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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.

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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.

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

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How rare 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 Quotes

"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

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.

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Comments

HK says...

I got INFP from other MBTI test sites several time, but I got INTP here, which is an interesting finding.

Marianne04 says...

I'm always between the two as well. As a teen I typed as intp a few times, now im 25 I leep typing as infp but still identitfy with a lot of intp traits. I am also very sociable so I have typed as enfp before. We are humans after all and mbti is only a theory with 16 types!! I think it depends of which function you are using more at a specific time in life. If you've developped your other functions as well, you will use the one you "WANT' to use in a.given circumstance! Anyway, that's what I've come to believe/understand

SpaceKid (not verified) says...

I often find myself criticising and mentally improving the NASA and SpaceX rockets on tv, but then I'm like oh yeah, they have a budget...

 

Salem_Saberhagen (not verified) says...

it's all fake, earth is the universe, not a ball

Trash (not verified) says...

I believe this

 

Paul64 (not verified) says...

Any pointers on how to pick a career and stick with it? I get excited about stuff and I'm always left disillusioned!

Jeff S (not verified) says...

I struggled with the same thing: I would learn about something and enjoy the complexity but when I got into the job it ended up being just doing the same routine tasks over and over (agricultural pest control, solar panel research and development, radio system repair, nursing) but then I found out that teaching high school science is an awesome fit because there is endless challenge and room to constantly improve what I do as well as tons of room for freedom and creativity and I get to deal with all the cool theoretical stuff instead of just the practical side.  I have had to develop my people skills and empathy which is important also to become well rounded. It also resonates at a deeper level because I think that what you believe and know about the world has a huge impact on how you live and is at the source of many problems in the world so I get to help young people improve their worldview and thinking skills which will improve the world at a systemic level.

So find something with complexity, creativity, freedom, and deep systemic purpose so that you cannot ever get to the end of your motivation or intellectual interest.

Kate (not verified) says...

Ugh, this is me too!! It's so frustrating to be fascinated with a subject, study and train in that field, then get the job and find out it's completely different. Not to mention having so many interests that engaging in one feels like neglecting the rest!

beerlakes (not verified) says...

yes this resonates with me, im in my early 30s and have had three very different careers (plus a bunch of time at uni) already. I've come to realise though that change is normal, even if you get into a very interesting area, that interest will wax and wane and eventually as you master something, become uninteresting. That is totally normal! Although admittedly I think INTPs probably get to the end of this process faster than other types. 

Assuming you have found an area you are interested in,and a company, or other method of commercialising your interest, I think the key is to be adaptable, and learn quickly. Which I think INTPs are generally good at, and luckily so, as being adaptable is becoming an ever more important skill.

Noah97 (not verified) says...

I know what you mean! I have such high points of interest in varying subjects, yet never see them through. I seem to always find a reason not to do what I was previously excited about. I theorize that being so logically minded allows us to appreciate complexity, but that same capability is used by the little voice in our heads to avoid blindly committing. It just doesn't make sense to commit with so much still unknown! If I'm being honest with myself, I want to do most everything. Understand... everything. Us INTP's would probably be happier in a world in which we could just study 24/7 and never have to make a living.

sarowar jamil (not verified) says...

before i was also afraid of my future because i couldn't stick to anything .i m just changing my plan,my doings.now It's cristal clear why i m doing like this way cause i was made to do like this

Ormewood (not verified) says...

It's not that you are made to do this, it's that your personality will make you TEND to do this.  It's not a foregone conclusion, and if it's causing problems you can recognize it and fight it.

The person who said hi (not verified) says...

Lol, when it said we don't usually get good grades I was like, duh because the stuff they teach you in school is bullshit knowledge.

rebel (not verified) says...

it's not all bullshit knowledge though.. i mean, a lot of the stuff is actually interesting but school just sucks the joy out of it. i'm saying this cause, i found almost all subjects boring when i was in school but if there's a video on something related to that subject, i am usually genuinely interested and receive it quite positively. moreover, they just make us vomit whatever is written in the textbooks onto the paper; instead of encouraging us to question stuff and analyse everything which makes everything boring and dull.

no name ideas (not verified) says...

i usually enjoy learning anything but school just sucks the fun out by how they teach us the material 

Marissa (not verified) says...

