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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.

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

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 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

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.

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

Quotes About INTPs

"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

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Comments

Chloe S (not verified) says...

Just because one person gets a result that accurately decribes them, it doesn't mean someone else will. Some people have mixed personalities, or personalities that shift. It kinda depends on the person. :)

Monika (Guest) (not verified) says...

To be honest, after reading your comment I started to doubt I'm really an INTP. Not all of these things are true about me, especially the fact I don't have and don't want to have anything to do with science but also others. Since I found my personality type I was doubting it because of this. I retook it multiple times (including now) and I got INTP everytime.
I don't think that people's personalities 100% fit into 16 personality types.

Guest (not verified) says...

Depends on if you take the test on what you feel, not what you know ..... ex. The test said I like to be active when truthfully I'm a couch potato and so I respectfully disagree with YOU.

Guest (not verified) says...

Almost 100% accurate and the only test sample is yourself? Your experience is only one experience, I doubt you can validate the entire system with it (no mean to be rude).

In my opinion, what most sites say is correct: this is a guide, not prescription. And the fact is that some may be between two personality types as well: I get both INTP and INFP depending on what test I take- and in a sense this excludes me from both personality types as the system depends on the subject having strong preferences to determine personality. INTP's are described as logical and mathematical bordering on cold, and INFP's as artistic and emotional- due to only the difference between thinking and feeling these two types are cast as almost opposites.

If you score strongly as one personality type, then yes, this test is probably pretty helpful, as it describes what the ultimate character of that type would be. But for most people(?) this is not the case as people can be between two traits, or be between four traits so therefore between several personalities. But like I said before, it is hard to say that I am both personality types as there isn't any analysis or diagnosis on what it means to be both a thinker and a feeler, which probably changes the what a IN*P is altogether.

paryswest says...

We have the same struggle. I get typed as an INFP and an INTP. I've even went so far down the rabbit hole to understand and analyze the functioning stacks of both INTP and INFP. I have values, but that doesn't mean that they can't be swayed. I will see someone and call them out on something that is illogical and then analyze them to death on why did they say "XYZ" today when they said "ABC" about 2 weeks ago. I love science, I have emotions, but I don't like to show them to people. I'm warm and friendly at times, but in general, I guess you can state that I'm borederline Misanthropic. I've been analyzing this (my personality type) for weeks now and I'm no closer to an answer specifically due to the stacking. I literally sound like both of them. I want to help others, but only if they helped themselves. I follow my own rules, but at the same time, I will follow (or disregard rules) depending on how much sense they make. 

Sometimes I feel/think that I am lying to myself by calling myself an INTP, however, I don't fully relate to an INFP either. With the continued analysation, I've been giving myself a headache, but I refuse to stop this until I discover the goddamn truth. Period. 

Bonus, does it help to state that I swear like a sailor and kind of disregard people's feelings but at the same time, I kind of don't? I personally believe that people cannot fit in to one box. 

To state that someone can is just preposterous at best to me. 

LilRicky (not verified) says...

Hi so a little about my experience with this. I found that I tested highest as the commander, ENTP however as I dove into that type I found inconsistencies. Long and short of my conclusion is that at heart or base I am an INTP. this is how I am without work or outside influences. how I think and feel about things. When given a task or at work I morph into an INTJ where structure is the most efficient way to give consistent results. In a position where there is a lack of leadership I will actually morph again into an ENTJ. I am not naturally an extrovert but as I have gotten older I am much more comfortable with pulling it off when I need to and have more confidence in my conclusions and path to success then the person in charge. For me, My Scores were 64% ENTJ, 62% INTJ and 61% INTP. But like I said as I did research and read more about each profile, and the phases through life, mental decision process, etc, I am 99% sure that I am an INTP at hart. I don't know enough about the finer details to understand exactly why I morph depending the different situations but it does make sense that it would be a natural occurrence. In all it is fascinating to me!! I think this will help me with my relationships and to understand why I respond in certain ways under stress. It is relieving to know that I'm not the only one with these challenges; not to conform but a means to an end to be more successful at work and home.
My two cents :)
Cheers,
-Christian

bekkahz (not verified) says...

