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The INTP Personality Type

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.

Are you an INTP?

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What does INTP stand for?

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.

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

Famous INTPs

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

For more information: Famous INTPs

INTP Values and Motivations

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 Others See the 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 Hobbies and Interests

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.

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

Quotes About INTPs

"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

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Comments

nk (not verified) says...

this was scary to read. but im not very scientifical though. interesting though i dont understand myself, i just go with whatever i am. i try to understand everything except myself lol. my real self is never out in this world, like my personality just responds to what is going on around me, the real person never comes out. only i know that, and thats why my energy is kinda inside always, though everyone thinks i am a social, smart, and funny person, i dont give shit about superficial things, i just want to solve the problems that i feel. i feel like i just want to shut off my presence in this world. (and open the inside). though my ego wants to be popular, and have social importance, that is also interesting. i feel like i can make myself into anything i want, but that wont satisfy any desire, i really dont know what i am here to even feel or do....nothing makes sense execpt when you dissociate and what isnt your focus is your focus. 

AH (not verified) says...

Sounds like something I would've written!

owlmagic (not verified) says...

You don't sound like an INTP. 

Zee (not verified) says...

I also read this and I agree to some extent. While I think about the posibilities or theories of life, I do not think that I am very scientifical. Though, I may be outgoing, I do not like popularity. I try to avoid the crowd as much as I can. And I try to solve my problems on my own without involving other people.

Collector_m (not verified) says...

In the last item of the "INTP Growth and Development" you have forgotten to properly close the HTML strong tag. So, the entire section is in bold face, instead of only the title. Yes, I'm an INTP.

Jennifer Miller (not verified) says...

Welcome to The Freethinker Club. Population 2%. The only rule is there are no rules to oppress the mind. Everyone is welcome to conceptualize as we please. However, for some odd reason, 98% of the population runs away at the door. Freedom doesn't scare us! A free mind is a beautiful thing, more precious than gold. You've got the courage to share it, my friends. 

Brett45g (not verified) says...

Yes!  That's the thing exactly, Free Thinker's Club! 

Thor, DK (not verified) says...

Really well said :D

kakasaheb (not verified) says...

i have tried personality test which i belong to intp

but as intp says its everything confusing no stability nor security 

no skill nothing then why i m having this 

cartographer (not verified) says...

"Engineering careers are a good fit for the logical, analytical thinking style of the INTP. They particularly enjoy engineering fields that allow them to exercise a measure of creativity in their work."

As an INTP cartographer (masters degree in engineering), this article seems too accurate....

 

Benjamin says...

This website is correct. I went on 16 personalities and got Logician a.k.a INTP-T. I have always wanted to be an aerospace engineer or architect and this website those jobs are for me. 

Hank (not verified) says...

As an architect my day job is highly connected to relationship building, which can be draining... I've found that having other outlets that allow me to explore, ideas and work alone are rejuvinating. 

Guest (not verified) says...

I loathe radio laughter. 

emily lin (not verified) says...

Hello, can you please change the text colour from yellow to something darker. It is hard to read and it hurts my eyes. Thanks.

Grey Fox says...

I’ve done this test a few times now. INTP and INTJ always come up as very good matches for me. It’s funny (strange) that even though I got a slight preference for Perceiving on this try, it still gives me INTJ as the top - very good match. Both you can’t be both, each one has different engines (functional stacks).

Roham (not verified) says...

Really don't mean to be rude. But INTJ is architect not INTP

 

Jennifer Miller (not verified) says...

I agree. INTPs are Logicians. INTPs can be architects, but labeling our personality type as Architect suggests that INTPs are planners. Our gift is conceptual thought. 

How are INTJs and INTPs mistaken for one another? I like INTJs. What's the world without abstract or strategic thinking? How does A=B, though? 

another one (not verified) says...

One time i worked in service/sales and generally yes, I hated it, but I actually enjoyed interacting with the customers usually. I was mostly selling ice-cream, but a little bit waitressing. I just loved the ice-cream selling part, because I could see people coming with a frown and going with a smile. There was nothing complicated, nothing ambiguous in that aspect, just give them a big portion of ice-cream and make them happy. But waitressing was horrible and coworkers were mean.

Now I'm a researcher in theoretical computer science focusing on graph algorithms. This is my favorite job so far. It's great. I'm getting spoiled by how fun this is, I think I will never be able to go back to something as mundane as software engineering (which I have been gladly doing for most of my life). The only thing missing from my current job is psychology, which I also find fascinating. I have been thinking of starting fantasy fiction writing in my spare time to add more creativity and psychology to my life.

(My personality type comes out sometimes as INTP and sometimes as INFP. I'm adding this as a disclaimer because some of my preferences might stem from the INFP aspect )

INTP-L (not verified) says...