I took this test years ago.  My result was INFP.  I took it again months ago and turned out to be INTP.  I read both personalities. INTP described me more than INFP.

A kid (not verified) says...

Same, I took the test a few months ago and I got infp, and now I got intp

Observer (not verified) says...

It's hard for me to believe that I'm an INTP, they are considered, "very intelligent" or something like that. But I struggle with math and science, even simple division and multiplication. This has led me to believe I'm quiet the oppisite of intelligent. I know dumb INTPs exist, but it feels like a waste of potential if my IQ was below average. 

Concrete guy (not verified) says...

Simple math addition, subtraction, multiplication, division was a nightmare for me but when I got to algebra and geometry is was by far my easiest and favorite subject.

A Random Human (not verified) says...

There's more to intelligence than just being good at math or even IQ scores. Intelligence is defined as "The ability to aquire and apply knowledge or skills." By this logic you could be intelligent in other areas, like music or gardening. Or it could be that the learning environment sucks. The current school system wasn't designed for intps since they're such a minority, so doing poorly in school doesn't necessarily mean a person is not intelligent, just that the environment was not conducive to their learning. In conclusion, you might be smarter than you think. 

Bnjy (not verified) says...

To the one who said they are not good at maths, simply because you are not good at a subject does not make you unintelligent. You have strengths in other areas that other people probably don't. Math is one of those things if you dont have a solid foundation, it makes the future math classes far more difficult. Don't put yourself in a box my friend, you are an exceptional person. 

Guest (not verified) says...

man who asked

emilyr (not verified) says...

why are you here if you're going to be rude to people for talking about personality types

American Man (not verified) says...

I've always scored INTP but I hate their career suggestions. I just want to fish all day, read history books, and kill beers at night in a trailer in the great plains. I'm not against art as a hobby, but I don't want to be an artist. I might have to find a monastery.

Lizziy (not verified) says...

I couldn't agree more with you as an intp woman expect for the drinking part. 

Rockymountainhigherthanu (not verified) says...

I scored INTP and ascetic life has always appealed to me as well. Also, can I come fish and talk about history and drink beer with you? I might ask that we go out on the boat under a starry sky too if you're inclined.

That Girl (not verified) says...

If that's what you want to do, I would say do it. Get an unconventional job that would allow you to do that in the Great Plains. Farmer? Open an indoor mountain climbing store nearby? INTPs aren't meant to keep regular hours. It's part of the personality. 

JayL (not verified) says...

Don't be giving up. The secret sauce to us INTP's to go after anything we want in life is; we must be Passionate, we must be Optimistic, our dream(s) needs to be Practical, and we have to set Goals to achieve our dream(s).  P.O.P.G.

Also an INTP (not verified) says...

American Man, yesss life goals!!🙌

Crystal Moon (not verified) says...

American Man, yesss life goals!!🙌

Kasey May Storay (not verified) says...

American Man, yesss life goals!!🙌

Just a person (not verified) says...

I wish Truity didn't include famous people who supposedly fall under a certain M-B type. The test is a self-assessment, so people who lived well before the test existed obviously couldn't have taken it, and most of those who did take it probably didn't share the results with Truity. It's misleading.

Guest (not verified) says...

true

Guest (not verified) says...

Off course the dead didn't take the test.

They are made through assumptions.

Its not impossible to guess because famous persons almost always have detailed biographies and some of them like da vinci even kept private journals. 

Karen Claire T. (not verified) says...

I took the test, but it shows INTJ. But I am not it. Then I check INTP personality, I then realized I am this. I am happy to know the information about INTP. Because I'd like to know and understand more myself. Also, to understand what I really like doing. You see, I find it hard to know what I really want because the next thing I know, its not really I want. Now, that I know this personality it now make sense why I don't like doing those kind of things. 

BizB (not verified) says...

When I was younger I got INTP as a result and I felt it accurately matched my personality. I've retaken the test several times since then and got INTJ, INFJ respectively. I have been through dramatic environment changes so it makes sense that I would adapt. However, I still feel that INTP is who I am at my core. The other types just show that I developed some of my weaker functions.

Paul Fodor (not verified) says...

