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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!

Comments

Guest (not verified) says...

I agree with what a few fellow INTP's mentioned before; although we rely heavily on logic and reason, we may use that to come to the conclusion that a Higher Power does, indeed, exist. Because of this, apologetics may be a fitting field for those of our tendencies.
I am grateful for the explanations presented here because they provide a lot of comfort; as a young female, I am often alienated from my peers for being so darn different. INTP articles explain the reasons for this very well.
It is also important to note that we are not heartless, but we simply have different priorities.
In closing, INTP's are awesome.

Guest (not verified) says...

I so agree. I just turned 22 and the second someone mentions Kylie Jenner's lips, I want to walk away. Of course, they're offended when I don't want to talk about celebrities or shopping.

Guest (not verified) says...

I also agree, and you literally describe my exact feeling I get everyday. Even when people are not into the whole celebrity thing, there reasoning behind it is usually irrational and has no logic behind there reason. There reason is simple to be different than everyone else.

Guest (not verified) says...

I agree with you about the higher power thing. I only didn't like what it said about INTPs and children. I LOVE children, and I'd rather be with them than people my own age, most of the time. Everything else was pretty spot-on.

Guest (not verified) says...

I agree 100%. I was actually kind of shocked when I found out that INTPs were the least likely to believe in God. To me God IS logic. Everywhere I look I see Him. I can't understand how anyone, ESPECIALLY and INTP can't see this. Aren't we all about theories? Screw whether I can prove it. Once I've gone through it all in my head and I can see the logical progression of something, I'm good. That is how I feel with God. I don't care that He can't be proven right now this instance, logically I know he does.

Randomguest (not verified) says...

I just want to point out that your logic is overwhelmingly flawed. You supported nothing of what you said aside from it being logical to believe something you can't prove. I'm sure you can see that fallacy. Also virtually no prominent INTP is/was religious, so the statement said in the article may not be true for you, but is for people who fit the criteria for INTP more accurately. If it isn't blatantly obvious, I am also apart of the INTPs.

ahead says...

@RANDOMGUEST (NOT VERIFIED):

..."your logic is overwhelmingly flawed. You supported nothing of what you said aside from it being logical to believe something you can't prove"... = oxymoron

"Also virtually no prominent INTP is/was religious, so the statement said in the article may not be true for you, but is for people who fit the criteria for INTP more accurately." = "J" judging. Are you sure you're apart of the INTPs??

Can you see 'that fallacy' in your statement that is 'blatantly obvious'?

Genuine people, no matter what their personality type, have no need to put others down, to build themselves up!

Guest (not verified) says...

Sweet pea, it's called an opinion. I didn't need to support anything. Oh my goodness. Are 12?

Fallacy: An unfound argument. Nope sorry. I don't. Actually my argument is very solid. I have eyes. I can see the world. I analyze the probability of genetics and procreation and beating hearts. I know logically that it is impossible for all of these things to have been created by an accident or universal gases or something else.

You are soo right. There are no prominent INTPs that are religious. Um, actually, you might want to look into that again. And FYI, I fit the INTP description perfectly. I'm clearly more analytical than you which is why I came to the knowledge that there is a God. Peace out Homey.

Guest (not verified) says...

I wonder if you follow an organised religious structure? Or perhaps unanswered questions about the universe bother you and you realize they will not be answered in your lifespan. Leading you to organise uncomfortable gaps in knowledge into the category of 'god'. A reasonable, yet broad term. However all religions can be argued in the exact same fashion and merit, even those you might personally consider weird, evil, wrong, perverted. As someone said any prominent INTP, (a personality type of which only those of very superior intellectual ability would become prominent), has an aversion to religion. Not philosophy or spirituality. Apologies for grammar, not my strong suit.

Guest (not verified) says...

Strange that I'm an INFJ... But yet I have traces of INTP in me.

