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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!


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.

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.

Mack (not verified) says...

I didn't take this particular test so I can't comment on it, but I've taken many others including the full MBTI from a professional psychologist and they've all agreed. I'm an INTP even on days I feel like I don't give very INTP answers. The written INTP commentary seems spot on even if it seems a substantial rehash of what onther INTP sites say. Hmmmm, maybe there are only so many ways describe us. ;)

Anyway, hello y'all,

Happy with myself (not verified) says...

I took the test twice and it came back both times INTP. The description defined me accurately so why worry about what others think; it is illogical once you know you're not crazy. I now know why I don't fit in and just let the world go by doing things that don't make sense. Thank god for parallel universe's.

Listening (not verified) says...

After reading the thread, it feels like some are missing the preference part. What I've experienced in identifying has not so much been this particular type but understanding, self awareness, and all other types to be able to communicate with people more effectively. I'm sure we all feel we understand what the INTP is to ourselves individually but it's just that.

Guest (not verified) says...

Carl Jung is both INFP and INFJ? How odd.

NMO (not verified) says...

Whenever I read this personality description I think... so what's an INTP supposed to do who *isn't* some kind of creative genius? I have the personality type -- quiet, analytical, independent -- but I'm not very creative. I don't have any brilliant ideas for software or a novel or designing a building.

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

I promise this comment isn't a junk post (I don't want to use the S-word in case it's filtered).

But the site "Oddly Developed Types" is written by an INTP. I can't tell if it's a woman or a man... which should tell you something about INTPs when we write online.

Anyway, you'll do yourself a favor by reading it. It's highly creative, detailed and engrossing. Read his/her fictional account for what the INTP will do during the apocalypse. It's fun to laugh at yourself and how pathetically geeky our type just might present when in such a scenario.

I first read it about 5 years ago, and I still reread it now and then.

adley (not verified) says...

goolia, you were entp? Im intp, but then i took more tests and answered them as i would have in my early 20's. Came back enfp. So i took more and answered as i would at age twelve. Intp. After much thought i came to the possible conclusion that at that time people themselves were a focus of my study. Perhaps i unconciously changed so i could illicit more reactions from people. Almost like suiting up for a different work environment. Anybody else experience anything similar?

Guest (not verified) says...

I found this to be extremely spot on

Guest (not verified) says...

INTP is the Logician INTJ is the Architect

Guest (not verified) says...

I so fit this.
No wonder I don't make sense to people or myself at times..
Constantly I think there is no one like me.
Makes sense that it's only 2% of women making up the population..

Iris Rush (not verified) says...

The gender wage gap is a myth, with that being said how can i assume everything else they've stated on here correct....

It Is I (not verified) says...

Query: Has anyone noticed that at the top of the page, the personality type is listed as the architect, not the logician? I was under the impression that the architect was INTJ. Perhaps i'm wrong?

Victoria Martin (not verified) says...

I am very frustrated. First of all, I am a female. I have always felt I was different and at least now after finding out I am an INTP I know why. People at work don't understand my personality and seem to steer clear of me because I am different. I have trouble with the socializing. As an adult I have had trouble finding friends. I am awkward and I guess it is easier to just not deal with me. I am divorced, thank goodness, after 23 years of marriage, from an alcoholic. I am very depressed because I was a stay at home mom, for three kids and worked off and on throughout that time, so my resume isn't as strong. I have a B.A. in Communication Studies/Public Relations (I thought that was what I wanted to do}. I got married at 23. I keep getting turned down for jobs from my applications. I have had family members read my application letters and help with my resume, but I can't seem to find a good job. I want to learn new things, but no one will give me a break. I am currently employed but in a dead end job. I work hard. I have to, while every one else is off socializing, someone has to work.

Any suggestions?

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm an INTP, but I prefer to focus my time admiring animation, creativity, and art. I'm horrible at communication and it confuses me why the career possibilities need much socializing. If I am so passionate towards artwork and design what career choice will truly benefit me. I want my job to be related to tech because that field is where the future is heading, but I can't wrap my head around that subject. I take pride towards being an INTP, but it's difficult to be so incapable of social enjoyment. I've gone through so many thoughts to the point where my age seems to be nothing more a false perception, but at the same time, I feel ignorant to what's going on around me. All my thoughts are incomplete and all my ideas have been crafted through intuition with no real words to explain them. I keep reading about this personality type and admire how someone was able to explain it so well.

tereteretere (not verified) says...

i am an INTP and a preschool teacher... Altough I like my job, it's difficult and been wanted to quit :/

Spiritual INTP (not verified) says...

I am a spiritual INTP for logical reasons: If you truly have an open mind you'll have experiences and notice clues that will prove to you without a doubt that there's more to life than just modern physics and biology. If you deny the possibility of these things beforehand though they'll either not show themselves or you'll not be able to notice them. At least that's my theory, as I am not and never was ignorant myself. Your own perception is always worth more than any study or statistic, especially when it comes to such fundamental questions, so if you wait for scientific proof of god or whatever the trendy atheists want nowadays you only show that you don't take yourself and your own judgment seriously.

