The INTP personality type is generally one of 16 personality types that can be determined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is primarily based on the work of Carl Jung. INTP usually stands for Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, and Perceiving. Those with this personality type tend to be abstract thinkers who can be quite reserved. They may focus on the big picture and base their decisions on facts and logic. INTPs can be loyal and affectionate, but they can also be insensitive and struggle with communication at times. To learn more about your personality type and how it may affect your life, it can be helpful to work with a therapist online or in person.
An Overview Of The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
In the 1940s, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers developed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a personality self-test that can still be used today. Myers and Briggs generally based their research on the work of Carl Jung, who theorized that everyone may have a personality style and that humanity may have two types of functions: to perceive and to decide.
According to Jung, people tend to be either introverted or extraverted, gather information through intuition or sensing, and base decisions on logic or feelings. Myers and Briggs added a fourth category: judging or perceiving.
Different combinations of these four sets of traits can form the 16 personality types outlined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
- 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)
You can learn how to take a free Myers-Briggs personality test here.
The INTP Personality Type: Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving
People with this personality style often show the following traits:
- Introversion: Your demeanor may be quiet and reserved. Your social circle is likely small and consists of a few close friends instead of numerous acquaintances. You may feel that social gatherings drain your energy.
- Intuition: You may tend to focus on the big picture, preferring to see a situation for its possibilities and paying less attention to details about the present. Your thought patterns may tend to be abstract rather than concrete.
- Thinking: You generally base your decisions on facts and logic rather than taking social considerations and personal preferences into account. As a decision-maker, you tend to be objective.
- Perception: You may prefer to keep your options open, delaying decision-making to be spontaneous and flexible.
- INTP-A: Often called the “assertive logician,” this INTP subtype is generally comfortable with themselves and is usually more confident than the other subtype. INTP-As tend to have greater satisfaction with their place in life.
- INTP-T: Known as the “turbulent logician,” this subtype often feels less confidence and comfort personally and regarding where they are in life.
How Common Is The INTP Personality Type?
According to researchers at the University of Northern Iowa, INTP is one of the rare personality types, making up approximately 3.3% of the United States population.
INTP Personality Characteristics
Many people with INTP personality styles display some of the following characteristics:
- Reserved and stoic
- Low-key and relaxed to the point of appearing aloof or detached
- Creative and enthusiastic about new ideas
- Prefers to work alone
- Low tolerance for social niceties; social events often seem draining
- Impatient with bureaucracy
- Non-conformist and may view authority figures as obstructionist
- Disorganized and may have trouble sticking to deadlines and rigid procedures
- Neither leaders nor followers, INTPs tend to prefer an independent path
- Prefer to socialize with a small group of close friends
- Values intellect over emotion and bases decisions on logic
- Skilled with “out of the box” thinking
INTP Personality Strengths
People with INTP personalities are usually loyal and affectionate with those they care about deeply. They are often comfortable being independent and usually thrive in environments that encourage abstract thinking. INTPs are generally logical and objective.
INTP Personality Weaknesses
Those with the INTP personality style may be difficult to get to know, and because they may have little patience for social niceties, they can be insensitive at times. INTPs can be prone to self-doubt and may find following rules challenging due to possibly seeing authority figures as standing in their way. They may also have difficulties expressing their emotions.
INTP Cognitive Function Levels
Dominant: Introverted Thinking
Decisions are typically based on logical analysis done over time. Rationality and objectivity tend to be prized and can drive an insatiable thirst for knowledge.
Auxiliary: Extraverted Intuition
This can be thought of as your primary way of taking in information. You may use intuition to identify patterns, principles, and ideas, taking the knowledge to construct frameworks and theories about your understanding of the world. You may jump from one topic to another as your mind forms connections.
Tertiary: Introverted Sensing
This may be how you take in information, store interesting facts and knowledge, and organize it for future reference. You may require precise language, and your thought processes may become faster as you age.
Inferior: Extraverted Feeling
This function generally isn’t as strong as the others, which usually descend in strength. You might view this as your humanitarian side, which can drive you to use your creative problem-solving and intelligence to help others. You may start out less aware of others’ feelings than other personality types, but you can learn to recognize and appropriately react to them over time.
How The INTP Personality Type Can Affect Relationships
People with the INTP personality type often prefer their own company and don’t mind spending time alone. Social situations often require a lot of energy from them, unlike extraverts, who usually gain energy from social interaction. It can be tricky getting to know INTPs. They are often shy around people they don’t know, but tend to be warm and friendly with those they know well.
INTPs are often faithful and loyal, and they usually take their vows and commitments seriously. They tend to be undemanding partners and are often easy to be around. However, they may find it challenging to emotionally support a partner or understand their feelings. Dealing with conflicts may be a challenge for INTPs, and they may ignore issues until they reach a point of crisis.
As parents, INTPs are normally laid back and flexible. They may rely on their partners to provide structure and discipline for children. They often encourage individualism in children and listen to their opinions, frequently allowing them to offer input into family decisions. While they are usually devoted parents and partners, INTPs may struggle to understand and acknowledge the emotional needs of their loved ones at times.
Famous People Believed To Have The INTP Personality Type
- Albert Einstein
- Abraham Lincoln
- Carl Jung
- Charles Darwin
- Meryl Streep
- Brent Spiner
- Gerald Ford
Popular INTP Career Paths
With their usual enjoyment of theoretical and abstract concepts, people with INTP personality types tend to do well in science-related careers due to often being logical thinkers with strong reasoning skills. They tend to thrive in careers as chemists, physicists, computer programmers, forensic scientists, engineers, mathematicians, pharmacists, and other scientific pursuits.
