Overview

INTP in a Nutshell

INTPs are philosophical innovators, fascinated by logical analysis, systems, and design. They are preoccupied with theory, and search for the universal law behind everything they see. They want to understand the unifying themes of life, in all their complexity.

INTPs are detached, analytical observers who can seem oblivious to the world around them because they are so deeply absorbed in thought. They spend much of their time focused internally: exploring concepts, making connections, and seeking understanding. To the Architect, life is an ongoing inquiry into the mysteries of the universe.

What Makes the INTP Tick

INTPs present a cool exterior but are privately passionate about reason, analysis, and innovation. They seek to create complex systems of understanding to unify the principles they've observed in their environments. Their minds are complicated and active, and they will go to great mental lengths trying to devise ingenious solutions to interesting problems.

The INTP is typically non-traditional, and more likely to reason out their own individual way of doing things than to follow the crowd. The INTP is suspicious of assumptions and conventions, and eager to break apart ideas that others take for granted. INTPs are merciless when analyzing concepts and beliefs, and hold little sacred. They are often baffled by other people who remain loyal to ideology that doesn't make logical sense.

Recognizing an INTP

INTPs are often thoroughly engaged in their own thoughts, and usually appear to others to be offbeat and unconventional. The INTP’s mind is a most active place, and their inward orientation can mean that they neglect superficial things like home décor or appropriate clothing. They don’t tend to bother with small talk but can become downright passionate when talking about science, mathematics, computers, or the larger theoretical problems of the universe. Reality is often of only passing interest to the Architect, as they are more interested in the theory behind it all.

INTPs are typically precise in their speech, and communicate complex ideas with carefully chosen words. They insist on intellectual rigor in even the most casual of conversations, and will readily point out inconsistencies of thought or reasoning. Social niceties may fall by the wayside for an INTP who is more interested in analyzing logic, and they may offend others by submitting their dearly held values and beliefs to logical scrutiny.

For more information: The Art of SpeedReading People

INTP in the Population

INTP is one of the less common types in the population, especially for women. Among women, INTP is the fourth rarest type (after INTJ, ENTJ, and INFJ). INTPs make up:

  • 3% of the general population
  • 5% of men
  • 2% of women

Popular Hobbies

Popular leisure activities for an INTP include reading, art and cultural events, chess and other strategy games, writing, taking classes, working with computers, backpacking, hiking, and meditation.

Famous INTPs

Famous INTPs include Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Rene Descartes, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, C.G. Jung, Socrates, and Abraham Lincoln.

For more information: Famous INTPs

Research on INTP

Interesting facts about the INTP:

  • On personality trait measures, score as Candid, Ingenious, Complicated, Independent, and Rebellious
  • More likely than other types to study a foreign language
  • Most frequent type among college students committing alcohol and drug policy violations
  • Have lowest level of coping resources of all the types (with ISTPs)
  • One of types least likely to believe in a higher spiritual power
  • Highest of all types in career dissatisfaction (with INFPs)
  • In school, have lower grades than would be predicted from aptitude scores
  • More likely than average to complete engineering programs
  • Personal values include Autonomy, Freedom, and Independence
  • Overrepresented among working MBA students
  • Commonly found in science and technical occupations

What the Experts Say

"INTPs are perhaps the most intellectually profound of all the types."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"What is important is that the underlying structures of the universe be uncovered and articulated, and that whatever is stated about the universe be stated correctly, with coherence and without redundancy."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"INTPs are free-spirited idea mills and absentminded professors, which makes them fun to be around, easily diverted, and a plethora of unending creativity."

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

At Work

INTP at Work

At work, the INTP is motivated to solve complex problems in an original, innovative way. Architects want to analyze systems and ideas thoroughly to create deep understanding, and enjoy designing creative solutions to highly abstract problems.

INTPs rarely have much interest in organizational traditions, preferring to forge their own path to innovation. They hate being limited by bureaucracy and rules, and are often more in tune with the theoretical soundness of their ideas than they are with the practical applications. They typically prefer to focus on creating the idea, and to leave the tedious details of implementation to someone else.

INTPs work best independently or with a small team of colleagues that they perceive as smart, competent, and logical. They quickly tire of colleagues who are aggressive or overbearing, and can be dismissive of people who aren't as clever as themselves.

