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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

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

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 individuals...you just cannot include one's personality in such a rigid frame...so 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"...

https://www.16personalities.com/intj-personality

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.

Cheyenneliuuu (not verified) says...

Hi I was wondering if we could make friends, since INTPs are apparently quite rare, and I find it really interesting to meet people my type (who are on same wavelength as my eccentric self).. I don't have much friends irl which may or may not be a sad reality, but I was hoping to build a community of Logicians as I do seek some forms of social connection.. I hope yall don't find me creepy tho.. yall can find me on telegram (omg im not asking for clout but here's my username: @/ayyywebaldin this is kinda embarrassing... >.< pls excuse my crackhead internet handle).

I've been on a journey of self discovery, and I've realised that a limiting trait could be my lack of interest to go beyond my comfort zone (especially in social contexts) and I really do appreciate the importance of exchanging perspectives and ideas. I think it will be nice if I could share some of my thoughts with yall, and maybe get to develop my listening skills (i.e. learning to respect people's opinions/feelings) bc that's kinda lacking rn...

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...

WHO KNOWS MYRA?

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...

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.

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