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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

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...

INTP-A

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!

Sheila1234 (not verified) says...

That is hilarious :)  When I was a kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian/astronaut/screenplay writer/movie director/musician...because, SOMEONE has to take care of the animals they sent up into space and make a movie/write a song about it.  I did not know they had stopped sending animals up into space when I came up with my master plan. :)

CADEER (not verified) says...

As I laughed at this comment it made me realize that it is quite accurate. Everything becomes boring once I learn it. However, to find true happiness as an INTP we must see that the nuances and even the smallest details of what we are absorbing is what should keep us interested in what we do. The best part is witnessing how our brains do not let go of problems and finds the solutions by making unlikely connections with what we have learned or the answer resurfaces when we are learning something new. There lays the (Aha!) moment. So satisfying. 

Mercedes (not verified) says...

Honestly though.... that career choice that you just described is exactly what I want! I got INTP-T.

Derpina (not verified) says...

Hear hear! 

This is what leads to job dissatisfaction with us. We bore too easily (or we are stuck dealing with people.... Ewww...) 

We master something and then want to tackle something new or the next, more complicated, step in the process and are often told "no".

My personal way of coping was to find a job that I can do on autopilot and where I am allowed to wear headphones. 

This way, I can listen to music (because my taste in genres changes daily), audio books, podcasts, the news, guided meditations, etc., while I work so that I can ignore the fact that what I'm actually getting paid for is snoozeville :) 

Derpina (not verified) says...

Hear hear! 

This is what leads to job dissatisfaction with us. We bore too easily (or we are stuck dealing with people.... Ewww...) 

We master something and then want to tackle something new or the next, more complicated, step in the process and are often told "no".

My personal way of coping was to find a job that I can do on autopilot and where I am allowed to wear headphones. 

This way, I can listen to music (because my taste in genres changes daily), audio books, podcasts, the news, guided meditations, etc., while I work so that I can ignore the fact that what I'm actually getting paid for is snoozeville :) 

Chinmay (not verified) says...

I think this is true for me . The careers written here are what i want to become.

Between ENTJ/INTP (not verified) says...

You guys, 

 

None of this is scientific. This is merely your perception of yourself. How others see you may very well differ than how you see yourself - which is why you seem to change your cognitive skills over time. 

Tamtrey3543 (not verified) says...

Nope, you're wrong. "This is merely perception of yourself" there are ways to get logically conclude traits of yourself. While it is not 100% concrete because it is a self-taken test. It still is very accurate at painting a general body of a persons personality as long as they answer honestly. This is because this approaches people's perspective on life and as a human you will have a preference over one perspective or another. And for the cognitive functions (Middle letters) those are already set-in-stone and have been approved by scientists. If you are honest about it and the test is good you will 100% consistently get the same two middle letters guaranteed.

smharclerode42 (not verified) says...

This is quite poorly worded, but the essence is generally correct. While it would be foolish to assume that one's MBTI score is some sort of infallible metric of objectivity, it would be equally as foolish to dismiss the results as an entirely subjective portrait of self-perception. Without even delving into the greater discussion/debate of whether or not perception = reality, it strikes me as a fairly straightforward & reasonable notion to suggest that the phrasing of the MBTI prompts (i.e. entirely in the 2nd person; based on generic preference/tendency) and responses (i.e. non-specific; [semi-]boolean w/ degrees of certainty) should/does eliminate a vast majority of the potential variance due to the subjectivity of self-perception, subconscious prejudices/biases, or what have you. 

Having said all of that, I'd also note that one's MBTI results are nearly useless without the corresponding percentages by category. I know that's a fairly obvious caveat, but still...for the sake of accuracy & clarity, I found it important enough to include. 

(PS - ...just out of curiosity, how blatantly obvious is my MBTI-code, simply based on the above response?)

jacob273 (not verified) says...

some of this hits home, because i love logical puzzles and i am proud of my intellect (although i would never admit it) and many people would call me a dreamer, but this "thinking about the universe" sounds so presumptuous to me that I cant really connect to it. I mean i like to argue about stuff, but i dont like sounding like a college student on a Party who wants to hit on ladys

Christopher (INTP) (not verified) says...

