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
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.
5 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.
5 years ago
Perfectly true! minor 7th's - much better and experimental than the usual 4 basic major chord structures!
5 years ago
The fact that Einstein and all the great philosophers are INTP is a lot to live up to.
5 years ago
I never noticed how logical I am compared to my family and friends. I didn't realize that most people made decisions on how they felt and not what they knew. I also didn't realize that I don't show my emotions as much as my friends but now that I took this test it made me think about how much I hold back from the people I love and trust most in this world...... oh well its been working for me so far and whats the good changing now anyway? besides freaking very one I know out.
5 years ago
It took me a long time to realize how other people reason and experience the world. I mean, it's a vital part of the process of maturation to realize that ones own perspective isn't common to all, but it was just shocking when I realized how most people are so swayed by these abstractions of passion. But idk, it's like the difference between savoring a calm before taking a plunge and feeling the brisk breeze on the way down, or jumping and screaming madly like phoenixes on rockets on the way to a monster truck rally. It almost seems like two forms of insanity. But if you feel something is lacking, there's no reason not to strive, seek balance and new frontiers.
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