Hey Karen. I think a lot of us INTP will understand you. It's normal for INTP to score as INTJ, and actually at times INTP act as INTJ. The reverse is also true, INTJ may score and act as INTP sometimes (although less commonly I think). There's some overlap between the two. But yeah, once an INTx understands the difference, they usually figure out which one they are. So paradoxically the fact that you scored INTJ, didn't feel like it and realized you're INTP confirms you're INTP!

Tony McLeod (not verified) says...

Hi guys. I've done the test twice and came up INTP both times. My P / J was also very close each time, with P just coming out in front. T was off the scale! I'm still a bit iffy about this one. 

David Highley (not verified) says...

I recently found out i am an INTP personality type. This took me by surprise when i saw the population of people that are this type. It all fit exactly. It helped me come to terms with some things about myself i had previously questioned and even felt disdain towards. I just hope my personality doesn’t affect my daughter as i will be a little nore withdrawn than she deserves. Its a good thing my fiancé is a very emotional type person and can be more attuned to my daughters feelings when she needs it. 

Its truly relieveing to know a bit more about myself and why i am the way i am as i have been trying to figure myself out more than anything but to no avail. i have only improved shortcomings by doing so. 

That is one more ongoing question i finally have the answer to. 

BizB (not verified) says...

I totally feel you. I also felt disdain for some of my traits as an INTP but now I realize that we have super powers that others do not possess. You should be proud of who you are. 

Maria E. (not verified) says...

I have recently just taken the test and discovered I am, in fact, an INTP. Reading all of these comments is so deeply satisfying to know that I am not alone. As this article states, INTPs often feel alone because of how rare their personality is. I am honored to be one of the select few in the INTP community, but sometimes it feels like more of a curse than a blessing. I have always known myself to be a highly technical person. I am terrible at handling people around me being emotional. I love to discuss philosophy and have spent hours of every day of my life think about my existence, more specifically, my meaning. As you can likely tell, I am very much a logician. At times, I love that about myself. I love how I can be content with nothing but a room to think in. I am content being alone, or rather, I prefer it. However, it is difficult to reason with this. As a current high schooler, I find it so troubling to see that people are out partying and having fun. I have no desire to do that, but I fall into a pit of sadness about it. I get angry about the fact that I am an introvert and not experiencing life. It has taken me a while, but I have come to realize that I am experiencing life, just not their life. To further explain, I am content with my kind of life, and although I may be sad that I am not doing normal teenage things, I know that I am experiencing the life I want to live. 

Another thing I wanted to mention was how wrapped up in projects logicians can get. I sew as a hobby and I find that when I begin projects, I hardly stop. I am so focused on the end goal, I forget to eat meals, talk to people, and clean up. I don't quite see this as a problem but some members of my family do. They make fun of me for being cooped up in my room all day, but to be quite honest, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Finally, I wanted to address the notion that Logicians are "misunderstood." All through middle school, I never felt fully connected with the people around me. Even in high school, it is difficult for me. I fear for college. Even my own family tells me about how weird and strange I am. I know that I may come off this way, but I also think they don't understand me. I am apart of a family of extroverts so, obviously, they find it difficult to understand me. I love playing strategy games with them and even play my own logic puzzles instead of mindlessly scrolling the discover page on Instagram. I sure am going on a tangent, but all I really want to say is: I feel heard. For many years of my life, I wondered what was so impossibly wrong with me, and even now I question myself. But, reading these people's stories helped me understand, I am not alone. I am not the only one who is struggling. I appreciate each and every one of you who has made me feel apart of something. 

Preeths (not verified) says...

Even I am INTP ..I know it's hard but I get on your point....it's a curse more than a blessing but that's what makes us special

JayL (not verified) says...

Yes, my family has also thought I was strange. I'm 38 and have been searching for my inner self for about 2 years now. I “think” I am officially labeled as the black sheep of my family, so I feel ya. My early weirdness took me down a dark path when I was younger and I started partying alot, but I was a loner partier. I would make random friends as I was drinking at random bars and clubs, but I never really took to any friendships or girlfriends from it. Anyways, as I grew up, I was really good at several things throughout life and I think my family really grew jealous of this. I believe family’s with INTP’s grow jealous because we have wild ideas and killer capabilities that are F-ing great. My family saw that I could spend a little amount of time learning something that I was interested at that time and get decent to pretty good at it quickly. The thing about it was the stuff I was good at may or may not have been practical in their eyes. but I had dreams. I think I learned the secret to INTP’s success in life. To go after anything you want in life, you must be Passionate, you must be Optimistic, the dream needs to be Practical, and you have to set Goals to achieve the dream.  P.O.P.G.