That doesn’t sound like an INTP to me. Are you sure you’re an INTP and not something similar? A lot of INTJ’s think they’re INTPS. I’d do some more research.

zach4535345345 (not verified) says...

INTJ's are statistically less common, so im not sure what your source is on that. 

Oel Robert Scott (not verified) says...

I was an ENTJ five years ago. I recently tested as INTP. I can say I have changed my way of viewing and interacting with the world over these five years.

Funny enough I am an Architect.

I also do Graphic Design Projects in my spare time.

 

Amir Asef (not verified) says...

Is it really possible to CHANGE your personality?!

Ghwangz says...

I personally believe that it's quite possibly you can change your personality, especially over the span of 5 years, though very rare. 

R. Stephen Gracey (not verified) says...

The straightforward answer is, "No." Type does not change because that's essential to making the whole model work. The whole system of psychological type begins with the premise that we are born with a "true type" within us that we cannot observe directly, and which emerges as we grow. How we express our type evolves as we gather new experiences. How one reports oneself on the MBTI (since it *IS* a self-reporting instrument) may change over time, but in my experience, the better you know yourself, the more consistent the inventory's outcome. And for some people, the inventory cannot sort preferrences accurately. In my case, I often answer many of the items with "F" answers because I have worked Extraverted Feeling principles into my web of values. That doesn't change my nature as an INTP. It just means that the inventory doesn't work very well for me with respect to that preference.

Identifying your own type may come easily to some and may take longer for others, but rest assured, your "true type" does not change any more than your "handedness" changes. If you're left-handed, you're always left-handed, no matter how much skill you may develop with your right hand.

katyatoo (not verified) says...

I have type tested as INTP since I was a teenager and the test was done by a psychologist with a scantron form.

Just within the past few weeks browsing Quora I've read a lot of material about and by people that identify as INFJ and find that the majority of what is described is accurate for me.

I would have likely been on team "type doesn't change" before because that was my experience. Now I'm curious what the heck is going on- did I start as INFJ and adopt INTP to cope with life? Am I really an INTP that has developed FJ over time? 

I'm leaning more toward FJ that adopted TP. Or maybe I just have very little preference or alternate dependent on circumstances.

Who knows? My mom said I had a distinct personality change at a very young age (possibly related to trauma) and that before that I was more extroverted.

Maybe I'm an ENFJ in disguise. 

Luan (not verified) says...

Yes you can. 2 years ago I was ENFJ. People do change over time

Jimmy james (not verified) says...

No you cannot.

NoraLF (not verified) says...

Yes, ofc. I change between E/I and T/F frequently.

Jimmy12354322 (not verified) says...

The personality function stack develops over time and is the person's primary cognitive way of adapting to the world, and although it is not static, and the unconscious functions can be developed, they will never perform better than the person's dominant conscious functions. In the case of the INTP, the conscious function is introverted thinking with the opposite in the unconscious, extroverted feeling. 

Salosimlenoel (not verified) says...

Actually very interesting how scarily accurate this is for me,

I've currently been struggling as a Team leader in Sales, not because I'm incompetent but because I don't have a "flamboyant energetic attitude". I can do everything right but because my attitude doesn't fit and feel like an outsider at times.

Interstingly enough, I've been thinking about studying and Engineering is actually something I've been considering doing

clo Ndigq (not verified) says...

Hey  Solsimenoel My names  clondaggr and I came across your comment under an article about INTPs . I’m just reaching out to let you know your not alone I was recently just in a sales position myself and struggled to become a team leader and also rethinking my decision of going back to school for computer science I would love to chat more on the topic of your hardships you faced and how you overcame them. 

P.S don’t mind my grammar  

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. 

CJT (not verified) says...