Advice For Communicating With INTP Personalities
- Understand that they may have trouble understanding emotions and may not react as you want or expect.
- They tend to spend a lot of time in their own heads, and they can be hard to get to know. They may hold themselves back until they feel someone has earned the right to their thoughts and feelings.
- Try to be direct about your needs and expectations.
How Therapy Can Help INTPs
INTPs sometimes struggle to communicate effectively, and they may benefit from the support and guidance of a mental health professional.
Benefits Of Online Therapy
Online therapy platforms like BetterHelp can make it easier than ever to fit treatment into your busy schedule with flexible appointments via phone, video call, or online chat. Working with a mental health professional online can also make it simple for your therapist to send you various resources that may provide you with insight regarding your personality and helpful strategies for overcoming any challenges you may be experiencing.
Effectiveness Of Online Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be a standard treatment for people who wish to make meaningful changes to their thought patterns, emotions, and behaviors, which can also affect personality. Studies show that online CBT treatments can be a practical, effective alternative to therapy in the traditional in-person setting. Many patients say the convenience of receiving treatment at home can make it possible to attend more appointments, potentially increasing the effectiveness and duration of outcomes.
Is INTP the rarest personality type?
While INTP might not be the rarest personality type, it could amount to a small percentage of the total population. Ball State University estimates that only 3.3% of the U.S. population are INTPs. Of this 3.3%, it's estimated that 28% are female and 72% are male. Many celebrities are rumored to be INTPs, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates. INTPs tend to be rational thinkers, preferring to use logic and strategy when encountering problems within their lives. In addition, these types are often forward-looking, which can help them to develop flexible plans and accomplish long-term objectives.
What is INTPs biggest weakness?
One of the biggest weaknesses of INTPs can be their tendency to be condescending or insensitive. These behaviors may be directed at those that an individual perceives as enemies, but it may also affect loved ones if they can’t follow an INTPs line of thinking quickly. INTPs can also be impatient and quick to criticize if they aren't happy with someone else's actions. These traits can make forming a relationship with an INTP more difficult, especially if they aren’t aware of their own behavior.
Who is INTP incompatible with?
While INTPs can be compatible with several different personality types, they may be most compatible with ENTJs. Both of these personality types share the intuitive and thinking categories, which could help create a relationship environment that is challenging and stimulates growth. In addition, both tend to be logical in their thought patterns, which could help them to stay on the same page on a variety of subjects or conflicts. While both may have their own thoughts, and there could still be friction, their similar problem-solving styles could make for an effective partnership.
What is the smartest personality type?
Despite the possibility for any personality type to be intelligent, one of the smartest types may be the INTP, which stands for introverted, intuitive, thinking, and perceiving. The reason INTPs may be perceived as intelligent could be due to their analytic nature, as they often have an interest in analyzing the components of existing problems in order to find new and innovative solutions. Using their adept ability to grasp logic, INTPs can have very active minds and may make connections that others were not able to see, which can allow them to better achieve their goals.
What is the dark side of INTP personality?
One dark side of the INTP personality type is that they may be difficult to have as partners or friends. This is due to their reclusive and unempathetic nature, making them difficult to rely on for support. They may also be blunt in their criticism; even if their comments are based in truth, these may come off as insensitive. In addition, INTPs may lack patience in some situations, especially if they are not able to explain their perspective on a subject. As a result, they may be quick to criticize or condescend, which can create conflict within a relationship.
What makes an INTP uncomfortable?
Because INTPs may struggle with empathy, they may be uncomfortable engaging in public display of affection or emotion. For example, if a partner wants to hold hands while they are walking, an INTP may turn them down and inadvertently hurt their feelings. In addition, any discussion of emotions may create discomfort for INTPs. This can make it difficult for them to address problems within a relationship or find reasonable solutions, particularly if they do not utilize their own ideas or the logical elements they are most comfortable with.
What is the biggest fear of an INTP?
INTPs typically place a significant amount of value on independence, so their biggest fears may revolve around control within their lives. These situations may range from being locked into a committed relationship to being physically incapacitated. In addition, many INTPs may struggle with a fear of rejection, as they could be confined because of their lack of emotional intelligence could make it challenging to be accepted by others. However, some fear that an INTP may just be a part of human nature, like the fear of death or the idea that they may fail to achieve their dreams.
What personality should INTP avoid?
In general, INTPs may want to avoid emotional personality types, like ESFP. ESFPs often use their feelings as a way to guide their decision-making, which is nearly the opposite of the logical thought patterns that govern an INTP’s behavior. In addition, INTPs can be insensitive, quick to criticize, and lacking in creativity, which could be difficult for an ESFP to deal with. Overall, these individuals would likely deal with numerous communication difficulties and may struggle to find mutual interests or remain in a relationship.
What is the IQ of an INTP?
The IQ (or intelligence quotient) of INTPS will likely vary from person to person. In most cases, it's easier to find the average IQ of individuals based on other key characteristics, like their level of education, what environment they grew up in, and where they live. For example, the average IQ in the United States is approximately 98. However, some believe that INTPs can be more intelligent on average, which may correlate to a higher IQ. In order to fully understand the effect that an INTP personality can have on the probability of high IQ, further research would need to be conducted.
How intelligent is an INTP?
It is believed that INTPs may be among the most intelligent MBTI types, though extensive research has not been conducted on the matter. However, INTPs are often viewed by others as intelligent, typically because they have the ability to focus on the details of a situation and recall numerous facts. In addition, INTPs also tend to explore the analytical side of various subjects and conflicts, which may be viewed as a sign of high IQ. INTPS can also excel at writing and display a high level of open-mindedness, two traits that are often associated with intelligence.
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