INTP personality

The INTP personality type is fairly rare, making up only three percent of the population, which is definitely a good thing for them, as there’s nothing they’d be more unhappy about than being “common”. INTPs pride themselves on their inventiveness and creativity, their unique perspective and vigorous intellect. Usually known as the philosopher, the architect, or the dreamy professor, INTPs have been responsible for many scientific discoveries throughout history.

INTPs are known for their brilliant theories and unrelenting logic – in fact, they are considered the most logically precise of all the personality types. They love patterns, and spotting discrepancies between statements could almost be described as a hobby, making it a bad idea to lie to an INTP. Ironically, owing to their Prospecting (P) trait, INTPs’ word should be taken with a grain of salt – it’s not that they are dishonest, but INTPs tend to share thoughts that are not fully developed, using others as a sounding board for ideas and theories in a debate against themselves rather than as actual conversation partners.

INTP_1This may make them appear unreliable, but in reality no one is more enthusiastic and capable of spotting a problem, drilling through the endless factors and details that encompass the issue and developing a unique and viable solution than INTPs – just don’t expect punctual progress reports. People who share the INTP personality type aren’t interested in practical, day-to-day activities and maintenance, but when they find an environment where their creative genius and potential can be expressed, there is no limit to the time and energy INTPs will expend in developing an insightful and unbiased solution.

They may appear to drift about in an unending daydream, but INTPs’ thought process is unceasing, and their minds buzz with ideas from the moment they wake up. This constant thinking can have the effect of making them look pensive and detached, as they are often conducting full-fledged debates in their own heads, but really INTPs are quite relaxed and friendly when they are with people they know, or who share their interests. However, this can be replaced by overwhelming shyness when INTPs are among unfamiliar faces, and friendly banter can quickly become combative if they believe their logical conclusions or theories are being criticized.

When INTPs are particularly excited, the conversation can border on incoherence as they try to explain the daisy-chain of logical conclusions that led to the formation of their latest idea. Oftentimes, INTPs will opt to simply move on from a topic before it’s ever understood what they were trying to say, rather than try to lay things out in plain terms.

The reverse can also be true when people explain their thought processes to INTPs in terms of subjectivity and feeling. Imagine an immensely complicated clockwork, taking in every fact and idea possible, processing them with a heavy dose of creative reasoning and returning the most logically sound results available – this is how the INTP mind works, and this type has little tolerance for an emotional monkey-wrench jamming their machines.

Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends on your frame of reference.

Albert Einstein

Further, with Thinking (T) as one of their governing traits, INTPs are unlikely to understand emotional complaints at all, and their friends won’t find a bedrock of emotional support in them. INTPs would much rather make a series of logical suggestions for how to resolve the underlying issue, a perspective that is not always welcomed by their Feeling (F) companions. This will likely extend to most social conventions and goals as well, like planning dinners and getting married, as INTPs are far more concerned with originality and efficient results.

The one thing that really holds INTPs back their restless and pervasive fear of failure. INTPs are so prone to reassessing their own thoughts and theories, worrying that they’ve missed some critical piece of the puzzle, that they can stagnate, lost in an intangible world where their thoughts are never truly applied. Overcoming this self-doubt stands as the greatest challenge INTPs are likely to face, but the intellectual gifts – big and small – bestowed on the world when they do makes it worth the fight.

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:

Socrates, philosopher
Rene Descartes, philosopher
Blaise Pascal, mathematician and philosopher
Isaac Newton, physicist
Carl Jung, psychologist
Albert Einstein, physicist
James Madison, former U.S. president
Dwight D. Eisenhower, former U.S. president
Gerald Ford, former U.S. president
Tiger Woods, professional golfer

198 Responses to “INTP personality”

  1. Angela Minister Reply


    Definition of insensitive:

    showing or feeling no concern for others’ feelings
    heartless, unfeeling, inconsiderate, thoughtless, thick-skinned;

    hard-hearted, cold-blooded, uncaring, unconcerned, unsympathetic, unkind, callous, cruel, merciless, pitiless

    I believe insensitive is the wrong word. I don’t think you can be shy AND insensitive.