You sound (read) like an INFP. Without even having to examine the implications of your post, it's obvious by the shear number of times you used "feel" to describe your function/purpose/longing, your dominant function is introverted feeling. You "go with the flow" and can assimilate socially or "be anything" bc your constantly internalizing subtleties of other people's emotions and feelings (whether you notice it or not).
As a INFP, your seeking for things to fit into your internal value system (so you appear sociable and extroverted bc you value popularity and merit).
your extroverted function Ne (the trait you show the world) is your intuitive function. Meaning you are open and exploratory, flexible and adaptable to new feedback and info. It is the reason you don't show or behave as if you have a strict agenda/external purpose.
Taking in information IS your secondary agenda/purpose!  Therefore, your extroverted function allows you to intuitively navigate social scenarios and adapt to whichever social persona is most appropriate. (And your dominate internalized Feeling function (Fi) gifts you w the innate ability to embody nearly any personality you choose. This is bc your extraordinarily versed in the nuance of emotions and feelings since you internalize Or introvert your Feeling function. 

You don't make choices or execute actions often, bc your a Perceiver, not a judger.  You avoid closure and decision bc as a perceiver your always awaiting new info to process and inform. (So you can evaluate how you feel about something before deciding) You incline towards organizing your inner world vs your outer world. Meaning rather than structure and organize your External world with objective choices, tight schedules, deadlines, planning, appointments, and systematic order, you prefer freedom from demands and strict guidelines in your external world. In other words your not a type A character.

So your organization happens internally.  Meaning you spend more time in your head, trying to sort your thoughts and feelings about things and what they mean, and who you are, and how "this or that" feels.  Studying "everything else" is how you study yourself! It just doesn't appear that way.. By studying everything else, your discovering how you reflect, relate, feel about it. This sculpts you're internal world. Your reflective rather than decisive and orderly. As such you need info to reflect on. So you trade commitment, speedy action, and decisiveness for the liberty and freedom to address things as needed, at your pace (usually last minute) so that you remain able to continue evaluating your options and construct internal value systems. 
Also, INFP's don't express themselves to the world bc remember, you INTROVERT or Internalize feelings and keep that inner world to yourself. Bc your attune to feelings you can adapt to the Emotional or social climate of your environment. You understand other people really well, you just don't extrovert your true self. 

You can find desire and meaning by understanding the dichotomy between your introverted cognitive processing and your desire for social acclaim. They don't have to contradict eachother. Just utilize them appropriately to serve your purpose (which you will eventually develop). Remember you are a SEEKER by nature so don't fight it. Follow your depth. That is your purpose. When your ready to share that with the world, your extroverted intuit will know what to do! 

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.

R. Stephen Gracey (not verified) says...

RAH!!!!  :) There was no truer INTP thing ever written! We are the masters of proper grammar, cleanly commented code, consistent naming conventions, high-precision tools, clear analysis, and complete explanation. (We also use a comma before the conjunction in a series.)

Don't make me work out the team's vacation schedule, though. My head will explode! Too many variables, and too many of them that involve team members' feelings!!!!

smharclerode42 (not verified) says...

"We also use a comma before the conjunction in a series."

Wait, even THAT tiny detail is characteristic of INTP's?! GTFO of here...I mean, it's one thing to rationally understand that "free will" is a wholly illusory concept, but it's another thing entirely to realize that even one's cherished, minute idiosyncrasies can be entirely attributed to a 16-category personality index. Bah, humbug and all that fun stuff.

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. 

Juicy (not verified) says...

Absolutely!
I wish I would know people like you in real life....

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....

 

R. Stephen Gracey (not verified) says...

That's true, but we don't all have the gift for mathematics. I'm verbal, not quantitative. I'd never have made it through an engineering program. But I studied six languages and can draw up tables comparing and contrasting grammatical structures. :) Type teaches us:

  1. How we are like EVERYBODY of our Type.
  2. How we are like SOME PEOPLE of our Type.
  3. How we are like NO ONE ELSE of our Type.

I'm really wonderfully surprised to meet other INTPs whose processes are so similar, yet whose skills are so different.

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 )

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