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What is an INTP?

INTP is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Perceiving. INTP indicates a person who is energized by time alone (Introverted), who focuses on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details (iNtuitive), who makes decisions based on logic and reason (Thinking) and who prefers to be spontaneous and flexible rather than planned and organized (Perceiving). INTPs are sometimes referred to as Architect personalities because of their intuitive understanding of complex systems.

What are INTPs like?

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 are the core values of the INTP?

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.

How can I recognize 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

Who are some 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

How common is the INTP personality type?

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

What do INTPs like to do?

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.

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

Facts about INTPs

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

Source: MBTI Manual

Are you an INTP?

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Check out the INTP Discussion Forum

Want to have a more in-depth conversation about being an INTP? Head on over to our discussion forum and post your questions, comments, and/or general musings!

Comments

Veronica Hamilton (not verified) says...

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.

The thinker (not verified) says...

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.

Nualp (not verified) says...

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.

Randy Cox (not verified) says...

I respectfully disagree. I've taken the real test (not FB copycat tests or short non-MB versions) three times and gotten the same results as INTP. The first time I took the test was in the 90s as part of a company-wide initiative for understanding and working with team members. I was incredible surprised by those results bc I worked primarily in client service, sales and management roles. BTW, I suck at sales. Even my boss was skeptical of those results. But as I reflected, and continued to get the same results two more times years later, I believe this is my core/intrinsic nature. I can certainly "turn on" the other side, especially the extrovert but my core is introvert because I recover best alone, prefer the company of my dogs, am thinking all the time, and usually land on creative solutions to problems. Also work best in a flat organization that allows for creativity and little bureaucracy.  But that’s just my two cents …

MargaretB (not verified) says...

Hi Randy,

The things you wrote sound just like me! Could you tell me what type of jobs/professions you had and have now? I’m trying to figure out the next step and having a difficult time finding direction as an INTP. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

Danjal (not verified) says...

INTPs can learn to master any skill that catches their interest.

They key is, it needs to catch their interest. We're some of the best chameleons of all types.

Our innate indifference enables us to "get along" with a lot of other types and our tendency to avoid conflict means we end up mimicking those around us.

As long as nobody questions our reason or logic? Or insists on using emotions or feelings as a basis for functioning? We're not likely to stand out as INTPs.

You actually mention a key aspect about the introversion of the INTP. "I recover best alone." Introverts aren't defined by their inability to act like extroverts. But their need to recover at some point. You recognize an introvert from an extrovert, not by observing how they act, but by observing what they do AFTER.

The fact that you prefer an organization without too much bureaucracy or hierarchy is just icing on the INTP cake.

Guest (not verified) says...

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

jpnuggles says...

I agree,I found it to be incredibly accurate.

Alien (not verified) says...

I know, right? When I took the main test it told me that I was a theorist. It then guided me to all different types of theorists and I thought I was an ISTP. Then whatever the commander is. I found INTP, and thought, whoa... this is really me! I like quiet environments where I can analyze everything and have a huge passion for mathematics and writing. This Truity website is amazing and so true!

The INTP/J (not verified) says...

Hello fellow INTP's! As I'm sure many of you know, "personality typing" isn't something developed by Truity. MBTI was originally developed by Carl Jung (under a different name) and later refined by Isabel Briggs Myers, and her mother, Katharine Briggs in 1942. I find that this website explains the types reasonably well, but it does not explain the theory itself, which is critical for understanding your results! For that purpose I would recommend that you visit the "Myers and Briggs Foundation" website and the "humanmetrics" website.

One of the key points that you should know is that your type isn't set in stone - its a preference! Types are usually described as being on a sliding scale. For example, I have a preference of Perceiving over Judging, but if I were to put it on this scale...

Judging [100% - - - 0% - - - 100%] Perceiving

...I would only be at 10% on the Perceiving side. Therefore I easily switch between being an INTP and an INTJ depending on the situation. I hope this helped :)

diann200 says...

Finally, a comment that makes sense I was also a bit confused on J or P side depending on my mood.

Mbti Junkie (not verified) says...