    • hannah Reply

      I reckon insensitive is the right word. Many times I cannot understand why my friends get upset over little things, i cannot cope the emotions they experienced and neither i know how to comfort them. And from time to time I would say something very insensitive and my bestfriend who is a ISFJ (a very sensitive type) would get extremely upset and here I cant understand why he’s feeling that way and continue to hurt him with words until he had to explain what I was doing in my eyes is acceptable but to them, it’s offensive. Mind you I was doing this without realising it until a couple of days later, its basic instinct and i feel super guilty

      • Shelling Reply

        Hi! hi!! I’m quite interested with the talk just happening a day ago. Hahaha. And was awfully similar with you. My best friend, actually she is also INTP or maybe more INFP I guess. She messages me almost everyday, filled with her ‘crazy’ feelings. She told me that she was overly interested in somethings, feeling bored (almost every time), or being extremely annoyed by a comment on her tumblr otps, and she wanted me to help her with her feelings that she was being depressed with and felt like wanting to yell or jumping like a crazy although she didn’t show it up in front of any other people, esp. in school. I tried my best to feel what she felt but I just couldn’t bring myself into it and just goes by “Oh!” or “Wow, that’s sounds interesting” or some jokes (that was the most effective way, so that I could change her mood too XD) then I hope that she still thought that I understand her and remain in the same interest with her while I wasn’t feeling that way too~

    • River Reply

      Well, it’s more like you’re perceived as shy, but in reality you just hate everyone else and would prefer to keep to yourself, which I’m pretty sure can be filed underneath ‘insensitive’.

    • what Reply

      I think it’s unintentional insensitivity. If someone were to point out you were being thoughtless likely you would want to discuss it logically and would need some point of reference that showed you were inconsiderate towards their feelings.

      The problem is, and the reason why insensitive is probably the right word, is that logic is more important to the INTP’s than feelings are… and to someone who is of the “feeling” variety that in itself is insensitive or thoughtless or uncaring. The reality is you might genuinely care but you care more about HOW you were insensitive or thoughtless than the fact that you were insensitive or thoughtless which to a “feeling” person is insensitive.

  2. River Reply

    Why do we exist? ‘Cuz unicorns don’t, so why should we?

  3. radyafi Reply

    Ideas. im interested particularly in ideas. i have big book of philosophy and psychology and i love to read it because love to think and there’s so many exciting ideas. i love art and drawing too. Like many people i have to bear with loneliness because i think differently from my classmate.

    • azumi Reply

      Same here i love reading about intriguing stuffs but at the same time i love art,
      Drawings been my first love as a kid, next to singing. I did not find anything that has to do with INTJs and art here though

  4. M Reply

    This is really acurate for me. Well some of it I was like, Hmmm … not really, but most of it was right. It is good to know that this is normal, because I don’t know anyone who is like me. I especially agree with the bits about not being able to understand emotions and the part about the fear of possible failure.
    I feel bad about not being able to get peoples emotions because sometimes I hurt peoples feelings or I just don’t feel anything when they talk about something that should be emotional. When I am talking to my friends I just seem to fake having emotions all the time when really I don’t care. Or I just don’t feel anything.

  5. mage Reply

    i really didnt know that i was and INTP and i was amazed that i could become an architect

    • Eugene Tiffany Reply

      The “Architect” association is just a metaphor, not a profession. It’s a general idea. Like, using a metaphor of a Race car driver for an INTP would not work. Architect does.

  6. Bikash Reply

    Yeah! Umm! My type is INTP and don’t know if that is bane or boon! I read most of the above comments and found my self in similar situations. But I have learnt something even if it’s a little, that is to strike a balance. Relationship woes, not understood by people, not tolarating silly discussions and others, I have faced. Felt very very low and thought I have some fatal, grave problem in me, and got depressed! Huh! now I have known. Yes I love Ideas, puzzles,queer, bizzare, wiered etc. which are intellectually stimulating and novel. I love to read, and I have interests which have multitudinous dimensions. What more to say?… well there are plenty but the important ones are: I have learnt to accept more of people and environment now, learnt not to be egoistical, and not to be judgemental always. If we have sharp logical mind and if it is considered to be a gift then I think I ought to be responsible (which does not mean to be grumpy and not to have fun to the full swing!) and not to lose the love of life, above all. These are the things I would like to share with you having INTP personality type myself. Wish you all the very very best. To all of you an infinite quarks of happiness, always!

  7. Greg Reply

    How about the part that says we have a difficulty leaving bad relationships. I always feel like I can fix them, hahaha…

    Yeah, most of the time I have no understanding why people panic and feel certain way when the solution is obvious, the funny thing is that many people confide in me, and even if it is actually something that I went thru in my life, I still cannot be illogical and supportive about it. My response is always, just do this and that and you will be fine. While they seem to need something like an empathy. It is crazy, there were definitely times in my life when I needed empathy too, but when it comes to giving it I freeze and give a more logical solution. Often I even find myself not listening to the problems people tell me, it makes me feel awful. You sit in front of this person who tells you all the crazy stuff that goes on in her head and your mind is wondering somewhere else. You force yourself to get back to reality, but whatever is occupying your mind is really interesting. Fortunately, I have never been caught, but I feel if I get caught it will be a terrible scene. I have even done this to my romantic partners.