Christian, a couple of thoughts. Firstly, each of the four sets of letters is a continuum. It is possible you are very strong on the N/S and T/F but much weaker on the I/E and P/J. If this is the case, you would be much more easily able to access that aspect of your personality. Secondly, typology is not your personality but how you are wired. Just because something is how you were born it does not mean you cannot learn different ways of doing things. You can think of it as nature vs. nurture. You are born one way but learn from experience. Keirsey calls this temperament vs. character and claims your personality is the interplay of these two things.

Guest (not verified) says...

Wow all you INTPs sound like intriguing, mechanical aliens to me xD I'm an ENFP O.o

INTP-Josh-582 says...

we 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…

Kangkan Krishna Sarma Pegu (not verified) says...

I felt like ur my identical twin from a different mom....

INTP-Eric (not verified) says...

Amen.  Well said.

mark esparza (not verified) says...

And how! 

Cene (not verified) says...

Hahahaha...We arent - We're just very, very smart.

Guest (not verified) says...

As an INTP, I would describe myself as intelligent, but not smart :p

Jeff (aka I have a name, not just a personality type) (not verified) says...

I am smart enough to know what I don't know.  And that's where the journey begins. :)

 

willowrivers (not verified) says...

I am an INTP. i identify so much with the person who sees himself self as intelligent but not sure about smart. to me, they are very different things. i possess intelligence because i have the ability to learn, to analyze, to express myself, to research until I find the information I seek, to meet most any challenge BUT that doesn't mean the things I do are always smart. I make dumb decisions and dumb comments. I also frequently book myself to be in more than one place at a time...

Jesse Richardson (not verified) says...

I have been called smart many times in my life, but have felt stupid an equal amount. I like distinguishing between being intelligent and being smart. I work with computer programmers in my daily job and it's a constant reminder of the fact I am not smart. I've lost count of how many times I've made what I thought was a smart comment only to have it completely shot down by one of the programmers. However, I am creative, worldly, and philosophical; so I am able to draw on these traits which equate to wisdom and intelligence. To me, knowledge = smart; wisdom = intelligence.

Guest (not verified) says...

this is the most profound comment ever, i have arrived at this conclusion a 1000 times. i would like to say as an INTP, our talents and skill sets are the most useful , I will call it overbalanced, like a computer. Being smart is being able to navigate life and get ahead no matter what and not letting your values get between you and progress. As human computers, INTP's neglect the value of feelings and feeling can atimes just be a shorter window to achieving your goal other than hard logic. To be smart, intp's need to substitute their hard wired logical reasoning talents as a background machine, and let in a lot more of feeling and illogical banter, then they would seem more normal to the world but still be able to apply their power of machine thinking at any given moment. If you stick to your raw machining thinking all the time, you would have a harder time passing through the world..... simple!

INTP's are mostly intelligent, not smart, because intp's don't use people, intp's dont really gossip, intp's beleive in good over evil.

sorry my typing and grammar is bad, ......

Undisclosed (not verified) says...

I agree with you totally, other than the statement "INTP's believe in good over evil.". If that is the case, I am the Moriarty of the Sherlock Holmes. I believe INTP's can develop a great understanding of "The Gray Area" in life. Even though we call ourselves the "computers" out of the human species. We are much more than a true, false processor. With all the knowledge and wisdom we can amass and call upon, we could all deduce that nothing can be good or evil in a true sense, but maybe that's just me?

Scott Stratton (not verified) says...

