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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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Guest (not verified) says...

this is incredibly accurate to me. how very bizarre.

Guest (not verified) says...

this is pretty accurate for me...combined with INTF its a dead ringer. I first read INTF and thought it was missing many aspects such as fixation on wordsmithing, passion for efficiency and extreme dislike for mundane tasks and beaurocracy. I work for the Fed Gov and I hate my life right now...pretty much b/c of the beaurocracy and mundane aspects that stress me out to the point of failing health. this is helpful to push me out the door and look for something more suited to my personality. why force a rhombus into a square hole??

Jennifer Miller (not verified) says...


Guest (not verified) says...

INTF? Perhaps you mean INTJ?
..also, I'd like to point out that squares are rhombuses. Pushing a rhombus into a square hole doesn't seem that far-fetched. ;D

Guest (not verified) says...

You mean INTP?

Mystic Michael (not verified) says...

For years, I tested out as being right on the border between INTJ and INTP. I believe that's mostly because I have trained myself to develop certain characteristics that may not be quite so natural for an INTP - such as emotional intelligence, and the ability to put abstract principle into actual practice.

However at the core of it, I'm definitely INTP. I'm most comfortable - and competent - in the world of abstract theory. I have a deep, inborn need to discover the operating principles behind all things. I am exceedingly precise in my use of language - even concerning mundane things. And I have a deep, abiding aversion toward all things petty, political, superficial and mendacious.

Guest (not verified) says...

This is all exceedingly interesting I'm dominant in INTP.

I consistently test as Introverted and Intuitive but I fluctuate within the feeling (F) and thinking (T), and judging (J) and percieving (P).

So depending on where I am in life I can come out as INFP; INFJ and INTJ as well. I had many temper issues as a child I felt isolated with my own thoughts about the world, I actually felt like an adult trapped inside a childs body with only children to talk too. I craved adult company so I could debate and reason and discuss logic, philosophy and society, primary school teachers, middle school teachers and secondary school teachers on the whole were not up to it. I was lucky enough to have 2 teachers in my whole time in school that managed to get any form of engagement out of me and I excelled in those subjects the others were an exercise in coasting whilst one other which I was completely opposed to studying as I could see no point I failed miserably, in fact I didn't care as it was pointless. As a result I did not go to University I could not face another 4 years in the education system that did not meet my needs.

I now have a legally technical job in an unusual tax field where I can utilise my knowledge of my 2 favourite subjects, sadly where once I had autonomy and could do things my way standard working practices have been implemented which are a real struggle for me as they defy logic, so whilst I had found my perfect job it is no more!

Anyway I digress, as a child I could not relate to other people at all and it got me into a lot of trouble and to resolve this the only logical thing to do was to develop those areas of my personality that were under represented which I think is reflected in my varying results.

Guest (not verified) says...

This website is excluding an important aspect of personalities and that is the functions. INTPs dominant function is introverted Thinking while extroverted intuition is secondary. Meanwhile An INFJ has a dominant introverted intuition and extroverted feeling yadayada. Anyways it's impossible for an INTP to understand a mind dominated by quick tendencies from the unconscious. I think this is where the Myers Briggs truly shines. Just pointing out this flaw like the good little INTP that I am.

Guest (not verified) says...

I thought this was pretty good, apart from the fact the aspect relating to children was totally wrong for me (having raised 2 alone and thrown myself into it fully and willingly) until that is I read some of these responses - now I'm left doubting the veracity of the test.

Guest (not verified) says...

I thought it was more about competency or ability to perceive emotional needs, than enthusiasm. Other types simply are better at sensing and connecting on an emotional level. Ask one, they'll tell you. Agree that natural mode for this type is to connect on ideas rather than feelings, even with kids.

Katharine (not verified) says...

Hi there, I am an intp but I don't come across as very 'cool'. Could this be because my main interest and area of passion is people and relationships. Thus, I am always interested in people and generally freindly towards them? Do any other intp's relate to this - perhaps particularly any other female intp's?

Saya (not verified) says...

I do think I am a more warm and friendly than a typical INTP and I think its mostly because that's what society demands from us and I adapt(pseudo-personality). While I refuse to divert from my more basic principles. I hate to argue and wish to settle things peacefully .I'm inclined to think I'm more of an ambivert than an introvert and i believe INTP is just a basic platform, it is up to us to be more than that . Don't box yourself in to a stereotype.I am a female INTP who loves art,psychology, music,science.I love to write,draw,coming up with theories and stuff. And I still have no idea what I should do with my life

diamondvrio says...