I have taken this test at least 10 times and all 10 times my result has been INTP. I would suggest taking the test at least 3 x, if you keep getting different results then it could just be that you might not be fully self-aware yet or you could be a combination of personality types. I find INTP to be the most accurate for me, not everything is going to relate to you because this test isn't supposed to tell you what your personality is like to a T. 

Giggity (not verified) says...

INTP Digital Marketer here, I freaking love it

2L82Pray (not verified) says...

I've taken this test half a dozen times and it always comes up INTP or INTJ (both among the rarest for females, which I am). I have to admit, finally, this is me with a fine line between the two. Hopefully, this will end my gridlock on what to do with my life. After 10 years in a career I tolerated rather than loved, coming back to this was my only way to decide to stop being a rebel against myself

AMM (not verified) says...

The more I read comments the more I feel at home and the more convinced I am that understanding the functional stacks accounts for those variations, both in our experiences as indicated in the comments and how some of the typing descriptions out there don't take the variations into consideration when categorizing INTP.  An example is the absentminded professor vs warmest machine Or as I relate to it - my creative / intuitive side vs my logical / linear thinking side. It's all there but I can switch between them. I've had to both develop my capacity to allow my thinking, structured, mind to run strong when I need it most like at work where my creative / intuitive innovative nature supports that but takes a back seat (currently in law administration) but then outside of those work or home times that require my logic I run more with my freewheeling creative / innovative side when the absentminded professor is the best description. I don't understand the functions enough to talk about them concretely (yet) but I sense that they provide insight into this type of flexing that can show up. I love it when I infrequently come across more creative / intuitive / innovative bending career examples for us as I don't entirely fit the science / mathematician angle. Perhaps had that side of me been more encouraged I can see how I could have utilized that more and ended up extra strong in the more structured thinking realm but as it is I tend towards middle ground - not quite a lawyer (or doctor or accountant or architect) but with strong abilities in any of those directions with too much out of the box thinking and absentminded living to have developed my strong thinking into something on par with my capacity. So I try to capitalize on both which is leading me to craft something more structured but later in life. 

JuliaJ (not verified) says...

Just wanting to add to the conversation. I've identified as INTP for years now, but I've also always thought maybe I was INFP because I see myself as a pretty emotional person. Luckily, my husband, a true INFP, has been able to teach me a bit about the other side. Lol. We've had so many and such severe misunderstandings about personal conduct and consideration of each other, I've doubted he even cared about me more than once. We finally got talking about it, and as it turns out, he "thinks" in feelings. Like, you know how you think in words and pictures and more abstract ways about physical and intellectual tasks pretty much constantly? While you're doing that, he's just riding the waves of emotion around him and trying to keep afloat. That's what's foremost in his consciousness. It's such a fundamental difference, I didn't even think it was possible. But that's how he says it is, so I guess I have to believe him. Lol. In terms of our motivations, he's trying to keep everyone at ease all the time to preserve his sanity, and I'm always trying to figure something out. Or I'm just completely awed and enthusiastic about a fact. I may seem dopey or unaware, but I just get taken by ideas. He considers the social implications of what he's doing first, whereas I think of them later. At times, I feel I have to choose between the truth and the appropriate thing to say. And guess what I choose. (It's not malicious. I really just value the truth, so it's almost automatic.) ...OK, now guess what he would choose. See? It's difficult, but because we get each other pretty well on every other level and balance each other on this one, it works. But my point here is, ladies, don't let certain people on the Internet try and tell you you can't be who you are because of XYZ. You know who you are, so go with it.

unknown (not verified) says...

the test says that i am this but i'm not shure.

INTP-JJ (not verified) says...

Fellow introverts who want to make a difference should join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2193383504280302/

Haiqa Edward (not verified) says...

I am an INTP . I  dont have  friends .I cant trust anyone because i feel like certain people are not honest .I want to change the world but dont know how to do it.I really love solitude but some times I am really depressed cause I dont have anyone to talk to  who understands what i want to say.

 

Deanna Graham (not verified) says...

Haika, your abilities are rare and special. People are intimidated by your abilities, and don't have the logical capacity to do anything except be mean in petty ways. Female INTPs have it the worst. Be strong. Knowing your gifts and shortcomings as an INTP means the low IQ people can't keep you from reaching your greatest potential as a human being. Hang in there. It gets better, I promise.

TheManCone (not verified) says...

When testing remember nature vs nurture. The test is Identifying your Nature but is not complex enough to seperate what personality traits were nurtured into you. Say a question ask do you like to talk excessivley? You are shy so you answer no this will misidentify you if your shy only because you grew up with a sibling/s that teased and mocked you so holp this helps some/all of those that get identified and say thats close but doesn't sound quite like me.

