Assertive Virtuoso (ISTP-A) vs. Turbulent Virtuoso (ISTP-T)

Virtuoso personality types have an individualistic approach to life. They often follow their own path with healthy self-regard and relatively minimal concern for traditional structures. However, the Assertive and Turbulent Identity traits can affect how these personality types see themselves and respond to everything around them.

Let’s look at some of the differences between how Assertive Virtuosos (ISTP-A) and Turbulent Virtuosos (ISTP-T) are likely to express their personality traits.

Curiosity, Confidence, and Doubt

Virtuosos rarely hesitate to dive in when engaging in a task, but their respective Identity traits can give these personalities a different initial perspective. Assertive Virtuosos generally show more confidence in their knowledge than Turbulent Virtuosos. Both types depend on their ingenuity, but Assertive Virtuosos often have a clearer, firmer vision of their intended approach to something.

80% of Assertive Virtuosos say they are usually confident that they know the best way to do something, compared to 52% of Turbulent Virtuosos.

Curiosity and personal interest also strongly motivate these personality types to engage in projects, practices, and pursuits. Most Virtuosos tend to consider their hobbies to be a significant part of who they are, but compared to Assertive variants, Turbulent Virtuosos are more likely to seek new ones frequently. These types’ curiosity is often a bit more restless in nature.

66% of Turbulent Virtuosos say they are always looking for new hobbies to get into, compared to 49% of Assertive Virtuosos.

When it comes to apprehension about trying things, the two Identities differ notably. Assertive Virtuosos are less likely to engage in reflexive risk assessment, their sense of confidence helping them remain focused on the moment. They’re far less likely than their Turbulent counterparts to go through a lot of mental what-ifs when preparing to engage in an activity.

The shared, core personality traits of all Virtuosos make them relatively adaptable, but Assertive Virtuosos are more likely to maintain a steady sense of their own capabilities.

Only 43% of Assertive Virtuosos say they instinctively consider the worst-case scenario before participating in an activity, compared to 72% of Turbulent Virtuosos.

Virtuosos flexibly approach challenges and opportunities alike, but Identity often affects how they view results. Recovering from failure is one such area, with Turbulent Virtuosos far more likely than their Assertive counterparts to doubt themselves following a mistake. For a personality type that values their independent abilities, the Turbulent trait can inflate the impact of having failed.

77% of Turbulent Virtuosos say that if they make a mistake, they tend to start doubting themselves, their abilities, or their knowledge instead of brushing it off, compared to 23% of Assertive Virtuosos.

Relating to Others

Virtuosos are among the least social of all personality types, with mastery of personal skills occupying much of their focus, time, and energy. Yet these personality types feel normal social pressures like anyone else, and their Identity colors their responses.

When it comes to fitting in with others, even in important situations, Assertive Virtuosos are less likely to worry than their Turbulent counterparts. This is not necessarily because they’re more certain that they’ll integrate harmoniously – often, it’s because they simply aren’t as troubled if they don’t.

39% of Assertive Virtuosos say they’ve worried about fitting in at a new workplace, compared to 77% of Turbulent Virtuosos.

Identity traits also influence how these types see themselves relative to others. Though Virtuosos are possibly the most independent-minded of the personality types, Turbulent Virtuosos are far more likely than Assertive Virtuosos to compare themselves to others. This isn’t primarily driven by a desire for social inclusion. It’s often more about evaluating themselves and establishing self-worth.

81% of Turbulent Virtuosos say they consciously compare themselves to others often or very often, compared to 21% of Assertive Virtuosos.

Dealing with Stress and Negative Thoughts

Assertive Virtuosos usually find it easier than their Turbulent counterparts to maintain motivation and a steady mind-set when life’s pressures mount. They are more likely than Turbulent Virtuosos to feel that they are in control, even when things seem to be going wrong all around them. This durability doesn’t necessarily mean that Assertive Virtuosos will perform tasks better under stress, but they’re likely to feel better and remain more focused.

Only 24% of Assertive Virtuosos feel like they’re often overwhelmed by life, compared to 75% of Turbulent Virtuosos.

Identity also plays a big part in how Virtuosos are likely to respond internally to stress or other strong feelings. Turbulent Virtuosos are more likely than Assertive Virtuosos to report that they get flustered easily. They’re less likely to maintain self-control in general, as their emotions become more chaotic during both highs and lows.

37% of Turbulent Virtuosos feel like they have control over their emotions, compared to 81% of Assertive Virtuosos.

While normally relatively detached and rational, Virtuoso personalities can become upset in certain circumstances, as anyone might. And when their emotions turn to anger, Assertive Virtuosos have an easier time dealing with their feelings than their Turbulent cousins. Their sense of emotional control enables them to be less reactive to anger, and their anger isn’t likely to last as long.

85% of Assertive Virtuosos say it usually takes less than one hour or only a few minutes for their anger to subside, compared to 55% of Turbulent Virtuosos.

In broad terms, Turbulent Virtuosos are more likely to feel any form of agitation. Unfortunately, this can even extend to how they see themselves. Whether it’s their body image, sense of self-confidence, or optimism about their future, it’s somewhat harder for these personality types to feel secure than it is for Assertive Virtuosos.

55% of Turbulent Virtuosos say they feel comfortable with themselves, compared to 78% of Assertive Virtuosos.

However, a desire to feel better about themselves can provide Turbulent Virtuosos with a form of motivation that differs from the greater confidence of their Assertive cousins. Turbulent Virtuosos are more likely to feel compelled to prove themselves in order to address any discomfort with who they are. This can give them drive in life, and these personalities are more likely than Assertive Virtuosos to believe that their ambition will lead to accomplishment.

85% of Turbulent Virtuosos say they have a strong desire to be an important and successful person, compared to 48% of Assertive Virtuosos.


  • Assertive Virtuosos are more likely to be confident that they know the best way to do something.
  • Turbulent Virtuosos are more likely to seek new hobbies often.
  • Assertive Virtuosos are less likely to consider the worst-case scenario when engaging in an activity.
  • Turbulent Virtuosos are much more likely to start doubting themselves, their abilities, or their knowledge if they make a mistake.
  • Assertive Virtuosos are notably less likely to compare themselves to others – or worry about fitting in with them.
  • Turbulent Virtuosos are more likely to feel overwhelmed by life or when things go wrong.
  • Assertive Virtuosos are much more likely to feel they have control over their emotions, and their anger typically fades faster.
  • Turbulent Virtuosos are somewhat less likely to feel comfortable with most aspects of themselves.
  • Relative to Assertive personality variants, Turbulent Virtuosos are more likely to feel ambitious and believe that it will lead to success.


Virtuosos have many common behaviors, though it’s clear that Identity can make a difference in how these types express their personality traits. It isn’t so much that they do different things, but that they do similar things differently and experience certain feelings with varying intensity. It’s important to note that while Turbulent Virtuosos may struggle with more unsettled emotions, they can match their Assertive counterparts when it comes to applying their skills and succeeding in life.