. If a guess doesn't make sense to the client, they go off in another direction. The important thing is that the client has a good, clear memory of the things the psychic was right about, and doesn't really remember all the things the psychic said that made no sense.

Ni is more efficient than that, but it works in a similar way. When our intuition points to something or makes a "prediction," and that prediction turns out to be right, the information that lead up to it is internalized and integrated into the system for further use. In the future, similar triggers or symbols may alert the Ni-user to this pattern again, where they now have an even stronger hand in predicting what will happen. When all of this happens, our inner perceptions feel like absolute truth, backed up by the fact that these connections were made in the past, and reinforced when the connection proves true again.

When our intuition is wrong, it may be internalized in a different way, as a sort of "firewall" in the system to stop intuition from following patterns that don't exist. This, too, makes Ni more efficient in the long run by avoiding irrelevant information and concentrating on those patterns that have been reinforced. It's also possible that we just discard the information, even forgetting that we ever had that premonition to begin with, because it does not end up being reality.

It's interesting to me that there is this similarity between the way one fakes insight, and the way true intuition works. It's also sort of like Ne, "throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks." The system of gathering information and making the predictions with better accuracy, though, is what gets a psychic rich and famous. It's also what makes Ni-users such powerful intuitives. And we practically do it in our sleep.

Again, I have no intention of stomping on anyone who does believe in the supernatural, or who believes that psychic powers exist, or maybe even that they have psychic powers themselves. If one has an experience that truly can't be explained, I certainly can't prove how or why it happens. This is just my view of how Ni can be responsible for these experiences, by working as a sort of pattern radar in the back of our mind. No doubt, it is a gift either way.
I agree with pretty much everything you said. One of the things that all psychic experiences have in common is that they can't be explained. And it really goes like this:

You make a prediction or know something no-one else thought of. So they ask: How did you know? If your reply is: Well, because of this and that and I had a feeling,... then people will think you´re nuts and just got lucky. (That's why Ni doms don't talk much about how they figure things out because it pretty much always gets you in trouble.)

If however you would say: "Oh I had a vision. A spirit told me." Then people will be skeptical at first but when you do it again, and then again,... they´re convinced you´re a medium and have psychic powers.

And I think for obvious reasons, F's are more open to the idea of psychic powers than T's, even though that's not always true.
 

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it *feels* like magic, it appears to us as though through magic, the intuition, the knowing, it feels like a divine gift from outside ourselves, but obviously that is all about interpretation. i can't say with any certainty what it is or isn't, i can just say what it feels like. i like the OP's thoroughness a lot, it makes sense to me.

(it's magic in that it's science we haven't figured out quite yet)
 

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Some years ago i was going to meet my pals in a certain area of the city, i was going there via subway train. In the middle of the trip, i got this weird gut sensation of danger and uneasiness. There was no external input for me to analize so i could sense the danger, it just came ¨magically¨. When i arrived to the place i was expecting my friends, they had been beaten by a bunch of cops because they were smoking weed.

The thing is that there was no way i could have sensed that! i was miles away from the scene, i didnt have any contact with them via phone or any other way. How did this happen?
Be it spirits telling you, a lucky guess, or you actually in fact being psychic, it would be silly to blame it on Ni. Ni is the INFJ's dominant function. The ego function, the "this is who I am. This is me." function. If "Who you are" is predicting the future, then why aren't such experiences happening to INFJs literally constantly?
 

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In my experience telling people you had a vision or supernatural intervention garners the same nutty looks as not being able to explain. So I just keep my mouth shut unless it's something of significance.
 

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Thank you for posting!

I wish there was a scientist who would explain and even map out the actual cognitive root for Introverted Intuition.
I think Ni would have something to do with the subconscious 'piece' of our cerebellum (It's and part of our physical brain), heck I wish scientist would try harder to figure out the subconscious as it is.
What we do know, is that the subconscious can perceive more, memorize more, and is ten times more powerful than the actual conscious itself.

It's like a separate being from ourselves, administering our thoughts and attitudes, and I think an Ni dominance helps us connect to it on a level not many people can.
 

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@Sun Lips im very aware of the theory that Ni draws from our past experiences and imagination to create possible outcomes for the future, and that amazingly its correct a lot of times. There is one case though that i have never understood:

This is a personal experience:

Some years ago i was going to meet my pals in a certain area of the city, i was going there via subway train. In the middle of the trip, i got this weird gut sensation of danger and uneasiness. There was no external input for me to analize so i could sense the danger, it just came ¨magically¨. When i arrived to the place i was expecting my friends, they had been beaten by a bunch of cops because they were smoking weed.

The thing is that there was no way i could have sensed that! i was miles away from the scene, i didnt have any contact with them via phone or any other way. How did this happen?
Science is getting closer to revealing that there actually is a 'higher power' or and 'energy' that we all connect to and through subconsciously. We're discovering the way plants communicate to each other and how animals, typically dogs and cats seem to sense seizures in epileptic people as they're happening.
It's usually explained that this is a connection on a high frequency vibration much like the definition of the 'aura' in which every one is having a hard time believing.

