All About INTP Personality Type

Updated December 14, 2018

Reviewer Audrey Kelly, LMFT

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In this advice series, we're examining the 16 personality types identified by Katherine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Myers. In the 1940's, Katherine and Isabel developed the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), a personality self-test based on Carl Jung's theory that each has a personality type.

Carl Jung believed that humans have two kinds of functions: how we perceive things, and how we make decisions. Carl Jung also concluded that we are either introverts or extroverts, use sensing or intuition to gather information, and we base our decisions on objective logic (thinking) or subjective feelings. Katherine and Isabel developed Carl Jung's theory further by adding two more opposites: judging and perceiving.

The different combinations of these four opposites make up the 16 personality types.

  • The 16 Personality Types

Analysts: architect (INTJ), logician (INTP), commander (ENTJ), debater (ENTP).

Diplomats: advocate (INFJ), mediator (INFP), protagonist (ENFJ), campaigner (ENFP).

Sentinels: logistician (ISTJ), defender (ISFJ), executive (ESTJ), consul (ESFJ).

Explorers: virtuoso (ISTP), adventurer (ISFP), entrepreneur (ESTP), entertainer (ESFP).

When you know what your personality type is, you can begin a journey of self-discovery to understand why you do the things you do and think the way you think. Take a free Myers-Briggs personality test to find out whether you're an INTP personality type or one of the other 16 types. If you need help on your growth journey, contact one of our trained therapists at BetterHelp; only when you have a deep understanding of your personality traits will you be able to enhance your strengths and go on a journey of personal growth.

  • INTP Personality Traits: The Logician

INTP is the abbreviation for introversion, intuition, thinking, and perception.

Introversion: INTP's are quiet and reserved. They prefer to have a few close friends rather than many acquaintances. Social gatherings of any kind drain their energy.

Intuition: INTP's focus on the big picture and future possibilities, paying less attention to details and the here and now. INTP personality types tend to be abstract rather than concrete.

Thinking: INTP's don't take personal preferences and social considerations into account when they make decisions; they prefer to rely on facts and logic. They're objective rather than subjective decision makers.

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Perception: INTP's like to keep their options open; INTP personality types prefer to be spontaneous and flexible, and they delay making decisions.

INTP personality types are reserved and stoic. They're low-key people who can sometimes give the impression of being aloof and detached, but don't be fooled; the impassive exterior of the INTP personality type disguises astonishing creativity and enthusiasm for new ideas. INTP's are thoughtful and prefer to work through problems on their own instead of as part of a group or team.

All perceivers have little tolerance for social rituals and niceties, and the INTP personality type is no exception; they're impatient with titles and bureaucracy. The INTP personality type is non-conformist and sees authority figures as obstructing the pursuit of ideas and knowledge. INTP's are also generally disorganized and unwilling to stick to deadlines and rigid procedures. INTP personality types are neither leaders nor followers; they march to their drum and are sometimes seen as charmingly eccentric by others.

People with INTP personality traits make up between 2% and 3% of the population.

INTP's Are Logical

The INTP personality type is the most logical of all the personality types. INTP's take pleasure in spotting inconsistencies between statements and see it as a hobby or pastime; they can spot a lie from a mile away.

INTP's Are Enthusiastic

The INTP personality type easily recognizes a problem and can spend hours investigating and researching the issues until they find a solution. INTP's aren't interested in routines, maintenance, and day-to-day practicalities, but there is no limit to the energy and enthusiasm they bring to a task that requires their creative genius.

INTP's Think All The Time

INTP's often look deep in thought, and they are. Their minds are full of ideas every waking minute, and they carry on conversations and arguments in their head all day long. Others may think the INTP personality type is detached and aloof, but when they're not deep in thought and debating with themselves, they're relaxed and friendly, especially with people they know.