An ideal organization for an INTP is flexible and non-traditional, and values ingenuity over conformity. An ideal job for an INTP allows them to address complex theoretical or technical problems with creative, novel solutions.

Least Popular Careers for INTPs

It is important to note that any personality type can be successful in any occupation. However, some occupations are well suited to the natural talents and preferred work style of the INTP, while other occupations demand modes of thinking and behavior that do not come as naturally to this type. Occupations that require the INTP to operate outside their natural preferences may prove stressful or draining, and often sound unappealing to Architects who are choosing a career.

The following occupations have been found to be unpopular among INTPs, based on data gathered from surveys of the general population.

INTPs as Leaders

In leadership positions, INTPs inspire others with their intelligence and innovative ideas. INTP leaders are often unassuming on the surface but catch everyone's attention once they begin talking about their ideas. They generally allow their reports a lot of latitude, preferring to set the overall goal and trust their team to solve problems autonomously.

INTPs enjoy exploring new possibilities and engaging in creative problem solving, but may sometimes get so caught up in the world of ideas that they neglect to lead their teams into action. They may have trouble hashing out details, and often leave it to someone else to create exact specifications. They do best leading competent, intellectually driven teams who understand their complex ideas and can fill in the details to create realistic plans of action.

INTPs on a Team

INTPs are thoughtful, analytical team members who contribute a deep understanding of complex problems. They are often most interested in the theoretical questions behind the team’s goal, and can help the group to identify key principles and generate innovative ideas. They tend to engage with the vision of the team, analyzing it rationally and objectively and offering options and possibilities.

INTPs do best on a team when they are given freedom to analyze logical problems in an original way. They are skilled at coming up with creative solutions, but don’t put much stock in the established way of doing things. Team members who are highly loyal to tradition may encounter friction with the INTP. Architects are typically independent thinkers who’d rather debate ideas than make small talk. They may become impatient if too much time is spent on pleasantries, and may put off team members who seek a more personal touch.

For more information: What's Your Type of Career?

Relationships

INTP Communication Style

INTPs can be insightful communicators, when the subject inspires them. Thoughtful and independent, they may not have a great need for conversation, but when discussing complex concepts or innovative ideas they can become quite intense and display a wealth of information and insight. Logical and analytical, they can weigh possibilities endlessly and are great at playing devil’s advocate. They love to pick apart ideas but are not convinced by anything but the most rational of analyses; they can spot a flaw in logic a mile away, and rarely hesitate to point it out.

INTPs as Partners

INTPs are independent and clever partners. They enjoy engaging intellectually and want an intelligent partner who can match their ability to think critically.

INTPs have little appetite for the mundane aspects of life, and may disregard the usual rituals of a relationship. They are rarely interested in tradition, preferring instead to design a lifestyle that makes sense for the parties involved—even if it looks highly unconventional to other people. They are tolerant of individual preferences but will rarely do something because they are told they "should."

INTPs tend to analyze the theory behind everything, and may interpret human interactions with the detached logic of a psychological researcher. They may find others difficult to deal with when they cannot understand the logic behind their behavior. When things get too emotional, they may retreat to their own world of thoughts and ideas.

INTPs want plenty of space in a relationship to explore their own thoughts, ideas, and interests. They value a partner that appreciates their ingenuity and problem-solving ability, and one that understands their need for autonomy.

INTPs as Parents

As parents, INTPs encourage competence and independent problem solving. They often do not tune in easily to their children's feelings, but will enthusiastically help them to reason out a complex dilemma.

INTPs are usually involved in their own projects or ideas and typically do not take much pleasure in the mundane, day-to-day tasks of caring for children. As a result, the Architect parent may sometimes seem distant to their children, but their true delight in parenting is in sharing exciting ideas and concepts with young minds.

For more information: Please Understand Me II

Links

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Connect with INTPs

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Comments

Some things seem to accurately describe me yet I feel I do not completely identify with this personality type. I am unsure if that is because it is not what I want to hear so I can`t accept it, or if it really did miscategorize me. However, I found it very interesting helpful.

These are generalizations. If YOU truly feel that this is a good description of you then it is your type. Keep in mind though that this is simply a guide and points out what MOST INTPs USUALLY do.

also this test is correct 6/10 times if you take it multiple times then you may get differant results if you go through some other sites to take it you may receive a percentage that shows how close you resemble each section of this typology.

i respectfully disagree with your statement Ms.Hamilton. This website is almost 100% accurate. i just took the test and the results i got back were on point

You can't fit everyone into a box. These are more like outlines, with fuzzy, barely-there borders. Most people are going to spill into more than one category, and that's fine.

