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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!


Latebloom789 (not verified) says...

Yes that is true. It was only from my natural responses to people and environment whenever i am uncomfortable was i able to see what i naturally fit in. Although i am not a hardline theorist, logician or debater, from my coworkers in training, i was found to be more analytical, prone to asking deeper questions (overanalyzing) and into debates though i don't often see the it as a debate. Think i am more pissed when i am asked to shut up more than state my point or their point. And i am really irritated when people would rather move on quickly than delve on a topic. Also i used to think that my adhd factor might have something to do with it which somehow contradicts some of my functions. And also that lack of self awareness, as well as lack of social experiences made me at a loss for the judgement of my character.

Sigh. I also found out that when i have an intensive knowledge about the subject, i find myself being more keen in my use of the appropriate word. And this is something of a hindrance in the faster paced sales career like in the medical representative fields. Now if only i was able to recall the precise and most direct answer at a faster rate, i think i could do well at it. But i often miss non verbal cues or misinterpret them or at the worst find a loss of possible reaction i could give. Which just might somehow be a hindrance. I am in the process of trying to do it. Dang it. Im an outgoing intp but i lack experience in social situations...yet i am trying to enter into a socially extensive job. But it is the only way i can know myself fully as opposed to staying in the comfort of the family business.

David S (not verified) says...

That is the point of experience, to shape and or temper your personality.You were born with a personality that gets shaped through experiences. Your base personality never truly changes, experiences cause you to make small adjustments and some of those adjustments are taken from other personality types.
I really like this forum and website, one of the very few places where intelligent conversation is the norm and analytics is cool!

Jane Cando (not verified) says...

mine as well it`s really not easy to accept some of it but their are parts that says "most of intp`s" so don`t feel too down about it

renhel.ellehcim says...

also there can be categories you're the border for i'd suggest also checking out because they give you a percentage for how strong you are in each category

Stardust (not verified) says... This guy is phenomenal in his explanations of how we INTPs function. His articles feel like they are telling my life story. Maybe it will help give better insight into your inconsistencies.

The Stranger (not verified) says...

Check out INFP and see what you think

Guest (not verified) says...

I think your response is very INTP.

Guest (not verified) says...

I wonder how much is gender-specific, because I, too, do not relate to some of it. I am a philosopher, but am socially tied in enough to dress appropriately and try to be polite. It has occurred to me in the past, when my mind has been engrossed in something to the exclusion of some of my environment, that if I were a man, people would probably think me an absent-minded genius. But as a woman, they mostly think I'm a ditzy blond.

Guest (not verified) says...

THIS. My whole life. Ugh.

Guest (not verified) says...

I feel like this would have been a struggle especially for INTP women in the past as their personalities would have definitely contrasted from what was socially acceptable at a time such as the Victorian era. It would be interesting to find out how they would've got on living in a position suited better for sensing, feeling types.

carita (not verified) says...

I felt exactly the same, untill it all made parfect sence. Now, im just proud to belong to this group of geniuses.

Claudiaintp (not verified) says...

I believe people can hover between more than one personality type; you are not necessarily solely intp :)

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

Interesting idea bandied about by INTPs in an INTP forum:

INTPs are the type to most doubt they were identified for the right personality type. So they go off to analyze & analyze & analyze if they may be something else. And they always end up back at INTP, but still they go "I don't know..."

Rinse and repeat.

If that helps.

EnnCee (not verified) says...

I am not sure, but it seems to me this inventory is based on identifying polarities in personalities. As we work on our own issues and continue to bring balance and reconciliation into our characters, the questions/answers may appear to produce more ambiguous results. This is, perhaps, a reflection of our movement toward a center.

Even with the ambiguity in several areas, I found the INTP to be spot on when I sat and actually thought about how I live my life. I think, for me, the over-riding quality was my incredulity when other folks just seem to skip over the facts to reach an emo conclusion. This makes me more remote in many cases than I would like to imagine myself to be because it sets up a such a distance between me and others...not what I'd like, BUT 'tis what I am. After taking a deep breath and re-reading the profile, I am slowly coming to terms with the traits...just another step on the path. No matter how we profile out, it is a step toward becoming content in our owns skins.

DAHLIA (not verified) says...


Salvine Perea (not verified) says...

I feel the same way too-So much I would like to change though

SuperGuest (not verified) says...

Just treat it like the new horoscopes. It's not going to totally fit, but if you gain a little insight from it, all the better

Guest (not verified) says...

I understand your sentiment, at the same time that I feel this personality type suits me 95%, accurately nailing most aspects for me that I had never been able to describe before, I for example also have a conflicting showy side; I genuinely enjoy performing when I am prepared, + in that scenario only I don't mind being center of attention, but all of the rest still holds true- I argue loved ones to death in constant pursuit of the truth, value intellect over all else, and am terrified of meeting people, will rarely respond to strangers and am incapable of small talk. I have never found a description that covered all of my traits. Try the quiz again reconsidering certain questions from perspectives of different scenarios, see if you find any different results. I took something like this 9 years ago & 80% disagreed with my outcome then, this time I got something completely different, & it fits so much better.