Guest (not verified) says...

I will believe this personallity test is 100% accurate when I get my hands on everyone's results and compare it to their real life. (I have been labeled INTP for 8 years now)

timhouse (not verified) says...

INTP 100% for those saying they are not sure they fall under this type must realize it takes time to grow into who you are and some do faster than others. Environment is also a factor and life experience it took me 28 years until i felt like I knew who I really was and actually valued it. You're an INTP if you're incredibly absent minded, if you're like me you experiment with drugs or smoke, you may play a video game to escape from the "real world" , you feel like an alien, had trouble talking to females when you were younger and social problems period , uncomfortable with saying I love you to parents, not as family oriented as you get older, listen to about every genre of music as long as it sounds Good, will randomly look at anything or think of anything that grabs their interest and immediately do research and try to understand meaning etc etc I can go on

Guest (not verified) says...

They put so much emphasis on the maths/computers/science side of an INTP! Having taken the test three times over two years, I am a pretty verified INTP, but find much more comfort in things like film and art and have zero interest in science...

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm the same way too always had a good ear for music. Also im assuming you were terrible at math because I was too but you may be forgetting your writing power. We're great writers as well.

TheGreekINTP (not verified) says...

I have been struggling for over 3 years to find out what career and bachelor is more suitable for me and what I really want to do as job.
Well, this website and before it the "The Myers Briggs" website, ABSOLUTELY BLEW MY MIND!!!
How some written lines clearly depict your own self, a person who you couldn't define yourself a moment earlier!
Truly amazing. So well-built, useful and unbelievably spot-on. Well done Well done.

And thank you. A lot.

INTP-Josh-582 says...

i posted this is a repy to another member's comment, but i thought that it deserved a thread in it's own right--and it goes as follows: we (INTP's) are the coldest humans, but the WARMEST machines. but make no mistake, as an actual human being, i DESPERATELY want to utilise my Fe much more than my capability allows me. i desperately seek human connection--i just don't know how to be successful at that grand endeavor of mine to the level of success that i desire. my inability to properly read social cues is my achilles heel, i.e. not picking up on when someone close to me needs emotional support based on non-verbal communication such as body language or ambiguous hints. this has damaged all of my romantic relationships, as well as putting strains on my familial ones. but yes--we are like the warmest, gentlest robot that you'll ever meet. just allow us to articulate our ideas to you in our manner of communication (monologue form in most cases) and do not argue a point based on your emotions and we'll get along just fine. and for the love of god (in my way of thinking: the perfection of the universe--i suppose you could cal me an agnostic deist) JUST TELL US when you need emotional help because we will most likely NOT pick up on your non-verbal cues. be concrete in your pleas for need because ambiguity will not get you what you desire from us. and just understand that most of us WANT to establish deep human connections with others, we just don't quite know how that process works. and if you romantically like us, DO NOT PLAY GAMES--just tell us; that being said, we'll tell you right back whether or not we like you. but don't get offended if we say that we are not interested—we value the truth above all things and our honesty can come off as quite brutal at times, but spreading misinformation is tantamount to sinfulness to the INTP. treat us gently—for most of us carry around a child-like innocence to us; and despite our outside appearances of cold aloofness, our feelings can be very fragile. hope this helps…

UnicornSquatchAlien (not verified) says...

We are cold machines that wish we could navigate our social lifes easier.  

My last job in retail was a living hell. I had to be extroverted to survive, and had to shut off a lot of my internal analytical thinking. It was hard to get through the days, but at the end of the day I would sit and disect all the concepts of what people had said that day, to find the truth of what they said. Now, I make custom cars and only talk to maybe 3 people, and my mind doesn't have to be overloaded on a constant basis. College and work turned me into an ENTP/ENTJ. But my oldest friend is an ENTJ and I am an INTP when alone. I look at my friends judgemental behavior to navigate annoying situations, but I can't help my freedom of thought. 

I almost think its a curse because your mind is always craving the next psycholigical stimulatio, a new puzzle to solve or concept to over analyize. What I like about my entj friend is he doesn't put much thought into things, he just chooses and goes, something that takes forever for me on personal decisions. 

The other problem is, searching for correct information and having consistancies is an obsession. I would like to imagine engineers have provided data they can work with, which we can proccess to no end and waste less time gathering data ourselves. 

I could ramble on more. 

Are INTP's really that cold? Yup were aliens


Patrick Flanagan (not verified) says...

INTP isn't tied to any one profession. INTP is more about the social dynamics of the work. INTP is simply happier in isolation working on large complicated problems. 

Oddly enough I know cab drivers who are INTP who love the job. Think about it. They get random conversations while not having to invest in anybody. They don't have to deal with red tape on the job, bosses or set schedules. They show up and work when they feel like making money. 

This rule expands out to every single profession out there. If your job has a little creative wiggle room and you are allowed to work in isolation you'll love the job. Conversely if it has little wiggle room and you can't work in isolation you will despise the job. 

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