KK Law (not verified) says...

I appreciate your thoughts. I am an ENFP and I am in a house full of introverts. They are much more interesting than the kids out partying. My youngest is 17 and she is an INTP and very smart. So glad I am familiar with the personality types so I can fully appreciate all my girls and my husband. When you get to college you should try to make a few friends if not for yourself then for them. People will be blessed to know you.

JSteph (not verified) says...

Oh the rambling, extroverted intuitive conversations that ENFPs and INTPs can share! Make sure your INTP hears your stories, quotes, and wisdom. They can totally get onboard with that. Also for your INTP, make sure to be that positive encourager from time to time: you and they might not know how much they need it until it happens. As an INTP who had an ENFP as a barista for several years, I know from experience.

Ted D. (not verified) says...

A little late Maria, but wanted to give my 2 cents on this. I am an INTP as well, and have definitely what you feel in regards to being more than content to spend hours alone and contemplating deep topics. What troubled me was that you said how it troubled you to see other people partying and having. I'm glad that you said you are coming to terms and understanding yourself more, but here's my take on it.

I've found that many INTP types, upon understanding themselves to fit this paradigm of a mysterious, introverted genius, mistakenly pigeonhole themselves into this identity. They embrace this identity as the intelligent hermit and shun the outside world. While I don't if this is the case with you, I urge you to try and escape your comfort zone. Remember that these types are not formulas for how to live our lives, but rather a foundation. I didn't party in high school either, but in college I was able to come out of my bubble and enjoy my years while maintaining strong grades.

I guess what I'm trying to say is although you've become content with the life you live, try and explore and live a bit as an extrovert. Just as you've found a wonderful world in your imagination as an introvert, there's an equally beautiful and exciting world out there for you to conquer with your mind as well. Throughout my years I've been able to flip the switch and turn my I into an E when necessary, and I think we all owe it to ourselves to be able to switch between both.

A w (not verified) says...

I wanted to share my thoughts with Marie E 😘 you are not alone , I too can start a sewing project , Spend hours cooped up in the room , until I finish that project , and will skip meals and ignore Family when I'm working on something.  please don't feel that you are odd or different , everyone must explore and live their world as they see fit. I was very different than the rest of my family,  I eventually did go on to college,  have kids ,get married , etc. but still found that no matter what I was doing , I was happier doing things by myself !

'just you do you '   as they say !

Advice Anyone? (not verified) says...

I’m 19 and about to go to college. And I took this test to just see (I got distracted, I was looking for personality and behaviors for a story) my own results. I can’t help ,but feel relieved that I’m not the only one with procrastination problems. I’m still in high school due to my procrastination (it’s a huge problem) and now I have 2-3 classes left (I’m home schooled, I had a problem with authority and the classes were too boring, with Home Schooling I had more stimulation and actually understood a big deal of things), which I hope I get a sudden bout of motivation and finish them soon. I just want to know, is College worth it? I want a lot of opinions, cause I don’t want to waste much of mine or anyone else’s time paying for classes that will just end up with me hating myself for more mental torture. (I feel like I sound whiny, is that bad?)

Over 40 (not verified) says...

Get your degree, because unless you have a lot of money, you  will be forced to work for people who have no clue. You will be underpaid, misunderstood, and very frusrtated. You will be able to see the flaws in organizational systems wherever you work; however, no one will listen to you since you have no degree and no time in the company. You will continue to change jobs because you learn everything so quickly and get bored. At least that was my life until recently. 

Advice: Figure out one thing you love more than others and stick with it. You might get a little bored but life is always ready to throw us a curveball. You have to stop trying to know everything. Just pick what you want most for a career, and keep your hobbies. Hope this helps. 

Daniel Hauck (not verified) says...

Definitely sound advice from where I'm standing. Thanks for the wisdom my guy.

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