“Philosophers”, “architects”, “dreamy professors”… These epithets are most often used to describe the INTP personality type. Forming around 3% of the population, INTPs love theories and believe that everything can be analyzed and improved. They are not that concerned about the real world and practical things – from the INTPs’ perspective, it is often less exciting than ideas and intellectual pursuits. People with this personality type have no difficulties noticing patterns where others cannot – this makes them brilliant theorists and analysts.
The accumulated knowledge is the most valued asset of any INTP. Imagine an immensely complicated clockwork which is constantly absorbing, processing and generating all kinds of theories – this is how the INTP mind works. People with the INTP personality type possess the most logically precise mind of all personality types – they can easily notice even the tiniest discrepancies between two statements, no matter how much time would have passed in between. It is a bad idea to lie to an INTP. They may appear dreamy sometimes, but this is not because their mind is resting – quite the opposite.
INTPs are enthusiastic and impartial when it comes to dealing with problems – they drill through the details and then develop a unique approach and ultimately a viable solution. INTPs are usually very intelligent and insightful people, able to remain unbiased in any situation. They absolutely love new ideas and theories and would never miss an opportunity to discuss them with other people – however, this never-ending thinking process also makes them look somewhat pensive and detached, as INTPs are perfectly able to conduct full-fledged debates in their own heads.
People with this personality type may also find it quite difficult to explain their thoughts to others, even when it becomes obvious that their theories are not easily graspable. INTPs may also move on to another topic before their co-workers or partners have figured out what the INTP wanted to say.
INTPs cannot stand routine work – they would much rather tackle a difficult theoretical problem. INTP personalities really have no limits when it comes to theoretical riddles – if there is no easy solution and the topic is interesting enough, an INTP can spend ages trying to come up with a solution.
INTP personalities are usually very shy and reluctant when it comes to meeting other people. However, INTPs can also be very friendly and confident when they interact with people they know well or talk about things that interest them. INTPs are flexible and relaxed in nearly all situations, except when their beliefs or logical conclusions are being criticized. In those cases, the INTP is likely to become very defensive and argue tirelessly.
Sharing many personality traits with other Logical types, INTPs do not really understand or value decisions based on feelings or subjective opinions. In their opinion, the only good solution is the logical solution – INTPs do not see a point in using emotional arguments. Such an approach preserves the “sanctity” of their intellectual method; however, this also makes it difficult for INTP personalities to understand other people’s feelings or satisfy their emotional needs.
Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends on your frame of reference.
Individuals with the INTP personality type are likely to be very open-minded and even eccentric. These traits, combined with their capacity for inventiveness and original thought, make up a very powerful mix – it is not surprising that INTPs are responsible for many scientific discoveries. An INTP is unlikely to care much about social expectations and the “usual” goals such as job security – however, they will do their best to find an environment where their creative genius and potential can be expressed.
One of the few bottlenecks that INTPs impose upon themselves is their restless fear of possible failure. No other personality type worries that much about missing a piece of the mental puzzle or overlooking some crucial fact that might lead to a better solution. Unlike their more confident INTJ or ENTJ cousins, INTPs could spend ages reflecting on their actions. Even when an INTP is arguing with someone, this should be taken with a grain of salt – they might as well be arguing with their own mind.
If you would like to learn more about the INTP personality type and its traits, download the INTP In-Depth Profile – a 60+ page guide covering a number of diverse topics. Otherwise, please keep reading:
Some famous INTPs:
Rene Descartes, philosopher
Blaise Pascal, mathematician, philosopher
Isaac Newton, physicist
Carl Jung, psychologist
Albert Einstein, physicist
James Madison, the former U.S. president
Dwight D. Eisenhower, a former U.S. president
Gerald Ford, former U.S. president
Tiger Woods, professional golfer