Guest (not verified) says...

nobody is 100% anything to be exact. of course we have traces of one another. there's a thing called an outgoing introvert and a shy extrovert. this personality types are showing your strengths and your dominant personality type. if anyone is "100%" at let say, introvertness or feelings, theyd be an alysum if i must say so myself because 100% feelings may cause extremely severe for depression or so (and no, it does not mean a "T" person cannot experience depression, or so, as we too, are human beings afterall)

Guest (not verified) says...

As a fellow INTP, I have persistent depressive disorder. I can verify your claim. Depression sucks badly. But I scored 64% "T".

BnoL (not verified) says...

As this article was written for me :) 100% accurate.

Guest (not verified) says...

Same

ARandomDude (not verified) says...

I feel like the person that wrote this has a sensor that reads my thoughts and records all of my experiences, like the thing in Ender's Game

Mr. Glass (not verified) says...

I'm just happy to know there is nothing wrong with me. Everything said was spot on. And now I also know why I have been so miserable. It's because I'm not doing what I was suppose to do as far as a career.

Guest (not verified) says...

Ha-ha, this is so funny. I have always been fascinated by the "google-nerd" type and found them extremely interesting. Also I have always dated someone that I would think at the time resemble some of that quality/trades. After doing the test and testing INTP, it suddenly make much sense. I've been accused of being cold and not cuddly enough before and think that it's just wrong. I love to cuddle, just not now and just not all the time- it's boring. I'm nice, but sorry if you can't handle the truth as I find it so very hard to lie. I'm not the technology or engineering type but, the science one. Love science, analysis and love being right all the time.

Delia (not verified) says...

Most of this is very accurate, but I can't stand math or computers. I'm much more fascinated by really abstract concepts about the universe, and also history, and also art. Not math though. Math drives me crazy. Everything else is freakishly true about me. Like REALLY. Is there a hidden camera I should know about?

Guest (not verified) says...

Myself , I was given the test by an employer in 1996 under a management course given by PENN STATE , and I tested out to be this INTP person , I let it go and went on with life . Many years later I took it on line and got the exact same results , as many years have passed between the two test , I was able to achieve a better understanding of its full meaning . I does fit me to the "T" and I couldn't agree more with the findings than if I were to have written them myself . Along the way I have found that I have had a lifetime of ADHD issues and continue with its many "gifts" to this day . The third factor being that I am a Sagittarius , who is of an open minded heart body and soul . Life can be a HIGH that's unimaginable and a LOW that can get unbearable , but it's still a lot of FUN and any other way would be boring .

Guest (not verified) says...

I am not sure if I am N or S how can I make sure

ahead says...

Good question.
From my understanding, "N" relies upon internal cues of certainty while "S" relies upon external cues.
For example, the old cliche: "I smell a rat" could be interpreted in two ways depending upon the "N" and "S" factors upon initially hearing it. "N" immediately interprets it as "something's not right", while "S" immediate interpretation would be the physical smell of a rat. Remember we're talking "immediate interpretation" (not overall interpretation).
I hope that helps.

ahead says...

"INTPs are perhaps the most intellectually profound of all the types." - Isabel Briggs Myers

That opinion and belief is the core of the true INTP. For the INTP, he/she knows this. Every personality type has it's own unique characteristics - that's what so nicely peculiar about each one. No one type is "better" than the other. Whatever your type, embrace it with joy.

Guest (not verified) says...