Mychajlo Miller (not verified) says...

I am INTP and I identify with it, but I share some characteristics of ENTP because I am an ambiovert. Perhaps you are in the middle of two letters like this. When you look at the results, check to see which letters are close to 50 (within about 11-15) and then look at the opposing letter. Maybe you are like me!


AStrangeWildWanderer says...

It's probably that you have elements of the other types within you however this is the most prominent and you don't have to accept what it says about you but it may still be correct about your type and if you don't want to hear it then it seems that you have a bias against what it says.

Though I did both the normal and the in depth versions of this quiz (both were free) and both times it came up with a tie between ISTP and INTP with a with the in depth one  and a tie between 8 of  the personality types because of how I had answers that lead to a tie between Extraversion and Introversion, Intuition and Sensing and Judging and Percieving, however on most other websites they end up getting mixed results between an INTP and an ISTP so if anything I'd say I'd be the one being constantly mistyped.

If that was the result you got on the first try then you are probably that but if you don't believe it then do the test again a few months later and see what your results are if they are different then you could have been mistyped but if it's the same then you wren't mistyped. If you do the test on other websites and you get the same results then you are that type but if they differ then you may have been mistyped or you have a narrow gap between the two (or more).

Marshall Erling (not verified) says...

You could possibly be a "split" in a particular category. In my case I am as much an INFP as INTP.

AnonINTP (not verified) says...

You aren't an INTP... you'd be sure of it if you were ;) Go take some tests

RogerINTP? (not verified) says...


I can completely identify with your reticence to identify with this type. I consistently score as an INTP. I’ve been obsessed with determining if it’s an accurate assessment (which I gather is a very INTP characteristic). I don’t particularly identify with the stereotype of an absent minded professor, and feel that I’m quite socially & practically  competent. However, I detest arbitrary structure/rules, small talk, rote learning, overly emotional people and asparagus. 

Seeing how this particular cognitive stack works, does clarify a lot of questions that I’ve always had with myself. It explains why being a chameleon comes so easy to me and why I struggle so much to identify with emotionally based people. It explains why I generally feel emotionally “neutral” unless placed under stress and why I feel so powerless when my emotions do become activated. 

Im still not certain how purely accurate any assessment can hope to be, but I believe it has been generally illuminating for me. There is the problem of degrees of preference and how it is all so circumstantial. I continually find myself questioning the questions, which I suppose is also characterized by the INTP model. 

I’m not quite sure how to apply any of this, but it’s a bit of validation that I’m not just nuts...

so that is a bit reassuring? 😐

Kate M PhD (not verified) says...

You commented this so long ago you may not see this but hopefully it will help others. Many times people can be more closely placed at the middle of the spectrums the personality test is based off of. This means that often times people like will find that taking the test at different times can chage their results. 


Guest (not verified) says...

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

Guest (not verified) says...

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

renee (not verified) says...

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

lustroustantalum (not verified) says...

This INTP description is incredibly accurate for me and I completely agree with all of you! I feel exactly the same way about interactions with others, especially when it comes to intimate relationships. Many conversations and (what I think are friendly) debates tend to come across in such a negative way and it takes a lot of effort not to come across as being so cold and distant in relationships, when really I am just non-traditional and prefer to do things (such as show affection) on my own accord as opposed to living up to traditional societal standards and expectations.

Missed up (not verified) says...

Totally agree. And for the record I would live to be warm and cuddly.. But if there's an intellectual argument involved I can't turn brain off :(

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm an INTP and I only know about one other person like me and I find it frustrating that other people do not see things at all the way I do. We should all start a new country for INTPs or something....

Edward (not verified) says...

An INTP country! Could you imagine! Businesses would work on flex time and telecommuting and emphasize the generation of ideas. We could design a working prototypes and outsource working out the fine details and fabrication to other personality type islands. Debates would be a national sport. No one would have their feelings hurt or be offended by a particular subject, as we would all be able to understand things from the different angles, and appreciate the debate as a means of education and understanding. Speaking of education, the schools, being run by introverts instead of extroverts, would focus on individuality, appreciating what makes you "you" rather than driving to have you conform. Imagine what the radio stations, TV programs, and movie theaters would be like! While we may not all like the same music, shows, and movies, I believe we like similar elements of each. It would be fascinating to see what media we would identify with and broadcast in our country.

Robot_Face (not verified) says...

Um... that's all true, but also consider how terrible we INTPs are with planning and deadlines. We'd definitely have to think of an alternate solution to keep infrastructure intact. The government would take forever to make any decisions. There would be a serious lack of people in any job that wasn't based on abstract concepts. Well over half the population would be male. It just wouldn't work. Maybe if we also included another type? INTJ? ISTP? ENTP?

Kendo (not verified) says...

I couldn't help laughing at your comments and Edward's: it's ALL SO TRUE, and a scream!
I am equally guilty!
What a world...
: ))

tally.bookman says...

