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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 in their own heads: exploring concepts, making connections, and seeking understanding of how things work. 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 one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers, creators of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®). INTP stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Perceiving, which are four core personality traits based on the work of psychologist C.G. Jung.

The INTP type describes 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. Other nicknames for the INTP include:

  • The Objective Analyst (MBTI)
  • The Logician (16Personalities)

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.

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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.

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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tally.bookman says...

We would be the happiest group of citizens to die a horrible death as anything and everything that involved detailed administrative and maintenance work would be entirely ignored and the accumulated problems spawn a plague or mass starvation ... or we all walk into the river accidentally as we happily discuss the meaning of life .... :-). Totally worth it though.

Robot_Face (not verified) says...

Um... that's all true, but also consider how terrible we INTPs are with planning and deadlines. We'd definitely have to think of an alternate solution to keep infrastructure intact. The government would take forever to make any decisions. There would be a serious lack of people in any job that wasn't based on abstract concepts. Well over half the population would be male. It just wouldn't work. Maybe if we also included another type? INTJ? ISTP? ENTP?

Kendo (not verified) says...

I couldn't help laughing at your comments and Edward's: it's ALL SO TRUE, and a scream!
I am equally guilty!
What a world...
: ))

Missed up (not verified) says...

Totally agree. And for the record I would live to be warm and cuddly.. But if there's an intellectual argument involved I can't turn brain off :(

lustroustantalum (not verified) says...

This INTP description is incredibly accurate for me and I completely agree with all of you! I feel exactly the same way about interactions with others, especially when it comes to intimate relationships. Many conversations and (what I think are friendly) debates tend to come across in such a negative way and it takes a lot of effort not to come across as being so cold and distant in relationships, when really I am just non-traditional and prefer to do things (such as show affection) on my own accord as opposed to living up to traditional societal standards and expectations.

Jennifer Miller (not verified) says...

I avoided soap operas. They were emotional, traditional, and popular. I also thought they were trashy. That's my opinion.

Veronica Hamilton (not verified) says...

Some things seem to accurately describe me yet I feel I do not completely identify with this personality type. I am unsure if that is because it is not what I want to hear so I can`t accept it, or if it really did miscategorize me. However, I found it very interesting helpful.

Sarah Jones (not verified) says...

I struggle to find jobs for people with learning disabilities and those who are not academically inclined.   Surely you find hands-on  people and people who do not want to study in all types.


Phelon (not verified) says...

Then You are probably an INTJ

Todd Ford (not verified) says...

I feel myself to be rock solid in the first three, but kind of on the borderline between P and J. The thing to keep in mind is this system places humans with all their complexity into one of 16 convenient boxes. None of these four variables are binary, either/or, though. They're all spectrums, meaning there are an infinite number of positions a person might occupy within the four dimensional hyperspace it describes. This also means that the likelihood that any two people are, ever have been, or ever will be identical in these respects is Vanishingly small.

Jodie Hamilton (not verified) says...

Hi Veronica 

If I were you, I would retake the test slowly.  There are no right or wrong answers.  Simply think about each question and be completely honest with yourself before you answer.  I’ve taken it multiple times and always end up an INTP.   

There are a few things though about INTPs that are not me.  Such as saying they are not good with money/finances.  That is a strength of mine.  Also careers seem to focus on computers and technology.  Computers don’t interest me in the slightest.  

Dont beat yourself up if you don’t fit into the confirmities of the INTP.  We are all a result of our exposure to life experiences.  

Also, did you consider siblings?   If you were very close. You may identify with one of their traits over your own genetic make up, simply due to constant exposure.  

Hope this helps, Jodie. :)

Pojetta (not verified) says...

Waaaaayyy late to the game here, but maybe it could help someone else: I consistently observe that when people are correctly profiled, they are happy with the result. In other words, if you think you might not identify with that type because you don’t want to be that type, then you’re probably not that type. Just my two cents. 

Amayyyy (not verified) says...

Wow this is so interesting hahah I’m an ENFP.

I started reading INTJ comments an they all related to getting each other’s info to talk more about being INTJ that was their stream of ideas. 


So then I was like hmm what’s ENFP and r stream was talking about just talking about how my sense our type makes because it accurately describes us. We also were talking about how we are the most introverted extroverts and all sorts of ways this can confuse us and are friends.