They say: "One of types least likely to believe in a higher spiritual power" but this I think is not true. I took the test and I am an INTP and I believe in God since I was a child. Also I know another INTP that also believes in God.
From what I know faith is not the effort of man, or the result of his personality, but it's a GIFT from God like any other gifts that God gives to men, from reasons that only He knows. So it doesn't matter what personality type you are, you can be a believer. The difference is in the way you believe or retrospect and even that is just a presumption.
I don't think that God made (some) people with a handicap to believe, it's like making God responsable for their disbelief and then guilty of it and then also God cannot ask a person why he didn't believe if He was responsable for that person's disbelief. If disbelief is a God's cause how they will be judged?
I cannot explain why a person believes and another doesn't. Maybe God cannot give that gift to some because they are not prepared, or because God knows that those people will become even more evil. God knows what to do in order to protect people from becoming even more evil, or in some cases from death. Everything God does is good, even if we don't understand or see that. The rest is people's choice, they are truly not on the path, otherwise is impossible for them not to find the truth. And if someone want's to find the truth, why not ask. Also for gaining faith.
I know a case that was on TV. It was a gangster that did a lot of bad things and at some point he began to pray like that:"God, I don't believe in You." and he begun to cry and felt something he never felt until then. I will not describe because I am not that person. He cried a lot and his life was changed beginning from that point. Now he works pottery in a village, he is married and has children, and lives a "normal" life.

I think everyone who is searching for truth will find it. That is written, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." (Matthew 7,7-8)

I think it matters that I'm orthodox.

Emilie (not verified) says...

I took this test and I got INFP and INTP as my two possible personality types. Honestly I think that I'm a bit of both. I'm highly emotional and make my decisions based on 'gut instinct' like an INFP. Yet I am blunt and critical like an INTP. I suppose that i value emotion and logic equally; I think that both qualities are important to me. Both personality types reject tradition and question the conventional ways of doing things. What I like about both mtbi types that I got is that they both have college professor and anthropologist and suggested career paths for me, which is what I want to pursue.

ahhhhhhhhhhhhh yyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeees (not verified) says...

I don't agree with the relationship aspect but other then that everything is correct

Funky Nun (not verified) says...

Although the overall description is on point, I find it that I'm kind of an exception even within the INTP group, because I'm not a scientist (I'm a translator) and I do believe in a higher spiritual power (albeit not because I want to, but rather as a result of my analytical thinking and reasoning).

Guest (not verified) says...

I am an INTP currently pursuing electronics and communication engineering although what interests me is computer sciences (I'm pretty good at coding than my fellow mates). Took electronics as a conflict of interest and regret it, I guess.
But now I'm interested in the financial stream. I'm thinking of making a switch but no way to know if I will regret this too later.

Other things that interest me are philosophy, psychology,music, physics.
But I do agree with the description. If only I could choose one career option that would give me absolute satisfaction!

Ripjaw (not verified) says...

I actually didn't realize I was an INTP, I like it, I am anti-social and I am proud

Mark Lumpkin (not verified) says...

The comments above are clearly written by INTP's. Most are to busy analyzing the analysis to understand they are proving the accuracy of the test. You guys kill me with how some picked the test apart to prove their argument.

margy (not verified) says...

wow! im shaking right now! i took the test and checked up my results INTP....i was like "how do these people know these things about me? i dont recall giving an interview?! i found myself nodding along and laughing at the truthfullness of the description.
i love to write, i love to think, i love to gain knowledge, to analyze, and think some more. i can get irritatingly (to others) technical about tiny details. i challenge everything. i have lots of friends and love to have fun but i always feel misunderstood and different. in response to guest: its so funny how accurately you describe this recharging process. i experience the same thing. my social battery is shorter than the battery life of the iphone!!!im forever running to my rooom to think and be alone.

Guest (not verified) says...

Alcohol violations: I probably spent more time drinking than I did studying at university... Now I put that first-hand experience to good use by starting my own off-beat beer company!!! =D

Learning I'm an INTP has irrevocably changed my life and I feel I'm not alone in this anymore. I came to recognise my quirks and oddities as strengths and it gave me the confidence and belief in myself. This was especially true when I needed it the most, forgot what I was capable of and genuinely considered myself to be average (Academically, I have never been average, until the drinking started hehehe!) Understanding who I was gave me the conviction to pursue my heart's desire - to contribute by designing and building something beautiful and efficient from the ground up (It's a continual WIP because what these personality descriptions usually don't mention is we're essentially perfectionists! Anything and everything can be improved!) The experience has been utterly liberating, which is exactly how I want to live: with freedom. Not the pursuit of perfection part - I'm gloriously and curiously trapped by this!

