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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.

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

INFJ 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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Martin S. (not verified) says...

Bro same here was in the Army did a term, felt the same as you, did respiratory therapy for a bit, just finished film school, now thinking of next moves as well lol

Orlando (not verified) says...

Very interesting similarity in career. I thought about film too and data analyst.

Benjamin Elliott (not verified) says...

Oh god dude, I'm an INTP aswel and I'm about to take a basic training uptake for the army. Have u made a mistake? or would I be suited to a strategy role to anaylyse and create new ideas on battle.

Tom Michael (not verified) says...

I've done 11 years in the Army and I'm definitely INPT. Parts of me loved it, other parts disliked it. The disliked aspects of life in the army were a) around political BS, b) having a boss / commander who has the IQ of a bicyle and or is morally repugnant (either specimen are numerous), and c) being stuck with the Army way of doing things, which often seems less than ideal. On the plus side and in retrospect, I liked the large freedom I had in using my natural communication style. In the real world I tend to offend many people when I say things the way the come to my mend. Too direct, too blunt, not couched, not PC, etc. In the Army, it was totally acceptable to call people ready-made names for actions that fell short of the standard or unjust to the team (blue falcon, Jody, and many more colorful ones). You can just sling them around freely. Part of the warrior ethos is to be hard-ass on your self and on the people around you. So liberating! Now, it's been a while since then and things are likely to have changed a bit, so don't go out calling people names quite yet. :)

Orlando (not verified) says...

It will be a life experience for your to learn from, more good than bad but ultimately it is what you make of it.  As I mentioned, I did really well, but had I known about myself more then, I would have taken a different route. Do your personal best, contribute and volunteer so as to move up in the ranks and have a bit more wiggle room. I don't know what your MOS is but I would suggest you look up INTP careers and reclass into one you like as soon as you are able to (if you end up not liking your current one that is) this way at least you leave the army with experience in a career that you enjoy and that will sustain you. 

Alan says...

The role of a cog within a machine is not very INTP is it? thats brainwashed subservant minion territory...IMHO


NoTransitory? (not verified) says...

If you believe you are INTP or are on the fence as to whether you may be, you would do well to begin study in the discipline of Philosophy.  All of the logic, reasoning, autonomous creation of values, giving personal style to your character etc. come from philosophy, not psychology as emphasised here.  Psychology is a science, and scientists are the wonderful people who gather the data necessary for autonomous thinkers like us to recreate ourselves.

Scientists too can become autonomous thinkers, when they study philosophy.  The highest of which, when they attain PhD, are accountable to the rigors of  philosophy in the Ph part of the title.

Start with Plato's Republic, and the allegory of the cave.  Then study the unfolding of big ideas for the next 2500 years to find more about who you are.

INTP architects are engaged in a continuous process of becoming or building oneself in a philosophical sense.  Not continuous improvement, but continuous becoming.   

Know thyself. Important for all of humanity, but even more so for us.

Just a guy (not verified) says...

Great reply. Don't know if you'll see this message but I love your mindset on this. Wish I had more people around me for this type of discussion! 

an intp (not verified) says...

I fully disagree...

Philosophy is more of an art than science (it's definitely not science)
It is abstract and a lot of times it can lose its macro view or dwell & waste time on completely impractical and futile subjects and questions.

The logician type values and appreciates science because it does not challenge logic itself, while that is phiolosophy's only purpose.
Science is the study of the world and nature and it always strictly obeys logic, the fun in sciences is to reason and devise logic for things not reasoned before.

p.s. drop the "philosopher" professor propaganda, I've seen it on any and all websites suggesting career based on personality types, trying to farm the respect of students through petty attempts and flimsy rationales.
The truth is, west's marxist intersectionalist radical professors have tainted the reputation and wounded any and all intellectual value there used to be for professors of sociology.

Tim D (not verified) says...

"The logician type values and appreciates science because it does not challenge logic itself, while that is philosophy's only purpose.

Really, philosophy's only purpose is to challenge logic?? That is humorous, considering your statement -- "that philosophy is more of an art than a science" -- is itself a philosophical statement (and thus, by your own defining, you are challenging logic). 

Many philosophers have also been logicians and mathematicians, which would be odd given your rationale. 

Tea (not verified) says...

INTP seems to fit, until it talks about a belief in god is not important to me. A belief in God is HIGHLY important to me and often the topic of one of my analytical conversation. I think that somehow the test counts analytical as not one who would adhere to faith. Then it talks about computers, and I HATE technology work. It's soooo not me. I love to use it, I do t want to do an analysis on why or how it works, and every little bump I hit I scream for help.