Hello Katherine.
I am also a female INTP. I think I may have a thought as to why you ask those very questions. We are known to find the human mind infinitely fascinating. I have learned to manage people in the way society has been enforcing into me since I was a child. I learned from others on how to study, manage, cope and blend into the social norms, so to speak. I use my social teachings that I had to use in order to understand people. People tell me things that are very personal that they would never say to others. Perfect strangers...waitresses,check out clerks, I am friendly so to gain their trust to learn about sociology. Being female is a definite bonus because we are perceived as less threatening and trustworthy? Just my theory.

Guest (not verified) says...

As a female INTP, I've noticed that as I've grown up and matured, I've felt more of a need to be with people. A lot of times, the emotional openness and outgoing personality that I've developed doesn't fit descriptions of INTPs. The main cause of this has probably been my friendships with actors, who are generally outgoing and friendly people. So, you may have just adapted to your group of friends/peers? For me, my interest in people is draining though, so my case may be a bit different. Also, a female, there often is pressure culturally to be friendly and fit in with the crowd. So, I'm guessing that the main cause here is just your situation socially. It's not really related to being INTP, but more to the personality that you've developed over time.

Guest (not verified) says...

I am a female INTP as well. Keep in mind that one of the defining aspects of being an INTP is a driving motivation to understand how the world works; that includes people. One of the most renowned psychologists (who was also greatly interested in metaphysics), Carl Jung, was an INTP. In my experience we spend so much time trying to understand and dissect emotion that this naturally leads us to be interested in people and relationships in general, even if it is from a detached viewpoint.

pch98 says...

I can understand how you might feel this way. I always felt as though I was an outsider... Confused by the behavior/attitudes of others. So, I chose to study psychology to get a grip. Eventually wound up working in non-profit mental health field. I guess I concluded that in trying to understand the behavior of others I'd have to suspend judgement. And, the more you immerse yourself in the passion... such as psychology/mental health it only makes sense to cultivate empathy as it would seem that for the client to experience empathy from someone who is working with them would help to develop trust. And if you are not a "cool" intp... it would mean that you are a warmer intp, just the kind of intp that a client could feel comfortable in working with. For me, being a true introvert, working with people can tax my energy so I have to pace myself. So that might be a difference between you and I. Yes, I can relate... I am a female intp.

Guest (not verified) says...

This fits me perfectly. I'm self-reliant, but not in the best of ways. I find it extremely hard developing friendships and forming them to begin with. Sure I feel misunderstood but it bothers me, I hardly give it much attention since I value independence above all. I don't believe in God, and I despise conformity; I find it important that I be different than others in every way I can.

Guest (not verified) says...

I believe that most of what has been said fits in with me. But I think that given 'emotional' experiences and situations in the past, even simply of those around me, I can then 'file' and expand on those emotional factors in my thought processes, enabling me to relate to people with a stronger Feeling component.

Holly (not verified) says...

When I took the test I was profiled as an INTJ, however, J was my lowest percentage advantage over P at 11%, (if I remember correctly). Reading descriptions of both personality types I related more to the INTP personality. In doing further research on the difference between J and P I found that I definitely swayed towards P more; I like open ended decisions, for instance, and generally dislike making detailed lists and planning my time (which annoys my ENTJ father to no end.)

ephemeral_ (not verified) says...

The description itself is good although it doesn't atually describe how INTPs work. However, what they are describing isn't so much the INTP in the cognitive sense, but more akin to something like enneagram 5. An unfortunate overlap. As an actual INTJ 5w4 (I usually score INTP on MBTI tests though), I relate a lot to these descriptions. The question one needs to ask is what they are genuinely trying to describe here.

Matt (not verified) says...

I took this test to find out more about myself, I have trouble connecting with people and i finnaly know why but also in that response I find it interesting because tryin to find a friend just to hang out with that is really a friend is really hard to do because they ither get really tired of my thought process or always offended by my openess when really I try to help, this test has really helped me along my way of discovering who I am and what I want to be, sadly still long way to go very very little intersts me anymore.

sandra.sharratt says...

I have a few really good friends that just get me so I am very lucky that way. I went through a long period of not being able to find anything that really interested me too. I got rid of cable tv, and just use the internet now and I am writing all the time. I have finally found interests and like minded people online. Twitter is a great place too, if you want to find like minded people, you set the parameters and vet the sources yourself. It has been really helpful and I feel less like a freak and more apart of something big. Good luck and I hope you find something soon, there is a whole world of issues out there that need an INTP to unlock and solve.

Confused (not verified) says...

I took the test a few times yesterday and earlier in the day and it gave me different personality types...ISTP, INFP. So I decided to retake it tonight and be completely honest with myself. I ended up with INTP. I didn't really think it was me so I retook it 2 more times, still the same even though I changed a few answers I felt could also describe me. All of them came back as INTP.

I do have a love for biology and I'm thinking of going back to school...however, I suck at math. I am also one of those people who can't stick to one thing and I get bored easily. I am beginning to think maybe I'm crazy.

Guest (not verified) says...