I see nothing in the world but greater and lesser shades of grey ... in greater or lesser patterns of complexity ... in more loosely or more intricately linked connections; and with all of it in motion; changing. Those who see only black and white are necessarily seeing selectively and often transforming what they see, sometimes extraoridinarily so. However, there are times when clarity of purpose and action is the greatest need, and the INTPs endlessly swirling greys are crippling, then And then there are those that see light (or dark) so strongly, and their own personality is so powerful that they can impose their view of the world onto it, and change it ... and sometimes that is what is needed.

INTPs, perhaps better than anyone else, can see all of these things for what they are: see when analysis must give way to action and how harnessing emotions as a tool and "seeing" (or tactically choosing to see) only one truth for a while is the optimal strategy ... but the INTP cannot do it themselves. They can see that the White Knight whose strength of conviction ignores 90% of the actual reality, and they see how the White Knight will change the world anyway, maybe for the good but never in the simple way they think ... the most penetrating INTPs see exactly how that black & white view + choices and actions + reactions + time + luck will inevitablye fracture into shades of gray ... they see, but with seeing can they use that knowledge to do it themselves (if it is necessary)? Or it would result in a worse world - can they use that knowledge to interevene? Rarely, I think. That is one of our great weaknesses.

INTPs, I believe, are deep and profound thinkers and often have a clearer view of the world - and what forces and systems move it - than any other type; but like all types,it is what we do with that ability, and whether we can overcome our particular weaknesses that determines if the particular person is extraordinary or not; is "smart" and not just "intelligent". I think that equation exists for all and is not dependent on type; only the specifics of their strengths and weaknesses and the actual life they live.

Unnerved by INTP (not verified) says...

agree. we dance in the gray areas. 

mdoheny says...

thanks .. i was on the fence between being an INTP or an ISTP when i read this :
"not smart, because intp's don't use people, intp's dont really gossip, intp's beleive in good over evil"

now, how to get smart and stop letting less intelligent people use me? (i mean ... us lol)

SaraSerenity93 (not verified) says...

That's anecdotal evidence.

Logician (not verified) says...

That's not a very INTP thing to say - claiming it's "almost 100% accurate" when confronted with evidence of inaccuracy? Disagreeing with another person's personal experience, which is entirely subjective and therefore should not be called into question? If this site typed you as INTP, I'd say we have even more evidence of its inaccuracy.

Ignacio Beltrán (not verified) says...

My best friend is a Psychologist which I tell uses ONE channel to arrive at a conclusion: that of realism, the kind that you can see and count. INTPs have many more channels: the creative, intuitive, deep perception and thought that would just be similar to a VW Bug trying to race a Ferrari.

At the end, he hates to say: It seems you are right on your asertions, after a year of saying how wrong and out of reality an idea he dislikes, is. LOL.

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

Maybe it's a Feeler who has just traipsed through the INTP comments.

Jennifer Miller (not verified) says...

Not likely. LOL. 

Another Logician (not verified) says...

LOL! Took the words right out of my mouth.

Guest (not verified) says...

That's not a great example, you only have a sample size of one (yourself). One person may have incorrect or poor results while another person's may be spot on.

jpnuggles says...

I agree,I found it to be incredibly accurate.

Guest (not verified) says...

True, the results are very accurate.

Alien (not verified) says...

I know, right? When I took the main test it told me that I was a theorist. It then guided me to all different types of theorists and I thought I was an ISTP. Then whatever the commander is. I found INTP, and thought, whoa... this is really me! I like quiet environments where I can analyze everything and have a huge passion for mathematics and writing. This Truity website is amazing and so true!

Carrie Collyer (not verified) says...

That is because these two types are related. If you break down the MBTI into the four main Types that have been recognized for thousands of years, ( as Keirsey has done), your results will make more sense. To simplify, correlate each with a color. SJ-Gold,  SP-Red, NF-Green, NT-Blue.   The ISTP Type is an iREDblue.  The INTP Type is an iBLUEred.  It sounds like as you answered test questions, you related to both of these colors. You were then able to dig further to determine your main color and your secondary color.  Which means that you were an NT(blue) with a P(red)  leaning.