Typing is about the functions, for example INTP’s lead with introverted Thinking whereas INTJs lead with introverted iNtuition (functions would take for too long to explain for now, so I will leave the rest of the research to you). You can't be one type one day and the next decide you want to be the other. Please don't take this as if I am trying to be rude to you, I just don’t want you to believe a lie. I've done a lot of research on this stuff and it's a lot more complex than it seems. There are so many factors that go into what type you are. Also typing isn't supposed to show you all of your personality (humans are far too complex for that) it just shows which way you lean towards the most, and how that affects your day to day life. :D

diann200 says...

I agree to a certain extent but it really depends on who I am confronting or interacting with e.g. when it is a friend and I know their quirks I am more a P but a stranger or an a#*$hole I tend towards J xx

Um (not verified) says...

There is more to personality type than just T&F, P&J, N&S, I&E. There are what some call cognitive functions (some find the name problematic and misleading). Here are the functions:

Ni, Ne- introverted intuition and extroverted intuition

Si, Se- introverted sensing and extroverted sensing

Ti, Te- introverted thinking and extroverted thinking 

Fi, Fe- introverted feeling and extroverted feeling

For INTPs we have Ti, Ne, Si, Fe with introverted thinking as our dominant function. Ti is what makes us philosophers and theorists and Ne, our second function in the stack, is what makes us so much like ENTPs who are known to be bags full of ideas. Si is that part of us that places emotional attachments onto things so that when we revisit things we also revisit the emotions as well. And lastly, Fe is the function that separates us from INTJs. Where an INTJ  may say that they hate emotions and see emotions as useless an INTP may hold some disdain for emotions because they don't hold much value in logic. Nevertheless we INTPs tend to be more thoughtful of what we say and are also largely unassertive by comparison to our INTJ counterparts. 

With all of that being said one can now see how we aren't exclusively intuitive or thinking. INTPs can also use sensing and feeling (albeit to a lesser degree) though it is not mentioned in the title, INTP. Furthermore, none of what I said was meant to similarly exclude any of the other introverted or extroverted functions either, namely, Te, Ni, Se, or Fi. Some refer to these as shadow functions (this is also a name of contention within Jungian typology) and they too can be utilized though, as with your main functions, it depends on how much you develop them.

To conclude I would like to mention my purpose in writing this. In response to, The INTP/J's, comments on the spectrum between (in his comment) perceiving and judging I wanted open up the scope of what Jugian typology is. Jung created a branch of typology and in his branch there are sub-branches and in some of these branches there exists a concept that may be refered to as the cognitive function model. Some memtion it and some don't. And since I've already written about it I won't talk about it anymore, but on e last thing I want to touch upon is The INTP/J's mentioning that he thinks of himself as having two types that are referenced by his name. That of INTP and INTJ. As there exist subtypes of INTP and other types as well, I would like to suggest to you as well as any other confused INTP some possible subtypes.

There are according to Sociotype-a socionics website that is less than respectable but has nevertheless some interesting ideas including those on subtypes as well as their type comparison tool-two subtypes for INTPs, one being INTP-(Te) and the other INTP-(Ni). When The INTP/J says  that he swithes from perceiving to judging I think he might be refering to his switch from Ti to Te at times. If this switch is constant, meaning it happens often, then you might be quite similar to INTJs, but this doesn't negate the fact that you might still be mostly INTP. Now on Erik Thor's website he proclaims four subtypes, the one we are concerned with, however, is called the Code Breaker. The Code Breaker represents the INTP that knows that Ti cannot be as purposeful as it should if it doesn't utilize Te (a function that seeks to get things done). So with Te you can not only create the blueprint but also become the builder. 

So I hope this has helped some of you become aware of the many underlying frameworks of Jungian typology but also showed you how there isn't any need for the "No true Scotsman" fallacy that we so often see in the comments section. Because ultimately typology can tell you only something about you not everything about you; it's a descriptor not an x-ray on your broken vertebrae. 

For further information you can look at some discussion on the youtube channel Talking with Famous People (they're not famous) as well as some of the free articles on Celebrity Types (it's not as shallow as it sounds).

Guest (not verified) says...

This made my day haha. This guy/ girl is a true INTP.

strugglingpanda says...

oh God... I thought I live alone in this vulnerable world. I guess I'm an intp, but tests say I'm an intj. I thought it's just me having such bipolar or just moody state of mind. Well, thanks for sharing. Toast.

gilbywan (not verified) says...