Barb Sanders (not verified) says...

Well, it doesn't seem that you fit into our category now does it?

keystrokes (not verified) says...

Not entirely positive since I'm unaware of your full circumstances, however, it's possible you may be more extroverted. As an INTP, I do agree that faith and religion have little to do with the types. If anything I imagine most INTP to find interest in different religions. I see INTP as less likely to participate in the traditions and share the same beliefs as most orthodox religions.  

Robert Fischer (not verified) says...

I have the same predicament. I use to not believe in god, but I began pondering life, and why we are here. I came to the conclusion that the Big Bang theory wasn't sufficient an explanation, as it does not even mention the origin of the substances and forces needed for the Big Bang to occur, which would be necessary (theoretically). The only explanation in my opinion is a being which transcends both time and space, and decided for both of which to come into existence, perhaps maybe even through the Big Bang event. It is very debatable which religion is correct, but in my opinion Christianity contains the most non-human characteristics, such as mercy and forgiveness. These are opposite of what is natural to us as humans such as "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth". These unique characteristics are indicative of a higher power (not definitive proof though). We are all individuals, and a simple personality synopsis is often incorrect.

Rick M. (not verified) says...

Robert I have gone down a simliar path as you with God and Christianity, although slightly different conclusion. I would highly recommend checking out Ravi Zachrias on Youtube and also Frank Turek (Corssexamined), some great stuff.

Glory (not verified) says...

I thoroughly enjoyed this write up. Thank you for sharing 

Riri (not verified) says...

I'm apparently an INTP, I took two different tests and the results were the same but it just doesn't make sense.. I'm not intelligent or creative or curious about the universe or an innovator and I do believe in a spiritual higher power... almost all INTP traits are exactly the opposite of me and no I didn't answer based on what I like, I answered based on what I am and I'm so confused. If I actually am an INTP, then I'm in trouble since I'm currently studying to become a nurse which is one of the jobs INTPs should not go for:)

Muirenn (not verified) says...

Doesn't sound like you are an INTP. 

Keep going to school and stop worrying about it. 

Michael of Michigan (not verified) says...

I see two possible categories of possibility: incorrect test results, or aberrant/atypical personality manifestation.

I have heard that Feeling types can tend to be incorrectly typed as Thinking types because they mistake their mental analysis of their feelings for thinking, they answer the questions in favor of 'thinking' because they act on instinct/feeling at a fundamental level but do think and value thinking, or are subconsciously convinced by a scientism-obsessed culture that thinking is superior and feeling is animalistic - partially because "Thinking" is often confused with "Intelligent" (which is not necessarily the case). I personally know someone that is VERY ISFJ but answered the questions as a Thinking type and was convinced his INTP result was accurate; in his case, I think for all of the above reasons.

There is also a fair amount of variability even within each type; the descriptions are of tendencies and prevalent patterns. While I test as INTP and all of my MBTI-interested associates say I embody the general description, I also differ from a few of the tendencies – possibly in a similar way:

While I do tend to think a lot, I think my pensive tendencies give me a greater appearance of intelligence than I actually possess, most things I’ve done that some have called ‘creative’ are lackluster in my opinion (also ‘creative’ does not necessarily mean ‘artistic’ but may be just non-formulaic in some way), my curiosity is limited by the realization of my limited existence, and innovation is limited by resources, personal capacity, and the conditions of the environment that the person is placed in (for instance, ‘creativity and innovation’ may not be desirable in administering anesthetics in the hospital). As far as not believing in a “spiritual higher power”, that tendency seems to be a result of the prevalence of scientism (especially in the presumption of scientific materialism) in the psyche of modern western culture. Reading from prominent probable INTPs from the past shows that atheism is not a requirement, but only a current tendency of that type. From what I have heard (I have not verified this in depth, myself) the early founders of the main scientific fields tended to actually be theistic, and most of the philosophers and logicians believed in and reasoned from the existence of god(s). Holding the position of the existence of a ‘higher power’ is not contrary to logic or thinking itself but is merely a conclusion that many/most modern scientific-materialist-inclined thinkers believe to be incorrect (or to many, merely unanswerable).

Managicall (not verified) says...

You are apparently an INFP, you did not hone the first test and no results are exactly the same but it just does make evidence.. /end parody

100% thinking or not INTP, The Thinker.