You know, you can definitely show aspects of more than one type! I am an INFP/ISTP cross for sure. I love understanding things both theoretically and practically. I understand the boredom problem as well. I think that is an aspect of the perceiving type. However, it helps if you look at it as a challenge.
One more note: I am a student in the biology field (genetic manipulation in plants) and it is very exciting and rewarding. My intuitive side gets to theorize about the effect the genes will have on the plant's physiology, and my sensing side gets to put it to use in a practical way.
Don't worry! You're not crazy!

Mae (not verified) says...

This describes me quite well, though I seem to cross over a lot with the INTJ personality too.

However, as a career graphic designer I would NOT suggest graphic design for INTPs. After 15 years I find this work so incredibly tedious and boring its practically painful. I will be going back to school in the next year or two and pursuing an education in either science or economics. Hopefully one of those careers will keep me interested for more than 15 years!

Marquis (not verified) says...

Wow, this is me almost exactly. I've never felt so understood in my life. Seeing how rare this personality type is I can see why I feel so different from everyone I meet and why I'm so misunderstood.

Echo (not verified) says...

I feel exactly the same way, sometimes I used to worry about not being able to empathize well with others and why I felt so out of place even when all my friends are also introverts. this gives very good insight n the fact that it's okay to be different and how there are others who think the same way as I do.

Guest (not verified) says...

Feels like I sit between a intp and intj but somehow these profiles make it seem like the natural human need for attachment is irrelevant for these types. I wonder if these types ever have a desire or need to be close to specific individuals but find themselves in cognitive dissonance because once they engage that partner or individual and intimacy becomes imminent their attention to that outer world becomes draining and they retreat back into their inner worlds to recharge. In the end causing these types to seem very calm and steady yet,internally ping ponging back and forth between emotional needs and the need to recharge.

Kendo (not verified) says...

This is also a perfect description of the Enneagram Five, which I and (likely) most INTPs are.

Guest (not verified) says...

That's me. I don't mind the concept of closeness but the reality leaves me fairly confused lol. I guess I understand people not at all, because their motivations and actions often leave me confused. That must be where the love being powerful but naive bit comes in. I do best being friends with emotionally quiet people, but in romantic situations I think my own life experiences have led to a me who is a little needy, which pisses me off, so I turn cold. Frustrating for the other person for sure lol

Scott Stratton (not verified) says...

So very late of a response, but just in case it helps anyone who is reading all of these comments a long time from now (as I am right now!):  I have learned in my research that INTP's are not really devoid of emotion - they have the same basic emotional needs and variability as any homo sapien. One difference is the role emotions play in our inner and outer lives is usually much lower than most people expect and so we can seem emotionless. On the contrary, I find that I and many INTPs are actually "hopeless romantics" in many ways. Naive is the word you used and I think that is perfect. We are idealistic in many ways. All of that combines to most INTPs (certainly including me) spending much of our lives simply not developing emotionally as much as we should. It sets up a viscious circle in terms of our emotions, when accessed, tend to be simpler and stronger than called for and so we become more suspicious of them and supress them more. When we get hurt we don't know how to handle it so push it deeper or make it worse with outsized reactions and demands. My life has been steadily improving since I understood this and have tried to just experience emotions more often, without judging them or myself or trying to "manipulate" or "banish" them But it's hard and its (apparently) a long road! HTH!

Guest (not verified) says...

That has very often been my experience, although there are very few people that I just haven't tired of, which can be just as alarming.

Guest (not verified) says...

That would be a fairly accurate description of my love life.

DrMcSarcasm (not verified) says...

Has anybody else spent three hours deciding on a deodorant? The biggest epiphany of my life was learning the personality type. Now I fit in by understanding what all the other people prefer and how to identify them.

has3000 says...

It pretty much got all of that right, except that I do believe in God.
However, I do really enjoy learning and defending my faith with science and logic.
Other than that, this is definitely me!

Guest (not verified) says...

Not leaving my name so that this cannot be seen as a brag.

I am an actual genius INTP ( I did not make my brain, so it is no more than saying I have dark hair and wear a ridiculously large shoe).

I am also a Christian (and not forced that way by my parents when I was a kid). I am 44 years old and know what I know and why I believe and have analyzed to the hilt what I have experienced and found nothing lacking in terms of being able to accept faith. Between cognition and metacognition and the willingness to be independent but also reason and wonder and consideration, I have no doubt of the matter of faith, nor the existence of God.

I mean, really, back in the day the VERY SMARTEST guys on the planet--we are talking huge IQ's--thought the earth was flat and that there was no need to wash one's hands before delivering babies. Just because technology has not caught up to "the supernatural" does not mean it won't eventually.