INTP's Fear Failure

The INTP personality type is often filled with self-doubt. They worry about whether they've made a mistake, or whether they've missed something. They'll take another look and do another check and reassess, reevaluate, and reexamine. Their biggest challenge is to overcome this fear; when INTP personality types get lost in their self-doubt and fear of failure, their intellectual abilities stagnate, and their creative ideas and solutions don't see the light of day.

INTP's And Career Options

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The INTP personality type has a special gift for analyzing theories to prove or disprove or them; INTP's are more interested in getting to the truth of theories rather than their practical applications. This, together with their exceptional skill for logical and rational thought, make science a good career choice for INTP personality types. Other career choices include physicist, mathematician, systems analyst, engineer, and computer programmer. INTP's do not do well in careers that include mundane, repetitive tasks that need to be completed within a strict time frame.

INTP's And Relationships

INTP's have minds rich in imagination and excitement, and the real world is flat and feeble by comparison. The INTP personality type may therefore not feel the need to pursue and form long-term relationships. But if they do, they are faithful, loyal, and serious about their vows and commitments. They prefer to live a simple life, and this makes them undemanding partners who are easy to be around. The internal life of INTP personality types may be complex, but they like to keep their external lives uncomplicated. This preference for the simple life makes them straight-forward and honest partners who are also passionate about their love relationships.

The biggest relationship challenge for the INTP personality type is to provide the emotional support that their partners may need. INTP personality types may be dedicated and deeply in love with their partners without ever understanding their partner's feelings and emotions. Another challenge for the INTP personality type is dealing with conflict; they will ignore the existence of conflict until it reaches crisis proportions. Even then, they may take a logical, analytical approach to resolve it instead of being loving and supportive. INTP personality types may stay in an unhealthy relationship even when there is no hope of improvement, rather than engage in a messy conflict situation.

INTP's are laid-back and flexible parents, relying on their partners to provide structure and discipline for the children. The INTP personality type encourages their children to be individuals, carefully listening to their opinions and desires and allowing them to have input into family decisions. INTP personality types take their parenting role as seriously as they do everything else, but again, their biggest challenge is to be tuned in to the emotional needs of their children. INTP's children are often attention-seekers to get their INTP parent to understand and acknowledge their emotional needs.

INTP's Strengths

INTP's feel deep love and affection for those close to them.

INTP's are laid-back and easy to be around. The INTP personality type is undemanding of their partner, and they prefer an uncomplicated life.

INTP's are enthusiastic when something interests them.

INTP's are creative and imaginative. The INTP personality type has a mind rich in ideas and possibilities.

INTP's handle criticism well.

INTP's Weaknesses

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INTP's are not in tune with the feelings of those around them. The INTP personality type has difficulty in noticing or understanding the emotional needs of even those closest to them.

INTP's don't express their feelings and emotions easily, making it difficult for others to understand and relate to them.

INTP's can be distrusting and suspicious of others, sometimes without good reason.

INTP's are not good at managing their finances, or another practical day to day matters. The INTP personality type can be at risk of not having sufficient retirement funding or college savings for their children.

INTP's ignore conflict situations until they reach crisis proportions, and then have difficulty resolving them in a supportive way.

INTP's sometimes don't reach their goals because their fear of failure prevents them from bringing their ideas to fruition.

In Conclusion

The INTP personality type is logical, rational and thoughtful. INTP's have a formidable talent to analyze a problem and come up with a creative solution. INTP personality types value knowledge and approach their interests with enthusiasm and excitement. INTP's are dedicated partners and parents; they're loyal and easy to get along with. INTP personality types are independent and unconventional.

INTP's have difficulty being emotionally supportive and loving; they don't easily express emotion themselves and may not understand the emotional needs of others. The INTP personality type avoids conflict instead of confronting and resolving it. The biggest challenge for INTP personality types is to overcome their fear of failure; INTP personality types need to remind themselves that their creativity can accomplish great things and many scientific breakthroughs.

Contact us at BetterHelp; our trained therapists will help you overcome your fear of failure to a successful life where you reach your goals.


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