I'm still a shy one so I'm won't be dropping my name or the beer company but I hope this read has enlightened you because I'm glad to finally share my gratitude for being an INTP with someone. Thank you and wishing all us INTPs find our acceptance and place in this crazy but wonderful world =)

Guest (not verified) says...

Any other female INTP preschool teachers out there? Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one. :) It seems like a strange choice, but there is actually a lot of theoretical and systems knowledge involved. I find the theory to practice link so fascinating. Also, our curriculum model emphasizes individual children's interests and growth from access to specialists, which I think resonates with any INTP who has gone through a restrictive, predetermined outcomes educational setting. Can you imagine if you'd been able to go to a school where you still met the core requirements, but you also got to choose what to learn and how deeply you could get involved in that learning? That's exactly what we do. And although sometimes the intense emotions of young children can be taxing, I cope because I understand why they react that way, and I know evidence-based ways to manage it.

Guest (not verified) says...

I am a female intp registered nurse. I have tested as such since I was in my teens. I can relate in that I noticed nursing was one of the "not recommended" jobs for intp. When I was applying to college I actually applied to engineering and nursing and was accepted to both, but chose nursing after a lot of personal reflection on what I wanted to spend my life learning. Like you, I find I excel at applying research and evidence base to practice, I enjoy analyising what each patient needs and adapting my approach appropriately, and am very effective in emergencies. I do struggle with relating to my co-workers at times, particularly in meetings when people cannot present facts or reasoning to back up their point. I also struggled in nursing school relating to other students, and the focus on people's experience and emotions, which is understandable after reading this, however nursing school made me much more adept at understanding emotion and adapting my approach accordingly. It also helped me develop into being more efficient and systematic, something that was not natural to me but now I find has improved all areas of my life. I think one of the strengths of this personality type is that if you do work that suits your values and provides ample opportunity to deepen your understanding of a specific area you will do well. I believe being conceptual and analytical can correspond to being adaptable because you have the tools to understand the world around you. For some of us, we devote these tools to understanding and helping people. I do not think you will meet a lot of intp preschool teachers, partly because there are relatively few female intps, and it is not a classic profession for an intp, but what matters is that you apply your strengths and find what you seek in your work.

Guest (not verified) says...

INTP = Intend Not To Participate

Christoph (not verified) says...

I have a friend that's an INTP and sometimes she's so hypocritical, and lies just to make herself seem competent or better than the person she feels is criticizing or scrutinizing her.
Sometimes she's way too expressive and overdoes it, and you never know if it's real or she's faking it...
Of course I don't compare her as a stock character for all INTPS, I'm just annoyed about her in that aspect.

I'm an ISTJ with developed N, so I can get along with her well enough.
But damn me, I'm always picking out the details XD

Guest (not verified) says...

People might think that I hate working in projects, but I actually just hate working with unintelligent people that don't give any worthy contribution to the project.

Evan Sutka (not verified) says...

I thought when i took my personality test that it would be wrong but it read me like a book i am in my 7th grade class and again i thought that it would be incorrect but i score high on map testing but get low grades and most of the things it says i agree with and i think it read me like a book i say

Guest (not verified) says...

Its nice reading the thoughts of people similar to me. I find myself constantly asking "why" and attempt to rationalize and over think EVERYTHING. I'm a smartass and difficult as hell to deal with. I'm just happy that now I know why

M8 (not verified) says...

I first took the B-M "test" some 20 yrs ago and was graded INTP. Then I took a repeat 3 days ago - INTP again! I am generally skeptical of such psychological testing do-dad's but I must acknowledge this gave me pause. So, I dug deeper in other places, following key-word leads, and I have found a solid connection with my own life's experiences. There are obvious differences of course, but I'd say the accuracy in my case is quite intriguing. I was mostly interested on how the INTP-type works in a personal and family as that is where my problems lie. At only 3% of the population the opportunities to be misunderstood are plentiful!!
Wish me luck as I attempt (now in retirement) to adjust my way of thinking to bring relief to those around me.