While INTP's are analytic, they are also not locked in. They work easily in the abstract. They must consider possibilities or they cannot think and synthesize clearly. I would offer that an INTP who cannot accept that there might be more than we do not understand or put our hands on (be it God or something else) might be stronger, or perhaps straddle the fence, with another one of the personalities. I would also offer that there is a difference between fact and truth, which are not the same (thank you Indiana Jones ;) ),and I believe that one of the personality types relies on one while INTP's search for the other.

The Truth (not verified) says...

There is no god. You can't be a genius and believe in a fictional supernational creature that was created by a primitive society with a 5% literacy rate.   The alcoholic schizophrenic homeless guy living under the bridge is smarter than those people. I was smarter than them when I was 5.  Come on man. 

Guest (not verified) says...

I absolutely agree with you. I am very very analytical and process the way that God could have possibly made this vast and expansive reality. I am a 16 year old christian and it has taken an abundance of information and evidence to get me to believe that there is a God. Even though I firmly believe that after countless discussions in my head and hours of research, I still somewhat question the probability of aliens and such in the universe. You know the "well the Bible never clearly stated that there were NO aliens". The pure fact that the Bible never truly mentioned the existence of aliens got me thinking. Overall I agree with what you say and there is just too much evidence for the existence of a God.

Guest (not verified) says...

ok if you believe in the god of the bible than there is noway you are a logical and so forth type person becauase the bible is a load of crap.... your still young so that is only reason why you might still be this type but i highly doubt it.

Guest (not verified) says...

Same here. There isn't any conflict between science and spirituality in my mind, but I find it so hard to tell or convince other people.

Science and Logic (not verified) says...

SoSaysSunny (not verified) says...

Me, too!

As an intensely logical and objective researcher, I find no conflict between science and the Bible.

Science cannot disprove God because it cannot transcend the physical world to make any conclusions about the metaphysical. Any intellectually honest INTP must concede the possibility (however improbable) that a deity exists.

Though it is impossible to argue people into the faith, logical arguments can help remove their misconceptions. That's what I try to do.

Darko (not verified) says...

Hello. To accommodate us, I'll begin by simply stating that I'm barely an INTP, as I have only slight preference towards introvertedness. In the middle between the the architect and the visionary. Now, i must say that I'm kind of jealous that the INTJ are being called masterminds. To get to the point, I want you to know that I understand your belief in god. Children conditioned to be religious don't have a choice. The certainty of god's existence is equal to the certainty of a human's ability to breathe. Now, i simply want to state my personal, non judgemental opinion on the matter. To prove a point, I'll ask and answer a series of simple question. What is god as perceived trough a human mind? The creator of the universe. What is god as perceived by a christian? An old man that sees everything and can do anything, whose favourite hobby is watching what every particular human being does, praising those who do things that are "good" and punishing those who do things that are "bad". In short, the point is simple. If we assume the universe is infinite, god exists for sure. If we assume that it is not infinite, god may or may not exist. On that subject,De gustibus non est disputandum. However, since religion is a completely different thing from god and belief in god, that we can discuss. Religious establishments are there to answer questions about god. Answers are not necessarily true, but they serve their purpose. Once the answer has been given, the subject is not further discussed by people who accepted it, because od the human tendency to take the easiest, simplest path. My statement is the following: All religious traditions are irrelevant to both god and the belief of the religion, making them useless in the study of god. A more personal opinion, the ideas around which religions were formed were presented by wise men. The beliefs and traditions themselves that were formed around those ideas, have been run by non wise men ever since. Long story short, god is cool, religion sucks.

Guest (not verified) says...

Yes, science can't transcend the physical, but it doesn't need to, only the idea of empirical evidence does. You may argue that this is in fact why science cannot transcend the physical, because the supernatural leaves no physical evidence. Then how can the supernatural be proven? If you pointed to miracles as evidence of something we have no scientific explanation for, then your logic defeats itself because what you claim leaves no physical evidence in fact does.

SheWarMachine (not verified) says...

Took the words out of my mouth :D

DanTheSmudger (not verified) says...

Initial results weren't very conclusive whether I was a Thinker vs Feeler and whether I was a Judge or Perceiver but reading through the Architect I could nod my head pretty consistently as I went along. Some aspects of the Architect don't agree with me entirely but it's 80% accurate and in tough situations, I can imagine myself reverting to type.

Guest (not verified) says...

When you take your test look at the percentages. Look and the one letter differences of your lowest percentage.

Cassie (not verified) says...

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

StaceyAce27 (not verified) says...

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

TouchofChange (not verified) says...

I'm leaving my current position in Communciations to pursue a career in Massage Therapy. I think this falls into the category of wanting to solve complex human problems since massage therapists often become more than just body workers for their clients. I'm also very excited about the prospect of running my own business they way i want to and having significant and meaningful connections with each of my clients on an individual basis (I don't connect well with lots of people, I'm much better one on one.) The section on my parenting tendencies was so spot on I got chills!

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