My dad's an INFJ, he tells me about having dreams of places he's never seen before, and finding out later that that place is real. He also told me that he can sense a distant loves ones' death when they happens and he's usually right about it.

I've once experienced this as a child. I'm not going to explain it, but there is defiantly a sixth sense that science and reason haven't discovered yet.
 
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I suggest you guys pick up the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, it deals with how the unconscious solves problems rapidly with so little sensory information and guides the consciousness to answers (the book doesn't clearly say it is about Ni, but I'm pretty sure it is.). Also INFJ's Ni reads people quickly and with little information (as evident by INFJ psychics) while INTJ's Ni reads circumstances quickly with little information (as evident by INTJ military geniuses, i.e. Hannibal Barca). Ni is readily accessible to us because of our mbti, making us more discerning than the other 14 types.
 

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do you consider intuition as psychic abilities? I have begun to connect more with my higher self and this has seemed to help me in life when I am trying to make important decisions.
No. Most psychic abilities can be explained by that the believers can't explain what's going on.
 

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Okay I'm just going to quote personalityjunkie's explanation of Ni, which I agree completely. Here's what it says:

"Because it does much of its work subconsciously, Ni can seem to have a certain magical quality about it. In fact, it is not unusual for INJs to be viewed as having some degree of psychic or prophetic abilities.Despite its magical appearance, Ni can be understood on a rational basis. What seems to be occurring is that many INJs have a highly sensitive inferior function, Extraverted Sensation (Se), which gathers copious amounts of sensory information from the outside world, including subtleties that other personality types tend to miss. Their Ni then subconsciously processes this data in order to make sense of it, like assembling pieces of a puzzle. Once finished, Ni generates an impression that seems to come out of “nowhere.” But the fact is that the intuition did not come out of nowhere, but from a synthesis of sensory data gathered from the immediate environment combined with information from the INJ’s own psyche."

Here's the whole article:
Introverted Intuition (Ni) - Personality Junkie
 

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Thank you for posting!

I wish there was a scientist who would explain and even map out the actual cognitive root for Introverted Intuition.
I think Ni would have something to do with the subconscious 'piece' of our cerebellum (It's and part of our physical brain), heck I wish scientist would try harder to figure out the subconscious as it is.
What we do know, is that the subconscious can perceive more, memorize more, and is ten times more powerful than the actual conscious itself.

It's like a separate being from ourselves, administering our thoughts and attitudes, and I think an Ni dominance helps us connect to it on a level not many people can.
It works very different than our Consciousness. Also, the term subconscious is incorrect, the real term is Unconsciousness. Im planning to research in the future what people experience and label as "god", being part of an everything ect. I have a theory that the collective unconscious works in an orderly and predictable pattern to guarantee the survival of mankind and the constant evolution of the species as a whole. It would contradict Darwin in some statements, in the sense that it would prove that evolution is not a phenomena based on the individual, but on the species as a whole. The Higher Power we all talk about (im a theist, but im very rational) could in fact be a common psychological phenomena. Not an illusion or a fantasy as the atheist say, but an actual biological phenomena in our brains that makes the human species work in a common goal for survival.
 

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Okay I'm just going to quote personalityjunkie's explanation of Ni, which I agree completely. Here's what it says:

"Because it does much of its work subconsciously, Ni can seem to have a certain magical quality about it. In fact, it is not unusual for INJs to be viewed as having some degree of psychic or prophetic abilities.Despite its magical appearance, Ni can be understood on a rational basis. What seems to be occurring is that many INJs have a highly sensitive inferior function, Extraverted Sensation (Se), which gathers copious amounts of sensory information from the outside world, including subtleties that other personality types tend to miss. Their Ni then subconsciously processes this data in order to make sense of it, like assembling pieces of a puzzle. Once finished, Ni generates an impression that seems to come out of “nowhere.” But the fact is that the intuition did not come out of nowhere, but from a synthesis of sensory data gathered from the immediate environment combined with information from the INJ’s own psyche."

Here's the whole article:
Introverted Intuition (Ni) - Personality Junkie
yes, that is true in some cases, but not as a general rule. In fact, im sure all humans are capable of doing this, not only INFJs and INTJs. We must remember that Carl Jung himself was a very esoteric and mystical man who questioned classical descartian science. A lot of his theory diverges clearly from empiric rationality, i think that applying a totally empirical perspective on works based on his theory is not a very good idea. I think we should expand the theory and delve deeper on the unconscious, with a rational view of it but not limited to empiricism.
 

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the term subconscious is incorrect, the real term is unconsciousness.
Why is that so? "Un" implies the absence of something, whereas "sub" implies something being "under" another thing. Whatever this energy is (call it "The Force" or "The Source" or whatevs), it functions alongside consciousness. Maybe metaconsciousness would be the more correct term. Or omniconsciousness. Or "super-galactic oneness" as Ace Ventura would say.
 
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