The INTP may test as an INTJ for one simple reason:  The dominant function of the INTP, Introverted Thinking (Ti,) is a Judging function.  If you are a true INTP, then this brief statement should provide sufficient catalyst to crank up your Ti.  Extraverted Intuition (Ne) will gather all other possibilities and feed your Ti, so that you may arrive at the TRUTH of the matter.

Thus, think with me for a moment.  Would not this explain why some of the traits of the INTJ resonate with you?  Do you not find it nearly impossible to suspend your research, because you know deep down that you don't understand the issue fully and completely?  A true INTP will research exhaustively until he arrives at the TRUTH.

--by an almost 55 year old INTP who began his MBTI journey on April 22, 2017, just a little over one month ago.  Please do not let the short time frame fool you; in true INTP fashion, I have researched and processed more information in that month than most non-INTP persons would in their lifetime :-)  I wish you well in your journey to that loftiest of all conquests, absolute TRUTH.

Lisa M2261 (not verified) says...

Me too, I tested INTJs architect but can relate to INTP so i totally get it!!!

Thinkingaloud (not verified) says...

Well said. My default is INTP, but successfully surviving in the corporate business world requires a J approach. So I have taught myself over the years to be more J in a business context. I am also 52% T and 48% F (just like Brexit) so my "passion" for ideas may, at times, be less detached and more emotional than someone who has a 95% T profile. 

MBTI is a great tool to help us see personality blind spots and to adapt our default behaviour when working with others.

Dan B (not verified) says...

This did not help and is not true. You don't change types because of some percentage on an unverified free online test.  The idea of the preferences is to sort you into a type, not to assign percentages.  INTP and INTJ share zero functions, so one person not only cannot be both, they are significantly different.

Cedric Dionne (not verified) says...

Too much detail and fact for INTP. And a INTP doesn't need explanation 😅

Color (not verified) says...

Lol, how very true!!!

ABrune892 (not verified) says...

Learn about the functions. MBTI doesn't work that way, you can't just switch types. INTP's and INTJ's have ZERO functions in common. To switch between the two would mean you'd be changing your ENTIRE set of functions, which doesn't happen.

INTP's function stack:

Ti, Ne, Si, Fe

INTJ's function stack:

Ni, Te, Fi, Se

linda an INTP (not verified) says...

In response to the message right before me: I am a certified Meyers-Briggs facilitator. I agree 100% with your explanation. There are lots of sites that provide free assessments of personality types, and often they may be right on, but many times they are not. If you do the Step II Myers-Briggs assessment from Meyers-Briggs, you would get your personality type plus 16 pages of explanations of what your type means. They also include how your type handles conflict, and manages change and different communication styles. And as said in the message I am replying to, each of the types are broken into sub-categories they call facets -so, for example it shows on my report that I very sure that I am each of the five facets which means I am very sure I am an "I". The facets for me show that I am not as sure about the N, but sure enough to call it as my type, even though I cross over to two of the facets under S. This type of report is important, especially if it feels like you don't quite match the type you got. This is a self-reporting assessment, and it's giving back to you what you gave it. I have coached so many individuals and facilitated many teams, and if understood correctly by individuals and team members, it is just a gem for personal growth and team building. The assessment asks which of a pair of word do you PREFER. If you were asked to write your name in the air with your finger, and then asked to write it with your other hand, which was most comfortable for you? I use my right hand because I prefer to. It's my default. CAN I use my left hand? Of course I can - I broke my right upper arm and shoulder and had to use my left hand for about six months, and got a little more comfortable, but as soon as I could use my right hand I did and the world felt right again. The more you know yourself when you take the assessment, the more accurate it will be for you. And last, when I administer it, I remind people to try hard to think of what YOUR preference is, for YOU, not what you wish it would be, or how you want others to see you - it's easy to do so just try and keep a check on that. I have found Myers-Briggs and Gallup's Strengthsfinder invaluable for individual growth and team building and use them both a lot. 

Guest (not verified) says...

True, the results are very accurate.

Guest (not verified) says...