M8
Ret. Sr. Engineer
Fortune 500 Company

Cene (not verified) says...

Ditto - on The God thing: My preference is to be alone with God. - Actually- I spend most of my free time studying the architecture of the Bible. Must say- The descriptions were pretty dead on. Personally, I consider myself very cuddly. I don't believe I'm perceived that way. I have embraced being alone - relationship wise & just because I prefer being alone to be with my thoughts & studies. Less drama. I am a woman.

Moonfrost (not verified) says...

It seems to me that most INTPs, even if generally they/we have a lot in common, most of us are pretty unique because of that almost unbreakable and almost exaggerated individualism that we must have, I've only met I think one or two other INTPS in my whole 27 years of existence, and I would think no two INTPS have the same theories but we might still relate because of same train of though thing, but be stubborn with presented with new theories if we haven't thought them, and analyzed them thoroughly enough...

Cene (not verified) says...

And for the record- I do care very much about my appearance- has more to do with creativity & feeling confident, & personal style - not to the point of obsession - like body builders or anything like that; Also - as a former interior designer- my home is fabulous & my autobiography! Moved onto designing the garden ! Fabulous way to paint ... With plants ! So - that was off. And ! I'm the furthest thing from liberal there is on the scale.

Guest (not verified) says...

This is all very true. I am very analytical and push aside my feelings. I also don't believe in God but am highly spiritual through astronomy and history, always wanting to disprove religion. And I would say I'm really good with giving advice, being so analytical and solving other people's problems comes easy.

DaBoss (not verified) says...

This describes me well.

Tom INTP (Ireland) (not verified) says...

The description of an INTP describes me to a T. Only that my reading which I love is slow due to dyslexia and as an INTP I always thought about the meaning of life which has led me (44 year old) to a firm logical and reasonable belief in a divine personal being ie God from a christian perspective.

I'm Not Too Prepared (not verified) says...

I guess we all seem to agree to disagree and MENSA... Thank you for coming.

I'm Not Too Prepared (not verified) says...

I have never met another INTP. I'd be afraid to find out how annoying we are.

Ruse (not verified) says...

I am an INTP, and I'm thinking of become a copywriter or a market research analyst, but it's so hard to get experience. Disliked the rigidity of education system, so steering clear from anything that requires too much educational credentials. I'm surprised that teaching jobs are so unpopular though.

Calum (not verified) says...

I done some tests that said I was an INTP, so I googled INTP preferred jobs, this pops up and lists all the jobs that I've considered and also felt depressed about because I couldn't do them all in one lifetime.. I've decided to go down the Game Programmer/Software Engineer route. Been obsessed with computers essentially my whole life, and it's so scary how accurate these tests are.

Guest (not verified) says...

When I first took the test, I wondered a little until I read the profile. There I was, for sure. It was a great moment because until then I had trouble understanding myself. At last I thought, I have an understanding of why I am the way I am and could make some sense of myself. The thing that really got me - was a significant portion explaining that INTP's will gravitate towards science fiction and science. Also art, and often music. I am a graphic designer, love science, music, and I am a published science fiction writer. (I don't know if I can plug this or not moderators, but I published a sci-fi trilogy - the first book of which is - Escape To Phobos. Look me up if you - I am online everywhere) The MB profile clearly stated these professions, these interests as significant traits under the INTP personality. I also fell into many other INTP definitions as well. Not that it was easy to digest, BUT, it did explain a lot. This MB profile is fantastic- however, to other we will appear as somewhat divergent. In my case, I have learned a great deal, especially about finishing projects and publishing ideas. What good are ideas unless they help someone, unless they are put to use? That is the key to an INTP. To finish. To publish. To be heard. INTP's are special and given the right circumstances can achieve great things.

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