    I rarely confide in others and intimacy with friends, sharing feelings and etc, terrifies me. Oddly I have no problem sharing dating stories.

  8. Eugene Tiffany Reply

    I am an INTP who is also a Pisces which kind of makes me a Super INTP. Like, all the INTP characteristics get doubled in strength.

    I have been online since the beginning and operated a Bulletin Board Systems even before there was an Internet, so I have been active in many different forum discussions over time, and I was astounded reading through this one. Amazed, actually, because it is so different from anything I have ever before seen, being entirely full of people who know how to think. It’s amazing. And everyone not getting their feelings hurt by some comment someone else said. And there’s no intentionally abusive remarks, especially by twits in an aim to deliberately hurt someone’s poor feelings. What a novelty.

    When I took a personality test years ago it was incredible. There I was. Me! And the fact that there are so few of us explained a great deal, like how it felt way back in school how every other kid in my class either was an alien, or else I was. It’s always felt like I was visiting a strange alien planet. It’s in no way my own. Nothing like mine. Mine would not have football stadiums, for example, filled with fifty-thousand fools screaming their lungs out while giving off a radiation which I am sure must be toxic for miles. Nor would my world be filled with graffiti which in my view corresponds with what dogs do on the corners of an area to stake out a claim on territory ownership. And my world there would be police who protect and safeguard people from harm instead of beating anyone they get a chance to into a mound of mush as depicted in thousands of YouTube videos,. Nor cops who shoot speeding motorcyclists instead of giving them a speeding ticket. See? In my world people do logical things, things that make sense. Screaming one’s lungs out at a football game while watching some men play with a toy ball makes no sense, especially when the boys playing with their ball make millions of dollars throwing and catching it while running around on some grass. Oh, I have nothing against sports. I am just using this one as an living example of what would not be in my world which would only have things which have actual value and mean something. Children playing with toy balls makes sense to me. Adults who never grow up does not make sense to me. But I do realize this is all is
    ESFJ stuff, I understand that. And they have this one main rule in life. The Majority Rules. And that Truth can be voted on. And, you got to believe! And, again, the majority rules. And that ESFJ majority is huge. And so they own the place lock, stock, and barrel. It’s their world. No qurstion. So the only only thing to do is to some how, some way or another, learn how how to live in a Mad House, situated on an alien planet. It’s a great place if you like to visit the zoo.

  9. Sarp Reply

    Everything is pretty much spot on except for emotions. I’m a perfectionist, imaginative, constantly scared of failure, and always logical and annoyed by stupidity of other people but when it comes to not being able to understand emotions, I can understand them pretty well and I’d say I am emotional in some sense. But it’s weird because I am definitely not an INFP. I am really emotional when it comes to romantic endeavours but other than that, I definitely don’t feel empathy for other people most of the time. Dunno, maybe it’s because I’m really emotionally unstable (turbulent) too.

  10. Intp guy Reply

    Hi Laura. Have you really spend some time with that? I would agree on Dawkins being INTP and it seems most people place him as being one (not that a majority makes something true of course). But I have been giving it quite some time and thought after countless hours video/books and understanding the system quite well.

  11. Beth Reply

    According the Jung, a child first picks their dominant function (Ti for INTPs), develops it then selects an auxiliary to supplement the main one. For a Ti dominant, the auxiliary can be Ne (INTP) or Se (ISTP). Later, the young adult selects a tertiary process to hone (Si for the INTP or Ni for the ISTP).

    An INTP or ISTP with a well-developed tertiary function will come out as IxTP on the commonplace tests.

  12. Jam Reply

    Nope, you’ve pretty much got it all. But you know, in this whole list, it’s really the “calm” that bothers me most. For a long time, I thought I was abnormal. Like I was too calm, too uncaring. Apathetic. I thought I should get angry more often. Feel more. Is being INTP normal? I feel like I overthink every situation so much I forget that I have to actually feel something about it.

  13. Rouge Reply

    This is scary accurate… I thought I had a problem or something, but nope I guess it’s just my personality type. It is very hard though, my close friends who actually know what I’m thinking say I think way too much, and some even tell me to stop doing so because those who think too much get mental illnesses (?!!).

  14. uhh Reply

    Quick fix to the problem: “normal” is just a setting on the dryer.
    I’ve thought about the excessive calmness a lot as well, to the point where it worried me, but this way of viewing things is a lot easier on the ego. It keeps me slightly more sane at least.