MARISOL (not verified) says...

I feel I am this BUT not a very bright one... because I studied engineering next to really high IQ people and I am not even close to them......

so, may be I am not this, I feel completely detached from the society and lonely and a misfit everywhere

:(

ildi (not verified) says...

Just noticed that INTP is Architect and INTJ is Mastermind. On 16Personalities.com (where you go to indentify yourself) it is totally switched. Is it a small mistake on either side, or these two are that much close that you cannot make a clear distinction? I'm 100% INTJ female by the way.

Stephensonson (not verified) says...

Reading this especially the job part rings true to me. After college I took the 1st job that I landed and basically went Admin, Real Estates agent, and then Marketing. I hated those 3 jobs though due to my job experience landing a job in Sales was easier. 

I then realized I guess that I got interested in Finance due to the understanding one can get about business. And Economics which for me is like history studies but with money (bet you guys are pissed about this objectively wrong statement) and the Social Sciences also look really good. So I guess we just arent quick-witted enough preferring to calmly analyze the situation.

Thought I think we dont make the best students. Haha, just barely organized enough to pursue what we dream about. And essentially loving knowledge but disliking how some courses are 'Rote memory' instead of 'Case studies'. I mean we dont learn as fast if we cant imagine/understand the situation and reasons.

So just dropped by and was really surprised to see so many like-minded individuals. Also think a career change is in order for me. Kinda confused at the moment if I should pursue Data Science or a CFA. But yeah think ill move on to something analytical instead being 'paid to persuade' 

MK (not verified) says...

I find this whole subject very interesting, though a bit disconcerting  Every test I have ever taken shows me to be INTP  But I don't identify with smart or intelligent  In fact I feel less intelligent than most people.  I do try to learn everything about what interests me, but as soon as I lose interest I forget it.  I am in the process of relocating and job hunting, but I do not have a degree, because I cannot commit to a major.  I do come off as cold and reserved when I first meet people, but after they get to know me they usually believe me to be quirky.  When my husband passed away, people thought it was odd that I just decided not to be sad.  I was but I was able to reason with my grief and it lost some of it's power.  Maybe not "healthy", but it's how I cope.  I can say that reading up on Myers Briggs INTP has helped me to feel understood, but at the same time has made me feel even more disconnected from the people around me.  I find it very interesting that not everyone thinks a million miles a minute about so many different things.  Thank God the discovery is never ending.  :)

Lynn84 (not verified) says...

Two life struggles I have being this personality type:

1. Every job I’ve held, I am in a new position to learn... but over time end up learning that I am over qualified. Socially I loathe networking and politicking my way to the top (oh and how slow and inefficient of a process!)  // A solution might be to be my own boss, but I crave a challenge - an existing problem to pick apart and put back together the right way, but I’m finding it difficult to be my own boss and start a company where I can just create frameworks and systems and implement efficient processes on something I’m creating from scratch. Any advice?! 

2. Secondly, I am struggling so hard to meet my match. I’m highly attractive, I take care of myself and I can let loose and be so fun when appropriate, and in those moments I can capture the attention of a male, at least for awhile. But when we become close and I open up, so many times I am rejected - particularly as a female (males do not like when a woman corrects them or wants them to - with pure intentions!). I’d really love any insight in what partners would be suitable, or where I could go to meet a fellow INTJ. In true INTJ fashion, I’m considering just building a family and doing it on my own, but I’d prefer a loving parter! 

Thank you for reading:) 

CodyL (not verified) says...

Did you find an answer to your first point?! I'm in the same boat and want to be my own boss but haven't found a way to make it happen. 

Dan Bollinger (not verified) says...

INTP here!  I got stuck on the first sentence. It's a pet peeve of mine. INTP is not an acronym, it is an abbreviation. Acronyms are abbreviations that form a pronouncable word like RADAR (RAdio Detection And Ranging). OK, now that I got that off my chest I'll read on!

Stephenm (not verified) says...

The INTP would have the longest comment trail! Haha.

Ed M (not verified) says...

I have good friends that are ISFJ’s so I would think of that as being an opposite, but I know an ESFJ that I clash with because she is an ESFJ. We are literally the opposite in every way. 

Nach (not verified) says...

Tested INTJ here with strong INTP traits (I tend to see myself as an INTx in certain situations).

I would say that the divide between the two types becomes more obvious when you look at the "social" aspect of each type's life at MATURITY.