I identify with nearly everything stated in the description of INTPs, and partially with that of ENTPs. It makes sense, most days I want nothing but time alone to think, but sometimes I'm loud and talkative and want to see the world. I'm always shit in social situations, however.

This description is beautifully accurate. As an INTP female, I have often been misunderstood to be cold or aloof. It's good to read a kind of explanation for my inability to exude cuddliness.

I completely agree with your assessment. Being an INTP female has led to many personal questions about why I haven't felt like I fit with the general picture of femininity as portrayed by most women... once I discovered how atypical I am from the general population, and especially other women, I didn't seem so out of place to myself.

i totally agree with both of you! this was so accurate for me as well. i feel like we should all be friends so i can know people who think like i do. i'm beginning to understand more and more that the way i think is not something i should expect from other people.

@Veronica
I understand where you're coming from, as I feel similarly. I'm not sure where I found it, but somewhere in my research of personality types I read that INTPs are one of the more likely types to share aspects of other types. For instance, I also have a significant overlap with INFP, although I'm still mostly INTP.
Although I haven't done it myself, supposedly you can get a more complete typing by having a meeting with a certified Myers-Briggs Master Practitioner, although I believe that is fairly expensive.

The test said I was either this personality type or a "Healer". Reading the descriptions of both, it seems I am an architect that keeps a foot (or maybe a toe) in the realm of the healer.

In terms of the suggested careers: most of the Architect's career options seemed much more interesting to me than the healer's whose options barely seemed bearable.

The only thing that was off for me was in the least favorite careers. it was cosmetologist and thats what I want to do lol.

Cassie, I'm an INTP and I'm a hairdresser. I believe a became a hairdresser for a number of reasons. Since we are analytical thinkers and problem solvers; I felt by leaving the biomedical device industry and becoming a hairdresser gave me to flexibility and ability to work on larger creative and entrepreneurial projects. Go for it! So far (it's been2 years) I have been very happy with my career change. I miss critical thinking, but now I have more time for writing, research and a multitude of other projects for me to feel fulfilled in my work. Good luck to you! ;)

When you take your test look at the percentages. Look and the one letter differences of your lowest percentage.

Initial results weren't very conclusive whether I was a Thinker vs Feeler and whether I was a Judge or Perceiver but reading through the Architect I could nod my head pretty consistently as I went along. Some aspects of the Architect don't agree with me entirely but it's 80% accurate and in tough situations, I can imagine myself reverting to type.

It pretty much got all of that right, except that I do believe in God.
However, I do really enjoy learning and defending my faith with science and logic.
Other than that, this is definitely me!

Took the words out of my mouth :D

Me, too!

As an intensely logical and objective researcher, I find no conflict between science and the Bible.

Science cannot disprove God because it cannot transcend the physical world to make any conclusions about the metaphysical. Any intellectually honest INTP must concede the possibility (however improbable) that a deity exists.

Though it is impossible to argue people into the faith, logical arguments can help remove their misconceptions. That's what I try to do.

Yes, science can't transcend the physical, but it doesn't need to, only the idea of empirical evidence does. You may argue that this is in fact why science cannot transcend the physical, because the supernatural leaves no physical evidence. Then how can the supernatural be proven? If you pointed to miracles as evidence of something we have no scientific explanation for, then your logic defeats itself because what you claim leaves no physical evidence in fact does.

Feels like I sit between a intp and intj but somehow these profiles make it seem like the natural human need for attachment is irrelevant for these types. I wonder if these types ever have a desire or need to be close to specific individuals but find themselves in cognitive dissonance because once they engage that partner or individual and intimacy becomes imminent their attention to that outer world becomes draining and they retreat back into their inner worlds to recharge. In the end causing these types to seem very calm and steady yet,internally ping ponging back and forth between emotional needs and the need to recharge.

That would be a fairly accurate description of my love life.

That has very often been my experience, although there are very few people that I just haven't tired of, which can be just as alarming.

Wow, this is me almost exactly. I've never felt so understood in my life. Seeing how rare this personality type is I can see why I feel so different from everyone I meet and why I'm so misunderstood.