But wait there’s more

then I was like hmm this is Intresting so I checked intp comments and u guys r hilarious 😂😂of course you are dissecting whether this is accurate or not and going into detail I think overall this is clear an accurate test for the most part ( if u answer correctly ) and it shows in the comments


all of Intj acted similar

all of ENFP after similar

and all of Intp’s

its the weirdest / coolest thing I think I’ve ever seen wow I’m amazed! 

Jennifer Miller (not verified) says...

Maybe you can help us solve our biggest problem?

Can a rhombus fit into a "square hole"?

Some people say its an oblique square because it's quadrilateral.

A rectangle is a quadrilateral, also, and the diagonals are different from the sides.

Does it depend on the right angle or not to fit into a square hole?

DanINTP67 (not verified) says...

Try taking the test again.  The KEY is to be VERY honest with your answers even if it is not something you are proud of or something you wish were different about you.  Go FAST.  First impulse is your answer.  I have taken the test more than once and always an INTP.  However, I have known others who got different results.  HONESTY (spoken like a true INTP) is KEY.

bekkahz (not verified) says...

Honesty is very important, but so is self-awareness. People tend to be plagued with cognitive biases and, even when being honest, cannot know what is most accurate about themselves. The biggest problem, imho, is people choosing what they would like to be, or what they have learnt to be, rather than digging deep and determine what truly is. I have heard many say answer the test as quickly as possible but just seems like it would compound those biases. Also, as an INTP, I find most of these questions impossible to answer accurately at all, let alone quickly. Too often I find it impossible to make a reasonable choice between the two options.

Scott Stratton (not verified) says...

I had to smile at your last observation about not finding the questions readily answerable. I have always been frustrated at these sorts of tests (while simultaneously enjoying them) by how the questions so often force you into a limit set of responses that don’t adequately describe my own thoughts/feelings. I often hear the advice “just pick the one that is closest” to your answer, but how do you do that when the question itself sets up a false dichotomy or frames the entire issue too narrowly.  Of course, eventually I was helped to realize that this sort of reaction is quite characteristic of an INTP ... LOL. An infuriatingly helpful and accurate observation. :-)

Kate M PhD (not verified) says...

You commented this so long ago you may not see this but hopefully it will help others. Many times people can be more closely placed at the middle of the spectrums the personality test is based off of. This means that often times people like will find that taking the test at different times can chage their results. 


RogerINTP? (not verified) says...


I can completely identify with your reticence to identify with this type. I consistently score as an INTP. I’ve been obsessed with determining if it’s an accurate assessment (which I gather is a very INTP characteristic). I don’t particularly identify with the stereotype of an absent minded professor, and feel that I’m quite socially & practically  competent. However, I detest arbitrary structure/rules, small talk, rote learning, overly emotional people and asparagus. 

Seeing how this particular cognitive stack works, does clarify a lot of questions that I’ve always had with myself. It explains why being a chameleon comes so easy to me and why I struggle so much to identify with emotionally based people. It explains why I generally feel emotionally “neutral” unless placed under stress and why I feel so powerless when my emotions do become activated. 

Im still not certain how purely accurate any assessment can hope to be, but I believe it has been generally illuminating for me. There is the problem of degrees of preference and how it is all so circumstantial. I continually find myself questioning the questions, which I suppose is also characterized by the INTP model. 

I’m not quite sure how to apply any of this, but it’s a bit of validation that I’m not just nuts...

so that is a bit reassuring? 😐

AnonINTP (not verified) says...

You aren't an INTP... you'd be sure of it if you were ;) Go take some tests

Marshall Erling (not verified) says...

You could possibly be a "split" in a particular category. In my case I am as much an INFP as INTP.

AStrangeWildWanderer says...

It's probably that you have elements of the other types within you however this is the most prominent and you don't have to accept what it says about you but it may still be correct about your type and if you don't want to hear it then it seems that you have a bias against what it says.

Though I did both the normal and the in depth versions of this quiz (both were free) and both times it came up with a tie between ISTP and INTP with a with the in depth one  and a tie between 8 of  the personality types because of how I had answers that lead to a tie between Extraversion and Introversion, Intuition and Sensing and Judging and Percieving, however on most other websites they end up getting mixed results between an INTP and an ISTP so if anything I'd say I'd be the one being constantly mistyped.