INTPs ALWAYS end up looking/searching for ways to feel integrated (i.e joining in national holidays celebrations, being a "good host/husband", listening and taking care of people who are around them, doing small talks to people they like, etc.). But they can't hold it up for long and inevitably disappear after say, 1 hour or so. They like their feelings to be just consistent enough to build and last in a distant memory. Intensity is their enemy.

As an INTJ, I tend to bother about people ONLY if I like them (which take YEARS and a decent amount of conflicts/arguments resolved over time) or if it is part of my job/duties (I don't want to get fired because of poor performance). Otherwise, I make zero effort with people. Even saying "Hi" to people feels like a chore, hence I whisper it with a very straight face. I am ALWAYS looking/searching for ways to make my environment/living conditions BETTER for myself/my people in practical long-lasting matters: I look for efficiency and my feelings are linked to my ability to reach these very "self-centered" goals.

People I like don't need to tell me what I can/could do for them: I have studied them enough to just KNOW what I can offer in my humble ways to improve their predicament. Some of these tools involve doing the Fe-peppy talk (I'm a woman after all!) in certain situations. But if people don't appreciate my input or judge it too short, then I won't dwell on it for long: I just happened to use a tool that was a bad fit for the situation.

In the end, I will learn from the situation and do better the next time. I won't freak out about being a "disappointment" to the people, which is what Inf-Fe bound INTPs tend to do by ghosting their way out of emotionally intense situations. :)

Alexa.123 (not verified) says...

I fucking hate how accurate this is lol 

Jimjim from another plane (not verified) says...

I'm INTP-T and have Aspergers/HFA - it seems this personality type is quite common amongst our group. Anyone else INTP and Aspie?

jon says...

As the culture turns against Christianity, rebellious and independent INTPs will be more and more likely to believe in and align with Jesus Christ. Eventually, INTPs will be more likely to believe in a higher power because this will be the independent exception rather than the conformity norm.

Jasmin Parent (not verified) says...

10/10 correct

Ji says...

Me got 70% match to INTP and 67% match to INTJ

Patrick Flanagan (not verified) says...

INTP isn't tied to any one profession. INTP is more about the social dynamics of the work. INTP is simply happier in isolation working on large complicated problems. 

Oddly enough I know cab drivers who are INTP who love the job. Think about it. They get random conversations while not having to invest in anybody. They don't have to deal with red tape on the job, bosses or set schedules. They show up and work when they feel like making money. 

This rule expands out to every single profession out there. If your job has a little creative wiggle room and you are allowed to work in isolation you'll love the job. Conversely if it has little wiggle room and you can't work in isolation you will despise the job. 

UnicornSquatchAlien (not verified) says...

We are cold machines that wish we could navigate our social lifes easier.  

My last job in retail was a living hell. I had to be extroverted to survive, and had to shut off a lot of my internal analytical thinking. It was hard to get through the days, but at the end of the day I would sit and disect all the concepts of what people had said that day, to find the truth of what they said. Now, I make custom cars and only talk to maybe 3 people, and my mind doesn't have to be overloaded on a constant basis. College and work turned me into an ENTP/ENTJ. But my oldest friend is an ENTJ and I am an INTP when alone. I look at my friends judgemental behavior to navigate annoying situations, but I can't help my freedom of thought. 

I almost think its a curse because your mind is always craving the next psycholigical stimulatio, a new puzzle to solve or concept to over analyize. What I like about my entj friend is he doesn't put much thought into things, he just chooses and goes, something that takes forever for me on personal decisions. 

The other problem is, searching for correct information and having consistancies is an obsession. I would like to imagine engineers have provided data they can work with, which we can proccess to no end and waste less time gathering data ourselves. 

I could ramble on more. 

Are INTP's really that cold? Yup were aliens

 

INTP-Josh-582 says...

i posted this is a repy to another member's comment, but i thought that it deserved a thread in it's own right--and it goes as follows: we (INTP's) 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…

PharmerJane (not verified) says...

I agree with everything you have written.  I don't pick up on any clues until it's too late.  

TheGreekINTP (not verified) says...

I have been struggling for over 3 years to find out what career and bachelor is more suitable for me and what I really want to do as job.
Well, this website and before it the "The Myers Briggs" website, ABSOLUTELY BLEW MY MIND!!!
How some written lines clearly depict your own self, a person who you couldn't define yourself a moment earlier!
Truly amazing. So well-built, useful and unbelievably spot-on. Well done Well done.

And thank you. A lot.

Guest (not verified) says...

They put so much emphasis on the maths/computers/science side of an INTP! Having taken the test three times over two years, I am a pretty verified INTP, but find much more comfort in things like film and art and have zero interest in science...

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm the same way too always had a good ear for music. Also im assuming you were terrible at math because I was too but you may be forgetting your writing power. We're great writers as well.

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