This describes me quite well, though I seem to cross over a lot with the INTJ personality too.

However, as a career graphic designer I would NOT suggest graphic design for INTPs. After 15 years I find this work so incredibly tedious and boring its practically painful. I will be going back to school in the next year or two and pursuing an education in either science or economics. Hopefully one of those careers will keep me interested for more than 15 years!

I took the test a few times yesterday and earlier in the day and it gave me different personality types...ISTP, INFP. So I decided to retake it tonight and be completely honest with myself. I ended up with INTP. I didn't really think it was me so I retook it 2 more times, still the same even though I changed a few answers I felt could also describe me. All of them came back as INTP.

I do have a love for biology and I'm thinking of going back to school...however, I suck at math. I am also one of those people who can't stick to one thing and I get bored easily. I am beginning to think maybe I'm crazy.

I took this test to find out more about myself, I have trouble connecting with people and i finnaly know why but also in that response I find it interesting because tryin to find a friend just to hang out with that is really a friend is really hard to do because they ither get really tired of my thought process or always offended by my openess when really I try to help, this test has really helped me along my way of discovering who I am and what I want to be, sadly still long way to go very very little intersts me anymore.

I have a few really good friends that just get me so I am very lucky that way. I went through a long period of not being able to find anything that really interested me too. I got rid of cable tv, and just use the internet now and I am writing all the time. I have finally found interests and like minded people online. Twitter is a great place too, if you want to find like minded people, you set the parameters and vet the sources yourself. It has been really helpful and I feel less like a freak and more apart of something big. Good luck and I hope you find something soon, there is a whole world of issues out there that need an INTP to unlock and solve.

The description itself is good although it doesn't atually describe how INTPs work. However, what they are describing isn't so much the INTP in the cognitive sense, but more akin to something like enneagram 5. An unfortunate overlap. As an actual INTJ 5w4 (I usually score INTP on MBTI tests though), I relate a lot to these descriptions. The question one needs to ask is what they are genuinely trying to describe here.

When I took the test I was profiled as an INTJ, however, J was my lowest percentage advantage over P at 11%, (if I remember correctly). Reading descriptions of both personality types I related more to the INTP personality. In doing further research on the difference between J and P I found that I definitely swayed towards P more; I like open ended decisions, for instance, and generally dislike making detailed lists and planning my time (which annoys my ENTJ father to no end.)

I believe that most of what has been said fits in with me. But I think that given 'emotional' experiences and situations in the past, even simply of those around me, I can then 'file' and expand on those emotional factors in my thought processes, enabling me to relate to people with a stronger Feeling component.

This fits me perfectly. I'm self-reliant, but not in the best of ways. I find it extremely hard developing friendships and forming them to begin with. Sure I feel misunderstood but it bothers me, I hardly give it much attention since I value independence above all. I don't believe in God, and I despise conformity; I find it important that I be different than others in every way I can.

Hi there, I am an intp but I don't come across as very 'cool'. Could this be because my main interest and area of passion is people and relationships. Thus, I am always interested in people and generally freindly towards them? Do any other intp's relate to this - perhaps particularly any other female intp's?

I can understand how you might feel this way. I always felt as though I was an outsider... Confused by the behavior/attitudes of others. So, I chose to study psychology to get a grip. Eventually wound up working in non-profit mental health field. I guess I concluded that in trying to understand the behavior of others I'd have to suspend judgement. And, the more you immerse yourself in the passion... such as psychology/mental health it only makes sense to cultivate empathy as it would seem that for the client to experience empathy from someone who is working with them would help to develop trust. And if you are not a "cool" intp... it would mean that you are a warmer intp, just the kind of intp that a client could feel comfortable in working with. For me, being a true introvert, working with people can tax my energy so I have to pace myself. So that might be a difference between you and I. Yes, I can relate... I am a female intp.

I am a female INTP as well. Keep in mind that one of the defining aspects of being an INTP is a driving motivation to understand how the world works; that includes people. One of the most renowned psychologists (who was also greatly interested in metaphysics), Carl Jung, was an INTP. In my experience we spend so much time trying to understand and dissect emotion that this naturally leads us to be interested in people and relationships in general, even if it is from a detached viewpoint.