WeissEmil (not verified) says...

You're ISFJ mistyped 

iv (not verified) says...

Stay calm, me too.....anyway those tests can never reflect 100% your personality...I mean, we are so different and, also, so unique as just cannot include one's personality in such a rigid do whatever you want with your life and don't let anyone tell you you're not good for that if you realy think that career path is for you

Riri (not verified) says...

Thanks for the tip it actually comforted me 

Michael of Michigan (not verified) says...

Good point. There are a lot of variables. While the categorization is generally useful for explaining tendencies, there are a lot of factors not being considered that would affect the manifestation of the personality.

Jason Menzies (not verified) says...

I just go by the descriptions.  I test as 'INFP', but strongly indentify with INTP.  Take a look at the opposite functions and descriptions -ESFJ, ESTJ, and ENFJ, and also related types to INTPs that are feeling: ISFP, INFP, ENFP.  The tests are not always accurate.  Therefore, I just use them as a guideline.

Riri (not verified) says...

My problem is that I went through all the descriptions and did not find a single type that matches my personality. The test here suggested there was a great chance of me being an INTP or ISTP and a good chance of being ISFP but none of their highlighted traits match me

Jason Menzies (not verified) says...

Don't forget about ISFJ either!

Apersononplanetearthnoneofyourbusiness (not verified) says...

I though that INTJ types were referred to as "Architects"...

Anyways I'm an INTJ but on this website it says "Mastermind" not "Architect"

shel (not verified) says...

anyone knows about dumb intp careers?


raccoon (not verified) says...

who hurt you my guy

What even is a name? (not verified) says...

Never thought i would be considered a 'logician' however this being the case i'd be interested in chatting to another logician, just to see what i'm like in conversation.

Michael of Michigan (not verified) says...

I repeatedly tested as INTP and all of my MBTI-interested associates say I embody the description (aside, perhaps, from "ingenious"). 

My discussions usually look like an irritating nit-picking of distinctions in the comparisons between, or analysis of, some philosophical proposition in a Youtube comment section of a video in which that proposition was raised. Usually I just bore people into dropping the conversation. IRL I try to tone it down a bit and only occasionally insert my unwelcome overthinking to bog down the conversation.

From what I have heard, it can either go very badly or very well when two logicians 'go at it'. In descriptions I have read (and observed in myself), logicians tend to treat discussions not as an engagement with another person, but as a 'sounding board' to add perspective to their own development of their idea in their own mind. If both are trying to direct the conversational flow along the lines of their mental 'model' of whatever they are talking about, differences between these models can lead to irritation. If these differences are each examined and discussed, there could be a long digression into consecutive tangiental concepts and distinctions. If not examined, the party that disagrees with model as presented may become irritated or disinterested, as the distinctions or corrections they may wish to propose are several 'steps' in the past, are already being treated as 'assumed', and are acting as a basis for a larger standing structure of propositions and inferrences. On the other hand, if taken either collaboratively or as a chance to compare models, it could be refreshing for each party to actually find an interested party willing to engage with the ideas.

Mrpsly247 (not verified) says...

A logician here.. A chat between us would just be a series of fill in the gap with what you consider the most appropriate innuendo.. Lol but seriously, nice to meet u.

secret (not verified) says...

I couldn't believe at first that I'm a logician. But after having read through the explanations, they do make sense to me. But I don't think I'm that heartless with zero empathy. It's just that when people start crying instead of tackling a problem that has obvious solution, I got impatient at them...

The thing with learning and changing career goals due to fear of failure tick 100%!!

I don't think I'm that smart either. I still don't know many things and have a lifetime to learn. But it's true that I have broad interests and once I understood a subject, I moved on to the next. If I were more diligent and persistent, I could have been the best in the world for that particular subject, instead of being jack of all trades.

Fickle bee (not verified) says...

I've never felt this ordinary in my whole life (LOL). I usually nod and simply smile when others talk about themselves and their interests because I cannot relate, most of the time, but these comments hit home.

Everchangling (not verified) says...

So with you there Fickle bee!  I loved and laughed at Michael of Michigan's description of conversation because it rang so true!  So refreshing to read all of these comments.

Mrs Shreck (not verified) says...

This comment is so INTP-ish I can relate, you know you are INTP when you don't think you are smart but everyone around you is of the contrary opinion lol its called self-doubt we INTP's are good at it. 