That's not a great example, you only have a sample size of one (yourself). One person may have incorrect or poor results while another person's may be spot on.

Logician (not verified) says...

That's not a very INTP thing to say - claiming it's "almost 100% accurate" when confronted with evidence of inaccuracy? Disagreeing with another person's personal experience, which is entirely subjective and therefore should not be called into question? If this site typed you as INTP, I'd say we have even more evidence of its inaccuracy.

Another Logician (not verified) says...

LOL! Took the words right out of my mouth.

INTP 2-Percenter (not verified) says...

Maybe it's a Feeler who has just traipsed through the INTP comments.

Ignacio Beltrán (not verified) says...

My best friend is a Psychologist which I tell uses ONE channel to arrive at a conclusion: that of realism, the kind that you can see and count. INTPs have many more channels: the creative, intuitive, deep perception and thought that would just be similar to a VW Bug trying to race a Ferrari.

At the end, he hates to say: It seems you are right on your asertions, after a year of saying how wrong and out of reality an idea he dislikes, is. LOL.

SaraSerenity93 (not verified) says...

That's anecdotal evidence.

Guest (not verified) says...

Almost 100% accurate and the only test sample is yourself? Your experience is only one experience, I doubt you can validate the entire system with it (no mean to be rude).

In my opinion, what most sites say is correct: this is a guide, not prescription. And the fact is that some may be between two personality types as well: I get both INTP and INFP depending on what test I take- and in a sense this excludes me from both personality types as the system depends on the subject having strong preferences to determine personality. INTP's are described as logical and mathematical bordering on cold, and INFP's as artistic and emotional- due to only the difference between thinking and feeling these two types are cast as almost opposites.

If you score strongly as one personality type, then yes, this test is probably pretty helpful, as it describes what the ultimate character of that type would be. But for most people(?) this is not the case as people can be between two traits, or be between four traits so therefore between several personalities. But like I said before, it is hard to say that I am both personality types as there isn't any analysis or diagnosis on what it means to be both a thinker and a feeler, which probably changes the what a IN*P is altogether.

Guest (not verified) says...

Wow all you INTPs sound like intriguing, mechanical aliens to me xD I'm an ENFP O.o

Cene (not verified) says...

Hahahaha...We arent - We're just very, very smart.

Guest (not verified) says...

As an INTP, I would describe myself as intelligent, but not smart :p

Guest (not verified) says...

this is the most profound comment ever, i have arrived at this conclusion a 1000 times. i would like to say as an INTP, our talents and skill sets are the most useful , I will call it overbalanced, like a computer. Being smart is being able to navigate life and get ahead no matter what and not letting your values get between you and progress. As human computers, INTP's neglect the value of feelings and feeling can atimes just be a shorter window to achieving your goal other than hard logic. To be smart, intp's need to substitute their hard wired logical reasoning talents as a background machine, and let in a lot more of feeling and illogical banter, then they would seem more normal to the world but still be able to apply their power of machine thinking at any given moment. If you stick to your raw machining thinking all the time, you would have a harder time passing through the world..... simple!

INTP's are mostly intelligent, not smart, because intp's don't use people, intp's dont really gossip, intp's beleive in good over evil.

sorry my typing and grammar is bad, ......

mdoheny says...

thanks .. i was on the fence between being an INTP or an ISTP when i read this :
"not smart, because intp's don't use people, intp's dont really gossip, intp's beleive in good over evil"

now, how to get smart and stop letting less intelligent people use me? (i mean ... us lol)

Undisclosed (not verified) says...

I agree with you totally, other than the statement "INTP's believe in good over evil.". If that is the case, I am the Moriarty of the Sherlock Holmes. I believe INTP's can develop a great understanding of "The Gray Area" in life. Even though we call ourselves the "computers" out of the human species. We are much more than a true, false processor. With all the knowledge and wisdom we can amass and call upon, we could all deduce that nothing can be good or evil in a true sense, but maybe that's just me?

Unnerved by INTP (not verified) says...

agree. we dance in the gray areas. 

willowrivers (not verified) says...