Jablean (not verified) says...

I think you've got your colors slightly mixed up. ie NF is Blue and NT is Green. TrueColors which makes these matches also make SP as Orange but I agree that Red is an easier color to see.  I just took the TrueColors test last year and I was going Blue is all about feelings and sensitivity, not a real close cousin to NTs. This page has some comparisons http://users.trytel.com/jfalt/Ene-med/true-col.html

The INTP/J (not verified) says...

Hello fellow INTP's! As I'm sure many of you know, "personality typing" isn't something developed by Truity. MBTI was originally developed by Carl Jung (under a different name) and later refined by Isabel Briggs Myers, and her mother, Katharine Briggs in 1942. I find that this website explains the types reasonably well, but it does not explain the theory itself, which is critical for understanding your results! For that purpose I would recommend that you visit the "Myers and Briggs Foundation" website and the "humanmetrics" website.

One of the key points that you should know is that your type isn't set in stone - its a preference! Types are usually described as being on a sliding scale. For example, I have a preference of Perceiving over Judging, but if I were to put it on this scale...

Judging [100% - - - 0% - - - 100%] Perceiving

...I would only be at 10% on the Perceiving side. Therefore I easily switch between being an INTP and an INTJ depending on the situation. I hope this helped :)

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

Well...that's somewhat right--the parts about Jung and the Briggs-Myers women. Type preference--your "true type"--does not change, however. Type is an integral, dynamic pattern that is set in motion the day you're born and grows throughout your life. How you express your type may change as you grow, but it's still your type until the day your die.

The MBTI (the inventory) is designed to help "sort" your preferences for either one OR the other. If the indicator works perfectly, you will report yourself all one way or the other. Not everyone answers the questions consistently, and so for some people, the preferrences can be "muddled," and they'll see some items they answered as a "T," for example, and others as an "F." That scale is not a spectrum, but an indication of "clarity." If you answer as many items for "T" as for "F," then it only means that the indicator was not successful in sorting your preference, and you must rely on the type descriptions, further exploration, and feedback from those who know and love you best.

Because these "types" are complete, integral patterns, you cannot shift from one type to another--especially not, for example, from INTP to INTJ. Those two types are fundamentally different--one being a dominant Juding type (INTP) and the other a dominant Perceiving type (INTJ). The functions are very different--INTPs have Extraverted iNtuition and Introverted Thinking, whereas INTJs have Introverted iNtuition and Extraverted Thinking, and that's a huge difference. INTPs and INTJs have a lot of trouble understanding one another because their dominant functions are not only Judging versus Perceiving, but their preferred Perceiving and Judging functions (although both iNtuition and Thinking) go in opposite directions, making them fundamentally different functions.

Jeff (aka I have a name, not just a personality type) (not verified) says...

P.S.  

Truity

Word not found in the Dictionary and Encyclopedia.

Jeff (aka I have a name, not just a personality type) (not verified) says...

How did you come to the conclusion that this is a preference?  If I find myself energized by solitude rather than company, did I choose to be an I?   If you're correct there's no point in identifying your personality ... simply change your "preference" to best suit the situation.  When you would benefit by having a strong emotional IQ then just do it!  I have struggled with some of the negatives of being an INTP, particularly the ability to focus on the present reality.  I do not choose to have no regard for deadlines, ignore bills, or be irritated and unmoved by my wife's emotions when there is a simple solution to her problem.  Perhaps you think that coming home to a house with no electricity when there was more than enough money in the bank to pay the electic bill was my preference, but I assure you it was not.  If your "preference" is to reject the test's conclusion, simply move on to anoter site that types you more to your liking.

 

Zee (not verified) says...

That was nicely put. Though the thing which I liked the most in your description was your name 'INTP/J'. I took the official Myers-Briggs Test and they scored me 50-50 on the perception and judging part. I dont know why i was classfied as INTP, but seeing the range and reading about both types, I do know that the combination of both these describe me more adequately.

linda an INTP (not verified) says...