S (not verified) says...

It's not a big deal, but in case you didn't notice and would like to correct it: under INTP Strengths it says "Analytically brilliance" 

That is to say, either "Analytically brilliant" or "Analytical brilliance" would be correct. 

(: I love the article though, not trying to seem critical or nit-picky! I've enjoyed reading through all of them, in fact. Thank you for making them available free of charge.

Araven says...

Took test a few minutes ago. Read the 4 sub-pages. Wow has this thing got me pegged!

I'm 68/m and I'm not sure if this does me any good at my stage of life but certainly been an interesting diversion.

Totally messed up personal life yet "da goto guy" professionally,

Field Service Engineer, certificated adult-ed teacher in my profession, love to teach anything I have mastered, World traveler, Multiple languages, Linux user, bored easily - 35 jobs in 40 yrs, SF reader and wannabe writer, hate crowds especially noisy crowds, NOT a party person unless filled with like personalities, *inventor-problem solver*, clothing styles couldn't care what I wear, risk taker, philosopher, soto Zen, Architects have seen my home open on tour and asked who designed my house and were stunned when I said I'm my own architect. Atheist as young know-it-all now realize insufficient data. High IQ (per grade school psychological testing to see what's "wrong" with me) but barely graduated HS bored outta my mind lol. I tend to find myself in charge of group projects but I never understood how that happened. Independent to the point of rebellion. "Does not follow instructions well" LOL ! . Find relationships tedious,

Ayishanihak (not verified) says...

 I am an intp for sure . But I always has straights As in school . But other than that I fingd most of it relatable . I guessi is because I give up being lazy in studies when I was 6 grade. And I love mathematics physic and science . 

William Andrews Hermenegildo (not verified) says...

How about philosophy? I'm interested in that.

Jen Ytal (not verified) says...

My personality test results said I was an INTP, but I'm too weird to be aloof. I think a lot, and I'm atheist, but I'm not an introvert. I'll have too checc out ENTP.

My name (not verified) says...

Hey when your taking the test, you have to consider how/why your responding. What I mean is question why you're really answering the way you are. Is that how you really respond to situations or is that your perception of yourself.  Knowledge of self, as far as I'm concerned, is a prerequisite to mbti tests.  I tell this to many people who I've seen bomb their test, then I have to reiterate to them what I had already said at the beginning which is don't just answer the question. Really consider your past and how you've dealt with those scenarios. That's how I took them and it's really weird, enlightening, and frightening how accurate it is. Good luck

Fez (not verified) says...

By the time i thought of this i have answered 80%, what about the time i spent, and the results are related. A review is enough i guess

BEN DOVER (not verified) says...


Hue G Rection (not verified) says...

I DO!!!!!

One Day I Won't Regret Writing This (not verified) says...

I'm INTP-T on the result, but with 49-51 Introvert and Extrovert, and 49-51 Assertive and Turbulent which is I found it almost a balance (unless you believe it must be exactly equals, 50-50), and I would like to state something:

It's close to right, but not works for everyone, that is why there is percentage that we really need to take a damn look to it. I will take myself as example, I will get another 2 point on the other hand, and I will become another personality type. And it goes for you, if you got close score like this, just consider yourself as the middle of the both personality. That way, you can a better sight for yourself.

Makes sense?

Derp (not verified) says...


Wrong, I don't believe this for one minute. [Because that's how long it takes an INTP to change their mind (I actually agree with the article)] I'd have to say, the perfect INTP career is one that first and foremost, doesn't deal with people. (Unless it's to say, "Here's my idea!".) Second, it has to be progressively more intellectually challenging every day. Even something you love in the moment can suddenly become boring as hell once you realize that you absorb everything like a sponge. 

The perfect career for an INTP:

"Eccentric Millionare Philosopher Philanthropist Explorer Astronaut Scientist Quantum Physicist" - Anything else isn't satisfying




GirlSam (not verified) says...

Yes, thank you. That is exactly the job I want. Everything else is hell and boring. It is all hell. I want to be an eccentric millionaire philosopher philanthropist explorer astronaut quantum physics scientist who in her spare time aspires to be a piano concerto. Anything other than that life, is not what I want. I've been saying this since for years. People say I am a dreamer. No, that is what I need. It is not a dream. I need, another 150 years extension because it took me my current lifetime to figure out what career I want. And it is that. What you said. Verbatim.

FERMOR (not verified) says...

This thouroughly made me laugh, thanks!

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