If that was the result you got on the first try then you are probably that but if you don't believe it then do the test again a few months later and see what your results are if they are different then you could have been mistyped but if it's the same then you wren't mistyped. If you do the test on other websites and you get the same results then you are that type but if they differ then you may have been mistyped or you have a narrow gap between the two (or more).

Mychajlo Miller (not verified) says...

I am INTP and I identify with it, but I share some characteristics of ENTP because I am an ambiovert. Perhaps you are in the middle of two letters like this. When you look at the results, check to see which letters are close to 50 (within about 11-15) and then look at the opposing letter. Maybe you are like me!


Guest (not verified) says...

I understand your sentiment, at the same time that I feel this personality type suits me 95%, accurately nailing most aspects for me that I had never been able to describe before, I for example also have a conflicting showy side; I genuinely enjoy performing when I am prepared, + in that scenario only I don't mind being center of attention, but all of the rest still holds true- I argue loved ones to death in constant pursuit of the truth, value intellect over all else, and am terrified of meeting people, will rarely respond to strangers and am incapable of small talk. I have never found a description that covered all of my traits. Try the quiz again reconsidering certain questions from perspectives of different scenarios, see if you find any different results. I took something like this 9 years ago & 80% disagreed with my outcome then, this time I got something completely different, & it fits so much better.

SuperGuest (not verified) says...

Just treat it like the new horoscopes. It's not going to totally fit, but if you gain a little insight from it, all the better

bekkahz (not verified) says...

While typology is the very soft underbelly of an already soft science, anyone who equates it with astrology has almost no uderstanding of how it works.

Salvine Perea (not verified) says...

I feel the same way too-So much I would like to change though

DAHLIA (not verified) says...


EnnCee (not verified) says...

I am not sure, but it seems to me this inventory is based on identifying polarities in personalities. As we work on our own issues and continue to bring balance and reconciliation into our characters, the questions/answers may appear to produce more ambiguous results. This is, perhaps, a reflection of our movement toward a center.

Even with the ambiguity in several areas, I found the INTP to be spot on when I sat and actually thought about how I live my life. I think, for me, the over-riding quality was my incredulity when other folks just seem to skip over the facts to reach an emo conclusion. This makes me more remote in many cases than I would like to imagine myself to be because it sets up a such a distance between me and others...not what I'd like, BUT 'tis what I am. After taking a deep breath and re-reading the profile, I am slowly coming to terms with the traits...just another step on the path. No matter how we profile out, it is a step toward becoming content in our owns skins.

Scott Stratton (not verified) says...

>> ... the over-riding quality was my incredulity when other folks just seem to skip over the facts to reach an emo conclusion. This makes me more remote in many cases than I would like to imagine myself to be because it sets up a such a distance between me and others...not what I'd like, BUT 'tis what I am. 

As an INTP, I'll can't be 100% certain :-) ... but I believe it could not be said better than you just said it. More than once I've missed the very tiny (but still there!) opportunity to engage a person on their "emo conclusion" because I'm so incredulous and befuddled I can't respond quickly enough.

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

Interesting idea bandied about by INTPs in an INTP forum:

INTPs are the type to most doubt they were identified for the right personality type. So they go off to analyze & analyze & analyze if they may be something else. And they always end up back at INTP, but still they go "I don't know..."

Rinse and repeat.

If that helps.

bekkahz (not verified) says...

Part of the reason for this might be the fact that, according to one study I saw, INTP are the type most frequently misapplied to people during testing (followed closely by INTJ and, oddly enough, ESTJ). While the percentage was relatively small these three types were about twice as likely to be miscategorized as the other thirteen.

Another explanation, and a more likely one, could be the Dunning Kruger effect. This is a cognitive bias that claims, in its most simplistic form, is that the less a person knows the more they think they do and the more the actually know they less comfortable they are with what they do know.

Claudiaintp (not verified) says...

I believe people can hover between more than one personality type; you are not necessarily solely intp :)

carita (not verified) says...

I felt exactly the same, untill it all made parfect sence. Now, im just proud to belong to this group of geniuses.

Guest (not verified) says...