In response to the message right before me: I am a certified Meyers-Briggs facilitator. I agree 100% with your explanation. There are lots of sites that provide free assessments of personality types, and often they may be right on, but many times they are not. If you do the Step II Myers-Briggs assessment from Meyers-Briggs, you would get your personality type plus 16 pages of explanations of what your type means. They also include how your type handles conflict, and manages change and different communication styles. And as said in the message I am replying to, each of the types are broken into sub-categories they call facets -so, for example it shows on my report that I very sure that I am each of the five facets which means I am very sure I am an "I". The facets for me show that I am not as sure about the N, but sure enough to call it as my type, even though I cross over to two of the facets under S. This type of report is important, especially if it feels like you don't quite match the type you got. This is a self-reporting assessment, and it's giving back to you what you gave it. I have coached so many individuals and facilitated many teams, and if understood correctly by individuals and team members, it is just a gem for personal growth and team building. The assessment asks which of a pair of word do you PREFER. If you were asked to write your name in the air with your finger, and then asked to write it with your other hand, which was most comfortable for you? I use my right hand because I prefer to. It's my default. CAN I use my left hand? Of course I can - I broke my right upper arm and shoulder and had to use my left hand for about six months, and got a little more comfortable, but as soon as I could use my right hand I did and the world felt right again. The more you know yourself when you take the assessment, the more accurate it will be for you. And last, when I administer it, I remind people to try hard to think of what YOUR preference is, for YOU, not what you wish it would be, or how you want others to see you - it's easy to do so just try and keep a check on that. I have found Myers-Briggs and Gallup's Strengthsfinder invaluable for individual growth and team building and use them both a lot. 

ABrune892 (not verified) says...

Learn about the functions. MBTI doesn't work that way, you can't just switch types. INTP's and INTJ's have ZERO functions in common. To switch between the two would mean you'd be changing your ENTIRE set of functions, which doesn't happen.

INTP's function stack:

Ti, Ne, Si, Fe

INTJ's function stack:

Ni, Te, Fi, Se

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

No.

Jung hypothesized--and the Myers-Briggs women extended--that the dominant function is the only one operating in its perferred realm. All the other three functions operate in the opposite world to provide balance. I have never met an INTP with Introverted Sensing. We can't manage to follow a set of sequential directions to save our lives--the Extraverted iNtuition takes over and makes us leap around. We have LOTS of trouble remember precisely what people say, which requires Introverted Sensing. We also don't really give a hoot how things have always been done, which would also require Introverted Sensing. And well, we don't put much store in the authoritarian hierarchy: Whoever has the best information has the responsibility to make the decision. We don't care what your title is...

Our Extraverted Sensing, however, is what enables us to use physical tools with precision--not as precisely as ISTPs, perhaps, but still, we like using the right tool for the job, wielded in the right way. We sometimes have trouble paying close attention to what people are saying to us when there's something blinking nearby or some repeating noise keeps distracting us (because Extraverted Sensing is our Tertiary Function, and so we don't have great control over it).

I could say the same about every other type: I've never met an ENFJ who had any Extraverted Sensing at all--they have trouble clearing things off of a table because every time they look at it, they see something else that they missed the last time. They *DO* however have excellent Introverted Sensing: They can remember everything you've ever said, and if you're an ENTP who denies having said something because the past doesn't really exist, they can bring it right back out and nab you with it. (They'd have to be pretty stressed, though, because that's not in their nature. They could do it though. Just sayin'.)

This is the correct sequencing of preferences:

  1. Ti
  2. Ne
  3. Se
  4. Fe

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

...so we DO have something in common with INTJs--Extraverted Feeling. Which isn't much to build common ground, since it's our Inferior function and their Tertiary.

Stacey C (not verified) says...

It can happen if that person were considered bipolar. 

Cedric Dionne (not verified) says...