I am an INTP. i identify so much with the person who sees himself self as intelligent but not sure about smart. to me, they are very different things. i possess intelligence because i have the ability to learn, to analyze, to express myself, to research until I find the information I seek, to meet most any challenge BUT that doesn't mean the things I do are always smart. I make dumb decisions and dumb comments. I also frequently book myself to be in more than one place at a time...

Jesse Richardson (not verified) says...

I have been called smart many times in my life, but have felt stupid an equal amount. I like distinguishing between being intelligent and being smart. I work with computer programmers in my daily job and it's a constant reminder of the fact I am not smart. I've lost count of how many times I've made what I thought was a smart comment only to have it completely shot down by one of the programmers. However, I am creative, worldly, and philosophical; so I am able to draw on these traits which equate to wisdom and intelligence. To me, knowledge = smart; wisdom = intelligence.

INTP-Josh-582 says...

we are the coldest humans, but the WARMEST machines. but make no mistake, as an actual human being, i DESPERATELY want to utilise my Fe much more than my capability allows me. i desperately seek human connection--i just don't know how to be successful at that grand endeavor of mine to the level of success that i desire. my inability to properly read social cues is my achilles heel, i.e. not picking up on when someone close to me needs emotional support based on non-verbal communication such as body language or ambiguous hints. this has damaged all of my romantic relationships, as well as putting strains on my familial ones. but yes--we are like the warmest, gentlest robot that you'll ever meet. just allow us to articulate our ideas to you in our manner of communication (monologue form in most cases) and do not argue a point based on your emotions and we'll get along just fine. and for the love of god (in my way of thinking: the perfection of the universe--i suppose you could cal me an agnostic deist) JUST TELL US when you need emotional help because we will most likely NOT pick up on your non-verbal cues. be concrete in your pleas for need because ambiguity will not get you what you desire from us. and just understand that most of us WANT to establish deep human connections with others, we just don't quite know how that process works. and if you romantically like us, DO NOT PLAY GAMES--just tell us; that being said, we'll tell you right back whether or not we like you. but don't get offended if we say that we are not interested—we value the truth above all things and our honesty can come off as quite brutal at times, but spreading misinformation is tantamount to sinfulness to the INTP. treat us gently—for most of us carry around a child-like innocence to us; and despite our outside appearances of cold aloofness, our feelings can be very fragile. hope this helps…

mark esparza (not verified) says...

And how! 

INTP-Eric (not verified) says...

Amen.  Well said.

LilRicky (not verified) says...

Hi so a little about my experience with this. I found that I tested highest as the commander, ENTP however as I dove into that type I found inconsistencies. Long and short of my conclusion is that at heart or base I am an INTP. this is how I am without work or outside influences. how I think and feel about things. When given a task or at work I morph into an INTJ where structure is the most efficient way to give consistent results. In a position where there is a lack of leadership I will actually morph again into an ENTJ. I am not naturally an extrovert but as I have gotten older I am much more comfortable with pulling it off when I need to and have more confidence in my conclusions and path to success then the person in charge. For me, My Scores were 64% ENTJ, 62% INTJ and 61% INTP. But like I said as I did research and read more about each profile, and the phases through life, mental decision process, etc, I am 99% sure that I am an INTP at hart. I don't know enough about the finer details to understand exactly why I morph depending the different situations but it does make sense that it would be a natural occurrence. In all it is fascinating to me!! I think this will help me with my relationships and to understand why I respond in certain ways under stress. It is relieving to know that I'm not the only one with these challenges; not to conform but a means to an end to be more successful at work and home.
My two cents :)
Cheers,
-Christian

Guest (not verified) says...

Depends on if you take the test on what you feel, not what you know ..... ex. The test said I like to be active when truthfully I'm a couch potato and so I respectfully disagree with YOU.

Monika (Guest) (not verified) says...

To be honest, after reading your comment I started to doubt I'm really an INTP. Not all of these things are true about me, especially the fact I don't have and don't want to have anything to do with science but also others. Since I found my personality type I was doubting it because of this. I retook it multiple times (including now) and I got INTP everytime.
I don't think that people's personalities 100% fit into 16 personality types.

Guest (not verified) says...

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.

Missed up (not verified) says...

Haha.. Yes that is me to a T.

Guest (not verified) says...

yup you got me pegged. LOL

me down packed

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