I wonder how much is gender-specific, because I, too, do not relate to some of it. I am a philosopher, but am socially tied in enough to dress appropriately and try to be polite. It has occurred to me in the past, when my mind has been engrossed in something to the exclusion of some of my environment, that if I were a man, people would probably think me an absent-minded genius. But as a woman, they mostly think I'm a ditzy blond.

Guest (not verified) says...

I feel like this would have been a struggle especially for INTP women in the past as their personalities would have definitely contrasted from what was socially acceptable at a time such as the Victorian era. It would be interesting to find out how they would've got on living in a position suited better for sensing, feeling types.

Guest (not verified) says...

THIS. My whole life. Ugh.

Guest (not verified) says...

I think your response is very INTP.

The Stranger (not verified) says...

Check out INFP and see what you think

Stardust (not verified) says... This guy is phenomenal in his explanations of how we INTPs function. His articles feel like they are telling my life story. Maybe it will help give better insight into your inconsistencies.

renhel.ellehcim says...

also there can be categories you're the border for i'd suggest also checking out because they give you a percentage for how strong you are in each category

Jane Cando (not verified) says...

mine as well it`s really not easy to accept some of it but their are parts that says "most of intp`s" so don`t feel too down about it

jonatan (not verified) says...

I believe that it is because this is based on the basics of the behavior of INTP and i think you have to include that you have life-experiences and made your own way of thinking and getting things done, meaning that this is the primal thinking and behavior. That is what i believe and i also think that you have to compare this with as if you had no life experience or any type of specific knowledge, I do that and when I do it fits me really good coz that is how i'd be without my way of belief and experience

David S (not verified) says...

That is the point of experience, to shape and or temper your personality.You were born with a personality that gets shaped through experiences. Your base personality never truly changes, experiences cause you to make small adjustments and some of those adjustments are taken from other personality types.
I really like this forum and website, one of the very few places where intelligent conversation is the norm and analytics is cool!

Latebloom789 (not verified) says...

Yes that is true. It was only from my natural responses to people and environment whenever i am uncomfortable was i able to see what i naturally fit in. Although i am not a hardline theorist, logician or debater, from my coworkers in training, i was found to be more analytical, prone to asking deeper questions (overanalyzing) and into debates though i don't often see the it as a debate. Think i am more pissed when i am asked to shut up more than state my point or their point. And i am really irritated when people would rather move on quickly than delve on a topic. Also i used to think that my adhd factor might have something to do with it which somehow contradicts some of my functions. And also that lack of self awareness, as well as lack of social experiences made me at a loss for the judgement of my character.

Sigh. I also found out that when i have an intensive knowledge about the subject, i find myself being more keen in my use of the appropriate word. And this is something of a hindrance in the faster paced sales career like in the medical representative fields. Now if only i was able to recall the precise and most direct answer at a faster rate, i think i could do well at it. But i often miss non verbal cues or misinterpret them or at the worst find a loss of possible reaction i could give. Which just might somehow be a hindrance. I am in the process of trying to do it. Dang it. Im an outgoing intp but i lack experience in social situations...yet i am trying to enter into a socially extensive job. But it is the only way i can know myself fully as opposed to staying in the comfort of the family business.

Guest (not verified) says...

You can't fit everyone into a box. These are more like outlines, with fuzzy, barely-there borders. Most people are going to spill into more than one category, and that's fine.

I identify with nearly everything stated in the description of INTPs, and partially with that of ENTPs. It makes sense, most days I want nothing but time alone to think, but sometimes I'm loud and talkative and want to see the world. I'm always shit in social situations, however.

afeighner6914 says...

Yep. I fit both INTP and ISTP. I have some of each characteristics, however, I identify more with INTP

Kendo (not verified) says...

I guess I'm really responding to all previous comments, but there's truth in it all. I have nearly all traits mentioned, but ended up pursuing psychological and artistic endeavors (and in an iconoclastic manner), and am fond ofthe Enneagram Personality Types, which closely mirror--generally--most of these types, such as INTPs are certainly Fives...which I am.

GOJU (not verified) says...

Kemdo I often call myself GOJU and prefer the Jitsu arts and annoying people with knowledge. The way arts are good to keep fit and keep a Zen spirit but my Tai Ho Jitsu training has specific techniques for unarmed combat against the Sword.


Night fire (not verified) says...

Agreed, I myself am an INTP and I don't behave the same exact way as they say, but then again, just because someone has the same personality, doesn't mean they think the same.

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