As a female INTP, I've noticed that as I've grown up and matured, I've felt more of a need to be with people. A lot of times, the emotional openness and outgoing personality that I've developed doesn't fit descriptions of INTPs. The main cause of this has probably been my friendships with actors, who are generally outgoing and friendly people. So, you may have just adapted to your group of friends/peers? For me, my interest in people is draining though, so my case may be a bit different. Also, a female, there often is pressure culturally to be friendly and fit in with the crowd. So, I'm guessing that the main cause here is just your situation socially. It's not really related to being INTP, but more to the personality that you've developed over time.

I thought this was pretty good, apart from the fact the aspect relating to children was totally wrong for me (having raised 2 alone and thrown myself into it fully and willingly) until that is I read some of these responses - now I'm left doubting the veracity of the test.

I thought it was more about competency or ability to perceive emotional needs, than enthusiasm. Other types simply are better at sensing and connecting on an emotional level. Ask one, they'll tell you. Agree that natural mode for this type is to connect on ideas rather than feelings, even with kids.

This website is excluding an important aspect of personalities and that is the functions. INTPs dominant function is introverted Thinking while extroverted intuition is secondary. Meanwhile An INFJ has a dominant introverted intuition and extroverted feeling yadayada. Anyways it's impossible for an INTP to understand a mind dominated by quick tendencies from the unconscious. I think this is where the Myers Briggs truly shines. Just pointing out this flaw like the good little INTP that I am.

For years, I tested out as being right on the border between INTJ and INTP. I believe that's mostly because I have trained myself to develop certain characteristics that may not be quite so natural for an INTP - such as emotional intelligence, and the ability to put abstract principle into actual practice.

However at the core of it, I'm definitely INTP. I'm most comfortable - and competent - in the world of abstract theory. I have a deep, inborn need to discover the operating principles behind all things. I am exceedingly precise in my use of language - even concerning mundane things. And I have a deep, abiding aversion toward all things petty, political, superficial and mendacious.

this is pretty accurate for me...combined with INTF its a dead ringer. I first read INTF and thought it was missing many aspects such as fixation on wordsmithing, passion for efficiency and extreme dislike for mundane tasks and beaurocracy. I work for the Fed Gov and I hate my life right now...pretty much b/c of the beaurocracy and mundane aspects that stress me out to the point of failing health. this is helpful to push me out the door and look for something more suited to my personality. why force a rhombus into a square hole??

INTF? Perhaps you mean INTJ?
..also, I'd like to point out that squares are rhombuses. Pushing a rhombus into a square hole doesn't seem that far-fetched. ;D

this is incredibly accurate to me. how very bizarre.

Everything is pretty right on, especially the children part...

This totally describes me. I trained as a physicist but I was more interested in the cosmological aspects of how the universe worked than the more practical ones. I was also very interested in metaphysics (despite the fact that we are supposed to be least likely to believe in a higher power). It is all part of me trying to understand the universe. What I like about this grouping is that it explains my artistic as well as my scientific tendencies. I subsequently became a writer and I see that this is a good use for my skills as it involves analysis of life, world building and use of language precision.

This describes me to a t. Whenever my parents tell me to do something, like get a degree or go to college, I always question the necessity of it. Why do I have to go to college? Why do I have to get a degree? How will it benefit me? Give me a logical reason, and I'll be ok, but anything else will tick me off. I enjoy having reasons for actions and absolutely despise the catch-all parental answer, "because I said so." That gives me nothing to work off of and deprives me of information.

I was surprisingly accurate. Thats me. I even couldnt have said it better

Are we really so rare? I wonder why that is?

I have been read as INTP several times. Definitely, it is a problematic type to cope with being a female.

I am quite uncomfortable as the center of attention, a role that I am called to fill as part of my volunteer work. And yes, being around people is draining- I must have sufficient alone time to recover my psychological center. Only then do I again emerge to strike a few notes and retreat! :-D

I really felt like this described me very well. but while i enjoy being independant I allways feel a intense need for romantic partner and will often sacrifice some thing or other to please them. im also more artisticly and politically minded than this sugests. does this match other personality types (ive taaken multiple versions of this with the same result)? while i'm flattered that i might be put in the same catagory as Albert Einstein or Abraham Lincon im not sure i can measure up to their greatness

do visit this link for detailed description of INTP http://intp.org/intprofile.html
hopefully by knowing thyself we might shine more..

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