Too much detail and fact for INTP. And a INTP doesn't need explanation 😅

Scott Stratton (not verified) says...

That seems so strange to me! Granted I am not an expert on any of this. But I have often thought that one of the characteristics that makes me believe my INTP result is that I *DO* need an explanation. Unraveling the underlying systems behind something is what I live for. I find myself interested in almost everything but when something catches my interest I can't help but immediately begin trying to understand WHY. I have to be careful with other people because my drive to understand the underlying system of personality/cognition is often socially offputting; I mean, it _shouldn't_ be, if everyone would just realize that inquiry and understanding are good things and set aside their ego and emotions to do it 99% of their life ... ;-) ... somehow that sounds crazier when I write it than it is in my head :-) ...

For example, though: if someone says something like: "I would HATE to use one of those lifelogger apps that track everything I do all the time." and then later describes how much they love posting on social media and are actually sharing lots of personal details with others ... for me, that's like a blinding neon sign flashing: "ALERT! ALERT! Inconsistentency detected! Underlying system rules are either not understood or there is a mystery! ALERT!" So I'll start asking them all sorts of questions about their thought process and walking them through thought experiments. The problem is it comes off as either me being judgemental, or trying to "convince" them they are wrong, or being illogical, or whatever. When in reality, it's very unlikely I would judge them at all. Usually it makes them more interesting/intriguing/complex. I wouldn't have a negative opinion of them even if the ultimate answer was the inconsistent behaviors were caused by very strong, but unconnected emotional reactions and so to them it doesn't seem like the situations are even connected much less conflicting. The important thing is that I would finally UNDERSTAND how two external behaviors in someone can seem paradoxical but aren't. 

The best analogy I can come up with to encapsulate the INTP is that as we move through the world much like some sculptors describe: we see all these blocks of marble and can discern there is beauty and complexity inside the rough block. Our compulsion is to chip away and chip away until we can fully reveal what had been there all along, but is now there for all to see and our understanding and curiosity satisfied ... until we see the next block; or see that we'd uncovered a connection from one sculpture to others that needed unravelling. The "sculpture" is always a system of things, ideas, people, etc.

Maybe I am totally misunderstanding the INTP - definitely possible; I haven't delved very deeply into this system (yet) - but if I do understand it correctly, then explanations are incredibly important!

Stacey C (not verified) says...

I concur. I am a K-12 educator-obviously the wrong career for my personality type. I am that way "Our compulsion is to chip away and chip away until we can fully reveal what had been there all along, but is now there for all to see and our understanding and curiosity satisfied ... until we see the next block; or see that we'd uncovered a connection from one sculpture to others that needed unravelling." with my students and colleagues. It is burdesome to see the answer sitting right in front of people and then watching those same people obliviously pass the corrective measure by because it is more efficient to have something on paper, such as a new policy, program, or procedure, rather than just observe, analyze, and modify! They kill me! I have to get out of this business. It is literally killing my brain cells. I feel like an anamoly no matter where I attempt to educate young minds. 

Color (not verified) says...

Lol, how very true!!!

Dan B (not verified) says...

This did not help and is not true. You don't change types because of some percentage on an unverified free online test.  The idea of the preferences is to sort you into a type, not to assign percentages.  INTP and INTJ share zero functions, so one person not only cannot be both, they are significantly different.

bekkahz (not verified) says...

I would suggest that the 'idea of the preferences' is not to sort you into a type (i.e. put you into an imaginary box), but to provide a framework for us to understand the fantastic diversity of how a human being works. While I see the value of a function stack, I am not a big fan of combining that system with MBTI type of system specifically for the reason you just illustrated. While some people may fit neatly into the specific box of type a test tells them they are the vast majority of us exhibit traits from many different types. The human mind is analog NOT digital and most of us will never be confined to one box/type with 100% exclusivity. From personal experience I know full well that not only are INTP and INTJ NOT 'significantly different' (relative to the other 14 types) but share more in common then they lack in difference.

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