We would be the happiest group of citizens to die a horrible death as anything and everything that involved detailed administrative and maintenance work would be entirely ignored and the accumulated problems spawn a plague or mass starvation ... or we all walk into the river accidentally as we happily discuss the meaning of life .... :-). Totally worth it though.

tally.bookman says...

We would be the happiest group of citizens to die a horrible death as anything and everything that involved detailed administrative and maintenance work would be entirely ignored and the accumulated problems spawn a plague or mass starvation ... or we all walk into the river accidentally as we happily discuss the meaning of life .... :-). Totally worth it though.

Goolia (not verified) says...

I foresee well-made documentaries as our go-to entertainment media for sure. I've taken the test several times over the years and find that I have learned to be ENTP at different periods in my life. I think a nice group of switch-hitters of all types would be appropriate for our new country otherwise everyone would sit around arguing by themselves.

Tyler Reid Matos (not verified) says...

Yes, that is a great idea!

engurch (not verified) says...

hummmmm. well im speechless.... this is so accurate.. im so wishing to meet and share with people of these mentality....... this is where I belong and I wish meeting people of this category............ if u know any way of meeting n relating with more intps pls share with me......

gregor (not verified) says...

I completely agree and identify with that. As being only 3% of people and 2% of women, we just arent as filly understood as some people. Though I did have a borderline personality type and can identify with traits from N/S and P/J, I think this test is quite good and I have gotten INTP before on other sites.

Guest (not verified) says...

Completely relate to this. I just took the test (from multiple sites) and discovered that I fall under the INTP (somewhat INFP) female personality. The description has certainly provided explanations to many befuddling questions... how I struggle to find people who think like me, why I have a small group of friends, or why I tend to bury myself in my own world when no one seems to 'understand' me. The only thing is I'm not sure where to go from here. I certainly don't know anyone who is an INTP and this makes it harder to get over some self-doubt issues.

Guest (not verified) says...

I feel you :/

Guest (not verified) says...

Me too

Rick Harrison x cassie (not verified) says...

true dat.

Prairie Girl (not verified) says...

I am also a woman, and on more than one occasion have been called a cold-hearted b--ch. I accept that I am perceived as "odd" or "strange."

I am an extreme introvert and I find it interesting that someone can balance between extroversion and introversion. When I was a teen, my mother asked me in great exasperation if I could be "normal." I could not grasp that I was not "normal."

Relationships have been challenging. My "feeling" is absent. I am accused of thoughtless directness, and inconsiderate of others' feelings.

my4salebox says...

Yeah, when I was in my early 20's and among a lot of new coworkers, I found out later (from a trouble-making guy) that someone described me as a "stuck up b!tch" after ONE meeting with me which was over a practical business matter in which I was trying to be professional (and was unsure of myself).

It really hurt my feelings because:

A. It's inaccurate, made with very limited information.
B. In that part of life, I ran around always feeling like I didn't belong with others, not the other way around.
C. I hadn't yet been exposed to a lot of strangers who would take me as a full adult out on my own. And people were, as I was finding out, not that careful with their wantonly hateful & train-wreck opinions. Up until then, most of my social circle were other geeky and sweet kids who were into "topics" and what we're learning in life. We weren't running around calling people b!tches or getting into petty "Oh no you di-int!!" fights.

Anyway, by then I was friendly with the person who called me that name (hence, the guy was trying to make trouble). So I swallowed the insult and kept the friendship. By then I knew she knew she made a mistake. And I began to realize some guys are capable of that rotten sh!t "Do you know what XYZ said about you?" that a lot of silly girls fall for. I've seen it a lot of times since before learning how to keep certain types of people out of my life.

In fact, I've been in absolutely absurd (and thankfully rare) situations where a silly girl has come up to me to challenge what I said about her, though I said no such thing. Other types can be infuriatingly damaging... and they call US cold.

Eh... I'm on a soapbox. I'll come down now.

my4salebox says...

Cuddliness... Don't you hate it when a coworker brings in a baby and people are like "Hey--awww!--Hey, a baby!" and they look at you like you're supposed to squeal and run over cooing? (As if they'd ever seen you squeal and coo before). When I was in the Army and one of their wives brought their babies in, the guys would ask if I wouldn't prefer to see the baby with the other women (soldiers).

Random guy peer: "It's a baby! Don't you want to see the baby? ... You know you wannaaaaa :D "

What PERSON did he think he'd been working with until then?!

I'd crawl in my skin at the social awkwardness I KNEW would befall me if I did (because then that would mean mingling with cooing, giggling mommies and wanna-be-mommies, and then getting the "Is she an alien?" vibe from them after a few minutes).

I simply declined. I was there to do army stuff, not to be held out as a freak... which was unavoidable if I went over to the baby or stayed away from the baby.

Jonathan (not verified) says...

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

Dominator (not verified) says...

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

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

Cassie (not verified) says...

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

StaceyAce27 (not verified) says...

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

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