INTP Personality (“The Logician”)

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Albert Einstein

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.

The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living

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. This makes it ironic that INTPs’ word should always be taken with a grain of salt – it’s not that they are dishonest, but people with the INTP personality type 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.

This 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.

INTP personality

Wisdom Begins in Wonder

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 INTP personalities 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.

Let Those Who Would Move the World First Move Themselves

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. People with the INTP personality type 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 is their restless and pervasive fear of failure. INTP personalities 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.

Logicians You May Know

5 years ago
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 (?!!).
5 years ago
I feel relieved that there are other people like me. And at the same time, I wish I were something else, something more, normal. I already posted this as a reply to someone else, but I'll just ask it again. Does anybody ever think that maybe they're too calm? I'm always too calm. I feel like a normal person would be angry, or sad, or disgusted, but I'm just "calm". When I was in high school, other girls would have crushes and talk about it. They'd talk in high-pitched excited voices, and seem really interested in little details that, for me, didn't matter. I thought, I should have a crazy crush by now, but no, never happened to me. And even as I got older, I always felt like I lacked, feeling. I've never felt really really happy, or really really sad. If you asked me what my happiest memory was, I'd probably take a long time to answer you, and I'd probably make it up. I like to think that I'm being forgiving when I forgive someone after they've done something that made me angry. But even my forgiveness feels lacking, because I'm never sure a normal person would forgive that easily. I overthink things too much. And even now, I'm overthinking everything I write. My mom tells me to stop. To just be practical. I'm trying. I'm not crazy. But most times, I think I'm not a good person, because I just don't think my conscience is normal.
4 years ago
I feel the exact same way sometimes. Other people get all nervous and fidgety when they have to give presentations, or all stressed over having a lot of homework, and I'm just "calm". It feels wrong, but I can't force myself to have strong emotions. I don't think I've ever been "stressed" in my life. I also struggle with the "happiest memory" question.
4 years ago
The calmness really is scary sometimes, i know exactly what you mean Jam. There are only certain things that give me any strong emotional response. Mostly injustice to the (predictably few) people i love, or a really crazy out there brilliant new scientific theory or test. I sort of think reliving 'happiest memories' is really fake and pointless, just enjoy now, who cares what happened in the past. Unless of course it was really embarrassing in which case i will obsess about what i did wrong and how everyone probably hates me now. Apparently it can be tough living inside our heads but we're the only people strong enough to do it so take that strength and make the most of it like BLAID said :) we're not actually freaks, just a little... different.
4 years ago
i feel the same, but ive come to see it as a strength more than anything. we can excel in logical and practical decision making in situations where everyone else is suffering from emotional trauma, yes we may be a little indecisive but in a high tension situation you usually take your first thought. basically what im saying is that because of our lack of emotion in decision making we would be an essential part if not leader of a team in any kinda of disaster response/ combat situation. other than that emotions can really drag one down, they're exhausting so as much as we have trouble loving and feeling happy we avoid the real lows that have caused many deaths in recent years. so try to see the good side of things. its the logical decision to try and enjoy life, because in the end that's the only point to it, enjoyment is the endgame.
The Interrobang
4 years ago
I know how you feel, as I think that all the time. I'm currently in the latter years of my grade schooling and never get excited about the same things most other girls do and it feels weird at times, or ever gotten overly excited, angry, sad, happy, etc about anything I can remember. I'm sure the most anxiety I've ever felt was trying to introduce myself to a new person whilst in a group. Basically, everything you just said happens a lot with me. Then again, because of how I always over analyze situations, I may have subconsciously answered the quiz based on how I would like others to see me, or the mold I may be trying to fit myself into, rather than how I actually am. And there I go again. My mom always says, "Stop thinking so much," but how can I? Also, I just had a question for no one in particular. Do y'all think that idealogical creativity flows over to other topics often? (Such as the arts) And also, looking into the friendships overview, I found it a bit... I'm not exactly sure how to explain it, but off. What do you think about it in pertinence to you? All in all, no one expects a personality test to be completely accurate, and I'm very impressed with this one.
only me
4 years ago
I can REALLY relate to the lack of resolution about what is important to me, more than anything my entire life I questioned myself if it was normal not to realy love something or even somebody(even if I want it more than anything); I clearly established what is important to me, and even this feels self imposed and fake, but always wondered what would I say if someone asked me what is my favorite band, or movie or if I really liked somebody when I was little, and the real answer is that I can´t tell if I have one of those things, every life decision sounds and feels more like I´m being pushed than really myself making them. I also have a really strong sense of efficiency but can´t help to overthink every move and step I make, when you say you never know if a normal person would do what we do I tell you that this exact thought never leaves my mind,and while trying not to misjudge other people by isolated facts I´m always judging myself for every action and blaming myself even for thinks I don´t have control upon.
4 years ago
It is possible to have a strong emotional reaction, or stop being calm, as an INTP. I'm a single father, and my son brought that out in me. My fear of failure, which this article touches on, has now been amplified to the point that I cannot allow myself to think about it, because it almost causes me to panic. Before he was born, I had a fear of failure, but it didn't actually bother me. I think I will relax, and go back to the way I was before, once the project I am working on is functional, and I begin to generate sufficient income again.
4 years ago
Isn't it ironic that we can "feel" numb? The grass is no greener for you anywhere else, because you are entirely you where-ever you are. What matters is source and destination - God is both. You don't have to be like anyone else - just strive to become perfect in the manner in which you were created! For the record, I go through periods wishing I were more naturally demonstrative...but I'm simply not that way.
5 years ago
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.
4 years ago
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.
5 years ago
"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." So true. I almost always counter my own arguments in my head before the other person has had time to speak. It's great to know there are other intellectual nerds out there. My personal interests are Art History, Literature, psychology and Philosophy so if anyone's up for a debate on the abstract concept of madness, using Goya's Desastres de la Guerra and Conrad's Heart of Darkness as case studies, I'm more than up for it.
5 years ago
With respect to the portion of this article, "INTPs cannot stand routine work – they would much rather tackle a difficult theoretical problem," I would like to make a clarification, like any INTP would. I have had the opportunity to work as an assembler for a period of 4 years. This work was very monotonous, hands-on, requiring only moderate fine-motor skill. However, I very much enjoyed the job. Why? This monotonous work allowed me to delve pretty deep, thinking about whatever I wanted (politics, scripture, philosophy, social situations, mechanical systems, etc...) while leaving my body on auto-pilot to fulfill my duties as an assembler. I'm currently holding an engineering intern position and, in a bittersweet way, miss the assembler position ONLY due to this perk (the pay was miserable). Also, another trait I think fellow INTPs share is the indifference (even disdain) to the typical, modern American, 4-chord-scheme music. I play guitar and make it my duty to stomp the 4-chord ritual into the ground, producing an expansive, moody quality in most of my tunes (plenty of minor 7th themes and as much diminished as permissible). I can rarely complete any song's composition, but finishing something is not particularly an INTP's goal.
4 years ago
Perfectly true! minor 7th's - much better and experimental than the usual 4 basic major chord structures!
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